Week 2 – Creation and Us

Scripture: Genesis 1:24-31; 2:4-25

Hey, and welcome back to our study through 52 major stories of the Bible! If you read the first post or listened to my attempted podcast for week 1, Creation and God, thank you for continuing this adventure through Scripture with me! If this is your first time with >SM and our journey through the 52 major stories of the Bible, then I am thankful and humbled that God has led you here!

In our first story together, we looked at the creation week, in general, to see what creation tells us about God. In our second week of focusing on the Genesis creation account, we will focus on God’s creative work on day six. Day six will answer the question, “What does creation tell us about ourselves?”

On day six, we see God perform two creative acts like He did on day three. As we discussed before, days one through six complements one another. On day three, God calls forth the dry ground and commanded the ground to sprout vegetation (1:9-13). To inhabit the land and consume the produce of the flourishing vegetation, God created animals and then humans on day six, according to Genesis 1:24-31.

Then God said, “Let the earth produce every sort of animal, each producing offspring of the same kind—livestock, small animals that scurry along the ground, and wild animals.” And that is what happened. 25 God made all sorts of wild animals, livestock, and small animals, each able to produce offspring of the same kind. And God saw that it was good.

26 Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.”

27 So God created human beings in his own image.
    In the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”

29 Then God said, “Look! I have given you every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food. 30 And I have given every green plant as food for all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, and the small animals that scurry along the ground—everything that has life.” And that is what happened.

31 Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!

And evening passed and morning came, marking the sixth day.

These verses that Moses wrote describing God’s creative work on day six remind us that God alone can create, that He creates with thought and intentionality, and that when He creates, He creates something good. Perhaps unrecognized by many, Moses has progressively and purposely lengthened the description of each day as the creation week advanced. More words are designated to describe God’s creative work during the present day than the day before. Just like every fourth of July fireworks celebration gradually builds up to its grand finale, Moses has built upon each day of God’s creative work until His grand final act of creation explodes radiantly and beautifully on the pages of Scripture – the creation of man.

With more words given to day six than any other day of creation, these verses call for our attention, like a teacher calling for her class’s attention as she is about to reveal the answers for a test as she reviews the unit. These few verses are packed with valuable nuggets that answer some of life’s most pressing questions. This blog will address two of them: Who am I? Where do I find my worth?

Let’s focus on Genesis 1:26 – 27.

26 Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.”

27 So God created human beings in his own image.
    In the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

These two verses describe the crowning work of God’s creation, people. Of all the creative acts, this is the only one preceded by divine contemplation. “Let us make” replaces the impersonal phrases of “Let there be” and “Let the earth” connected to God’s other creative acts. God gets His hands dirty, so to speak, when He creates people (Genesis 2:7, 21-22). We see that God alone makes people in His image, whereas the rest of creation is produced by its kind. God blesses creature life by saying to be fruitful and fill the earth, but to people, He says to multiply and rule over the planet. These differences between people and the rest of God’s creation (and God’s creative work in general, it seems) led David to write the hymn of praise found in Psalm eight, which focuses on the incomparable greatness of God.

When answering the question, “Who am I,” one can be certain that you are not a mistake or the product of random chance but an intentional creation of God! My great-grandmother used to have a picture hanging on her refrigerator. The picture was a drawing of a little boy who had his head resting on his hands. Above the picture of the boy were these words, “I know I’m somebody because God don’t make no junk.” This picture’s message was true of her and is true for me, you, and every other person – period! You are made by a loving Creator who desires you to do life (and eternity) with Him and has provided the way for you to do just that (John 3:16). For everyone who has been saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus, not only are you not a mistake but because of Jesus, you are God’s masterpiece (Ephesians 2:0)!

Verses 26 and 27 tell us that our ability to know God and be in a relationship with Him is not by chance but by design. Humanity can commune with God, distinguishing them from the rest of God’s creation. This ability to dialogue with God is because of the designed plan of God. God made people in His image, and this distinction allows us to interact with and know our Creator.

So what does it mean that God has made us in His image? Many may focus on one aspect of our humanity to define God’s image. For example, since God is Creator and people are creative, the ability to be creative is what it means to be made in the image of God. Still, others point to the capability of people to make intelligent decisions as being made in the image of a wise God. Another characteristic that some use to explain the image of God is that humans can make moral choices. Our capability to make ethical decisions reflect the perfect righteous character of God. However, each of the above reasons alone cannot capture what it means for people to be made in the image of God.

To help us define the image of God or the imago Dei, we need to know what the Hebrew word for image, Tselem, means. Tselem means “similar but not identical.” We as people are like God, but we are not God. God making us in His image is the sum of all the human attributes above, plus many more aspects of our humanity, including our spirituality. These qualities together allow us to be like God but not be God. Like the moon’s surface reflects the sun’s light onto the earth’s surface, being made in the image of God allows us to reflect His image to one another, creation, and up to Him, all as acts of worship.

The image of God gives all people dignity and worth regardless of age, sex, religion, race, social or economic status, sexual orientation, political affiliation, physical appearance, natural abilities, or what the world values. When humanity collectively loses sight of this foundational truth, we lose our ability to appreciate, respect, and love others and our moral compass. When a group of people loses sight of all people bearing the image of God, we see it evidenced in how little life is valued. For example, in a 2020 poll, more Canadians condemned using plastic straws (a combined 51% considered using plastic straws as always or usually morally wrong) than doctor-assisted deaths (20%) or abortion (26%). Genesis shows us that all lives, lives in the womb, lives outside the womb, the young, the old, the disabled, the mentally ill, everyone is valuable because God has made them in His image.

Genesis 1:26-27 helps us understand that our worth is connected to our Creator. If God is great and priceless, then people made in His image must be of immense value too. If we allow this truth to guide our lives, we can be free from destructive habits that may come from trying to find our self-worth in our relationships, achievements, possessions, or how we look, at or despite any costs. The image of God gives all people dignity and worth (Genesis 1:26-27, 9:6; James 3:9). While Genesis 1:26-27 provides the anchor to which everyone should tie their self-worth, Ephesians 1:3-8 reminds God’s people of their identity and worth in Christ.

The clip below is from the movie Overcomer. In this powerful clip, a young girl named Hannah Scott, who had wrestled with her self-worth and identity, found her true worth and identity in Christ and His Word. I find the scene motivational and encouraging. I have experienced the freedom and peace in anchoring my value to my Creating Savior (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16) alone, and I pray that if you haven’t, you will too!

You are valuable because you bear the image of the Creator. In case you are still doubting your value as a person, let me share or remind you of how much God values you. He loves you so much that He sent His One and Only Son into the world so that if you believe in Him, you won’t spend eternity separated from Him but with Him for all eternity! This sacrificial act shows God as loving as He is powerful! Do you feel the desire to know this God? If so, please check out the video below to find out how!

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