We are temporal. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/temporal-parts/
Through history civilizations have come and gone, men and women have achieved great and noble things, however from the perspective of Christ our Lord these are but ephemeral feats; empires have perished, monuments eventually crumble. Humanity is frail, but God persists. Though we are for the moment tied to our immediate flesh and body, our souls are eternal, communing with the word and glory of God, resonating in everlasting truth.
One thing that’s pretty cool about this verse is the use of the plural “let US make mankind in OUR image” which shows us that God is 3-in-1, the trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. That’s a really neat detail, but let’s look at what this verse is actually saying, because it’s important to the unified story of the bible.
God has been busy making everything in the world, and filling it with all the things needed to support life: dry ground, daylight, food, water etc. He makes all the living animals & plants, then He decides to make humans, and we’re told that there’s something very special about us which is different from all other life on earth.
We are ‘made in His image’… but what does that mean?
Well, it probably doesn’t mean we literally look like him in resemblance… long, curly hair, white beard etc, because when you think about that, we all look different don’t we? Let’s look closer at what the verse says… “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may RULE…” This is Kingdom language and it’s very important to the story of the whole bible which we’ll see as it unfolds.
God makes humans with a purpose, the intention is that he wants us to share in His authority and rule on the earth. When you stop and think about that, it’s remarkable! God could have ruled over all that he made by Himself (and things would have worked out better for sure without us messing things up), but He chose instead to give humans free will, and to entrust humans with a share in His authority, with the purpose of caring for, and protecting this world. That says something about how much God loves us and thinks highly of us.
And how do humans do at using this authority to care for and protect the world?… erm… not very well, as we’ll see as the story unfolds.
It is worth noting here, that the very next verse (v27) says “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”
So if verse Gen 1:26 is saying that to be made in God’s image means to have Kingdom authority, to rule and reign, then Gen 1:27 is saying that includes both males and females.
Here’s something we can all ponder. What does it mean for me personally to have Kingdom authority? Understand that to rule and reign in God’s Kingdom doesn’t mean to have a high profile role or position. Jesus came to establish the Kingdom from the least to the greatest. He taught it and He modelled it. Each of us has been effectively ‘placed in the garden’ or the part of the garden that God has chosen for us. We all have different spheres of influence. We may have a calling to rule & reign in the home within a family, in the workplace, in church, in the community, and for most of us a combination of some or all of the above. The way that we actually go about that ruling and reigning is the important part of course! The Old Testament is fascinating because it reads a bit like a ‘How-Not-To-Do-It’ manual. Then in the New Testament, Jesus comes to establish His authority as King by doing it right, and also teaching us how to rule & reign properly according to the Kingdom of God.
We can all ask ourselves ‘who are the people, and what are the things that I can take care of and protect?’ It doesn’t matter if we start off with something small like putting food or shelter out for wildlife in your back garden, donating food or items to a local charity, or cleaning up a part of your city, or caring for friends or loved ones or strangers. We can ask ourselves, how can I rule & reign in life in a way that is pleasing and honouring to God, so that I can make the world around me a better place for others, even if that is in only a small way to begin with. And we will discover more, as we journey through the bible, about the Kingdom of God, and it’s King, Jesus. As we learn about the King and His Kingdom, and as we participate, we begin to fulfil our God-given purpose as established here in Genesis 1:26.
And we pray:
Lord God, Almighty Father, I thank You for the Love You have given me, and the salvation You have passed on with Your Word. Help guide me in spreading Your gospel, whilst not faltering in human frailties. Show me the light towards Your eternal bliss, where Your Love and truth for Mankind remains forever and ever. Amen.