Let Us Create Man in Our Image
Key Verse 1:26
“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’"
In six days God created the heavens and the earth. He brought light out of darkness and order out of chaos. He first created a suitable environment and then filled the environment with creatures. On the sixth day He completed the work of creation, but before He rested, He created one very special creature to rule over His creation. That creature is man. God created us is a very specific way with a very specific mission. Today we want to think about how and why God created us. May God bless this study of the creation of man and help us make a clear decision to live a life of mission according to the creation order He established.
Part I - “Let us make man in our image” (26). By the sixth day God had finished creating the perfect environment and the creatures to fill that environment, but before he finished, He wanted to create one creature to rule over and take care of His creation. So he said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” For a long time this verse confused me. God said, “Let us make man in our image.” He did not say “Let me make man in my image.” But as I thought and prayed about this message, it began to make sense to me. As Christians we believe that there are three persons in one God; God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Each person is distinct and they have different characteristics. So I began to think more deeply about what it means to be created in the image of a three person God.
First, we are created in the image of God the Father. What is a father’s role? A father’s role is to provide for, protect and take care of his family. To be created in God the Father’s image means that we were created to provide for, protect and take care of God’s family. God’s family is His creation and he is the ruler of all things. So God made us in His image to “Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
We must be careful not to misuse the word rule. A good ruler does not rule for his own benefit. A good ruler uses his power to protect and take care of his subjects. He should make sure they have the proper environment to live productive, happy lives. So to be created in God the Father’s image means that we are created with the ability to take care of God’s creation so that all of God’s creatures can live safely and happily.
Second, we are created in the image of God the Son. What is a son’s role? The Bible tells us that children should honor their parents. Jesus gives us the perfect example of what this means. Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus came to earth, not to do His will, but to do the will of God the Father who sent Him. Jesus loved His Father and He did exactly what His Father commanded (Jn 14:31). Jesus’ example tells us that the role of the son is to do the will of the father. Another way of saying this is that the role of a son is to obey the father. This may sound strange or even wrong if we look at this from a worldly point of view. Many fathers today are so corrupted by sin that maybe their children shouldn’t obey them. But as Christians we know that our true father is God and He must always be obeyed. So as God’s children, created in the image of Jesus, we have been given the ability to obey God.
Third, we are created in the image of God the Holy Spirit. Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit will teach us all things and remind us of everything Jesus taught us (Jn 14:26). The image of the Holy Spirit enables us to learn about God and His creation. With the image of the Holy Spirit we can study and understand God’s creation. Through it we can learn how created things work and how to take care of them. But, more importantly, we can come to know God and why we are here.
The Holy Spirit is also the source of our power. Jesus told the disciples that they would receive power when the Holy Spirit came on them. Through the power of the Holy Spirit they could carry out their mission to be Jesus’ witnesses to the ends of the earth. It is the image of the Holy Spirit that gives us the ability to know God’s great mission for our lives and the power to complete that mission.
Part II - Why God created us in His image (26-28). Last week we thought about the meaning of our life. We found that those who deny God cannot find any meaning in their life. But Bible believing Christians can find the meaning of our life in the very first chapter of the Bible. Look at verses 26-28. “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’” God created man for a very specific purpose; to fill the earth, subdue it and rule over it. God created each of us with a purpose or a mission. We are to be the stewards of His creation. This gives our life meaning and it also establishes an order for God’s creation. God is first, man is under Him and the rest of creation is under man. When this order was kept man lived in paradise in the Garden of Eden. However, when man tried to become like God by eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the order was broken and paradise was lost.
Only man was created in the image of God. This means that man is different than the other animals. But how are we different? We were created on the same day as the other land animals and we were formed from the dust of the ground. So we share many of the same characteristics and limitations as other animals. It is God’s image in us that makes us different. It is this image that allows us to subdue the earth and rule over it as God blessed us to do. But if we choose to deny this image and act as our own god, God’s creation order no longer exists. Then God’s perfect order is replaced by man’s imperfect order. This leads to a world full of wars, sufferings and hardships - just like the world we see today.
Man cannot rule over God’s creation without keeping creation order. When man tries to rule God’s creation without God a strange thing happens. The more man learns about the creation and how it works the worse man’s situation seems to get. When Einstein discovered the relationship between matter and energy, man used it to create atomic bombs. When man discovered the internal combustion engine, pollution became so bad that some people say it is changing our climate. When man discovered how to network computers, things like computer gambling, pornography and terrorist recruitment became rampant. Why is this? It is because when man denies God’s image in us we become nothing more than thinking animals. We don’t rise to the level of God, we fall to the level of animals. When this happens God’s creation is left without a ruler. More than that, man is left without a meaning for our life.
God created us to take care of His creation. So we can say that man is made for a mission. If we don’t keep our mission God’s whole creation suffers and we lose the meaning of life. Jesus came to restore creation order for those who accept Him. We must come to Jesus so that our God given mission can be restored. This requires humility. We must accept that God is our ruler and that He created us to work hard and take care of His creation.
When we come to Jesus and accept His forgiveness He restores our mission as God’s stewards in this world. These days many people spend a lot of time thinking about what they need and how to get it. However, when Jesus restores our mission we don’t have to worry about such things. God will provide everything we need. Genesis teaches us that when God created man He knew that man would need certain things. He knew that man would need food so He provided every seed bearing plant and every tree that has fruit for our food. He also knew that Adam would need a suitable helper so He provided Eve. He knew that man would need time to rest from the hard work of subduing and ruling over the earth, so He provided us a Sabbath day each week. And, Jesus says that if we seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness, God will provide us with everything we need. If we embrace God’s creation order and His mission for our life, God will provide everything we need.
Part III - God saw all that He made and it was very good (31). After creating man to take of His creation, God’s creation work was done. Look at verse 31a. “God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.” When God finished His creation He declared that it was very good. This means that His creation was pleasing to Him. It was just the way He wanted it. God’s creation was perfect. It had perfect order and a steward to care for it. It was paradise.
But that paradise was lost when man rejected God’s creation order and wanted to become like God. Sin entered the world and with it death and decay. So when we look at the world today we don’t see the perfection that God created. Rather we see the imperfection that man’s sin has brought about. That does not mean that there is something wrong with God’s creation. The problem is with us. The problem is our sin. Sin causes us to reject God and his purpose for creating us. Our sin cuts us off from God. Without God there is no creation order. Without God we cannot maintain His perfect creation. So we see a world full of suffering, hardships and misery.
But we must remember that God did not create us this way. When He created us He did not make a mistake. He created us just the way He wanted us. And He did not reject us when we sinned and rejected Him. He sent us Jesus to forgive us and give us the right to become His children again. When we accept Jesus in our hearts we are a new creation. We are God’s creation and God has already declared His creation very good. I thank God that He never makes a mistake in His creations.
Today we thought about how God created man. God created us in His image to care for and rule over His creation. His image in us gives us the ability to be His stewards here on earth. We also thought about why God created us. He created us to subdue and rule over the earth. When God created us for this purpose He set a clear creation order - God first, man second and the rest of creation third. But, man rejected creation order and sin entered the world. When man did this He not only lost the meaning of his life, he fell down to the animal level and all creation has suffered. But thanks be to God who did not simply leave us in this state. He sent Jesus to forgive our sins and make us new creations. We are God’s creations that He has proclaimed to be very good. May God help us to live lives of mission based on the creation order He established in the Garden of Eden. May God help us to live as good stewards of His creation.