PART 2 GOD AS THE CREATOR OF MAN
In study 1 we saw that God was the creator of all things, and also that He is the Tri-une God, each of the three Persons in the Godhead being called God in the Scriptures. In this study we shall concentrate on the work that God did on the sixth day of the creation week, when the animals, and then man, were created.
Relevant passages from the Bible, the Word of God:
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the third day.
And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. 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. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 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. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.
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 soul”. Genesis 1:24-2:15.
“O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.
When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;
What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.
Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:
All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field;
The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.
O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!” Psalm 8.
“So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:
It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven.
As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly”. 1 Corinthians 15:42-49
In the verses from Genesis mentioned above, the creation of man is presented to us in three ways. First, in relation to God. Second, in relation to the animals. Third, in relation to the earth.
God’s intention to make man is expressed in a unique way- “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness”, Genesis 1:26. That this applies to the male and the female is clear from verse 27. As far as relationship with God is concerned, there is no bias with God towards the male or the female, all are equal in His sight, and both were created in God’s image and after His likeness.
The Lord Jesus in Matthew 22:15-22 referred to the head of Caesar on a coin as the image of Caesar. In other words, the image represented Caesar and His authority, and those who used the coin were recognising this. Part of God’s plan in making man, then, was that He might have someone to represent Him to the rest of the creation. One of the reasons why murder should be penalised by capital punishment is that man is made in the image of God, see Genesis 9:5,6.
Man is also said to be made after God’s likeness. It was not necessarily true that Caesar’s image on the coin was a very good likeness, but God made sure that man had the capacity to represent Him well, by giving him certain characteristics which He Himself possesses. Man was made in the likeness of God in a four-fold way:-
God has personality, and each of the persons of the Godhead has his own particular distinctive features. So man was given personality, to display God through it.
God has spirituality, which not only means that He is a Spirit, see John 4:24, but also means He can appreciate His own glories. Man was made so that he might appreciate those glories too, and worship God in his spirit.
God has rationality, which means that He reasons, plans, purposes, and decides. Man has these abilities too; not, of course, in the sense that He could advise God, see 1 Corinthians 2:16, but so that he could order his life in relation to God’s purpose in an intelligent way.
God has morality, and distinguishes between good and evil. This capacity was given to man so that God could be represented in a way which upheld His rights and His laws. Of course, when man was made there was no such thing as evil, for all was pronounced by God to be very good.
Sadly, as the subsequent chapters show, this perfect state of things did not last long, for man sinned, and Adam “begat a son in his own likeness, after his image”, Genesis 5:3. The original purpose for which man was created was now only partially realised, and his abilities were now diverted for his own ends.
The remedy for this situation is found in the Lord Jesus, who became man that He might be the head of a new order of things. He displayed to perfection those things which God looked for in man. As such He is the perfect example to those who believe. As Ephesians 4:21 says, “the truth is in Jesus”, which means that if we would see a life lived that is true to God’s will, then we may see it in the earthly life of the Lord Jesus.
Only those who are in Christ, and as such are a new creation, are able to represent God adequately on the earth now, see 2 Corinthians 5:17. The “new man”, or the believer’s Christ-like nature, is “created in righteousness and true holiness”, and “renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him”, Ephesians 4:24, Colossians 3:10.
The Scriptures give no support at all to the notion that man is descended from the beasts. In fact, they give clear testimony to the fact that man is a special sort of creature, and has a special mission to fulfil in the purpose of God. After all, God’s Son became man, and now that He is returned to heaven, there is a man on the right hand of God. The words of 1 Corinthians 15:39 are very clear, and end the matter for the believer- “All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds”.
The theory of evolution has no basis in fact- it is merely speculation. Charles Darwin said “I am quite conscious that my speculations run quite beyond the bounds of true science”. It suits man to believe this theory, because he thinks that he can dispense with God by doing so.
That man is different to the animals is shown by the following:-
1. The dignity of man. In Luke 3:38, Adam is called a son of God. Whereas the others in the long genealogy given there had human fathers, (except the Lord Jesus of course), Adam came into being directly by God’s creative act. Adam was not the son of a half-ape, but a son of God. Man became a living soul when God breathed the breath of life into him, whereas the animals were simply spoken into being, Genesis 1:24;2:7.
2. The duty of man. Only man was given the task of representing God, and of being like God. He is the only creature fitted to do so by being made in God’s image and likeness.
3. The distinctiveness of man. Only man is able to exercise faith; to act out of a sense of duty; to seek for new knowledge and insight; to enjoy beauty and harmony; to exist for ever; to will to act; to translate thoughts and reasonings into words. The animals are not able to do any of these things. As we shall see, man was given dominion over the animals; it is inconceivable that God would not tell man if the animals were able to do these things.
4. The destiny of man. In the purpose of God, multitudes of believing men and women are to be conformed to the image of God’s Son. This high honour is not even granted to angels, let alone the animals. Out of all the varied creatures God made, only man shall share the glory of the Son of God.
Not only did God say “Let us make man”, but He also said “Let them have dominion”, Genesis 1:26. That dominion was limited to things on the earth. Psalm 8 repeats this thought, as the Psalmist muses upon the fact that despite being so small compared to the moon and stars, man in fact has the largest part to play in the plan of God for the earth.
Adam fell into sin, however, and dragged the creation of which he was head down with him. The “bondage of corruption” holds sway now. See Romans 8:19-23. If God’s original purpose is to be realised, there must come one who not only can remedy the failure of the first man, but also rule the earth in the way God originally intended. Only “the second man”, who is “the Lord from heaven” can reign for God.
It is important to notice the way in which Psalm 8 is quoted in the N.T. In Hebrews 2:5-9 there is presented to us a straight contrast between Adam the first man and Christ, shewing that it is the latter to whom the millenial earth to come shall be subjected. But Ephesians 1:19-22 widens the scope of His dominion to include angelic beings, and any who have a “name”, or reputation, whether now or hereafter. 1 Corinthians 15:24-28 goes further still, and foretells that Christ shall have dominion over every enemy, including death itself, the last enemy. He will demonstrate He has this dominion by emptying death and hades of its inhabitants at the end of His millenial reign. See Revelation 20:11-15.
This wider scope of the rule of Christ is what Ephesians 1:9 calls the mystery of God’s will, namely that Christ will head up all things, and not just the “sheep and oxen” of Psalm 8.
Those who are “in Christ” gain an inheritance through Him, Ephesians 1:11, and this involves being associated with him when He exercises His rule. The object being that we should be to the “praise of His glory”, Ephesians 1:12. What a triumph for God in that day, when He associates with His Son those He has saved from amongst Adam’s fallen race!
1. What is meant by “image”, and “likeness”, in Genesis 1:26?
2. List four ways in which man had likeness to God.
3. Whose likeness do sinners display now?
4. List ways in which man differs from the animals?
5. What Scripture would you quote to show man is different to animals?
6. Why do men generally prefer to think they came from the apes?
7. Note the things put under man in Psalm 8, then say how the Lord Jesus exercised this dominion when He was upon the earth.
8. In what ways will Christ’s dominion exceed what the Psalm spoke of?
9. How does the future reign of Christ over the earth vindicate God?
10. Now that man is a sinner, how can he be enabled to manifest likeness to God?