VERSE DISCOVERY: Genesis 1:26-2:3, 7 (KJV, Public Domain)
Do you know how special you are? Do you know of the creative design that brought you here today? Can you fully appreciate your uniqueness, being an altogether separate creature from all others God created?
As part of the human race, you are the climax of God’s design. Oh, the stars and objects above serve their purpose and are beautiful to look at, but they are not you. And, as we look out on the horizon to view nature, we may sigh pleasantly at the glorious way the panoramic view displays His beautiful scene before us – but no scene is more beautiful to Him than those who were made in His image, in His likeness. These were specially designed for a relationship with the Father.
As the creation story unfolds, may we find our place in it, our origin in it, and may those findings render a new appreciation for how special you are in the eyes of God.
God Created Man
Genesis 1:26-27 “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. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
For six days, God had been creating. With light created and darkness separated, both being defined for what they are; and with land, plant life, celestial bodies spoken into existence and put in their places, the Creation story of the beginning of everything we know is off to a beautiful start, and it is all good in the sight of the Creator.
With sea, land, and air creatures created and placed in their proper places, it is time for the crème de la crème of all His creation to be formed. That apex of God’s design comes when He decides to inhabit this grand earth He made with mankind.
Mankind is the most unique of all God’s creation for several reasons (and we’ll discuss those reasons in a bit), but let’s hone in on the word “unique” for a moment in relation to all the elements of the Creation story already put in place.
Mankind has nothing like himself that dwells on the face of the earth outside of other members of the human race. Yes, I know there is a scientific theory that tries to over-exaggerate similarities between humans and other species when, in fact, there are no other species identical to the man God formed out of the dust of the ground as his beginning origins (Genesis 2:7). And, I know there are other theories that express many ideas of suppositions of how we came to be the people we are in the place that we are in, but the Bible gives the very straightforward facts of not only our origin but also why we are so special in our uniqueness among all other creation.
For we are made in the image/likeness of God. God, Himself, spoke on that sixth day of creation and said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”
The words us and our leaves many asking to whom God is talking to when He is speaking. Now, again, while many people have theorized several answers to that questioning, the most biblically based, solid answer, revolves around the Trinity. Biblical evidence shows clearly God the Father, the Son (John 1:1-14; Colossians 1:16-17), and the Holy Spirit (Genesis 1:2) being present at the time of Creation.
With God having no physical likeness, the image/likeness we were made to be like has more to do with the way He created man from the inside out. Though His thoughts are above our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9), God gave us the capacity to think or operate intellectually and emotionally as He does. With that comes the ability to reason, to love, etc. We are not God, but apart from all other creatures, we are His likeness upon the earth.
In an article I previously published, Our True Image, I wrote:
“I believe when God spoke in the beginning that we were made in His image (see Genesis 1:27), He spoke of more than just our facial features, our physique, our height, weight, and so on. He spoke of our representation of something the boundaries of those outer measurements can’t comprehend. He spoke of our likeness of Him. At that point of creation, when it came time for humanity to be put on the earth, God looked to Himself to snap a portrait of who we are truly designed to be.
Now, do I mean that you are supposed to be God sitting on the throne in heaven? No. But, what I do mean is we are carriers of so much more. The portrait of our lives is made to expose and reflect His glory of the greater.” (WordForLifeSays.com)
Another part of the uniqueness of created humanity is he is to reign and have dominion over all other creatures created. David expressed in the Psalms the reign of man over all “the works of thy hands,” (Psalm 8:6-8), and Hebrews agrees (Hebrews 2:7-8).
What this means is, as representatives of God on this earth, we are to diligently care for and steward the things of the earth. One day, the earth will pass way in the great finale of the end times, but until then, every human being is given the order to care for this temporary home of ours, and all the other creatures in it.
Through the years, the word dominion has become synonymous with words like power, authority, and control. And, that’s a right interpretation of the word. But, what’s more important is how that word is being carried out. Are we abusing, taking for granted, and treating recklessly those things placed under our control? Or, are we managing everything in a godly fashion and taking proper care of what has been given us? As His image-bearers, we have the responsibility to be responsible with His creation.
Both men and women carry this responsibility for both are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Each bears their own qualities that set them apart as male and female, but each are image-bearers created by God and His perfect design for all humans. There are separate identifying markers for each sex, but as part of the human race they are made in his own image. Jesus once said, “Have you not read that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,” (Matthew 19:4). Both have important roles in His creation.
Genesis 1:28 “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”
Then God spoke His blessings over them with the charge to be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. God blessed them to be productive that the earth might be filled, the same way He called all other creatures to multiply (Genesis 1:20, 25). As God placed in all other living species of His creation the ability to produce (procreate) that the earth may teem with life, so did He with humanity. Multiplication equals increase. Increase equals a filled earth.
And, with that blessing of fruitfulness, came also the reiteration of their responsibility to subdue and have dominion… over every living thing… God placed mankind in charge. This may make us special, and some may abuse that top-of-the-food-chain-status, but the greater reminder is that with such a heavy charge there comes more to answer for on how things/creatures/nature was used under our control/charge. Our job is to be righteous rulers over everything God has placed in our care.
Genesis 1:29-30 “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.”
As God has called us to the position of caring for other creatures in creation, He shows mankind some of the ways He cares for them and all living things as He supplies for their needs. Specified seeds, fruits, herbs, and vegetation would be the meat or food nutritional source for all creatures such as beasts… fowls… and everything that creepeth upon the earth along with mankind which God created. He gave or furnished every living thing with all that they need to survive, flourish, and multiply.
Genesis 1:31 “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”
When God took in the scope of everything He created, He saw it was very good. Everything was perfectly original, perfectly created, and perfectly placed. There was no intrusion in the tranquility of His beautiful design. Sin was not present, and the earth was as glorious as He envisioned it – unstained and unaffected by the mess we see today.
Once I wrote, “Our original design was not to live in an environment of sin and decay. It was not designed to exist with dead and dreary things. It was designed to behold the beauty of God through His creation. We were designed to live in God’s best!” (Made for Green/WordForLifeSays.com).
And, when He saw His best on display, God viewed it as very good, culminating the sixth day of creation.
God Rested After Creation
Genesis 2:1-3 “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”
After everything was finished, God rested on the seventh day. This day would later be referred to as Sabbath, which means “rest” or “cease.” It would be a day set aside out of the week that demanded nothing but rest and time to worship (Exodus 20:8-11). It also became a sign between God and His people (Exodus 31:13).
This holy precedent started with God Himself. There are fewer things in the world than that which brings one the satisfaction of a job well done. What God did was perfect. There was no further need for work, therefore work ended, and He ordained the seventh day as a time of rest.
God made this day a priority and sanctified it, which means He set is apart as holy. He did this because of or in honor of the fact that he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
There is something uniquely beautiful in the idea of the Creator of all sitting back and being pleased with everything before Him in perfectness. I can’t help but imagine how happy His heart must have been at that time. Did it all put a smile on His face? Does it put a smile on your face thinking about it? It does for me.
Genesis 2:7 “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
As chapter 2 progresses, it describes and reiterates, with additional detail, certain aspects of the creation story, including the specifics on mankind being formed… of the dust of the ground (compare Genesis 3:19, 23).
Opposite of everything that was spoken in creation, or the way the animals were called forth from the ground (Genesis 1:24; 2:19), mankind was the only uniquely one formed to be an image-bearer of God. This one, he was special, and he required a special design.
See, I told you that you were unique and special in His design. Then, God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Mankind is alive because of God. Should God take away or withhold that precious breath, mankind would cease to live (see Psalm 104:21; Job 34:14-15). “Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein,” (Isaiah 42:5).
God created mankind, and that’s the one and only true answer for our existence on this earth. You and I are living souls because of God!
PDF Printable Sunday School Lesson Pack (With easy to read instructions following the P.E.A.R.L. format on how to conduct each lesson with areas for adding personal notes): Sunday School Lesson – God Created Mankind
Fingerprints uniquely tell who we are. There are no two sets alike, not even for identical twins. Your fingerprints tell of the individual God made you be; that you are individually special to God. Using a stamper and the fingers of students, have each rub a thumb or ink on the stamper pad and stamp a clear paper with their fingerprint. Have them look carefully at it. Students can even exchange them with one another to see their own uniqueness in the way God created them. Tie this example into today’s lesson.
Younger students can work with moldable playing dough. For this example, homemade is best (I like the idea of using it organically, with no colors for the forming of man effect), but of course, any kind of moldable dough for playing will do. Have students form “man” from the blob you give them. Discuss how easy or hard it was. Discuss the intricate details it took for God to make us. (Note: if you are using homemade dough and if time allows, let the children help you make the dough, to really get involved in the “creation” of the people they make. Find a recipe for a non-cooking version. There are many online to choose from.)
Younger students can also put together a Made in God’s Image people necklace. Print from the outlines (found online at wordforlifesays.com) the people templates on cardstock or glue to construction paper. Decorate each one as you want. Punch a hole in the top and string through with yard or something similar. You can even add beads or cut up straws for a nice decorated effect. They can wear it proudly around their neck because they are Made in God’s Image. PDF: Made In God’s Image Craft
Adult Journal Page: Adult Journal Page – Made in the Image of God
Kid’s Journal Page: Kid’s Journal Page – Made in the Image of God
Draw the Scene: God Created Mankind Draw the Scene
Memory Verse: God Created Mankind Memory Verse