Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Creation of Man

“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 every creeping thing that creeps of the earth.’ And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them (Genesis 1:26-27).”

The use of the word “us” here indicates that man was to be created after the council of the Divine Godhead, or maybe even the whole host of heaven. It also appears evident that when God used the term “let us make man” that he intends to impress the mind of man with a sense of something extraordinary in the formation of his body and soul. The use of the word “Aadaam,” or “Adam,” which is translated “man,” is intended to set man apart from all other created “flesh” or “beast of the field.”

When He says, “Our image according to Our likeness,” it must be that He refers to man’s soul. Now, we know that the Divine Being is infinite, thus he is not limited, and therefore he can have no physical image after which he made the body of man. The image and likeness then must necessarily be intellectual, his soul, which is the seat of his intellect or mind, must have been formed after the nature and perfections of his God and his identity is with the spirit and soul of God, not the flesh body of man. Thus the mind of man coming forth out of the hands of its Creator was endowed with most extraordinary capacities; it was in the likeness of the mind of God.

Chapter 1 of the book of Genesis, verses 26-31 is a synopsis (a brief summary) of the sixth day creation. In Genesis chapter 2, verse 7 we find a more detailed account of the creation of man.

“Then the Lord God formed man of the dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being (soul).”

God is life; in Him there is no death; He has no beginning of days and no end of days, God is eternal life! Therefore, when God “breathed” into the man He gave man of His “Spirit of Life.” Man became an eternal being or soul. Thus God produced a spirit formed after the perfections of his own nature. God is the fountain whence man’s spirit issued, hence, the stream must resemble the spring which produced it. God is holy, just, wise, good, and perfect; so must the soul be that sprang from him: there could be in it nothing impure, unjust, ignorant, evil, low, base, mean, or vile. It was created after the image of God; and that image, the Apostle Paul tells us, consisted in righteousness, true holiness, and knowledge (Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10). Hence, man was created wise in his mind, holy in his soul, and righteous in all his actions.

The heavens, cosmos, the universe, the earth and all that is in it serve a specific purpose in God’s plan. In the beginning God created all things according to His sacred purpose and in His perfect order. He first created a suitable environment for all that He would place upon the earth. He created the sky for the foul of the air and provided a source of food for them. He created water for the fish of the sea and provided a source of food for them also. He created the environment before He created the birds or the fish. When God created man, by His Spirit man became a living eternal soul and by the indwelling of God’s Spirit he continues to live. This is known as the “Law of the Spirit of Life (Romans 8:1).” Man was unique---he was born of God a living soul---thus he was created to live and function perfectly, not only in a created environment, but also in the environment of God’s presence; apart from God’s presence man malfunctions.

God’s glory is seen in His love, perfection, pureness, moral beauty, righteousness, power and authority. Man was to be God’s son, His “seed” or offspring and the image of His splendor and glory. A seed has within itself the ability to reproduce in the proper environment. Just as a seed of a tree has within its self the ability, when placed in the proper environment, to become a forest of beautiful trees, like so man was to live in the environment of God’s loving presence and “be fruitful and multiply” and fill the earth with all of God’s love, brilliance and glory.

Authority is derived from knowledge, God is an all knowing and wise God, therefore He is the source of all authority. Man’s authority is derived from God through faithful obedience to the revealed will of God. God’s word is His expressed authority; apart from knowledge, wisdom and obedience to His word, man has no authority from God. Man must first know, submit to and be disciplined by the word of God before he is granted authority. Adam would, through divine knowledge and wisdom, recognize the authority of His Father and in submission to God he would be a conduit and vessel of His Father’s glory. Through obedience to the revealed will of God (faith) He would exercise dominion, or control over God’s creation. He would be the king and high priest of the kingdom that God created for Him.

God loved man whom He had created, and He prepared a special place for him.

“Then the Lord God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden and there He placed the man whom He had formed.”
(Genesis 2:8)

The word Eden in English means, ”delight.” Eden is translated from a Hebrew word Aden; the Hebrew meaning of Aden, in the context in which it is used in Genesis, chapter two, is the place (or spot) of the open door to the moment of God’s presence. In God’s loving presence is the perfect environment for man to be all that God created him to be. Eden was indeed a place of delight, a special place of the open door to Gods loving presence.

“And out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”
(Genesis 2:9)

There are two trees in the garden we see as symbols, not literally trees. One is the tree of life and the other is the tree of the knowledge of good and of evil. They are better understood if we view them as persons---persons who teach.

Now the “naachaash” or “serpent,” as this Hebrew word “naachaash” is popularly translated, was from among the beast of the field (Genesis 3:1). Whether the word “serpent” as used here is the proper translation, or if it is used symbolically, has been the subject of many a debate; correct translation or not---we cannot say---but we will remain consistent with the popular translation and use it as representing the “beast” that was overcome and possessed by the spirit of Satan and became “sin in the flesh” to be used against man. This “beast of the field” was apparently endowed with the gift of speech and other intellectual skills that became the tools of Satan’s evil schemes. Thus the tree of the knowledge of good and of evil, we see as the unrighteous person of the serpent or beast who had become the mouthpiece of Satan, thus he teaches the will and ways of Satan. In this so named serpent, who we believe to be “the tree of the knowledge of good and of evil,” we see “good” as Satan perceives good; and “evil” as Satan perceives evil. The fruit of the serpent’s lips is words of unrighteousness that subjects the hearer to the will of Satan and brings death to the total being of man when he listens to and believes him.

The tree of life is a righteous person, a teacher of the will and ways of God. The teacher is the Word of God in the person of the Holy Spirit. The fruit of His lips is love and true knowledge, wisdom, power and authority from the Father. In the Word of God we see love, life, peace and harmony or righteousness; a righteous fruit that sustains life for the total being of man when he listens to and believes Him.

God is the source of all that is good. Therefore the doing of good is in Him. God is aware of and can discern, and is able to judge evil, but He does not know or conceive evil. There is no evil thoughts in Him, thus the doing of evil is not present in Him. He is the foundation and the source of all truth, knowledge and wisdom. His wonderful attributes include joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and complete self-control.

“God is love---- (1st John 4:16).”

The root of the tree of life is straight from the heart or soul of God; thus the root or source of the tree of life that makes the tree what it is and determines what kind of fruit it bears is divine love. The tree of life is in God’s image, thus the tree has all of His wonderful attributes and the fruit it bears is the sweet fruit of righteousness having in it the “seed” or “word” to bring forth another tree in its likeness.

Our Lord teaches;

“A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.”
(Luke 6:40)

If the pupil “eats” or rather “listens to and believes” the teachings of the tree of life he is “eating” the fruit of righteousness or rather he is partaking of the righteousness of the Word of God. Afterwards, when he is fully trained he will be like his teacher; he will be in His image having all His attributes.

In summary of the purpose of the two “trees” we understand that man, being created in the image of his Creator, has the ability to reason and choose. We see man has set before him two choices; one is the tree of life, which is the Word and the life giving Spirit of God; and the second choice is the tree of the knowledge of good and of evil. Both are teachers; the first teaches with authority and power the truth from a heart of love. The other is one who beguiles; he is a deceiver and a liar, teaching perversion from a heart of selfish lust. The first tree offers and inheritance of love, eternal life, peace and prosperity and all the treasures of God’s kingdom. The latter offers an inheritance of an earthy life of lust of the flesh; compared to the riches of the kingdom of God, lust offers a mere bowl of soup for the flesh of man (see Genesis 25:29-34). The end result of a life filled with lust is hate, strife, adversity and death, the destruction of the soul.

God desired Adam to demonstrate his love by acts of faith through his willingness to live ”by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4). Now the substance of faith is the word of God heard, believed and obeyed from a heart of love. If Adam would be submissive to God and live by the word of God he would demonstrate his love by faithfulness toward God and maintain his image, countenance and authority. To be submissive is to voluntarily subject ones self to the authority of another; it is an act of faith which is an expression of love. Failure to obey God’s word would demonstrate his lack of love and faith toward God and result in loss of image, countenance of glory, and authority. And again, the Holy Scripture teaches us “God is love;” and ”the one who does not love does not know God, for God is love (1st John 4:8).”

And ”---without faith it is impossible to please Him (God)---.”
(Hebrews 12:6f)

Thus we can clearly see that without faith working from a heart of love there is no countenance, image or authority of God and no eternal life from God in man.

“Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.”
(Genesis 2:15)

God had created a kingdom and made Adam lord and king to rule and reign over it. Thus Adam became caretaker of the domain that God had prepared for him.

“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, ’from any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die.”
(Genesis 2:16-17)

God gave man all His commandments and the Law of sin and of death. God had made Adam a high priest and steward of His word and His law. Man was given full understanding that he had a choice, but a wrong choice would result in darkness and death. If Adam would listen to and believe God from a heart of love he would not be judged. But if he did not believe and obey he has been judged already (see John 3:18).

Note: Woman had not been created at this time; she was still a rib in man’s side.

In modern day thinking when we think of man we think in terms of male only. When we think of the female we think of her in terms of woman. According to God’s word when He created man He created them male and female. He first created man male; then He created man female. If man were male only, he would stand-alone; the seed would be incomplete.

”Then the Lord God said, ‘it is not good for the man to be alone, I will make him a helper suitable (corresponding to or in the image of) for him.’ And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a leaving creature, that was its name And the man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field, but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him.”
(Genesis 2:19-20)

Of course God knew there was not a helper corresponding to or in Adam’s image among the beast of the field, but God wanted Adam to know, realize, and understand that his bride would be one taken from him and “fashioned or built” by God in the likeness of him. She would be perfect as he is perfect; a living soul as he is a living soul and have all his divine attributes.

“So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took of his ribs, closed up the flesh at that place. And the Lord God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.”
(Genesis 2:21-22)

The seed was now complete. The man (male) now had a companion in his image. She had all of his divine attributes; therefore she was the glory of man.

James C Sanford

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