“Then God said, ‘Let Us [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in His own Image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:26-27.
“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…’” Genesis 1:26a.
“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:27.
Mankind is set apart from the animal kingdom in a way that clearly separates us from all other living creatures.
“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” Genesis 2:7.
“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:27.
There is no afterthought here, while the woman was created later in Genesis 2:21-22 they are spoken of here as equals and both have God’s breath of life in them because Eve was taken from out of Adam.
While the animals were formed from the earth as man was and became living souls, mankind is something personal between God the Creator and the foremost of His earthly creations, God breathed the breath of life into man.
That breath of life was passed on to all of us, at conception, whether a baby in the womb or an old man breathing his last, it is the breath of an eternal soul.
“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. “ 1 Thessalonians 5:23.
God made man, “…in Our image, according to Our likeness…” verse 26, the words, image and likeness, have the meaning of a resemblance and similitude.
Some have narrowed this down to a natural likeness to God in intelligence; and emotions, such as, anger, joy, love, and the like. Man also had a moral likeness to God, which he lost at the fall in the Garden of Eden.
However, if indeed we were to have a natural likeness to God in intelligence, is it possible that there is more to this than meets the eye?
I typed in, capacity of the brain, on my computer and found an article at www.scientificamerican.com which gave an answer to the question, “What is the memory capacity of the human brain?”
The answer was given by Paul Reber, professor of psychology at Northwestern University; a portion of which is quoted below.
“…neurons combine so that each one helps with many memories at a time, exponentially increasing the brain’s memory storage capacity to something closer to around 2.5 petabytes (or a million gigabytes). For comparison, if your brain worked like a digital video recorder in a television, 2.5 petabytes would be enough to hold three million hours of TV shows. You would have to leave the TV running continuously for more than 300 years to use up all that storage.”
There are numerous other articles to be found under this heading with some interesting thoughts; one expert even states that the brain’s capacity is infinite, which is probably overkill, only God is infinite.
An interesting thing about these other articles is that they often mention evolution but never give an explanation as to how these billions of neurons randomly evolved into a perfect order which is far better than any computer built by the best minds in engineering, electronics, and programming.
When God says that we were made in His image and after His likeness, just how much do we mirror His intelligence?
There is another aspect to the statement, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…” the same words are used when Adam begot Seth.
“This is the book of the genealogy of Adam. In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female, and blessed them and called them Mankind in the day they were created. And Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and begot a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.” Genesis 5:1-3.
For those who are parents, this may clarify things a bit. Your child may look like you or your spouse, they may have inherited certain artistic talents, or mathematical skills, abilities to reason, argue, or solve a problem, they may be sensitive, or coarse; but in the long run, in many ways, they will be themselves, not a clone of you.
Let us apply some of this to being in the likeness and image of God. In the reverse genealogy in the book of Luke the line of the Christ is taken in reverse order from Jesus Himself all the way back through Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham to Adam. We will pick up the last 5 verses from Abraham; remember we are going backward in time.
“…the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, the son of Cainan, the son of Arpahaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel, the son of Cainan, the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.” Luke 3:34-38.
Notice here how the lineage is passed along just as you would expect human lineage to be listed through to Seth, the son of Adam as we also saw earlier in Genesis 5:3, however it does not stop with Adam, he is not called the creation of God; he is called the son of God.
So, we, you and I, have a very real connection with the God and Creator of all things.
Can there be any wonder why God put the death penalty upon anyone who shed man’s blood when Noah left the ark after the flood?
“Surely for your lifeblood I will demand a reckoning; from the hand of every beast I will require it, and from the hand of man. From the hand of every man’s brother I will require the life of man. Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man.” Genesis 9:5-6.
Anyone who murders someone is striking out at the image of God, and in doing so is striking out at God Himself. This law has never been rescinded and it does not matter how many bleeding hearts think it is barbaric to take the life of a murderer, the eternal God’s word does not become null and void.
One can only marvel at the logic of sparing the life of an often brutal killer while condoning the killing of 62 plus million babies.
While man is made in the likeness and image of God, the Son of God, Jesus Christ who is fully man and fully God is described a little differently.
“God who at various times and in different ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high…” Hebrews 1:1-3.
“…the brightness of His glory”, unlike the Christian who reflects the brightness of the glory of Christ. The brightness in this verse has the meaning that this is not a reflection; it is the brightness of God Himself.
“… the brightness of His [God’s] glory”, glory in this verse refers to God’s majesty in the sense of the absolute perfection of the deity.
The words “…the express image” are used nowhere else and indicate that Jesus is more than just in the image and likeness of God, He is God in the flesh, having all of the moral perfection of the holy God, God’s omniscience, His omnipresence, and His omnipotence. Jesus said this of Himself.
“He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me.” John 12:44b-45.
Do you want to know what God is like, look at Jesus, “the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person”.
Do no be deceived, Christ did not lose the characteristics of deity when He came to earth; He laid them aside, that is to say, He chose not to use them, and to completely rely on God the Father while on earth.
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name…” Philippians 2:5-9.
“Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’” Genesis 1:28.
God blessed the man and the woman, these blessings were never terminated, but they were deferred after they sinned, until the millennial reign of Christ when God’s blessings will be completely fulfilled.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. And not only they, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.” Romans 8:18-23.
“But one testified in a certain place, saying: ‘What is man that You are mindful of him, or the son of man that You take care of him? You made him a little lower than the angels; You crowned him with glory and honor, and set him over the works of Your hands. You have put all things in subjection under his feet [Psalm 8].’ For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.” Hebrews 2:6-9.
When God said, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it…” it was not an impossible thing to ask, even today if all of the arable land were used properly it would be possible to feed far more than ten times what the population is right now.
So why are there famines in places like, Darfur, Somalia, North Korea, and Ethiopia? Some are from drought, but most are from warfare, caused by communists, and Muslims, with some of these evil groups actually stopping world aid to stricken countries while other groups convert the foodstuffs into armament.
A world full of Christ rejecters and Christ haters spins out of control. You cannot blame God because this is all the result of men letting their sin nature run amuck.
Notice that God not only says to fill the earth, but He says to subdue it; many expositors take this to mean to explore the earth, to measure it, learn how to use its resources, to see what makes it tick. Mankind was made a steward of the earth; the intention was not to exploit it, but to use its resources wisely.
We were made stewards of the animal kingdom too, meaning that we are to treat them with respect, caring for them as some do. It is true that after the flood we were told that they were given for food as the vegetation was in the beginning.
But cattle and other domestic animals are not a commodity, they are God’s creatures, we do not have the right to mistreat them, or terrify them when we butcher them for food.
Christians have no right to abuse the things our Father has made for us.
“And God said, ‘See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food’; and it was so. Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” Genesis 1:29-31.
Many vegetarians point to this verse to justify their vegetarianism, no problem there, but before they become militant or judgmental, consider this.
“Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.” Romans 14:1-4.
Also take note that God changed the rules for some reason after the flood of Noah.
“Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.” Genesis 9:3-4.
The reason for this change is unclear, but one thing is for certain the world that was, was gone when Noah disembarked from the ark. The earth itself had degenerated from the pristine, to a place of deserts, jungles, harsh weather, and dangerous, ravenous animals.
Animals that only a short while before ate nothing but vegetation, whether cow, lion, or dinosaur, all ate vegetation. Sin took hold and shook the earth and all that was in it. That which God had pronounced as being, “very good” was soon to be nearly unrecognizable.
“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned…” Romans 5:12.
Let Us Make Man, Genesis 1:26-31 taken from godisrevealed.com posted on 5-17-14, updated on 9-10-21.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.