What does Genesis 1:26-28 mean when it says that we are made in the “image” and “likeness” of God. What does this include?
26 ¶ Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Man was made in God’s “image” and “likeness” the two words meaning the same thing. This “image” or “likeness” suggests several things.
1) Man, in his nature is like God. This does NOT mean that his body is like God’s body, because we know that God is Spirit (Jn. 4:23,24) and does not have a physical body. Man has both a body and a soul. The soul of man is a spirit, an intelligent, immortal spirit, an active spirit that resembles God.
We are truly Spirit beings, as God is a Spirit.
2) Man resembles God in his place on earth and his authority. God gave man “authority” over all the earth. He said “let them rule.” Man has rule and authority over the inferior creatures of the earth, he is as it were God’s representative on earth. He governs himself by the freedom of his will. Inferior creatures cannot government themselves, they are not even aware of themselves.
3) Man was originally created in the image of God in his purity and righteousness. God’s image on man consists in knowledge, righteousness and true holiness.
24* and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
10* and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him–
Remember what Solomon said:
29 “Behold, I have found only this, that God made men upright, but they have sought out many devices.”
When God created Adam he was originally obedient to the will of God. All of his thoughts and actions, the exercise of his powers were in conformity to the will of God.
He understood divine things clearly, there was no error in his knowledge. His will complied universally with the will of God.
His affections were according to God’s will, his thoughts we pure, there was no vanity or ego in him.
Adam, before the fall, was in total submission to God in all of his ways. He was holy, and therefore happy to carry the image of God.
We may return to God’s original design for man when we accept Christ as our savior and “put on the new self.”