Originally posted on Tayibs.com
Welcome back to our study of the book of Genesis, today we’ll be finishing the first chapter as we zero in on verses 24 to 31. Thus far, we’ve seen our God brought about an outcome each of the fist five days. We saw that the first four days were mainly dedicated to define functions such as time, weather, agriculture, elements that are essential for life to be possible. Day four saw the creation of creatures of that dwell in bodies of water as well as birds of the sky. And now Day 6 is about to see its own set of functionaries. I’ll invite you to listen to Dr Baruch Korman’s study and read the additional comments as well.
Genesis 1:24-31 Exposition
24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. 25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
26 Then God said, “Let us make man[h] 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.”
27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
- Verses 24-25
We must remember that the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters in verse 2 of Chapter 1. Then the next thing that happens is a spoken Word from God that results in- light. It is not by chance that both the Holy Spirit and the Word of God are mentioned in these verses. They collaborate to achieve a result; they are all involved in the creation process. In verse 24, the spoken Word creates living creatures (livestock, creeping things, and beasts of various kinds) from the EARTH. Water bodies gave birth to creatures that are adapted to living in water. And from the earth, God creates creatures that are adapted to living on the ground through his spoken Word. Another significant aspect of this verse is that these creatures were created according to their own species; there is no mutation or evolution from one species to the next. And we are also told that God saw that it was good, which means that these living creatures were perfectly suited for their purpose.
- Verse 26
This is probably one of the most important verses of Chapter 1. In all other instances of the creation days, the functions or the functionaries created do not pattern themselves after God’s own image. We’ll later see what the word ” image” means in this context. But the uniqueness of the spoken Word of God is what should capture our attention. Now God’s word brings about Man ( mankind) but after the likeness of God, in the image of God. No other creature receives this privilege but Mankind. Now the pronoun ” us” has generated quite a lot of speculations and I don’t want to be dogmatic about it. Some say by employing the phrase ” let us” , God was giving subtle hint of His Triune Nature. Others believe that God is referring to Himself in the plural form. But our job is to seek to understand what this phrase meant to the reader at the time it was being penned down by Moses, under the superintendence of the Holy Spirit. Whatever your position may be, one thing is clear, Mankind was created after the image of God. In other words, out of all created beings, Mankind is the one that has received the utmost privilege, being made to reflect the character of God, the nature of God. Being made in his image is basically conveying that mankind’s primary role in creation is be ” like God” not by usurping the power of God, but rather by representing God’s character to the created order.
Another key point of verse 26 is the mandate “mankind” has received from God. The mandate explains exactly what being made in the image or after the likeness of God means. Mankind is supposed to have dominion over all the other functions and functionaries in the created order. Not in such a way as to abuse it, but to take care of it, to oversee it as a steward. Hebrews 2 explains this best,
It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. 6 But there is a place where someone has testified:
“What is mankind that you are mindful of them,
a son of man that you care for him?
7 You made them a little[a] lower than the angels;
you crowned them with glory and honor
8 and put everything under their feet.”[b][c]
In putting everything under them,[d] God left nothing that is not subject to them.
At the end of the age, when all things are made new, mankind’s mandate to have dominion over all of creation as a steward will be restored. But one thing that must be clear in our minds is this- we aren’t supposed to lord it over the creation in an abusive way, we are to reflect the character of God as we steward that which has been entrusted to us. Because we need to remember that when God created his functions and functionaries, and evaluated it, it was GOOD in His sight. And we must ensure that all things function as they were intended by God.
- Verse 27
I want us to see how much the writer puts an emphasis on the fact that mankind was created in the image of God. We are told initially that God created man in his own image ( the word man there may stand for mankind or humans, or maybe he is singling out man as a male). And second, we are told that God created him ( man) in his image. It seems as if this is an emphasis on only Adam ( the first man), but the very next verse says He created them female and male. How are we to understand this? Maybe all the scripture is trying to teach us is exactly what Paul mentioned in 1 Timothy 2:12-14
12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man;[b] she must be quiet. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve.
Adam was created first, and in the image of God ( to reflect his character) and Eve, his wife followed after. God established an order that must be respected. Chapter 2 will deal with the order in which both the man and the woman were created.
- Verse 28
What is the blessing that God bestowed on the man ( Adam) and the woman ( Eve)? It was to be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth ,referring to procreation for the sake of increasing more images of God in the created order. Again, we need to understand that the word image has a deeper meaning, it has to do with God’s character. So the blessing of procreation’s sole intent was to spread out the image of God ( the character of God). Subduing the earth and ruling over the animal kingdom was also a mandate God gave to the Man and the Woman ( created in His image). They were to be stewards of the created order as the utmost representative of God, because to them was given the privilege of being made in the image ( character) of God.
- Verses 29-31
We’ll have to come back to these verses later on because after the Fall something is going to change. As we can see in this passage, Adam and his Wife were supposed to feed on plant bearing seed and fruits trees with seed in it. This was a blessing from God, because we’ll see in Chapter 3 that after the Fall, their food source changes. And the animal kingdom that moves on the ground ( livestock and other beasts) were supposed to feed on green plants.
And again God evaluates His works, and in His assessment, everything is functioning as it should ( suited for their purpose). And it is interesting that the phrase used to express this is “very good”. The sixth day, God finished his work of creation and the phrase “very good” is just to overemphasize the fact that the created order was working perfectly according to its God given function.