Then 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 birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
It’s very clear from Genesis chapter one that God has an eternal purpose (as Paul calls it in Ephesians). He created man with a definite purpose to fulfill. We can see from this one verse 26 that God wanted an image and He also wanted that image to have dominion over the earth. Let’s take a closer look at each one of these aspects of the purpose:
An Image of God
This image would be a reflection, a likeness, and an expression of the living God. But how would man be an image of God? He would express God and he would reflect God. But this would be more than a mere copy or clone of God. This image would not just be the type of an image that we see in a mirror or in a photograph. Those are just two-dimensional representations that do not adequately express the fullness of His glorious splendor. How would the very fullness of God be expressed in such a limited creature? How would the infinite God be expressed adequately by a finite creation? How would an uncreated God be expressed by a created man? We shall find the secret to God’s way to fulfill the Purpose in Genesis chapter 2. But let’s first fully understand the Purpose itself.
The second part of the Purpose was for man to have dominion over the earth. This has to do with God’s enemy, satan. The reason we know this is that the scripture specifically mentions “the creeping things” at the end of verse 26. And we see in chapter 3 that the enemy comes to Eve as a serpent. So, man is to have authority (dominion) over all the earth and especially the creeping things.
So we can say that God created man for two reasons; to express and represent. The image speaks of His expression. The dominion speaks of His representation. God wanted man to express His nature and character. And He also wanted man to represent His authority on the earth, especially over the creeping things (God’s enemy).
But how would man do this? Again, the question begs to be answered. How would man (a lower life form) express and represent the almighty God? That’s like asking my dog to fully express and represent me! It’s impossible! But why? Because my dog is a lower life form. She cannot express a human, only a dog. She has the wrong life form.
Genesis Chapter 2
Thank God for Genesis chapter two!
Have you ever noticed how chapter two is almost like a replay of the creation account? Was God repeating Himself? Did He forget that He already wrote chapter one or something? Hardly. The purpose of chapter two is to explain the way that God would accomplish His eternal purpose. Chapter one tells us the what of His purpose. Chapter two tells us the how of His purpose. You could say that chapter one lays out the purpose, but chapter two lays out the way to fulfill that purpose – or the plan.
The Plan is Carried Out by Life
“And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed.
And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Gen. 2:8,9
There it is! God was going to carry out His purpose by giving man His very own life! So what does He do? He presents Himself as a tree in the garden! God makes Himself edible (or eatable!) to man. This is both tremendous and unthinkable. God, actually dispensing His very own life into man? Can you think of a better way for man to express and represent God? Man has a lower life form that can only inadequately express God. So God offers him His very own life form!
All man had to do was eat. And then God would come into man and begin to permeate his entire being. Just like physical food becomes part of you after you ingest it. What a wonderful plan! Please notice with me here that there are no rules or regulations. God did not ask man to follow some code of ethics. He did not ask man to follow some kind of moral code. He did not even ask man to bow down to worship Him. He only presents Himself to man in the form of food and asks him to eat!
You see God knew that if man partook of His life and that life grew inside of him that he would be able to express Him and represent Him because it would actually be God Himself doing it in and through man!
Stay tuned for part 2