26 And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them have dominion over the
fish of the sea and over the birds of heaven and over the cattle and over all the earth and over every creeping
thing that creeps upon the earth.
27 And God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created
After God created all the foregoing items of life, God still needed to create man as the highest created life to express Himself in His image and after His likeness. To accomplish this work, there is the need of the Triune God, the Father, the Son, and the Spirit to work on man. This is fully proven by the following books of the whole Bible.
God created the grass, the herbs, and the trees at the end of the third day, before the fourth-day lights. After the fourth-day lights, He created the fish and the birds on the fifth day. In the early part of the sixth day, God created the cattle, represented by the ox, the beasts, represented by the lion, and the creeping things. Thus, there were three items of the plant life and five items of the animal life. It may seem to us that the whole earth was filled with life. However, there was not the maturity of life.
The maturity of life on this earth is the human life. Even today, after six thousand years, no life on this earth can surpass the human life. Don’t look down on yourself. You are very high, higher than the grass, higher than the herbs and the trees, higher than the cattle, the beasts, and the creeping things. You are the highest created life. Without man, there would have been no maturity of life. Thus, the Triune God held a conference and initiated the maturity of life. The Triune God decided to create the highest created life.
Man As the Center Was Generated
Man as the center was generated, the higher life with the highest consciousness. This is the maturity of life that has the image of God and is able to exercise dominion for God. On this earth, man is the center. As we have pointed out before, the heavens are for the earth and the earth is for man. Everything in the sky—the sunshine, the rain, and the air—are for the growth of life on earth. Without sunshine, rain, and air there is no possibility to have life on earth. So, the heavens are for this earth, and this earth, with all kinds of life, is for man. We all know that the minerals are for the plants, the plants are for the animals, both the plants and the animals are for man, and man is for God. So man is the center.
The heavens were fixed and the earth was prepared. Everything was ready for man to come into being. Praise the Lord! God didn’t create man and then ask man to wait until He fixed the heavens and prepared the earth for him. On the contrary, after God fixed the heavens, prepared the earth, and made everything ready, man came into being. At the last, God created man. Man ranks as the last, but he was and still is the center. Man is the maturity of all created life. Without man, there is no maturity.
The most striking and wonderful thing about the human life is its consciousness. We do have the highest consciousness. This consciousness of ours is higher than the fish, the eagle, the ox, and the lion. As far as consciousness goes, the human life is the highest. We need to shout, “Hallelujah!” In this universe and on this earth man has been generated. Man has been created, possessing a life with the highest consciousness, a life that is able to express God and represent God. After God created man, He rested. He was satisfied.
To Have Man to Express God
The main purpose of God’s restoration and further creation was to have man, a corporate man, to express God (Gen. 1:26-27). The man God created was a corporate man. God did not create many men. God created mankind collectively in one person, Adam. God created Adam and Adam was a corporate man, a collective man. When Adam was created, we were all created. If you are thirty years of age today, don’t say that you were created thirty years ago. You were born thirty years ago, but you were created six thousand years ago. Although I might have been born forty years earlier than you, we were created at the same time. When Adam was created, we were all created because we were all created collectively in Adam. We were included in Adam. God did not create an individual man, but a corporate man to express Himself. In verse 26 God said, “Let them”—one man, but the pronoun is “them.” This proves that this man is a corporate man. In this verse, as the pronoun “us” signifies that God is triune, so the pronoun “them” signifies that man is corporate. God created such a corporate man in His own image and after His likeness so that man might express God Himself.
With the Image of God Inwardly
Genesis 1:26 says, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” Here we find two things—the image and the likeness. All of the good Bible students agree that the image refers to something inward and the likeness refers to something outward. We all have something inward—the intellect, the will, and the emotion. Outwardly, we have the likeness, the body-form.
Second Corinthians 4:4 and Colossians 1:15 both say that the image of God is Christ. Christ is the image of the invisible God. God is invisible; yet He has an image. The invisible God has a visible image. No one has ever seen God, but Christ has declared Him (John 1:18). We all, more or less, have seen Christ. Peter saw Him. John saw Him. After His resurrection, five hundred brothers saw Him at the same time (1 Cor. 15:6). He is really the image of God. Hebrews 1:3 says that Christ is the express image of God’s Person.
Since man was created in the image of God and the image of God is Christ, man was created in the image of Christ. In Genesis 1:26 God said, “Let us make man in our image…” But verse 27 says, “God created man in his image.” Surely here “his image” means the image of Christ. So, man was made in the image of Christ.
The glove was made in the image and according to the form of the hand. Both the hand and the glove have five fingers. The glove was made in the image of the hand that one day the hand might enter into the glove. The hand fills up the glove, and the glove expresses the hand. Why was man made in the image of Christ? Because God’s intention was that someday Christ would enter into man and be expressed through man. Romans 9:21, 23 tells us clearly that man was made as a vessel, that is as a container. Man is not a knife, a hammer, or any instrument. Man is a vessel, a container. Romans 9:21, 23 further says that man was made a vessel of honor to contain God, to contain God’s glory. Second Corinthians 4:7 says that we have this treasure in earthen vessels. This vessel is like the glove: one day the hand gets into it; the contents get into the container. We are simply a vessel to contain Christ.
Man Can Be Transformed and Conformed unto the Image of Christ
Because we have this divine life, we can be transformed into and conformed unto the image of Christ (2 Cor. 3:18; Rom. 8:29m). Here we have two things—transformation and conformation. Transformation is inward and conformation is outward.
Whatever we have, whatever we are, and whatever we can do is just an empty form, best used as a container to hold all that Christ is, all that Christ has, and all that Christ can do.
Christ is in us. Constantly, the life of Christ is doing a transforming work within us. Our love, our emotion, and our thinking are inadequate. Nothing we have by nature is adequate because it is empty and limited. The essence, the element of Christ must enter into all that we are. The wisdom of Christ must enter our empty wisdom, giving us the mind of Christ (Phil. 2:5). Our mind must be a container for the mind of Christ; the mind of Christ must fill up our mind. Then, our mind will be transformed into the image of Christ. Second Corinthians 3:18 says that we all with unveiled face behold and reflect like a mirror the glory of the Lord and are transformed into His image. This is inward transformation. This inward transformation will also become the outward conformation. We will be conformed to the image of the Son of God (Rom. 8:29m).
Now we can see why God created the heavens and the earth and why God created the human life. This is the meaning and center of the universe. If we don’t see this, we don’t know what is the meaning of the universe and we don’t know where we are going. Today, we do know the meaning of the universe and we know where we are and where we are going. We are here to express Him and we are going to meet Him, to be one with Him.
When we were saved, the divine life within us was like the grass. It grew into the herb and into the trees. Then, it grew into a higher plane of life—the fish, the bird, the cattle, and the beast. Not until we reach the top of the created life can we ever express God. We need the human life. We all must grow until we reach the higher plane of life, that is the plane of the cattle, the lion, and the eagle. We must go on until we reach the maturity of life signified by the human life. Only this life can express God. Only this life can have dominion for God. This is our goal. We must grow and grow and grow from the plant life to the animal life and from the animal life to the human life.
Life Study of Genesis, Chapter 6, W. Lee
- How can we see from God’s creation that man is the center of everything?
- What is the main purpose of God’s creation of man?
- What is the significance of man being created in the image of God?