TO CHEW ON: "Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.'" Genesis 1:26
Man as created thing is different from the other parts of God's creation. Our reading today points out some ways. Several sidebar articles in my Bible delve into these differences:
1. God determined to create man in His likeness and image. Both male and female are reflections of that image (Genesis 1:26,27).
Man is a spiritual being who is not only body, but also soul and spirit," writes Charles Blake in the article "Man's Intrinsic Value." "He is a moral being whose intelligence, perception and self-determination far exceed that of any other earthly being" - New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 5 (emphasis added).
2. God gave humanity dominion over all other creatures (Genesis 1:28). Jack Hayford elaborates in the article "Man's Delegated Dominion":
"In creating man, the Sovereign of the universe makes a choice to delegate to man 'dominion … on the earth.' (vs. 28). Man's power and authority for exercising this rule originate in God's intent to make man in His own image and likeness." Hayford goes on to suggest that man's ability to play this role is eroded when he is disobedient to God's law - NSFLB p. 6 (emphasis added).
3. God gave man a quality of life He didn't give to other creatures—He "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living being" Genesis 2:7. The creatures were living too, so the words "breath of life" and "living being" here seem to imply life of a different quality.
Writers Charles Blake and Jesse Miranda write: "The likeness of man to the creator is in the favor and function of personal unity. God designed the human personality to consist of self-consciousness and self-determination with both the freedom and the awareness to respond to God, to other human beings, and to the environment" (emphasis added). The authors also point out the destiny of those who choose to trust Christ—already in God's mind at this point: "… just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and without blame before Him" - Ephesians 1:4 (read all of Ephesians 1:3-6) NSFLB p. 7.
How might we respond to these creation principles?
- We need to realize the preciousness of each human being.
- We need to be aware that human philosophies that exalt animals to practically human status aren't supported by the Bible. Though we need to care for animals, humanity's position is not as equals but as dominant over them. In practical living, our society has drifted from these foundations, killing its own with abandon (in abortion for example) while insisting on ever more rights for animals. I believe we need to be aware of the spiritual underpinnings of initiatives like the animal rights movement.
- We need to live with our final destiny in mind. If He "chose us in Hm before the foundation of the world" our lives are not accidental. Each of us has a unique role to fulfill. May we find it and fill it!
PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for creation which includes plants, animals and human beings. Please give us wisdom in our assignment to have dominion over other parts of creation. Help me to fulfill the destiny for which You chose me "before the foundation of the world." Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.