Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of Genesis. This is study #22 of Genesis, chapter 1 and we are going to read Genesis 1:26-27:
And 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 fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Now God has gotten to the point of His entire creation. The main focus for this world and the whole creation was that God wanted to create a world in which He would create a special creature. From everything we can know, God has never created the like in anything He had ever done before in His creative work. Now He has created a creature in His own image and, therefore, a special creature unlike the cattle, beasts, creeping things and fish of the sea. It would be a living creature and it would be like the others in that it was made of the dust of the ground and would have the breath of life and, yet, unlike anything else He made this creature is said to be made in “his own image, in the image of God.”
We can review chapter 1 or anywhere else in the Bible and you will not find God speaking of other aspects of His creation or creatures or life forms in the same way in which He speaks of man in relationship to Him. This is the highlight and the reason for this world. It was so God could create a special being in His own image. Then what? What purpose would God have for this creature?
Initially, we are told that God will give them dominion over everything He has made. That is fitting and appropriate because this creature is in God’s image and God is the great power in all things. He is infinite in His being and He is the ruler, the King and the Master of all that He creates and, therefore, it is very fitting that the creature made in His image would be given rule and dominion over this creation, the heavens and the earth and all the creatures.
So, yes, that was the initial purpose and man was made in the image of God to rule like God over the earth. However, we know from the rest of the Bible that God’s purpose for mankind runs much deeper. It was also God’s purpose to set up a testing program and He did so almost immediately in the Garden of Eden to see if man would obey Him. God knew that man would not obey and that man would fall into sin and God’s redemptive program would go into action. Actually, the works were already finished before the world began. Christ had already been slain from the foundation of the world to pay for the sins of His people and these people were creatures created in the image of God, but they rebelled against God and transgressed His Law. Yet, God had a plan to redeem them and forgive their sins through Christ’s atoning work and to restore the relationship with His people. Ultimately, in the end of this whole creation, God will bring forth His people that were created anew in His image and they will be His people for evermore. He will accomplish that purpose and it will display His glorious and wonderful attributes of love, mercy and grace. It really was quite a complex program that God had in store for mankind.
Again, it says in Genesis 1:26:And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…
As we read this, we notice that God is using a plural pronoun to refer to Himself. He does not say, “Let me make man in my image, after my likeness.” We would expect Him to say this because God tells us this in Deuteronomy 6:4:
Hear, O Israel: JEHOVAH our God is one JEHOVAH:
God is one Lord. He is one God and God emphasizes this truth throughout the Bible. He is jealous of that. He is one God. Some that read Genesis 1, verse 26 might say, “Oh, this is just a figure of speech like the way royalty might speak when God says, ‘Let us make man in our image.’” We might allow for that if we did not find that the rest of the Bible confirms what these words are saying in regard to the plural references because God is one God that reveals Himself as more than one Person. We find that throughout the Bible, time and again, that God refers to Himself as more than one Person and, yet, He insists He is one God.
The word “God” in Genesis 1, verse 26 is “El-o-heem,” the plural name for God and, therefore, the word “El-o-heem” goes along with the rest of the verse: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” The plural pronouns match with the plural name for God, “El-o-heem.” The word “El-o-heem” is not mentioned just in this verse, but back in Genesis 1:1 the plural word is used: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” It is used over 30 times throughout the chapter and, yet, the translators of the King James Bible correctly translated it in the singular because it was in keeping with God’s insistence that He is one God. God is making sure that this truth comes through without any question – God is more than one Person and, yet, one God. Is this a contradiction? Yes, from man’s finite ability to comprehend the Person and Being of God, it may seem like a contradiction, but it is what the Bible teaches. It is only due to our limitations as finite beings that we cannot comprehend how God can be one God and, yet, more than one Person. Let us just remind ourselves of what the Bible says in a few places. It says in Isaiah 9:6:
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
The Son is born and right away one of His names is “The everlasting Father” and we cannot understand that.
It says in Revelation 1:6:
And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
So, since we know that God is more than one Person, how many Persons are there in the Godhead? Here, we are told, it is “God and his Father.” In Isaiah 9, verse 6, the Son is called the Father, so there it indicates (apparently) different Persons and, yet, one. In Revelation 1, verse 6, it speaks of God and his Father, which goes along with a quote from the Psalms in Hebrews 1:8:
But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever…
The Son of God is God. This is what the Bible tells us. If there is a Son, then there must be a Father. It says in John 1:1:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Here, we are told that the Word is God and verse 14 explains that the Word was “made flesh,” so it is crystal clear that the Word that was made flesh is Jesus, the Son of God, but John 1, verse 1 tells us the Word is God. Are there two Gods? No, the Bible says, “Hear, O Israel: JEHOVAH our God is one JEHOVAH.”
So we have several verses (and there are more) that show there is the Person of the Son and the Person of the Father and, yet, they are one God. But the Bible also insists that there is “God the Holy Spirit.” It says in Acts 8:29:
Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
Here, the Spirit is speaking (not the Father or the Son) and giving direction to Philip and that is because the Holy Spirit, also known as the Holy Ghost, is eternal God and a Person of the Godhead. He is one with the Father. He is one with the Son. Yet, He is a divine Person of the Godhead.
It says in Acts 13:2:
As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.
The Holy Ghost is giving this instruction and He is signaling out Barnabas and Saul for the work He has called them to do. The Holy Ghost is a thinking Person of the Godhead that speaks and performs as eternal God in the fullness of the Being of God because He is one of the Persons of the Godhead.
At the baptism of the Lord Jesus Christ, it says in Matthews 3:16-17:
And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Here, we have the historical account of the baptism of the Lord Jesus Christ. We have Jesus (who was also called the Word and who was in the beginning with God, and was God) and then the Person of the Holy Spirit descends and lights upon the Lord Jesus Christ and then a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son.” Jesus is on the earth. The Holy Spirit has descended and there is a third Person, the voice from heaven saying, “This is my beloved Son.” It is the Father. In this historical account we see the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and these are the three Persons of the Godhead. They are the three distinct Persons that are one God. Again, I have no idea how that is possible. It cannot be explained and whenever people try to explain it they get themselves in trouble because it is unexplainable. It is beyond us and above us. It is something we cannot understand. We know it is true and we know the Bible teaches this and we know this is how God reveals His Being.
This is who God is and it is a terrible thing for someone to get this wrong and to say that there are not three Persons of the Godhead. Muslims do this. Jews do this. Certain sects of Christianity do this when they say there is only one God, but that Jesus is not God or the Holy Spirit is not God. When they hear there is one God, then they insist that there can only be one, not three. It is the natural tendency for man to want things to be something he can understand, but God is beyond our ability to understand. The Bible will not compromise the Being or Person of God as one God but three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Sometimes people have tried to say there are more than three Persons and that there are four or more. That is just as bad as saying there is only one because it is saying things that are not true of the way God has revealed Himself in the Bible. Why is it that we see at Jesus’ baptism the Lord Jesus (eternal God), the Holy Spirit (eternal God) and the Father in heaven (eternal God)? Where is Person number four or five? They are not there. It says in Matthew 28:18-19:
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Where are Persons number four or number five? You will not find them because the Bible teaches there are three Persons, but one God. That is what the term “Trinity” means. It is a theological term that describes the teaching of the Bible that God says He is one God, but three Persons. This is what the term “Trinity” means, so it is a very good term to describe the Biblical truth of the God of the Bible. That was Jesus’ declaration at the “Great Commission,” which was a very important thing at that point in time. What were they to teach about the God of the Bible? They were to baptize them “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” God is a jealous God and He will not share His glory with another and in the day of salvation we were to baptize people in the name of the Triune God because each Person is equally God – none are less than the other. They are all fully God. The Bible says that in Jesus dwells “all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” It also says in Philippians 2:5-6:
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
He is equal with God because He is one of the divine Persons of the Godhead. For our benefit and assistance, God has plainly stated this truth in 1John 5:7:
For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
There are “three” and not another number. They are the same three that were in view at Christ’s baptism and the same three that were in view with the Great Commission. There are three that bear record in heaven. There is the Father. There is the Word and we know from John 1:14 that the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us and that Word is Christ. We know from John 1:1 that the Word was with God and the Word was God. Who is the Father? He is God. There is no question about that. He was the voice from heaven that said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Then there is the Holy Ghost and He is also on an equal footing with the Father and the Word. He is mentioned as one of the three that bear record in heaven and then it says, “And these three are one.” This is the doctrine of the Trinity. These three are one. It is a Biblical statement to say that they are three Persons and, yet, one God.
Of course, God knew this would be impossible for the natural-minded person to understand and submit to, so it has been a difficult doctrine for unsaved people throughout history. Again, and again, it has led to heresy, other gospels and other religions. If you look at the religions of the world, they will typically speak of one God, although there are religions that speak of numerous gods. As far as Christianity, whenever people veer off course from the Trinity, they turn into another gospel. That is the sorrowful truth.
Next time we will continue to look at this incredible statement by God that He has made a creature in His image, in Genesis 1, verse 26.