So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Created.—This significant verb is thrice repeated with reference to man. It indicates, first, that man has that in him which was not a development or evolution, but something new. He is, in fact, the most perfect work of the creative energy, and differs from the animals not only in degree, but in kind, though possessing, in common with them, an organised body. And next, it indicates the rejoicing of the Deity at the completion of His purpose.Genesis 1:27. So God created man in his own image — In his natural, but especially in his moral image, with an habitual conformity of all his powers to the will of God, his understanding clearly discerning, his judgment entirely approving, his will readily choosing, and his affections cordially embracing his chief good; without error in his knowledge, disorder in his passions, or irregularity or inordinancy in his appetites; his senses also being all inlets to wisdom and enjoyment, and all his faculties of body and mind subservient to the glory of God and his own felicity! But man being in honour did not abide, but became like the beasts that perish! What cause we have for thankfulness that this image of God may be restored to our souls, and how earnestly ought we to pray for, and how diligently to seek this most important of all attainments! Male and female created he them — Not at once, or both together, as some have unscripturally taught, but first the man out of the earth, and then the woman out of the man.
They seem both, however, to have been made on the sixth day, as is here related, and as the following words, promising they should be fruitful, manifest: but the particular history of the woman’s creation is brought in afterward by way of further elucidation, and to introduce the account of the institution of marriage. God formed the woman from the man, and caused the whole race of mankind to descend from one original pair, that all the families and nations of men, being made of one blood, and proceeding from one common stock, might know themselves to be brethren, and might love and assist one another to the uttermost of their power: but, alas! what a sad reverse of this do we daily see exemplified before our eyes!Genesis 2:21-25. Genesis 2:21, &c., which is here mentioned by anticipation. Albeit the woman also seems to have been made upon the sixth day, as is here related, and as the following blessing showeth, which is common to both of them, though the particular history of it is brought in afterwards, Genesis 2:1-25, by way of recapitulation or repetition.
the Word of the Lord created man in his likeness; even that Word that was in the beginning with God, and was God, and in time became incarnate, by whom all things were made, John 1:1.
in the image of God created he him; which is repeated for the certainty of it, and that it might be taken notice of, as showing man's superior glory and dignity to the rest of the creatures, 1 Corinthians 11:7.
male and female created he them; not that man was created an hermaphrodite, or with two bodies, back to back united together, and afterwards cleaved asunder, as the Jews fabulously say; but first God made man, or the male, out of the dust of the earth, and infused a rational soul into him; and then out of one of his ribs made a female, or woman, who was presented to him as his wife, that so their species might be propagated; and only one male and one female were created, to show that hereafter a man was to have at a time no more wives than one; see Malachi 2:15 for all that is said in the following chapter, concerning the formation of man out of the dust of the earth, and the making of woman out of his rib, and presenting her to him, and his taking her to be his wife, were all done on this sixth day, and at this time. It is a tradition among the Heathens, that man was made last of all the creatures; so says Plato (k); and this notion the Chinese also have (l). The Jews give these reasons why man was made on the evening of the sabbath, to show that he did not assist in the work of creation; and that if he was elated in his mind, it might be told him that a fly was created before him, and that he might immediately enter on the command, i.e. of the sabbath (m).So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)27. The reiteration of the principal words in the clauses of this verse has something of the rhythm of poetry. Repetition and love of detail are characteristics of the Priestly Code. “Created,” cf. Genesis 1:1; Genesis 1:21 (see notes).
male and female] The distinction of the sexes, which is here given, has been omitted, probably for brevity’s sake, in the mention of the animals.
When, in view of the discoveries of the science of Anthropology, the question is asked whether there was one original pair of human beings, or whether each of the different races, Caucasian, Mongolian, , Red Indian, Australian, &c., originated from one pair, or from groups of pairs, we must answer that such questions do not come within the horizon of thought in our passage. They are to be solved not by Revelation in Holy Scripture, but by the exercise of the gifts of patient enquiry, accurate observation, and sound reasoning. The Hebrew writer has in view a population drawn from a single stock. His account of the origin of Man, applicable to one race, is symbolical of all, if a plurality of origin is to be assumed.Verse 27. - So (or and) God created (bars, as in vers. 1, 21, q.v.) man (literally; the Adam referred to in ver. 26) in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. The threefold repetition of the term "created" should be observed as a significant negation of modern evolution theories as to the descent of man, and an emphatic proclamation of his Divine original. The threefold parallelism of the members of this verse is likewise suggestive, as Umbreit, Ewald, and Delitzsch remark, of the jubilation with which the writer contemplates the crowning work of Elohim's creative word. Murphy notices two stages in man's creation, the general fact being stated in the first clause of this triumphal song, and the two particulars - first his relation to his Maker, and second his sexual distinction - in its other members. In the third clause Luther sees an intimation "that the woman also was created by God, and made a partaker of the Divine image, and of dominion over all." Genesis 47:18; Exodus 13:12, etc.), but occasionally the larger land animals as a whole. רמשׂ (the creeping) embraces the smaller land animals, which move either without feet, or with feet that are scarcely perceptible, viz., reptiles, insects, and worms. In Genesis 1:25 they are distinguished from the race of water reptiles by the term האדמה ארץ חיתו (the old form of the construct state, for הארץ חיּת), the beast of the earth, i.e., the freely roving wild animals.
"After its kind:" this refers to all three classes of living creatures, each of which had its peculiar species; consequently in Genesis 1:25, where the word of God is fulfilled, it is repeated with every class. This act of creation, too, like all that precede it, is shown by the divine word "good" to be in accordance with the will of God. But the blessing pronounced is omitted, the author hastening to the account of the creation of man, in which the work of creation culminated. The creation of man does not take place through a word addressed by God to the earth, but as the result of the divine decree, "We will make man in Our image, after our likeness," which proclaims at the very outset the distinction and pre-eminence of man above all the other creatures of the earth. The plural "We" was regarded by the fathers and earlier theologians almost unanimously as indicative of the Trinity: modern commentators, on the contrary, regard it either as pluralis majestatis; or as an address by God to Himself, the subject and object being identical; or as communicative, an address to the spirits or angels who stand around the Deity and constitute His council. The last is Philo's explanation: διαλέγεται ὁ τῶν ὁ͂λων πατὴρ ταῖς ἑαυτο͂υ δυνάεσιν (δυνάμεις equals angels). But although such passages as 1 Kings 22:19., Psalm 89:8, and Daniel 10, show that God, as King and Judge of the world, is surrounded by heavenly hosts, who stand around His throne and execute His commands, the last interpretation founders upon this rock: either it assumes without sufficient scriptural authority, and in fact in opposition to such distinct passages as Genesis 2:7, Genesis 2:22; Isaiah 40:13 seq., Genesis 44:24, that the spirits took part in the creation of man; or it reduces the plural to an empty phrase, inasmuch as God is made to summon the angels to cooperate in the creation of man, and then, instead of employing them, is represented as carrying out the work alone. Moreover, this view is irreconcilable with the words "in our image, after our likeness;" since man was created in the image of God alone (Genesis 1:27; Genesis 5:1), and not in the image of either the angels, or God and the angels. A likeness to the angels cannot be inferred from Hebrews 2:7, or from Luke 20:36. Just as little ground is there for regarding the plural here and in other passages (Genesis 3:22; Genesis 11:7; Isaiah 6:8; Isaiah 41:22) as reflective, an appeal to self; since the singular is employed in such cases as these, even where God Himself is preparing for any particular work (cf. Genesis 2:18; Psalm 12:5; Isaiah 33:10). No other explanation is left, therefore, than to regard it as pluralis majestatis, - an interpretation which comprehends in its deepest and most intensive form (God speaking of Himself and with Himself in the plural number, not reverentiae causa, but with reference to the fullness of the divine powers and essences which He possesses) the truth that lies at the foundation of the trinitarian view, viz., that the potencies concentrated in the absolute Divine Being are something more than powers and attributes of God; that they are hypostases, which in the further course of the revelation of God in His kingdom appeared with more and more distinctness as persons of the Divine Being. On the words "in our image, after our likeness" modern commentators have correctly observed, that there is no foundation for the distinction drawn by the Greek, and after them by many of the Latin Fathers, between εἰκών (imago) and ὁμοίωσις (similitudo), the former of which they supposed to represent the physical aspect of the likeness to God, the latter the ethical; but that, on the contrary, the older Lutheran theologians were correct in stating that the two words are synonymous, and are merely combined to add intensity to the thought: "an image which is like Us" (Luther); since it is no more possible to discover a sharp or well-defined distinction in the ordinary use of the words between צלם and דּמוּת, than between בּ and כּ. צלם, from צל, lit., a shadow, hence sketch, outline, differs no more from דּמוּת, likeness, portrait, copy, than the German words Umriss or Abriss (outline or sketch) from Bild or Abbild (likeness, copy). בּ and כּ are also equally interchangeable, as we may see from a comparison of this verse with Genesis 5:1 and Genesis 5:3. (Compare also Leviticus 6:4 with Leviticus 27:12, and for the use of בּ to denote a norm, or sample, Exodus 25:40; Exodus 30:32, Exodus 30:37, etc.) There is more difficulty in deciding in what the likeness to God consisted. Certainly not in the bodily form, the upright position, or commanding aspect of the man, since God has no bodily form, and the man's body was formed from the dust of the ground; nor in the dominion of man over nature, for this is unquestionably ascribed to man simply as the consequence or effluence of his likeness to God. Man is the image of God by virtue of his spiritual nature. of the breath of God by which the being, formed from the dust of the earth, became a living soul.
(Note: "The breath of God became the soul of man; the soul of man therefore is nothing but the breath of God. The rest of the world exists through the word of God; man through His own peculiar breath. This breath is the seal and pledge of our relation to God, of our godlike dignity; whereas the breath breathed into the animals is nothing but the common breath, the life-wind of nature, which is moving everywhere, and only appears in the animal fixed and bound into a certain independence and individuality, so that the animal soul is nothing but a nature-soul individualized into certain, though still material spirituality." - Ziegler.)
The image of God consists, therefore, in the spiritual personality of man, though not merely in unity of self-consciousness and self-determination, or in the fact that man was created a consciously free Ego; for personality is merely the basis and form of the divine likeness, not its real essence. This consists rather in the fact, that the man endowed with free self-conscious personality possesses, in his spiritual as well as corporeal nature, a creaturely copy of the holiness and blessedness of the divine life. This concrete essence of the divine likeness was shattered by sin; and it is only through Christ, the brightness of the glory of God and the expression of His essence (Hebrews 1:3), that our nature is transformed into the image of God again (Colossians 3:10; Ephesians 4:24).
"And they (אדם, a generic term for men) shall have dominion over the fish," etc. There is something striking in the introduction of the expression "and over all the earth," after the different races of animals have been mentioned, especially as the list of races appears to be proceeded with afterwards. If this appearance were actually the fact, it would be impossible to escape the conclusion that the text is faulty, and that חיּת has fallen out; so that the reading should be, "and over all the wild beasts of the earth," as the Syriac has it. But as the identity of "every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth" (הארץ) with "every thing that creepeth upon the ground" (האדמה) in Genesis 1:25 is not absolutely certain; on the contrary, the change in expression indicates a difference of meaning; and as the Masoretic text is supported by the oldest critical authorities (lxx, Sam., Onk.), the Syriac rendering must be dismissed as nothing more than a conjecture, and the Masoretic text be understood in the following manner. The author passes on from the cattle to the entire earth, and embraces all the animal creation in the expression, "every moving thing (כל־הרמשׂ) that moveth upon the earth," just as in Genesis 1:28, "every living thing הרמשׂת upon the earth." According to this, God determined to give to the man about to be created in His likeness the supremacy, not only over the animal world, but over the earth itself; and this agrees with the blessing in Genesis 1:28, where the newly created man is exhorted to replenish the earth and subdue it; whereas, according to the conjecture of the Syriac, the subjugation of the earth by man would be omitted from the divine decree. - Genesis 1:27. In the account of the accomplishment of the divine purpose the words swell into a jubilant song, so that we meet here for the first time with a parallelismus membrorum, the creation of man being celebrated in three parallel clauses. The distinction drawn between אתו (in the image of God created He him) and אתם (as man and woman created He them) must not be overlooked. The word אתם, which indicates that God created the man and woman as two human beings, completely overthrows the idea that man was at first androgynous (cf. Genesis 2:18.). By the blessing in Genesis 1:28, God not only confers upon man the power to multiply and fill the earth, as upon the beasts in Genesis 1:22, but also gives him dominion over the earth and every beast. In conclusion, the food of both man and beast is pointed out in Genesis 1:29, Genesis 1:30, exclusively from the vegetable kingdom. Man is to eat of "every seed-bearing herb on the face of all the earth, and every tree on which there are fruits containing seed," consequently of the productions of both field and tree, in other words, of corn and fruit; the animals are to eat of "every green herb," i.e., of vegetables or green plants, and grass.
From this it follows, that, according to the creative will of God, men were not to slaughter animals for food, nor were animals to prey upon one another; consequently, that the fact which now prevails universally in nature and the order of the world, the violent and often painful destruction of life, is not a primary law of nature, nor a divine institution founded in the creation itself, but entered the world along with death at the fall of man, and became a necessity of nature through the curse of sin. It was not till after the flood, that men received authority from God to employ the flesh of animals as well as the green herb as food (Genesis 9:3); and the fact that, according to the biblical view, no carnivorous animals existed at the first, may be inferred from the prophetic announcements in Isaiah 11:6-8; Isaiah 65:25, where the cessation of sin and the complete transformation of the world into the kingdom of God are described as being accompanied by the cessation of slaughter and the eating of flesh, even in the case of the animal kingdom. With this the legends of the heathen world respecting the golden age of the past, and its return at the end of time, also correspond (cf. Gesenius on Isaiah 11:6-8). It is true that objections have been raised by natural historians to this testimony of Scripture, but without scientific ground. For although at the present time man is fitted by his teeth and alimentary canal for the combination of vegetable and animal food; and although the law of mutual destruction so thoroughly pervades the whole animal kingdom, that not only is the life of one sustained by the death of another, but "as the graminivorous animals check the overgrowth of the vegetable kingdom, so the excessive increase of the former is restricted by the beasts of prey, and of these again by the destructive implements of man;" and although, again, not only beasts of prey, but evident symptoms of disease are met with among the fossil remains of the aboriginal animals: all these facts furnish no proof that the human and animal races were originally constituted for death and destruction, or that disease and slaughter are older than the fall. For, to reply to the last objection first, geology has offered no conclusive evidence of its doctrine, that the fossil remains of beasts of prey and bones with marks of disease belong to a pre-Adamite period, but has merely inferred it from the hypothesis already mentioned of successive periods of creation. Again, as even in the present order of nature the excessive increase of the vegetable kingdom is restrained, not merely by the graminivorous animals, but also by the death of the plants themselves through the exhaustion of their vital powers; so the wisdom of the Creator could easily have set bounds to the excessive increase of the animal world, without requiring the help of huntsmen and beasts of prey, since many animals even now lose their lives by natural means, without being slain by men or eaten by beasts of prey. The teaching of Scripture, that death entered the world through sin, merely proves that the human race was created for eternal life, but by no means necessitates the assumption that the animals were also created for endless existence. As the earth produced them at the creative word of God, the different individuals and generations would also have passed away and returned to the bosom of the earth, without violent destruction by the claws of animals or the hand of man, as soon as they had fulfilled the purpose of their existence. The decay of animals is a law of nature established in the creation itself, and not a consequence of sin, or an effect of the death brought into the world by the sin of man. At the same time, it was so far involved in the effects of the fall, that the natural decay of the different animals was changed into a painful death or violent end. Although in the animal kingdom, as it at present exists, many varieties are so organized that they live exclusively upon the flesh of other animals, which they kill and devour; this by no means necessitates the conclusion, that the carnivorous beasts of prey were created after the fall, or the assumption that they were originally intended to feed upon flesh, and organized accordingly. If, in consequence of the curse pronounced upon the earth after the sin of man, who was appointed head and lord of nature, the whole creation was subjected to vanity and the bondage of corruption (Romans 8:20.); this subjection might have been accompanied by a change in the organization of the animals, though natural science, which is based upon the observation and combination of things empirically discovered, could neither demonstrate the fact nor explain the process. And if natural science cannot boast that in any one of its many branches it has discovered all the phenomena connected with the animal and human organism of the existing world, how could it pretend to determine or limit the changes through which this organism may have passed in the course of thousands of years?
The creation of man and his installation as ruler on the earth brought the creation of all earthly beings to a close (Genesis 1:31). God saw His work, and behold it was all very good; i.e., everything perfect in its kind, so that every creature might reach the goal appointed by the Creator, and accomplish the purpose of its existence. By the application of the term "good" to everything that God made, and the repetition of the word with the emphasis "very" at the close of the whole creation, the existence of anything evil in the creation of God is absolutely denied, and the hypothesis entirely refuted, that the six days' work merely subdued and fettered an ungodly, evil principle, which had already forced its way into it. The sixth day, as being the last, is distinguished above all the rest by the article - השּׁשּׁי יום "a day, the sixth" (Gesenius, 111, 2a).
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