Archive for February, 2013

Day Six

Saturday, February 9th, 2013

God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: cattle, creeping things, and wild animals, each according to its kind.” It was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the cattle according to their kinds, and all the creatures that creep along the ground according to their kinds. God saw that it was good.
Genesis 1:24-25

What was interesting in this passage was that the structure of this passage is similar but slightly different:

  • God spoke and creation came to be exactly as He spoke
  • The land produced the animals as they did the vegetation (Genesis 1:11)
  • Each classification of animal came to being “according to their kinds”, implying a multitude of variety (Genesis 1:11, 21). We seldom dwell on the magnitude of the multitude of creation. In one sentence, God conceived and created every creature on the land – earthworms to mammoths and the millions of species in between!
  • But God didn’t bless the cattle (domestic animals), creeping things (reptiles) and wild animals (animals of the field/undomestic) to multiply as He had done previously (Genesis 1:22)
  • God observed and pronounced on them “good”

I suspect that multiplication might be somewhat implied from previous verses. At least that is the feeling one gets when reading it. The flow is so similar that it is almost assumed when reading through it casually.

Now we get to the truly interesting part of day six.

Then God said,” Let us make a humankind in our image, after our likeness, so they may rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move on the earth.”

God created humankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them,
male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:26-27

So many juicy bits in this passage, so little time! Lets go.

  • God speaks of himself in plural form. This verse almost stands in direct opposition to the Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4). But taken together, this forms the basis of our triune God (http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/articles/what-is-the-doctrine-of-the-trinity).
  • Mankind was made in God’s image. This is repeated in a slightly different but mostly identical way (“Image” and “likeness” are almost the same word, for emphasis perhaps?). It is not stated in this passage what the form of this image is – physical, spiritual, mental, emotional, moral (Ecclesiastes 7:29) or a combination.
  • However, we know that the reason for being made in God’s image is that they may rule – over the rest of creation. This image grants us the unique authority and ability in all creation to rule. In this authority, it is obvious that God is not relinquishing His sovereign authority to us (Ephesians 1:22).

The passage breaks out into a little bit of poetry.

God created humankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them,
male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:27

This bit of poetry is not just an inspired expression of the writer. It is truth. The word “created” is used three times here, giving us 3 great truths:

  • God is the creator, mankind is creation. This truth should never be turned on it’s head. We should never assume the position of creator. 
  • God’s image is the template for mankind. Again, this truth should never be turned around. We should never conjure up gods or assume God in our image.
  • God created both male and female. Mankind wasn’t created gender-less (androgynous). This gender distinction is vitally important and God created and ordained.

Just a word on the last point. There are a number of implications that the distinction between “male and female” is where it is:

  • It is important. Important enough to be mentioned right at the beginning.
  • It is defining. Man has so far been defined as not the creator (1), having God’s image (2), having the responsibility to rule over creation (3) and now as male or female (4).
  • Both bear God’s image. This verse gives light to the rest of the passage because the word for mankind is “adam” and the name of the first man is Adam. This verse provides clarity to the fact that both man and women bear God’s image.

Perhaps it could also mean that both male and female exist in our God, even though God at this point is genderless. The bible uses expressions that depict God as both a man (Isaiah 54:5; 61:10; 62:5) and a woman (Isaiah 49:15; 66:13). Note however that the depiction of God as a woman is often descriptive (“I am like…”) or used as an expression of feelings or actions (“I will cry like a woman in labour”), whereas the depiction of Him as a man is direct (“I am…”). Again, this reinforces the fact that gender types are distinct. Manhood and womanhood are different. This has implication when we deal with sexual and gender issues (or preferences as they now call it).

There is more! But so little time. I’ll be back.

As I think more about the creation story, two things dawn on me:

  1. Mankind is unique in that we bear God’s image. No other of His creation is given such an honour. Not the light or darkness, not the sun, land or sea, nor any plant, fish, bird, land creature or anything else is created to have His image.
  2. I was reading this feed http://wtfevolution.tumblr.com and came across this snippet:

    From an evolutionary standpoint, reproducing is the single most important thing you can do in your time on this planet. In fact, it’s the only thing that really matters at all.

    It crossed my mind that reproduction is the most important function for anything. The ability to reproduce, each “according  to their kind” enables the continued existence of God’s creation. God gave creation the ability to persist in existing.

Mind. Blown.