God created man, man and woman, in the image of God. God blessed man and commanded him to multiply and fill the earth. In love, the Lord gave man power to submit to the earth as a steward and to rule her creatures. In the story of creation, man is the crown of creation; the first person is Adam. Symbolized by Adam, who sinned, mankind lives in rebellion against its creator and has brought sin and death into the world. Regardless of his sinfulness, however, man remains in the image of God and is defined by it. Therefore, all people collectively and individually deserve love, respect and respect. The eternally perfect image of God is the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, the "last Adam". Through Jesus Christ, God creates new mankind over which sin and death have no control. In Christ the human image of God will be accomplished. (Genesis 1: 1,26-28; Psalm 8,4: 9-5,12; Romans 21: 1,15-2; Colossians 5,17: 3,18; 1 Corinthians 15,21:22; 8,29:1; 15,47 Corinthians 49: 1-3,2; Romans; Corinthians; John)
what is the human?
When we look up to the sky, when we see the moon and the stars, and contemplate the immensity of the universe and the mighty power inherent in each star, we may wonder why God cares about us at all. We are so small, so limited - like ants, that are hurrying back and forth inside a heap. Why should we even think he's looking at that anthill, called Earth, and why would he want to worry about every single ant as well?
Modern science expands our awareness of how big the universe is and how powerful each star is. In astronomical terms, humans are no more important than a few indiscriminately moving atoms - but it is the human being who raises the question of meaning. They are people who develop the science of astronomy, who explore the universe without ever leaving the home. They are people who turn the universe into a springboard for spiritual issues. It goes back to Psalm 8,4-7:
«When I see the heavens, your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have prepared: what is man that you think of him, and man child that you take care of him? You made him a little lower than God, you crowned him with honor and glory. You have made him master over your hands, you have done everything under his feet. »
So what is the human? Why does God care about him? Men are in some ways like God Himself, but lower, but crowned by God Himself with honor and glory. People are a paradox, a mystery - tainted with evil, yet believing that they should behave morally. So corrupted by power, yet they have power over other living things. So far under God, and yet designated by God Himself as honorable.
what is the human? Scientists call us Homo sapiens, a member of the animal kingdom. The Scriptures call us nephesh, a word that is also used for animals. We have spirit within us just as animals have spirit in them. We are dust, and when we die, we return to the dust as well as the animals. Our anatomy and our physiology are like those of an animal.
But the Scriptures say that we are much more than animals. People have a spiritual aspect - and science can not make any statement about this spiritual part of life. Nor is philosophy; we can not find reliable answers just because we think about it. No, this part of our existence must be explained by revelation. Our Creator must tell us who we are, what we should do, and why he cares about us. We find the answers in Scripture.
1. Moses 1 tells us that God created all things: light and darkness, land and sea, sun, moon and stars. The Gentiles worshiped these things as gods, but the true God is so powerful that he could call them into existence simply by speaking a word. They are completely under his control. Whether he created her in six days or six billion years is nowhere near as important as the fact that he did. He spoke, it was there and it was good.
As part of the entire creation, God also created humans and 1. Moses tells us that we were created the same day as the animals. The symbolism of it seems to indicate that in some ways we are like animals. We can see that much of ourselves.
The image of God
But human creation is not described in the same way as everything else. There is no "And God spoke ... and so it happened." Instead, we read: "And God said: Let us make people, an image that is the same to us who rule there ..." (Genesis 1:1,26). Who is this "us"? The text does not explain this, but it is clear that people are a special creation, made in the image of God. What is this "picture"? Again, the text doesn't explain that, but it's clear that people are special.
Many theories are suggested as to what this "image of God" is. Some say it is intelligence, the power of rational thought, or language. Some claim it is our social nature, our ability to have a relationship with God, and that male and female reflect relationships within the Godhead. Others claim it is morality, the ability to make decisions that are good or bad. Some say that the image is our rule over the earth and its creatures, that we are, as it were, God's representatives. But domination in itself is divine only if it is exercised in a moral way.
What the readers understood by this phrase is open, but it seems to express that people are in a certain way like God Himself. There is a supernatural meaning in who we are, and our meaning is not that we are like animals, but like God. 1. Moses does not tell us much anymore. We learn in 1. Moses 9,6 that every person is created in God's image, even after humanity sinned, and therefore murder must not be tolerated.
The Old Testament no longer mentions "the image of God", but the New Testament gives this designation additional meaning. There we learn that Jesus Christ, the perfect image of God, reveals God to us through his self-sacrificing love. We are to be shaped in the same way as the image of Christ, and by doing so we achieve the full potential that God intended for us when He created us in His image. The more we let Jesus Christ live in us, the closer we are to the purpose of God for our lives.
Let's go back to Genesis because this book tells us more about why God cares so much about people. After he said: "Let us", he did it: "And God created man in his image, he created him in the image of God; and created them as man and woman » (Genesis 1:1,27).
Notice here that women and men were created equally in the image of God; they have the same spiritual potential. Similarly, social roles do not change the spiritual value of a person - a person of high intelligence is not more valuable than one of lower intelligence, nor does a ruler have more value than a servant. We were all created according to the image and the likeness of God and all people deserve love, honor and respect.
Genesis then tells us that God blessed the people and said to them: «Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and rule over the fish in the sea and over the birds under the sky and over the cattle and all animals that crawl on earth » (V.28). God's commandment is a blessing that we would expect from a kind God. In love, he gave people the responsibility to rule over the earth and its living beings. The people were his stewards, they took care of God's property.
Modern environmentalists sometimes blame Christianity for being against the environment. Does this mandate to "subjugate" the earth and "rule" the animals give people permission to destroy the ecosystem? People should use their God-given power to serve, not to destroy. They should exercise dominion in a way that God does.
The fact that some people abuse this power and scripture does not change the fact that God wants us to use creation well. If we skip something in the report, we learn that God commanded Adam to cultivate and preserve the garden. He could eat the plants, but he should not use up the garden and destroy it.
Life in the garden
Genesis 1 closes with the statement that everything was "very good". Humanity was the crown, the keystone of creation. That was exactly the way God wanted it - but everyone who lives in the real world realizes that something is terribly wrong with humanity. What went wrong? Genesis 1 and 1 explain how an originally perfect creation was ruined. Some Christians take this report quite literally. Either way, the theological message is the same.
Genesis tells us that the first people were called Adam (Genesis 1: 5,2), the common Hebrew word for "man". The name Eve is similar to the Hebrew word for "life / living": "And Adam called his wife Eve; for she became the mother of all who live there. » In modern language, the names Adam and Eve mean "human being" and "everyone's mother". What they did in Genesis 1 - sin - is what all of humanity did. History shows why humanity is in a situation that is far from perfect. Humanity is embodied by Adam and Eve - humanity lives in rebellion against its creator, and that is why sin and death characterize all human societies.
Notice the way Genesis 1 sets the stage: an ideal garden, somewhere where it no longer exists, irrigated by a stream. The image of God changes from a cosmic commander to an almost physical being who walks in the garden, plants trees, which a person forms from the earth, who blows his breath into his nose to give him life. Adam was given a little more than animals and he became a living being, a nephesh. Yahweh, the personal God, "took man and put him in the garden of Eden to cultivate and preserve it" (V.15). He gave instructions for Adam to the garden, asked him to name all the animals, and then created a woman to be a human companion for Adam. Again God was personally involved and physically active in creating the woman.
Eve was a "helper" for Adam, but this word does not indicate inferiority. The Hebrew word is used in most cases for God Himself, who is a helper for the people in need. Eva was not invented to do the work Adam did not want to do - Eva was created to do something that Adam could not do on his own. When Adam saw her, he realized that she was basically the same as him, a God-given companion (V.23).
The author concludes Chapter 2 with an indication of equivalence: «That is why a man will leave his father and mother and cling to his wife and they will be one flesh. And they were both naked, man and his wife, and were not ashamed » (Vv. 24-25). It was God's will, the way it was before sin came on the stage. Sex was a divine gift, not something to be ashamed of.
Something went wrong
But now the snake is entering the stage. Eve was tried to do something that God had forbidden. She was invited to follow her feelings, to please herself, instead of trusting God's instruction. "And the woman saw that the tree would be good to eat and that it would please the eyes and be tempting because it made you smart. And she took the fruit and ate and gave it to her husband who was with her, and he ate » (Genesis 1:3,6).
What went through Adam's mind? 1. Moses gives no information about that. The point of history in 1. Moses is that all people do what Adam and Eve did - we ignore the word of God and do what we like, making excuses. We can blame the devil if we want to, but the sin is still in us. We want to be wise, but we are foolish. We want to be like God, but we are not ready to be as He commands us to be.
What did the tree stand for? The text tells us nothing more than "the knowledge of good and evil". Does it stand for experience? Does it stand for wisdom? Whatever it represents, the main point seems to be that it was forbidden and that it was eaten anyway. People had sinned, rebelled against their Creator, and decided to go their own way. They were no longer suitable for the garden, were no longer suitable for "the tree of life".
The first result of their sin was a changed view of themselves - they felt that something was wrong about their nudity (V.7). After making aprons out of fig leaves, they were afraid of being seen by God (V.10). And they made lame excuses.
God explained the consequences: Eve would give birth to children, which was part of the original plan, but now in great pain. Adam would till the fields, which was part of the original plan, but now with great difficulty. And they would die. Indeed, they were already dead. "Because on the day you eat of it you must die of death" (Genesis 1:2,17). Her life in unity with God was over. All that was left was physical existence, far less than the real life that God intended. And yet there was potential for them because God still had his plans with them.
There would be a fight between the woman and the man. «And your desire should be for your husband, but he should be your master» (Genesis 1:3,16). People who take their affairs into their own hands (as Adam and Eve did), rather than following God's instructions, are likely to have conflicts with one another and brute force is usually prevalent. That is the way society is once sin has entered.
So the stage was ready: the problem that people face is their own, not God's, mistake. He gave them a perfect start, but they messed up and since then, all people have been infected with sin. But despite human sinfulness, humanity continues to be in God's image - battered and dented, we might say, but still the same basic image.
This divine potential still defines who human beings are, and this brings us to the words of Psalm 8. The cosmic commander is still concerned about people because he made them a bit like himself, and he gave them authority his creation - an authority that they still have. There is still honor, there is still glory, even if we are temporarily lower than we should be according to God's plan. If our vision is good enough to see this picture, it should lead to praise: "Lord, our ruler, how wonderful is your name in all countries" (Psalm 8,1: 9,). God deserves praise because He has a plan for us.
Christ, the perfect picture
Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, is the perfect image of God (Colossians 1,15). He was full of people, and shows us exactly what a person should be: completely obedient, completely trusting. Adam was a guy for Jesus Christ (Romans 5,14), and Jesus is called "the last Adam" (1 Corinthians 15,45).
«There was life in him and life was the light of men» (John 1,4). Jesus restored the life lost through sin. He is the resurrection and life (John 11,25).
What Adam did for physical humanity, Jesus Christ does for spiritual revision. It is the starting point of the new humanity, the new creation (2 Corinthians 5,17). In it all will be brought back to life (1 Corinthians 15,22). We are born again. We start again, this time on the right foot. Through Jesus Christ, God creates new humanity. Sin and death have no power over this new creation (Romans 8,2; 1 Corinthians 15,24: 26). The victory was won; the temptation was rejected.
Jesus is the one we trust and the model we should follow (Romans 8,29-35); we are transformed into his image (2 Corinthians 3,18), the image of God. By believing in Christ, by working in our lives, our imperfections are eliminated and we are brought closer to what we should be according to God's will (Ephesians 4,13:24,). We move from one glory to another - to a much greater glory!
Of course we do not yet see the picture in all its glory, but we are assured that we will see it. "And as we have carried the image of the earthly [Adam], we will also have carried the image of the heavenly" [Christ] (1 Corinthians 15,49). Our risen bodies will be like the body of Jesus Christ: glorious, powerful, spiritual, heavenly, imperishable, immortal (Vv. 42-44).
John put it this way: «Dear ones, we are already children of God; but what we will be has not yet been revealed. But we know that if it becomes apparent, we will be like him; because we will see him as he is. And everyone who has such hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure » (1 John 3,2: 3). We don't see it yet, but we know it will happen because we are God's children and He will make it happen. We will see Christ in His glory, and that means that we also have a similar glory, that we are able to see spiritual glory.
Then Johannes adds this personal comment: "And everyone who has such hope in him, cleanses himself, just as he is pure." Since we will be the same then, we try to be like him now.
So man is a being on several levels: physical and spiritual. Even the natural man is made in the image of God. No matter how much a person sins, the image is still there, and the person is of tremendous value. God has a purpose and a plan that includes every sinner.
By believing in Christ, a sinner recreates a new creature, the second Adam, Jesus Christ. In this age we are as physical as Jesus was during his earthly work, but we are being transformed into the spiritual image of God. This spiritual change means a change in attitude and behavior that is brought about because Christ lives in us and we live by believing in him (Galatians 2,20).
If we are in Christ, we will fully carry the image of God in the resurrection. Our minds cannot fully understand what it will be, and we do not know exactly what "the spiritual body" will be, but we know it will be wonderful. Our gracious and loving God will bless us with as much as we can enjoy and we will praise him forever!
What do you see when you look at other people? Do you see the image of God, the potential for greatness, the image of Christ being shaped? Do you see the beauty of God's plan at work by giving mercy to sinners? Do you rejoice that he is redeeming a humanity that has strayed from the right path? Are you enjoying the glory of God's wonderful plan? Do you have eyes to see? This is far more wonderful than the stars. It is far more beautiful than the glorious creation. He has given his word, and it is so, and it is very good.