26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
We now come to the crown of God’s creation, man. God delights in man – Proverbs 8:31. He is the last of God’s creation.
Man is created last for two reasons:
First – to keep him humble. God is the creator. That means He’s in charge. We read in Job 38:4
“Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.”
Second – to keep us confident in God. We have a special role. God saved the best for last.
Man is special. I pointed out previously how God speaks differently when He creates animals:
“Let the waters bring forth…”
“Let the earth bring forth…”
Up till now God has been commanding His creation. But when it comes to man we read:
“Let us make…”
Note that we have two plurals here. Elohim is plural, and “Us” is plural. Once again we have the plural of majesty. Here it’s doubly emphasized when God creates man. Man is the crown of His creation. His majesty is demonstrated in man. Man is to represent God.
Some think the plural means that three persons in a “Godhead” are having a conference. Others think God is consulting with angels. I am not comfortable with either scenario. I don’t think it fits Scripture.
God’s Sovereignty and Man’s Dominion
Image and likeness. Our Lord used this term “image” in a very interesting way. One day someone brought a coin to Him. The coin had Caesar’s image on it. This means the coin represented Caesar in all his power and majesty. The coin wasn’t Caesar, it was a representation of Him.
Man is God’s image. God is the Creator. God owns everything. That means He is over all, He is Sovereign.
God created this world for man. He entrusted it to man. He delegated partial ownership to man. God owns it all, man has limited ownership. God told man to exercise dominion. That means we are to develop His resources under Him, to subdue them.
When we seek to operate outside of Him, He corrects us. When we do our own wills instead of His, God brings us back in line through correction. This is how World History has proceeded. God will bring the whole world around through corrective measures. God’s corrective measures are to set things right.
This is what is meant by God’s Sovereignty. This is what is meant by man’s dominion.
Genesis three hasn’t altered man’s commission. God created man upright (Eccl. 7:9), and in righteous and holiness of the truth (Eph. 4:24). True, sin has marred this. This is why believer’s are transformed into the same image from glory to glory.
“And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth.” Genesis 5:3
This verse is made much of by those who promote total depravity. Scripture never talks about “fallen” man or a “fallen” image.
If you compare Genesis 5:3 with Genesis 9:6 and James 3:9 you will see that man never lost the image of God after he sinned. Image and likeness are interchangeable terms. Just compare Genesis 1:26-28 with Genesis 5:1-2 and you will see the terms are interchangeable. Man is the image and likeness of God in the sense that he was given DOMINION over the earth. It has to do with the role God assigned him. God is in charge of everything – He delegated authority to man. That’s what image and likeness is about.
Genesis 5:3 is God’s way of saying that Adam’s children were after his kind. Like begets like. That’s the point. It has nothing to do with a “fallen image.”
Total depravity is not a Biblical doctrine. Neither is the “fallen image” doctrine. These doctrines are fruits of a false holiness philosophy.
Some think that image and likeness refers to man being “a trinity.” The reasoning goes like this: “since God is a trinity, man must be a trinity too.” Augustine taught the human “trinity” doctrine. Just read “The City of God.” Aristotle taught it too. This teaching is a package deal with “total depravity.” I don’t see it.
The Meaning of “Adam”
It’s been said that Adam means “red earth,” or something like that. But let me make a suggestion. When you read through Genesis you will notice that when a person is named there’s a reason for it. For instance, Eve was called Eve because she is “the mother of all living.” Eve means life. When Cain was born Eve said: “I have GOTTEN, or AQUIRED a man from the LORD.” Cain means “gain.” Noah means rest. And on and on throughout Genesis. The names were suitable to the roles people played.
Seeing that each person is named in such a fashion, isn’t a little strange Adam should merely mean “red-earth?”
I think the key to understanding the meaning of Adam’s name is the surrounded words. Those words are image, likeness, and dominion. This is man’s role on the planet. This will be ultimately fulfilled in our Lord Jesus Christ. Christ will have dominion over all. See 1 Cor. 15:20-28.
So Adam’s name is suitable to the exalted role God has assigned him and his descendants. Let’s live up to that name!
Details Left Off: Divine Titles
Notice in verse 27 Moses repeats three times that God created man. This is enforcing the truth that man is a special creation.
Created he them. “Them” refers to Adam and Eve. The details of Eve’s creation are given in Genesis two. Genesis one doesn’t give us all the details. God give us the basics. In chapter two God gives details He doesn’t tell us in Genesis one.
These differences in details can be explained by the use of Divine titles:
Genesis 1:1 – 2:3 – God
Genesis 2:4 – 25 – LORD God.
The titles speak volumes. This is why details are expanded in chapter two. God gives details suited to the name He uses. We will talk about that in another paper.
God Creates Families To Change The World
Be fruitful. This is why the “them” is referring to Adam and Eve. Two men can’t propagate the race. In Genesis five we read that God called Adam and Eve – Adam. She took his name. They were one.
As we stand on the threshold of Scripture we see the importance of families. Man’s dominion over the earth requires stable families. Man is the image and glory of God. Woman is the glory of the man. God begins with families. World blessing begins in a faithful home. Genesis provides an example of this principle:
God raised up a man – Abraham – chapter 12.
He and his wife start a family.
They teach them the way of the Lord – chapter 18.
His family eventually effects a nation.
That nation is to bless the world.
May God raise up loving families to exercise dominion under God on this earth.
Ussher’s chronology says this was Friday, October 28th, 4004 BC.