And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea…
I. NEGATIVELY. Let us see wherein the image of God in man does not consist. Some, for instance, the Socinians, maintain that it consists in that power and dominion that God gave Adam over the creatures. True, man was vouched God's immediate deputy upon earth, the viceroy of the creation. But that this power and dominion is not adequately and completely the image of God is clear from two considerations.
1. Then he that had most power and dominion would have most of God's image, and consequently Nimrod had more of it than Noah, Saul than Samuel, Caesar than Christ — which is a blasphemous paradox.
2. Self-denial and humility will make us unlike.
II. POSITIVELY. Let us see wherein the image of God in man does consist. It is that universal rectitude of all the faculties of the soul — by which they stand, act, and dispose their respective offices and operations, which will be more fully set forth by taking a distinct survey of it in the several faculties belonging to the soul; in the understanding, in the will, in the passions or affections.
1. In the understanding. At its first creation it was sublime, clear, and inspiring. It was the leading faculty. There is as much difference between the clear representations of the understanding then, and the obscure discoveries that it makes now, as there is between the prospect of landscape from a casement, and from a keyhole. This image was apparent —
(1) In the understanding speculative.
(2) In the practical understanding.
2. In the will. The will of man in the state of innocence had an entire freedom to accept or not the temptation. The will then was ductile and pliant to all the motions of right reason. It is in the nature of the will to follow a superior guide — to be drawn by the intellect. But then it was subordinate, not enslaved; not as a servant to a master, but as a queen to her king, who both acknowledges her subjection and yet retains her majesty.
3. In the passion. Love. Now this affection, in the state of innocence, was happily pitched upon its right object; it flamed up in direct fervours of devotion to God, and in collateral emissions of charity to its neighbour. Hatred. It was then like aloes — bitter, but wholesome. Anger. Joy. Sorrow. Hope. Fear. The use of this point — that man was created in the image of God — might be various; but it shall be two fold.
(1) To remind us of the irreparable loss we have sustained by sin.
(2) To teach us the excellency of the Christian religion.
(R. South, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.
WEB: 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 sky, and over the livestock, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."