Whether you are a believer or not, you would have, at some point in your life, read or heard of the creation story. The creation story is recorded in Genesis Chapter 1 and vividly recounts the formation of the heavens, the earth, life and all living things. The creation story is significant and of great importance as it seeks to offer an answer and shed some insight to the oft asked question “why am I here?” or “how did man come into existence?”.
In the beginning
Genesis 1verse1 highlights that in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. As the rest of Genesis Chapter 1 unfolds, we see where the Lord in His infinite wisdom, having crafted the heaven and the earth, then introduced light to the darkness -thereby distinguishing day from night; separated the waters of the heavens from that of the earth with space; gave the heaven and the earth form and dimension, then filled earth with livings things- first vegetation then animals. From the outset, it can be gleaned that God is indeed a God of order. He perfectly crafted the earth, filled it, declared it good and then made man. He made a domain for man and created a place for him, even before He made him. God is intentional. God is a god of order.
God created man in His image
Genesis, Chapter 1 verse 26 (NKJV) states that, “Then God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; ....”. This caused me to pause, reflect and ponder- “what exactly does it mean to be created in His image?”. The first key in unlocking the answer to this question comes from the use of the pronoun “Us”. The use of the word “Us” is a clear reference to the Triune God-the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Therefore, it can be concluded that man was created in the image and the likeness of the Triune God.
The word image is defined by the Concise Oxford English Dictionary as “a representation of the external form or a person” and “a person or thing closely resembling another”. Likeness is defined as “the fact or quality of being alike”. We know from scripture that God is not anthropomorphous, He does not take a physical form- save for a few instances of theophany where His presence was represented by fire, a whirlwind and a dove. Further, John, Chapter 4 verse 24 (NKJV) tells us that “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
The reference to God as a spirit underscores the position that God is not anthropomorphous. The Holy Spirit is the spirit of God and likewise does not take a physical form. The Son of God is Jesus Christ, who at the time of creation did not take on a physical form. Genesis, Chapter 1 verse 27 (NKJV) then states, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”
Therefore, the reference to man being made in the image and likeness of God must be with regard to the image of the Spirit of God. Indeed, it is my suggestion, that being made in the image and likeness of God, is to reflect His spirit, His character, His mind and His ways. Adam and therefore mankind, was made to reflect the Spirit of God.
In Genesis Chapter 3, we also learn that Adam (the first man) ultimately disobeyed God, causing sin to enter the world, resulting in not just physical death but spiritual death- man being separated man from God. Centuries later, Jesus Christ came to earth, sacrificed His life on Calvary’s cross and reconciled man to God, removing the effect of sin forever.
Therefore, when the Apostle Paul in Colossians Chapter 3 verses 9 and 10 (NASB) writes ,“Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him—”, implicit therein is the recognition, that from the outset, man was indeed created to reflect the Spirit of God. Accordingly, the spiritual birth causes the spirit of man to crave for the Spirit of God in whose image he was created. The creature invariably yearns for his Creator.
God spoke over man
Though I have read the creation story many times, another fact struck me as I read through it recently. Genesis Chapter 1 verse 28 (NKJV) states that “Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
This verse demonstrates to me that at the point of creation God didn’t just create man and place him in the Garden of Eden- Our Father made man and spoke over him, and declared that he is to “be fruitful, multiply and have dominion over every living thing that moves on earth”. God therefore declared an identity of dominion and rulership over man from the beginning of time, from the beginning of man’s very existence.
This identity of dominion is indeed compatible with man being made in the image of God, because God is a Sovereign Ruler over all things and man is to reflect God’s image as a ruler right here on earth.
Going back to the creation story helps us to contextualize our lives as believers and to know who we are. We are created in the image and likeness of God.
Therefore, let us run our races (live our lives) with the knowledge of this fact firmly rooted in our minds and hearts, and be victorious as we exercise the dominion that God declared over us.
Tamara Dickens is a member of the Transformed Life Church in Jamaica where she serves in the Prayer and Production Ministries, and as a Life Group Leader. Tamara is passionate about teaching and sharing the word of God. It is Tamara's hope that all will come into the revelation and knowledge of God and His unwavering love for us.