“In the image of God he created him.” (Genesis 1:26-27)
There is something unique about God creating man. It compares only with the first day, when “God created the heavens and the earth” out of nothing (Gen. 1:1), and it culminates the work of creation with an impressive description. This is because it is the beginning of a bigger story that involves God’s love and design for man. His affections are particularly set on mankind. So the account of man’s creation is unique. It begins with man being created in God’s image.
This is the most important teaching on man in all the Bible. “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness,” God said. This is a special ability, given only to man, to reflect God’s own holy character. It is different from all other living creatures made by Him. While beasts and birds, and even vegetation, were made according to their own kind, man was made according to God’s kind. He is a personal being.
Two things should strike you right off the bat. First, man is not God. We are creatures made by God, and therefore, we are dependent, finite, and accountable to God. Second, we are not animals. We are subordinate to God, but superior to the beasts and birds. God said, “let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
To be made in God’s image means we are like God in our sense of creativity, morality, intelligence, emotion, will, desire for fellowship, and spirituality. In this way, the way we are distinct from all other living creatures, we are like God and able to reflect His glory.
- There are many characteristics about us that are different from other living creatures. Can you list some? What does this tell you about us?
- What does our uniqueness and likeness to God tell us about Him? What does it say about how we relate to Him?
- What does this suggest about how we should treat other people—young and old? How differently should you live in light of this?