The creation story, God creating Mankind in His own image and likeness, is retold often in the Bible. We need to hear it even more often these days as our identity is hid deeply within that story.
In Genesis one we are told, “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule” (vs 26). Again, in case we missed it, “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (vs 27).
In chapter two, this simple creation of humans is retold in more slow motion so we won’t miss the detailed intimacy and exchange it involves.
Genesis 2 and other passage, especially in the New Testament, make very clear that humans will be special, different, unique. God is doing more than just commanding humans to be formed, HE IS FORMING THEM WITH HIS HANDS. Not only that, but his hands and mouth are involved in a special double creation. First, He forms out of clay, the body of man, symbolizing more than just a “told” reality, but a “molded” reality. God is not merely “hovering over the surface of the waters,” but he is hovering over and huntched over dirt, the stuff from which Man is formed BUT NOT THE IDENTITY HE WILL GIVE IT.
A slower process yes, but the suggestion is one that leads us to see the role of intimacy, relationship, deliberation, and interaction in creation related to the Image of God. TIME FOR EVEN MORE CREATIVE POWER.
Its slowed down not because of the absence of creativity but because more creative forces are involved. God had finished with the rest of creation in short order but in turning toward human creation, there is a awe and reference. I repeat: There is no less a divine creation than speaking thinks into existence, but even more, evident in special deliberateness.
Yes, it requires the breath of his mouth, for by the Word all things are created (John 1:3, Col 1:16, Heb 11:16), but this is a lingering and dwelling word and then breathing into the mouth of Adam the breath of life “man became a living being” (v. 7).
Now we see a side of creation, once slowed down, in Chapter, that we may have missed in Chapter one. But there is more even to come, more dialogue, interaction, instruction, commands and warnings.
There is an announcement of a position and an assignment, to be in the “garden of Eden to culitvate it and keep it” (vs 15).
And then even more, the drama continues as God announces what eventually has become obvious to Adam in his development, “it is not good for man to be alone” (18).
Out of Adam’s rib Eve, someone “suitable for him,” was FASHIONED.
Some may see this as a second class creation. They are wrong. This is even more delicate of a creation, for God is not only in dialogue as the Trinity (three in one) but he also now in dialogue with Adam and in that communion Eve is formed.
First, this is from God and with him so this is not a co-creation but a full creation of God. But Adam has to be ready and that is the powerful intimacy God shows in this creation.
A cartoon helped me see this point better. It is a picture of two people wanting to get into a showing of the dancing exploits of Ginger Rodgers and Fred Astaire. They are debating was the leader. One sites what has become associated with Ginger Rodger, “Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels.” Who had the more amazing part.
Eve brings to Adam’s a new experience of Trinitarian reality of three in one.
Thus the image of God in human kind is set forth in scripture.
The story is amazing. The dance of power and love, the intimacy of God over his creation is set. This is the stuff of the heavens. God created man in His likeness, the social power of his identity given to man and woman.
Those who reject this creation story reject the human story and the elegant status we have in God. Our identity is instead given to monkeys and amoebas. And our destiny is distorted.
What a fabulous origin we have as humans. In the likeness of God.
And yes, the rest of the Bible tells the sad story of how quickly we lost it,
But over and over again, this story of our identity is brought back to us.
After Cain kills his brother Abel, we wonder if the story is correct about our high calling as sons and daughter of God, and then again, the promise is repeated:
“This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day when God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female, and He blessed them and named them Man in the day when they were created. When Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son in his own likeness.”
Human choice will distort this identity but God seems destined to bend over us as many times as needed to create us in His image.
That reality being clear in Gethsemane where he willing gives us His place with the Father for us to be back in that intimate relationship of communion and grace.
The Word is Stubborn: I created you in MY Likeness. God is still in dialogue.
Will you not, child of God, accept that identity and participate in your destiny as “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9).