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Genesis 1:26-27 (ESV)

26Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." 27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

I've always understood this verse to refer to our spirit and its qualities. However, a friend and I each had conversations this weekend with individuals claiming, among other things, that this verse refers to our physical appearance as well - that our sexual nature actually gives physical expression to some attribute of God.

Is there any scriptural basis for such a reading from this passage? In other words, to what does "image" here refer?

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12 Answers 12

This is a difficult question because of the temptation towards Eisegesis as our desire to be of value can intersect with this text.

It is useful to include verse 28 when looking at the verses you quote:

26Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

27So God created man in his own image,
        in the image of God he created him;
        male and female he created them.

28And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” ESV

There are a number of things that should be immediately noted about the text:

  • the ESV and NIV among others do a good job of highlighting the poetic parallelism in verse 27. "in the image of God" is here parallel with "male and female", and "him" with "them".
  • there is a fairly clear chiastic structure drawing particular attention to verse 27
  • there is also a parallel between 26a and 28a, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness" and "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it"
  • the language of authority is ever-present: this is unique to man
  • the command to "be fruitful and multiply" is also present but this is not uniquely given to man: cf verse 22

I've always understood this verse to refer to our spirit and its qualities. However, a friend and I each had conversations this weekend with individuals claiming, among other things, that this verse refers to our physical appearance as well - that our sexual nature actually gives physical expression to some attribute of God.

Is there any scriptural basis for such a reading from this passage? In other words, to what does "image" here refer?

From Gen 1 alone, there is no obvious scriptural basis for reading that "image" includes "our spirit and its qualities". There is more support that our sexual nature in some way reflects the image of God, because of the strong focus on "male and female he created them". This needn't be founded on any anthropomorphism about God: rather it speaks of a simultaneous plurality and unity both within God and within mankind created "male and female". The unity1 is evident in that the commands of God to rule, multiply, subdue and so on are all directed at both male and female, and in the parallel between "him" and "them" in v27.

The other main distinctive of the creation of man already mentioned, is the repeated use of authority language. God's own authority in Genesis 1 is presented as peerless and beyond doubt, so it is doubly significant that he confers authority on man. It is God who has just created the "fish of the sea" "the birds of the heavens" and "every living thing that moves on the earth": when God delegates authority over these created beings to man, he makes man2 to a degree like Himself, strictly in the sense of authority3.

So,

What does “image” in Genesis 1:26-27 mean?

'image' here means:

  1. reflecting the plurality and the unity of purpose of God
  2. sharing the authority of God under Him and over His created works

1 This unity theme is picked up on by Paul in Ephesians 5, and expanded to include unity between God and man.

2 Genesis 5 strongly indicates that 'man' includes not just Adam but also his descendants

3 It is interesting to compare some New Testament references to Genesis 1 and note that authority references are very prominent, eg Colossians 1: "thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities" & Hebrews 1: "upholds the universe by the word of his power"

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Umberto Cassuto, in his commentary to Genesis deals with this question:

'In our image, after our likeness' The Jewish exegets have endeavored to soften the corporeality implicit in the statement by means of forced interpretations....On the other hand, many modern commentators take the view that in fact we have here an unquestionably corporeal concept....The correct interpretation is to be sought elsewhere.

Cassuto starts by stating that the meaning of the word tzelem and these verses, have changed over the centuries:

There is no doubt that the original signification of this expression in the Canaanite tongue was, judging by Babylonian usage, corporeal, in accordance with the anthropomorphic conception of the godhead among the peoples of the ancient East. Nevertheless, when we use it in modern Hebrew, and say, for instance, 'all that has been created in the Divine image', we certainly do not associate any material idea with it, but give it a purely spiritual connotation, to wit, that man, although he resembles the creatures in his physical structure, approaches God in his thought and in his conscience. It is clear, therefore, that the meaning of the phrase changed in the course of time; it was corporeal to begin with but subsequently it became spiritual.

Cassuto then goes on to make two compelling arguments:

  • Just because some ancient near east cultures would have understood tzelem to be physical doesn't mean that all ancient near east cultures would have understood tzelem to imply physicality:

Generally speaking, it is an error of perspective to regard all ancient texts as forming a single group. Although they are far removed from us, they may also be distant from one another in time or in degree of maturity.

  • In Genesis 1 God is portrayed as immutable and lofty, omnipotent and fundamentally removed from the physicality of his creations, therefore tzelem must have been understood metaphorically as referring to man's spiritual potential:

when we consider the lofty conception of God that is reflected in our section, we are compelled to conclude that the change [in how to understand tzelem] referred to antedated its composition, and that the expression used here in a sense similar to (if not actually identical with) that which it has in Hebrew today.

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From a Christian perspective, this passage is typically not seen as God and humanity sharing biological traits. One example, taken more or less at random, is this statement from Answers in Genesis:

Man in the image of God; what does this mean in practical terms? It cannot refer to bodily, biological form since God is a Spirit and man is earthly.

So what can the phrase mean? Here is Jesus on the topic in Mark 12:13-17 (HCSB):

Then they sent some of the Pharisees and the Herodians to Him to trap Him by what He said. When they came, they said to Him, "Teacher, we know You are truthful and defer to no one, for You don't show partiality but teach truthfully the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay, or should we not pay?"

But knowing their hypocrisy, He said to them, "Why are you testing Me? Bring Me a denarius to look at." So they brought one. "Whose image and inscription is this?" He asked them.

"Caesar's," they said.

Then Jesus told them, "Give back to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." And they were amazed at Him.

Jesus' answer works on two levels:

  1. Tax is due to Caesar because he established the monetary system.
  2. Since people are in the image of God (via Genesis 1), they belong to Him.

Note that coins don't have all the qualities of Caesar. They don't have bodies, but only faces. They don't have authority to command armies, make laws, raise taxes, enforce justice, etc., but they represent a portion of that authority. They are not themselves worshiped, but ought to be respected. Jesus managed to escape their trap with considerable skill in applying the Torah.


However, orthodox Christianity also believes that God became man and through Jesus redeemed and perfected the image of God. Colossians 1:15-20 (HCSB):

He is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn over all creation;
because by Him everything was created,
in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible,
whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—
all things have been created through Him and for Him.
He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together.
He is also the head of the body, the church;
He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead,
so that He might come to have first place in everything.
For God was pleased [to have] all His fullness dwell in Him,
and through Him to reconcile everything to Himself
by making peace through the blood of His cross—
whether things on earth or things in heaven.

In as sense, God does have all the attributes of humanity in the person of Jesus who has become the first man of the new creation as Adam was the first man of the original creation. So it's possible under a Christological hermeneutics to read Genesis 1:26 as a prophesy that was not fulfilled before Jesus. We also believe that there will be a resurrection when we all will get renewed bodies and live on a renewed earth. (See also Revelation 21.)

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Is the Greek word used in Mark 12 the same Greek word used to translate Gen. 1:26 in the LXX and NT references? – Jas 3.1 Aug 11 '15 at 4:21

There seems to be a common notion that this cannot be a physical likeness because God is spirit. However, I would like to present a different perspective and suggest that this image represents God's spiritual yet visible form.

MANKIND WAS MADE TO LOOK LIKE GOD VISUALLY.

An image is something that looks like something else. The image can be imaginary (seen in the mind) or physical (seen physically).

In this case, given the fact that in this verse God is forming this image out of clay, it is obviously a physical image he is creating. But, the origin does not need to be physical, just visible.

SUPPORT:

Let me begin my supporting this with some examples of other things that have no physical mass but may b represented by images:

-Sound does not have mass, and would not be considered physical, yet we can generate an image of its waves.

-Light does not have mass and would not be considered physical, but a simple google search generates multiple images of the light spectrum.

-Visions and Dreams and memories have no mass and would not be considered physical, and yet we can represent them with images.

A ghost/spirit has form and can be seen but is not physical

Some Scriptural accounts of people seeing God/Spirit in a form:
1) The LORD appeared to Abraham in the planes of Mamre.
--Abraham saw three men, one of whom he addressed as LORD.
2) Jacob saw God face to face and lived.
3) Moses is covered under the cleft of the rock and allowed to see his back.
4) the spirit alighted upon Jesus in the form of a dove (MT 3:16).

CONCLUSION: God, who is Spirit may not be physical in nature, yet He can appear in form. And He has an image in which mankind is made. We were made to *look like Him physically.*



Here is some supporting linguistic information available concerning the Hebrew word translated image accessed in the on-line, Blue-letter Bible H6754

Literally this word means "a shadow" from an unused root meaning to shade. Strong's Number H6754 matches the Hebrew צֶלֶם (tselem ),

This word occurs 17 times in 15 verses in the Hebrew concordance of the KJV These uses more strongly support suggest that the word is used to mean a picture of what something looks like rather than metaphorically to represent some invisible nature/character/quality of that which it represents.

Gen 1:26

And God said, Let us make man in our image, H6754 after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

Gen 1:27

So God created man in his own image, H6754 in the image H6754 of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Gen 5:3

And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; H6754 and called his name Seth:

Gen 9:6

Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image H6754 of God made he man.

Num 33:52

Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, H6754 and quite pluck down all their high places:

1Sa 6:5

Wherefore ye shall make images H6754 of your emerods, and images H6754 of your mice that mar the land; and ye shall give glory unto the God of Israel: peradventure he will lighten his hand from off you, and from off your gods, and from off your land.

1Sa 6:11

And they laid the ark of the LORD upon the cart, and the coffer with the mice of gold and the images H6754 of their emerods.

2Ki 11:18

And all the people of the land went into the house of Baal, and brake it down; his altars and his images H6754 brake they in pieces thoroughly, and slew Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars. And the priest appointed officers over the house of the LORD.

2Ch 23:17

Then all the people went to the house of Baal, and brake it down, and brake his altars and his images H6754 in pieces, and slew Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars.

Psa 39:6

Surely every man walketh in a vain shew: H6754 surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them.

Psa 73:20

As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image. H6754

Eze 7:20

As for the beauty of his ornament, he set it in majesty: but they made the images H6754 of their abominations and of their detestable things therein: therefore have I set it far from them.

Eze 16:17

Thou hast also taken thy fair jewels of my gold and of my silver, which I had given thee, and madest to thyself images H6754 of men, and didst commit whoredom with them,

Eze 23:14

And that she increased her whoredoms: for when she saw men pourtrayed upon the wall, the images H6754 of the Chaldeans pourtrayed with vermilion,

Amo 5:26

But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, H6754 the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves.

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The word for image is צלם which only appears outside of Genesis in the Tanakh in Daniel. There it's Aramaic, but it's always translated as "image."

I don't see a problem with saying our physical appearance is representative of God. Many theological approaches to God say He has no physical qualities whatsoever but the verse seems to plainly say otherwise. Alternatively "the image of God" as it were can just mean the image God wants, meaning, "exactly as he saw fit to create us." This can then be taken to many different realms such as the human spirit, psyche, etc.

Some interesting approaches:

  • Maimonides—the ability to think and imagine
  • Nachmonidies—the ability to create
  • Eliyahu Dessler—the ability to give without receiving
  • many other philosophical approaches.

In any event, I believe your question is posed incorrectly and actually the burden of proof falls on one who wants to provide an explanation other than God's physical image. Is there any scriptural evidence that it doesn't mean God's physical attributes?

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Blue Letter Bible lists 17 usages. From those, it appears to be used frequently in context to "idols". However, Psalm 39:6 and 73:20 both appear to use it in a non-physical sense. I don't even see a usage in Daniel listed there. – GalacticCowboy Nov 14 '11 at 17:19
    
To @GalacticCowboy, you're right, it's in Psalms, though it's 39:7... I missed those two b/c at a quick glance I thought they were different words. It's in Daniel 3:1. And yes, it's used in the context of idols. But obviously it doesn't have to be used only in the context of idols, as seen by the Genesis examples. – Mark Nov 15 '11 at 7:22
    
Interesting. two words, apparently spelled the same, but with different Strong's numbers. (Not that those are inspired, so...) 6754 was what I linked above; 6755 is apparently only used in Daniel. Wonder why these ended up separated by Strong? Because of Hebrew/Aramaic, maybe? – GalacticCowboy Nov 15 '11 at 11:31
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@GalacticCowboy who said, "Because of Hebrew/Aramaic, maybe?" Precisely. If you look at the top of 6755, you'll note that it says "Aramaic" to the right of the word. Although they're spelled the same, Strong's notes that one is the Hebrew form and the other the Aramaic. – Simply a Christian Nov 14 '12 at 4:11

From the first chapter in Maimonides's Guide for the Perplexed:

...The term ẓelem, on the other hand, signifies the specific form, viz., that which constitutes the essence of a thing, whereby the thing is what it is; the reality of a thing in so far as it is that particular being. In man the "form" is that constituent which gives him human perception: and on account of this intellectual perception the term ẓelem is employed in the sentences "In the ẓelem of God he created him" (Gen. i. 27)...

Demut is derived from the verb damah, "he is like." This term likewise denotes agreement with regard to some abstract relation: comp. "I am like a pelican of the wilderness" (Ps. cii. 7); the author does not compare himself to the pelican in point of wings and feathers, but in point of sadness... on account of the Divine intellect with which man has been endowed, he is said to have been made in the form and likeness of the Almighty, but far from it be the notion that the Supreme Being is corporeal, having a material form.

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The Day 6 riddle

Gen 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

We can't understand 'image' until we understand why God did not say he made man in his 'likeness' until here:

Ge 5:1 ¶ This [is] the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;

So man was not made in the likeness of God until Chapter 5. The intervening chapters tell us how God made man in his likeness, and when we understand that, we will understand the image.

(You can zoom in by enlarging your browser Cntrl-+ for Firefox)

Image and Likeness

So Christ is the express image of God, and we will be made like him through the cross. The man and his bride are the image and the likeness of God.

The drawing leaves much of the story out, focusing only on the elements related to 'image and likeness'.

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2  
But isn't 5:1 a reference back to 1:26? "In the day that God created man..." – GalacticCowboy Nov 15 '11 at 2:13
    
Yes. The whole story to chapter 5 is one day. It is the story of Day 6. – Bob Jones Nov 15 '11 at 2:15
1  
The same story will be told again through Noah, then through the Fathers (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob with Jospeh thrown in), again with Israel in the desert, again with Israel in the Promised Land and again with the life of Christ. It will also be told many times within these major blocks like fractals. – Bob Jones Nov 15 '11 at 2:24
    
We need to know what a day is: And the evening (reconciling Holiness to Grace) and Morning (reconciling Grace to Holiness) were the Xth day. Each major division of the Bible as outlined is a picture of the cross on the largest scale, and is a 'day'. Since the pashat never loses it's meaning, this has nothing to do with 6 literal days. This is the sensus plenior. – Bob Jones Nov 15 '11 at 2:30
    
Ok, maybe I misunderstood then. Because it sounded from your first statement as if He didn't, and from your second that he did but at a different time. – GalacticCowboy Nov 15 '11 at 2:41

Short Answer: To be made "in God's image, according to His likeness" was just the author's (now outdated) way of saying that God made man to be His son -- that is, to look like Him in character and in deed.


Exhibit A: Genesis 5

The most straightforward way of showing this is to read the opening verses of Genesis 5.

In the day when God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. . . . When Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years, he begot in his own likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth.

Many translations insert "a son" after the word "begot" to make sense of it in English, but in Hebrew it simply says "he begot in his likeness, according to his image", and that was enough to say "he begot a son". If there were any confusion as to what sort of relationship the author of Genesis 1:26 meant to describe there, it was cleared up here as the same sort of relationship being highlighted here between Adam and his "begotten": the relationship of sonship.

Exhibit B: Luke 3

Later interpreters understood the language of Genesis in this way. For example, at the end of Luke 3 we read about Jesus' genealogy like so:

When He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age, being, as was supposed, the son of Joseph, the son of Eli, [and so on down the line], the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

First-century interpreters understood there to be a parallel between Seth's relationship to Adam and Adam's original relationship to God -- because that's what Genesis 5:1-3 reveals. What was the nature of that relationship? It was one of sonship.

Exhibit C: Sonship in Genesis 1

The consistent picture of sonship throughout Scripture is one of, well, likeness. A true "son" was one who looked like his "father" in character and in deed. It was not even necessary to be a biological offspring (e.g. Prov. 29:21). Here are but a few examples: Abraham was a man of faith, and so all those who have faith like Abraham are called “sons” of Abraham (Gal. 3:6-7) – even if they are not his biological offspring (Gal. 3:29; Matt. 3:9). Those who are murderers just as Satan is a murderer are “sons” of Satan (John 8:39-44). Those who love just as God loves are “sons” of God (Matt. 5:44-45). Those who do not love like God are not His sons (John 8:42). There are countless more examples.

So, we have defined biblical "sonship". How does that relate to Genesis 1? Well, this sort of "sonship" is precisely what we find the author trying to convey in the Genesis 1 account of God's creation of man:

  • Like Him in deed: Notice that right on the heels of "let Us create man in Our image" -- in the same breath -- God continues with "let him rule". The idea here is that being God's son (image / likeness) meant ruling, because God rules, and man was meant to be His son (looking like Him in character and deed).

  • Like Him in character: Notice also that the fact God made man "in His image" is one of the only details about man's creation that the author of Genesis felt necessary to include in his Genesis 1 narration. Clearly the author was trying to set the reader up to understand what was lost (or at least damaged) at the Fall of Genesis 3 -- and clearly what was lost was the relationship and thus moral purity that man originally had prior to sin. In other words, the idea here was that being God's son (image / likeness) meant being morally pure, because God is pure, and man was meant to be His son (looking like Him in character and deed).

Summary

The author of Genesis 1 meant to convey that man was created to be God's son in the truest sense -- he was intended to look like God in character and in deed. Thus, he was meant to be pure like God and to rule like God in loving relationship.

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We need to understand what God's purpose was in creating man in His own image and likeness. Father's purpose was to have a family in the earth, that He would call "son". Note, it is son without a capital "S". This "son" would be gender free as God does not discriminate between male and female (Gal.3:28). We will also recall that it was Adam who called Eve, woman, not God (Gen.2:23). This son, although he had a body (flesh), would be able to engage two dimensions - that of the earth and of the heavenly (spirit), without having to leave his body.
As flesh cannot stand before God and live, communication was through Spirit (God) speaking to spirit (man)( Rom.8:16) and Deep calling to deep. This son would be an "exact" representation of the Father in the earth. Jesus the Son, said, "if you have seen Me, then you've seen the Father. I and the Father are One". "Because as He (Jesus) is, even so are we in this world" ( 1 Jn.4:17c). When the first Adam (son), became disconnected from Father (orphaned) , because of disobedience in his soul dimension, the management of the earth, not its ownership, changed hands. The earth soon became corrupt as all flesh had corrupted God's way** (order) upon the earth(Gen.6:11,12). Man had marred the image of his Father, but did not lose it.

** This "way of God" went out of alignment - so many generations later, we find John the Baptist with a voice crying in the wilderness, "make straight the way of the Lord" (Matt.3:3)

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I agree with GalacticCowboy. It is also physical appearance. God is a Spirit, so how is man, God image? An "Image" is a representation of the external form of a person or thing, and that representation, Man/Adam is the image He (God) came in, (flesh), which is a physical appearance. Supportive scripture: 1 Corinthians 15:45-7:

And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [was made] a quickening spirit. 46 Howbeit that [was] not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47 The first man [is] of the earth, earthy: the second man [is] the Lord from heaven.

Here the Lord from heaven is called a MAN. The apostle Saul, called Paul, said that man was the figure of him, (God) to come, or manifest in, (see Romans 5:14b). Hence the "we" and "our" in Genesis 1:26.

In conclusion, the image in Genesis 1:26 is the figure, the likeness, the shape, the fashion that God decided to manifest himself to his creation in.

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Technically, you agree with the person I referenced, with whom I was speaking. I took no position. – GalacticCowboy Jan 3 at 14:04

CHRIST (ALPHA AND OMEGA): The Spirit of God from the Beginning

If we are to understand what "image" means in Genesis 1:26-27, to begin, it is for us to know that the Bible's Creation is unique. Where all other creation narratives rely on allusion and allegory to establish their traditions, which is not unlike what Scripture employs. The difference in what we find with Scripture is that therein lies a religious system. A religious system which establishes its philosophical basis on the principle of a pillared image, i.e., "the Heaven and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). As well as "light and darkness" which God establishes as the Divine Harmony in the form of the pillared image of "Day and Night" (Genesis 1:5).

And why is it necessary to draw attention to a "pillared image"? It serves as our means to answer, How is God the same in and from the beginning that He, in this very moment, is "Alpha and Omega", and that the phrase is not merely a platitude? How we attend to this answer is that we must have a means to take measure of all things, that we reckon the sameness of God at every moment in Scripture. And what serves as that measure is CHRIST (Genesis 1:3-5).

CHRIST is the Spirit of God we find established in the beginning (Genesis 1:3-5). How we reckon CHRIST with the Spirit of God, is in how God labors to establish the "light". Aware that a man's labor is a testament of the man, and of his existence. So too then is God's establishment of "the light" a testament of Him and His existence.

The Verbs by which we reckon God's Spirit:

As for the events of the First Day:

3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. (Genesis 1:3-5 KJV)

Here, in parsing the events, we enter into what are the Divine verbs, "to subdue" (TS) and "to have dominion" (THD). Leading up to (TS), in His effort to resolve the darkness that was in the beginning (Genesis 1:2), God calls "light" into existence (Genesis 1:3). If He is TS the light, that it is "the light", He does so by dividing the light from the darkness, which entails that the light and darkness are of the same spiritual essence. If the light and darkness were "physical essences" then there'd be no need to divide one from the other, it'd only be necessary to declare one from the other as "day" and "night", since as natural light and darkness these are divisions unto themselves.

And so, where "God divided the light from the darkness" (Genesis 1:4), it is better to reckon it as God separating Truth from Deception. This is an effort by God to clarify the confusion that engulfed the earth (Genesis 1:2). In the process of dividing light from darkness, God subdues what He called into existence that He now reckons both in the direct articles "the light" and "the darkness". With them distinguished, now God establishes dominion over both, in that God called the light "Day" and the darkness He called "Night" (Genesis 1:5).

Reckoning CHRIST:

What we find here evincing the First Day of creation (Genesis 1:3-5) is the Spirit of God, which we reckon as CHRIST. By the word CHRIST, we capture the entirety of what takes place on the First Day of creation (Genesis 1:3-5), that we reckon the spirit thereof.

It is the Spirit that testifies to our only evidence of God, a reckoning on the basis of how He labored. How we reckon this Spirit, is in the explicit admonitions that lie within His labors.

In revealing to us His way and will, the first admonition is for man to know that whatever he calls into existence, whatever man names, it is man's obligation to subdue the same. Such is His way and substantiates the first admonition (Adm 1).

As for His will, here concerns the latter admonition. It is a concern that follows how God fashioned what is the Divine Harmony, reckoned as "Day and Night". As for this admonition, it is for man to know that God did not have to destroy what already existed, to make it possible for Him to establish what He called into existence. Such is God's will, and substantiates the second admonition (Adm 2).

How Adm 2 applies to man, is that it serves as our means to reckon whether we dwell with God. Whatever we call into existence, if it is of God, then it does not require us to destroy what preceded it, it does not envision a need for violence and war for us to establish it. However, wherever there is violence and war, it serves as a sign that it is not of God.

And so, as for these two admonitions. To resolve the darkness, God called light into existence (Genesis 1:3). To reckon them as "the light" and "the darkness" He subdues them (Adm 1). Yet, to establish the light, it did not require God to eradicate, or even harm the darkness, as he called the light Day and the darkness Night (Adm 2). It is by these two, pillared admonitions we reckon what is of God's Spirit, and that whether we dwell with and in that Spirit, which is CHRIST.

Applying the Measure of CHRIST:

How we know the same is of Jesus, is by the measure of him who is to come in Isaiah, of whom we reckon as Shiloh (Genesis 49:10). As for the Spirit by which we reckon Jesus as the embodiment of CHRIST (Genesis 1:3-5), Isaiah writes:

42 Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. 2 He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. 3 A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. 4 He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law. (Isaiah 42:1-4)

Now, what assures us that the Spirit borne in Genesis 1:3-5, along with what we find in Isaiah 42:1-4 alludes to Jesus? Our answer is in the evidences by which we reckon Jesus, these evidences being expanded in the Early Church, the church prior to the convening of the First Council of Nicaea (325 AD). As for Adm 1, it is by the power of the word Jesus establishes his church. In this Jesus calls forth the twelve pillars upon which he founds his church (Matthew 10:1-4), binding them with the command to:

5 ...Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: 6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Matthew 10:5-7)

In settling Adm 1, it is on the day Jesus brings this cobble of men together, that he reckons them as "his church". It is the day Peter declared Jesus as the Christ (Matthew 16:16) that Jesus founds his church. It is on this day Jesus divides his church from the Sadducee and Pharisee.

As for Adm 2, the spirit that serves as the model for the church, by which we reckon the church with Jesus, is where Jesus declares himself the good shepherd. And that as for the way of the good shepherd, he is the lay his life down for the sheep, so too is this the spirit by which we reckon the Early Church (John 10:7-18).

As for Isaiah 42:1-4, to establish his church neither Jesus, nor any of his disciples or congregant, took upon themselves to harm either a Sadducee or Pharisee, or played a role in the destruction of the Second Temple. That is, they did not take their life up, by taking up the sword to establish either the name Jesus, or the church. In laying down their lives, Jesus and his church gave all over to the LORD, leaving it to the LORD to decide whether the name Jesus is to prevail in the earth, the church being the bearer of such a name.

History tells us that the LORD sided with establishing the name Jesus and the church, that all men have the chance to reckon themselves with the Spirit that is from the Beginning--CHRIST.

The Need for a Pillared Image:

From the very beginning, until this hour, how we reckon God as Alpha and Omega, is by way of a pillared image. Though it is by Jesus and the church, are all men able to decidedly reckoned themselves to CHRIST. We must know that in the end, all men find themselves so reckoned whether they accept Jesus, given we find such a reckoning in the pillared image of "male and female" (Genesis 1:27).

That is, if he is a husband, but especially a father, what every man finds himself in contention with in his home, is with that Spirit of CHRIST. It is this Spirit God openly and decidedly established on the First Day of creation (Genesis 1:3-5).

If we search carefully, what we find on every day of creation, is an inherent pillared image that congeals the subject matter of that day. No more is this so than on the Second Day of creation, when God sought to separate the Eternal Waters. The inherent pillared image being the composite of those waters that are above the firmament serving as the ethereal pillar, while those waters beneath the firmament, serve as the ephemeral pillar.

And what establishes these water-pillars as a pillared image? It is the firmament itself. Though used by God to "separate" the waters (TS) Adm 1. What God effects on the Second Day, is that the firmament serves as the arch that binds the two pillars, the waters below with their complement in the waters above. Where, THD, God calls the firmament "Heaven" (Genesis 1:8) Adm 2, that He reckons the spirits therefore borne in and by the firmament. What we discover is that the "firmament" is an allusion to the principals of the Fifth Commandment (Exodus 20:12), these principals being the father and mother. And it is on this basis we reckon the ethereal and ephemeral pillared-waters.

The essence of a pillared image permeates every concern of Scripture. We find this universality embodied in the pillared image of Jachin and Boaz (1 Kings 7:21) wherein, he, the builder Hiram of Tyre:

21 ...set up the pillars in the porch of the temple: and he set up the right pillar, and called the name thereof Jachin: and he set up the left pillar, and called the name thereof Boaz. (1 Kings 7:21)

It is on this basis, both religiously and spiritually, we have the means to reckon ourselves with a spiritual creation. It is on the basis of a pillared image we reckon all things. Jesus girds us with the basis as for why we must set our sights on the spiritual, where he impresses on his disciples:

28...fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28)

The Presence of a Pillared Image:

So that we have perspective as for who is the greater principal within Scripture, the king or priest. It is for us to ask, who is it that bears and wields the power "to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28)? It is the priest. This is significant because, when we consider those biblical figures and patriarchs in the beginning, these are not farmers or kings. These figures are priests. From Adam forward, not only are the principals priests, but they are High Priests. Meaning they are the figures who found beliefs and religions, and therefore, they bear the power and prowess to alter the course of the earth (humanity).

With this being so that, beginning with Adam, what we have even down to Hezekiah is the Bible's overwhelming concern with priests and priestly figures, even scribes and prophets. How do they serve to form the image of God, given the crux of this argument is that a pillared image underlies the foundation of the Bible, beginning with Creation? The answer is in the pillared relation that is between the priest and his religion.

But the more prevailing priest / religion concept takes place in the home, as father and mother. This is how we arrive at the first instance of what a pillared image is in Genesis 1:27, wherein:

27 ...God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (Genesis 1:27 KJV)

In Genesis 1:27, what God creates is the archetype that serves as a measure to weigh all other pillared images, even man himself. In forming His image in Genesis 1:27, as it was in the beginning, we later discover that in this same passage God "subdues" His image (Adm 1). And God subdues His image in that He named him "Adam" (Genesis 5:2).

So that we reckon "Adam" as an "archetype", earlier on the Sixth Day (Genesis 1:25), God made a representation of man, as the "earth" (127-119; Genesis 1:25). Where, just as when He subdued the light, in that He separated the light from the darkness (Genesis 1:4). Here, in Genesis 1:27, God subdues man as His image, in that He separates "Adam" (Genesis 5:2) from the "earth" (Genesis 1:25).

As for the latter verb (THD), this takes place in following verse where He commanded His image to subdue the earth that he has dominion over the earth (Genesis 1:28). The same attends as the measure of CHRIST, in that as we establish our dominion, it is a testament of whether we do so in a manner that reveals us as dwelling with God.

As for Adm 1, God leaves us with an example as for how we are to subdue the earth that we have dominion over the earth. So that He reckons one image of man from the other. In separating His image from the "earth" (Genesis 1:25) God separates His image in that He names him:

5 ...In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; 2 Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created. (Genesis 5:1-2)

By subduing His image in this manner, God names the pillared image of "male and female" under the collective "Adam". It is by the name "Adam" that God creates the means to weigh the spirits, the beliefs and teachings, that emerge from every union of father and mother.

The same calls our attention to the two forms of this pillared image, by which we reckon as God's image and presence. We make the distinction between them based upon the latter image, "father and mother". This image, reckoned as God's presence, is of an especial case because, as "male and female", we participate in the image of God at its spiritual zenith.

As "father and mother" we stand at our spiritual zenith in that we've taken upon ourselves the obligation to train up the souls of our children. As "father and mother", do we quicken our image of God to life, as all is a matter of the spirits.

As for these spirits, the same alludes to the passion we find in the efficacy of the "firmament" (7554; Genesis 1:7). Masked in the allusion whereby there is a "pounding of the earth", the reason for such imagery is to bring to bear the intensity of the labor involved in training up a soul.

The Appearance of the Nether-Man (Genesis 1:25):

All centers on what substantiates the word "Adam" (120-119; Genesis 5:2).

In the archetype, what God creates in Genesis 1:26-27, what Scripture impresses on us is that all things have an ontological premise in the guise of a pillared image. Every belief and teaching, every event, every figure within Scripture finds itself bound the measures of a pillared image. And no more is this "measurement" taking place than in the first four passages of the Sixth Day of creation.

In contending with the meaning of "image" (Genesis 1:26-27), it is necessary that we consider what transpires on the morning of the Sixth Day of creation (Genesis 1:24-25). So that we are better to appreciate what God later calls "Adam" (Genesis 5:2), on the morning of the Sixth Day God makes a nether-man, in that:

24 ...God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. 25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:24-25)

The particular phrase of interest here, is where Scripture says that God created "every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind" (Genesis 1:25). By the author's use of the word "every", he impresses on us the conclusion that God made, not create, everything ever to tread upon the earth. And how God made them is that He separates (TS) them by the name He ascribes to them. That is, God gave names to what He saw as the spiritual effects of not only the insect and beast, but also man, both the man and the woman. It is the spiritual effect to which God ascribes the name to every thing that crept upon the earth, in that the LORD weighs the heart, not the outward appearance (1 Samuel 16:7).

As for this nether-man, it is in the word "earth" we have our affirmation that God created man, both the male and female before this moment on the Sixth Day. In this context "earth" (127-119; Genesis 1:25) bears the meaning of "soil" in the sense "from its general redness". Where, within the ESV the interpreter translates "earth" as "ground". This word choice is fundamentally flawed in that this "ground" has life in and of itself.

In broadening the implications of earth (127-119; Genesis 1:25) it bears the connotations of "country", "ground", and "husband" which infer populations and demographics of mankind. It is only when we consider earth's root (119; Genesis 1:25), that all things become clear that this "ground" has life itself, and therefore is an allusion to mankind. In the Hebrew, earth's root (119; Genesis 1:25) is 'adam (aw-dam'). This "earth" (127-119; Genesis 1:25), is a direct allusion to mankind, in that the efficacy of its root is "to show blood (in the face), i.e. flush or turn rosy", that is to be "ruddy".

So, the question becomes, if God later creates Adam, then what of this creation of the nether-man (Genesis 1:25)? When we look at the etymologies of the words earth (127-119; Genesis 1:25) and Adam (120-119; Genesis 5:2), what we discover is that they share the same root (119). That is, what we discover is that they both bear the same efficacy, which is "to show blood (in the face), i.e. flush or turn rosy", that is "ruddy". It's at their base, it is at their manifestation, are we to reckon the vast differences between earth (127-119; Genesis 1:25) and Adam (120-119; Genesis 5:2).

It is on this basis we arrive at our precedence within Scripture when there is a measure to weigh all things as it pertains to man. Not only did the author of 1st chapter of Genesis seek to draw our attention to how, in the sight of God, there are two spiritual versions of man, one as "earth" (Genesis 1:25) and the other "Adam" (Genesis 1:27 and 5:2). In the author's efforts to broaden the distinction, "earth" (Genesis 1:25) is in a moment of the Sixth Day that is prior to the moment when God decidedly establishes His image in the earth (Genesis 1:26-27). Where, it is only later we discover how God blesses His image with the name "Adam" (Genesis 5:2).

Now it is for us to see how we weigh this nether-man, who God reckons as "earth" (127-119; Genesis 1:25) against Adam. Within the Midrash, the Jews ascribe to this form of man, the "earth" (Genesis 1:25), as "the man of the mountain". It is said that God created him on the Sixth Day (Ginzberg, Legends of the Jews, Vol 1 pg. 31). Summarily, in accord with the Midrash, as the "earth" (Genesis 1:25), how we reckon this man is that he prevails in the earth spiritually indistinguishable from a beast.

This indistinction between the nether-man (Genesis 1:25) and the beast of the field, is a measure of his soul. It is a soul that, upon the moment when he returned from out of the earth, weighing him, God reckoned how:

2 ...the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. (Genesis 1:2)

That is, the nether-man ("earth" Genesis 1:25), is a soul-effect that appears unto God as being indistinguishable from every other soul-effect in the earth. In essence, the nether-man is a fallen man. And he's a "fallen" man, not as a consequence of his birth and physical appearance, but as a matter of the spirits that compel him.

It is to this image of a man that God alludes to when He made the "earth" (127-119; Genesis 1:25). The same serves as the predicate as for why God decidedly creates the archetype of Adam, that He imparts to man the means for man to weigh himself as for whether he's of the earth or of God.

The Image of God: Establishing Adam as the Man Archetype:

The need and basis for an archetype, is so that man has the means to call himself unto repentance. The same is why, many generations later, the LORD says that He'll establish a "plumbline" in the midst of Israel, that He no longer has to chasten Israel, but that she has the means to call herself unto righteous judgment.

As it pertains to why He called Amos from among the multitude, in seeking what best serves as the means to wrought divine judgment in Israel, Amos writes:

7 Thus he (the LORD) shewed me: and, behold, the Lord stood upon a wall made by a plumbline, with a plumbline in his hand. 8 And the Lord said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A plumbline. Then said the Lord, Behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people Israel: I will not again pass by them any more. (Amos 7:7-8)

Adam, as the archetype, serves as the precedence for such measures we find as and in the likeness of the plumbline. As for what God does on the Sixth Day of creation, where and when it came to creating the archetype of man in Adam (Genesis 1:26-27). What the LORD accomplishes with Amos, is that, given Amos was an actual tender of sheep, as he numbered among the "herdman of Tekoa" (Amos 1:1). The implication being, Amos was not among the learned of Israel, or among the ranks of priestly figures. The question then becomes, why is it then that the LORD chooses Amos to call Israel unto repentance? The answer, as for why it is by Amos that the LORD determines what measure of chastening is suitable for Israel. Is because, if such a measure is understood by the lowliest, the inarticulate, the non-learned, then surely it is a knowledge well founded among the learned classes.

The same serves as the basis for the parallel that is between God's image and the plumbline. Not that God's image is the plumbline. Rather, God's image serves as the means for a universal measure by and with which to call every man and generation unto righteous judgment.

And so, as Amos establishes the basis on which the LORD calls Israel to repent. Serving as the vessel from which the LORD draws to determine the archetype measure by which to bind Israel to divine judgment. We find the same with God in the beginning.

On the Sixth Day of creation, We find the same with God, as He sought to call the "earth" (127-119; Genesis 1:25), the nether-man unto judgment. Reckoning how the nether-man is a deviation from His Glory. That He calls this deviation unto judgment, and impart unto man the means to call himself unto repentance. God impresses on His heavenly hosts that His image is to reflect the pillared nature of their relationship, as God says:

26 ...Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. (Genesis 1:26)

Here is the mystery of what God reckoned when He commanded His heavenly hosts to "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness" (Genesis 1:26). What God recognizes is that, just as there is a distinction between Himself and His heavenly hosts. So too are there readily apparent distinctions between the man and woman. As for the man and woman, not only is there a biological difference between them. But there is also a constitutional or spiritual difference between the man and woman, all, of which, attest to their natures.

Why the nether-man? It is that, in making him, God sought to capture the essence of a fallen man. Given God sought to reckon the expectant harmony between the man and woman, as He fashioned His image. It is here with the nether-man that nothing but violence raged between himself and the woman.

Why then was it so important to settle the expectant harmony between the man and woman? What serves as our model for how we see to enter and call the world we envision into being, is what we see as having taken place in our home, amongst our own father and mother. It is by this example we see to establish our homes as fathers and mothers. So, if there's violence in the home, so too shall God's broader creation suffer violence.

It was God's object then to stem this violence by decidedly choosing to reckon the relationship between Himself and the angels, in the image of male and female, as there is nothing but peace that prevails between Him and His angels. Wherein, in recognition to this biological and spiritual diversity, God takes the seminal step to establish His image as "male and female". It is for this reason God says unto His heavenly hosts "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness" (Genesis 1:26).

As for the spiritual diversity between the man and woman, Paul who allows us to come into the revelation. In reckoning the Jesus and the church, with the husband and wife, Paul implores the wives of Ephesus to:

22 ...submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. (Ephesians 5:22-24)

From what Paul provides us, we are better to reckon the spiritual diversity between the man and woman. Where, within the household, the man prevails as Lord the woman stands as the church. Yet, as husband and wife, Paul fails to appreciate that at this moment in God's image, it's not "quickened" to life. Since, merely by the existence of Christ and the church, is this allusion to God's image unrealized with life. In both cases, there is no worthy evidence of our union.

How we reckon no worthy evidence exists to testify of the relations between a husband and wife, though emblematic of God's image, is because there is no one in the earth to call upon our names. As husband and wife, God's image takes on a deftly silence. Unless there is a child, how are we to know of their existence, if there is no one to call them "father and mother".

With this as our measure, we are better to see how the same is with Christ and the church. This relation also suffers a deftly silence if there is no one to call the church "Mother" and Jesus "LORD".

Creating the archetype:

26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (Genesis 1:26-27)

Before delving into the minutia of Genesis 1:26 and 27, we must first understand the relationship between these two passages. It follows a general creation pattern, which is, Desire and Manifestation. It is God's Desire, while it's His angels who strive to bring all into being; the priority from the Third to the Sixth days is to assign a name to all that's already in existence.

When we look at the 26th verse, what we find is how, from the outset, God contemplates a composite image, and therefore an image that is a spiritual reflection. God seeks a spiritual composite, in that it reflects the relationship between Him and His angels. It is in this sense, to establish a spiritual composite that serves as an archetype of man, God says to His heavenly hosts:

26 ...Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. (Genesis 1:26)

In creating His image, God uses the collective pronouns "us" and "our". While, as a testament to the validation of the composite, God uses the plural pronoun "them", which alludes to the man and woman.

The challenge however is with the 27th verse. The 27th verse symbolizes what is problematic with many translations. No more is this so than in the ESV. Within the ESV, Genesis 1:27 reads:

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Within the ESV, Genesis 1:27 alters the Desire by separating the pronouns "he" from "him" and "he" from "them". It leaves the inference that God's image is either male or female.

In contrast, in KJV, Genesis 1:27 reads:

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Here, the author preserves the Desire of an image that reflects the relationship between God and His angels. The translator preserves God's image as a pillared relationship in the 27th verse, in that he juxtaposes the pronouns "he" and "him", the verse reading, "in the image of God created he him". The inference borne in juxtaposing the pronouns "he" and "him" is that, where it concerns him, which is man, it places intensity on character and structure of the image.

It is an intensity preserved in the next phrase, which reads: "male and female created he them". Again, the author juxtaposes the pronouns "he" and "them", "them" being an intimation to the composition and character of the image borne under the collective of male and female. Under these constraints, God grants us the means to declare Him as ALPHA AND OMEGA, as well as call all things unto a righteous judgment.

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This is a very long essay. Could you add some headings, and perhaps even a summary to the top or bottom? – curiousdannii Jun 5 at 4:06

It is a misreading of Genesis 1:26-27 to understand it to say that Eve was fashioned in the image of God or that the image of God is in the combination of male and female. Certainly Paul did not think that was the correct reading (1 Cor 11). Correctly read it says that men were made in the image and likeness of God. Women were an afterthought and were made in the image of men.

What the plain meaning of the words convey is that YHVH sculpted a statue of himself out of clay and then breathed his own life giving breath so that Adam could be called "the son of God" and the image and likeness of YHVH. Later, because Adam didn't enjoy doing menial chores like food preparation and he couldn't reproduce God saw the light and made Eve in Adam's image and likeness but with some really nifty differences.

These obvious scriptural teachings are unpopular for at least two major reasons:

  • it shows that YHVH is, like Jove etc., a manlike deity who lives in the sky with a bunch of other manlike angels

  • it is sexist

These objections, driven by philosophy, must not influence exegesis.

  • God is clearly a manlike deity who lives in the sky:

Dan_7:9 I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.

  • God is clearly sexist:

1Co_11:7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.

Adam was made in the image of God such that if one saw Adam and YHVH walking together in the garden in the cool of the day it would be difficult to tell them apart. That's what "image and likeness" means.

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