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A. THE SIXTH DAY OF CREATION (CONTINUED): CREATION OF MAN (Please read Gen 1:26 – 28).
“26God 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.” 27God created man in his own image. In God’s image he created him; male and female he created them. 28God blessed them. God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (WEB).
The sixth day of creation was a very important day for the Lord, for on that day He got to the point where He reached His goal of creating human beings that would resemble Him, be like Him, in many ways. Man was to be similar to God (of the same kind), although not equal to Him.
God’s relationship to man.
God desired to have someone to chat with, to share His thoughts with, to discuss the further development of the earth with, someone that could think and plan and would get back to Him and say, “How about blessing the fruit bearing trees for the monkey population is increasing rapidly and may need more peaches, mangoes and grapes to feed their offspring?” And the Lord would reply, “That’s a good idea. Good that you have noticed this need. I will do as you suggested and speak a greater abundance over those trees. How are the hippo’s doing? Does the Sidon river provide sufficient water for them to submerge their bodies into?” (My imagination.) Man was to be much more than what we would call a servant that only carries out instructions; he was to be a co-worker and junior partner or be in a relationship with God similar to that of a husband and wife.
There is a vast difference between a servant and a wife: a man may hire a capable woman to serve him, agree upon a monthly wage, give her a list of duties she is to perform and then take little further notice of her. When he sits down on the settee to enjoy a TV program for a while, he will not invite her to join him and when he catches her peeping around the doorpost, he may warn her to get on with her duties.
Not so when a man marries a wife; I am now speaking of a Christian man taking a bride. When standing before the pulpit, will he read her a list of duties and demand that she answer, “I do; I understand and will do all that.” No, no, what will bless him most, is to see her eyes sparkle with excitement and hear from her very lips the words, “My dear husband to be, I love you with all my heart and will do whatever I can to make you happy.” When he and his wife settle into the home he prepared for her and he sits down to watch the TV, he will be so delighted if she joins him and cuddles up against him without being requested to do so. That will make his heart to overflow and to try to give her whatever he can to make her happy. Yes, there will be a certain lifestyle in their home and they will each perform certain duties to keep the household running to their best advantage, but these duties will be founded on love, respect and logic and not on strict rules and punishment if the wife failed in something.
Why do I emphasize this point so strongly; because most people, even some Christians, see God as a very strict taskmaster, almost as a jailer that lays down rules and whips the hide off your back if you dare to break any of them. If you ask them: “What does God require of you?” they will reply, “I must not drink and smoke and I must go to church.” They will not reply, “He wants me to like Him very, very much and to enjoy spending time with Him. He especially likes to sit down and listen to love songs I sing to Him. He also loves to hear me speak good of Him wherever I go. He is soft and merciful and when I stumble, He picks me up right away.”
How man resembled God
Now, regarding the first human being He created: God is a person and a person has emotions, so, when He created him (Adam, as he was later on called) He must have been excited like a father or mother witnessing the birth of their first child and checking to see whether it looked like the father or the mother or like both of them. To resemble God, man had to have a spirit, for God is Spirit. He had to have a spiritual component (part) to be able to associate with God, so after the Lord had formed his body from the earth, the Lord breathed the breath of life into his nostrils (Gen 2:7). Nowhere is it said that God breathed life into any of the animals, only into man. In this way man then became a living soul. By His own breath, God transferred a spiritual component into man for him to become a living soul, unlike an animal. Can you see God bending over man, putting His mouth over his nose, then breathing life into Him? Oh, how intimately He associated with man, not just speaking a word over a long distance from heaven, but kneeling right beside him, making contact with his lifeless body. He was giving birth to this first human being as a mother imparts life from her own body to the child she is bringing into this world.
Let us now take a closer look at this human being which God created. He had abilities like God, for example:
- Speech: an extensive vocabulary that would enable him to formulate and share thoughts regarding physical objects as well as abstract subjects.
- Reasoning to find solutions to problems.
- Creativity: the ability to design new objects and discover new and better ways and means of doing things.
- Self determination: planning his life (planning ahead).
- Self consciousness: The ability to do introspection and evaluate himself. As far as we know, an animal does not know what he looks like, nor is he able to compare himself with others of his kind and decide to improve his appearance.
God wanted beings with whom He could have intellectual, spiritual and emotional interaction. Just think of one’s children. A parent may have a beautiful farm and expensive well-bred animals, but he cannot interact with them on an intelligent level. He cannot, while he is milking his cow, say to her, “Good morning lady Jennifer, how are you; did you sleep well?” And she would reply, while munching the straw, “I’m fine James, just fine, although Mary got jealous of me because I have such a beautiful calf and she stuck me in the side with her horn. Would you mind taking a look at it?” You see what I mean? This kind of relationship the farmer could only have with his children; it lies at a much deeper level. God can interact with us in a way He cannot do with His animals.
Through these human beings that He created, God would have contact with the rest of his creation and would be able to manage it to perfection according to His own will.
As for man, since he consisted of both body and spirit, he would be able to have contact both with the physical creation, on the one hand, and with God, on the other hand.
B. CREATION OF THE WOMAN – A WIFE FOR ADAM (Please read Gen 2:18-25)
“18Yahweh God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make him a helper comparable to him.” 19Out of the ground Yahweh God formed every animal of the field, and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. Whatever the man called every living creature became its name. 20The man gave names to all livestock, and to the birds of the sky, and to every animal of the field; but for man there was not found a helper comparable to him. 21Yahweh God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. As the man slept, he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22Yahweh God made a woman from the rib which he had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. 23The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh. She will be called ‘woman,’ because she was taken out of Man.’ 24Therefore a man will leave his father and his mother, and will join with his wife, and they will be one flesh. 25The man and his wife were both naked, and they were not ashamed.” (WEB).
While man was doing his job, of naming the animals, he noticed that there were males and females and very often a certain male and female would stick together and then create offspring in their image and they would be very happy, but though he kept on hoping and hoping, never was a living being brought to him that looked like him or to whom he could talk about all that was happening around him. At times God would sit down and converse with him but mostly he was alone, but how to solve this problem, he did not know.
But God knew all about his need. Even before He had created man, the Lord knew that he would need a woman to be a complete human being, but He postponed the provision of a wife to allow man sufficient time to discover his own need so that he would welcome and appreciate the wife the Lord would provide for him.
The creation of mankind was incomplete until God had also created the woman; note the words of 1:27, ‘God created man in his own image. In God’s image he created him; male and female he created them.’ These words indicate that man and woman, together, as a unit, were created in the image of God.
To man, the woman was an exceptionally wonderful gift from God because, as mankind was created in the image of God and for interaction with God, she was created according to the image of man in that, just like him, she had a physical body and could share, enjoy and be involved in the physical creation. But she was more than just another man, she was a unique human being, designed to be different from man in certain areas of her being and these very differences were so designed as to supplement man in the areas that he was incomplete so that together, they would constitute a complete human being resembling their Creator. By her, his most fundamental needs would be met: spiritual, emotional, intellectual and physical. By interacting with her, he would be able to reproduce or multiply himself/themselves and thereby be able to govern creation.
Just note how thrilled man was that his wife was bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh. He was intensely aware of the fact that she was part of him as one’s flesh and bones go together to make up a human being; they are inseparable. Adam saw him and his wife Eve as one.
(Is that how I see my wife and wife is that how you see your husband? We are very patient with ourselves and very good to ourselves; is that how we are to one another?)
By creating the woman, God also demonstrated His goodwill to man; He showed that He was fully aware of man’s needs and well able to provide for it in a way never even contemplated by man himself.
Taking everything into consideration, man was created to display the glory of God in the totality of his being. Even in a person who is physically maimed or has become morally wrecked, there is still so much of the glory of God to be seen, that such a person must be treated with respect, if only for the sake of honouring God by honouring His image. (A coin that is badly damaged will still be accepted by the bank because it bears the image of the country’s president.)
The foremost reason why a person should feel good about himself, is not for what he has achieved, but for who he is; he is a picture of God, resembling Him in many aspects of his being.
Marriage is the unification of two people of opposite sex, selected by God to match (to fulfil one-another’s needs); like two artistically woven fabrics brought together with the edges interwoven to form a single cloth. Marriage forms part of God’s creation of mankind and whoever breaks it up, damages God’s handcrafted robe; rips the cloth apart and leaves both parties in shreds.
In due course man was called “Adam” (4:25). (The word “Adam” is related to the term “red earth”). Man later on called his wife “Eve” (life, giving life) since she became the mother of all human beings (3:20).
It is also amazing to note that nature was so well planned and prepared by God, that there was no need for Adam and Eve to wear clothes. (And Eve did not have to do the family’s washing and ironing! She did not even have to prepare food for she and her husband could just wander around together and pick whatever fruit they liked most. Perhaps she sometimes would go looking for something new, something special and surprise him with it where he was working, naming the animals or she would help him in naming the animals – while he would name the Big Five (elephants, lion’s, etc.) and the like, she would come up with suggestions for the doves, rabbits and squirrels. But that is just my imagination!
C. MAN’S HABITAT (RESIDENCE) AND HIS FOOD (Please read Gen 1:29 and 2:8-14)
‘Yahweh God planted a garden eastward, in Eden, and there he put the man whom he had formed. Out of the ground Yahweh God made every tree to grow that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food, including the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. A river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it was parted, and became the source of four rivers. The name of the first is Pishon: it flows through the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; and the gold of that land is good. Bdellium and onyx stone are also there. The name of the second river is Gihon. It is the same river that flows through the whole land of Cush. The name of the third river is Hiddekel. This is the one which flows in front of Assyria. The fourth river is the Euphrates.” (WEB).
(We will deal with the trees of Knowledge of Good and Evil and the tree of Life in the next lecture.)
Considering the whereabouts of the Tigris- and Frat- (Euphrates) rivers in particular, researchers are of the opinion that the Garden of Eden could possibly have been located in Mesopotamia, the present-day Iraq.
Whatever the case may be, the point that Scripture wants to make by mentioning the four rivers, the beautiful trees, delicious fruit, etc., is to show that God did his utmost, spared no good thing in providing man with a pleasant dwelling, a residence for which he did not have to raise a hand to establish.
“29God said, “Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree, which bears fruit yielding seed. It will be your food.” (WEB).
What an abundance for which they did not have to work, nor did they need to store it up; whenever they were hungry they could pick a fruit fresh from the tree.
From the first moment that Adam and Eve opened their eyes, they had to experience the fact that their Creator was exceptionally kindly disposed towards them and had only good intentions with them.
D. MAN’S MANDATE (Please read Gen 1:26,28, 2:19,20)
Adam and Eve’s instructions and capabilities.
They were to do the following:
- Multiply and fill the earth (1:28).
- Subdue it (1:26,28).
- Have dominion (reign) over it (2:15).
- Cultivate and keep watch over it (1:26).
- Reign over the fish, birds and animals (2:19).
- Adam had to name the animals and birds that God brought to him (2:19).
When God gave these instructions to man, He also blessed and empowered them to fulfill his wishes.
This is a great encouragement; to know that if I am in a certain position because God placed me there and wanted me to be there, He will bless and empower me to fulfill my duties to His and to my employer’s satisfaction.
Man was to multiply and fill the earth.
To multiply mankind they had to apply their physical, sexual, abilities, which they were well able to do, being of different sexes. To parent (beget) a child (the first child ever) and bring it to birth, must have been an ecstatic experience, a sense of power and value. More about that in a following study guide.
Adam was to name the animals.
Let us take a look at man’s daily life as it was right at the beginning. We may sometimes think how wonderful it would be to be so rich as not to have to work for a living, but to be able just to sit around all day, following the sun around the house as it travels from sunrise to sunset. That is a false assumption. When we first meet God in Gen 1:1, we find Him at work, creating the universe and as soon as He had created Adam, He gave Him a job to do, namely to give names to all the animals which the Lord had created. God actually did the hard work. He brought the animals to man to be named, then let it go to return to where He had found it.
Now man must have been very intellectual, although He had not been to school or to university, for he was able to give a fitting name to each and every creature and every time he came up with a name, God approved of it. ‘Wow! Good for you man!’ When God approves of the work we do, we can really feel at peace. His Creator had done His job of creation of the universe very well and the man He created in His image was doing just as well. We have a saying, “Like father, like son.” Man made His “Father” happy and proud.
(To realise what a difficult job man had, just select any three animals and try to give them entirely new names! Nowadays for us to find suitable names for new discoveries, takes considerable resourcefulness, studying the object’s appearance and application and formulating an applicable word. Adam thus had to be quite an intelligent person. In doing so, he also further expanded and developed man’s (his) language.)
(Oh, may the Lord grant us leaders of countries that will have the ability and integrity to make their Creator happy and proud!)
Man’s other tasks were to cultivate the earth and watch over it .
Linked to the enjoyment of the wonderful garden, came the responsibility to maintain and further develop it. They had to look after the garden, so the garden would look after them. In doing so, they would harness and apply their built-in abilities and find fulfilment in the process. The garden would yield an abundance, sufficient to supply in all their needs as well as in the needs of their children that would later on be born.
Let us compare their carefree lifestyle with ours and consider the term, “Human rights,” which forms an important part of our present day concept of human interaction and is a principle ensconced in the constitutions of many countries. It is interesting to note that it is nowhere stated that Adam and Eve had certain human rights because they were human beings and yet they were much better off that what we are. “Human rights” is something which man had to draw up and implement, because human beings no longer love and respect one-another. In the Garden of Eden there was only one law, the law of love. The two human beings had to love their Creator, one-another and the rest of creation. They had the privilege of being looked after by a loving God and they had the responsibility of doing his will. This way of living would ensure for them a peaceful and blessed life.
Christians would do well to live according to this higher principle. If you love your neighbour as yourself, like Jesus taught, he will never have to take you to court for infringing on his rights. Man benefited more by his privileges than we gain by exercising our human rights. Adam never had to fight for his privileges; he enjoyed them because God, His Creator, was a good God, a God who had an abundance of everything and showered His “son” with his abundance. Christians should rather seek to please their Creator, then receive an abundance of blessings from Him, than to fight with man for their rights. Resorting to violence is not God’s way of living; rather take your request to Him in prayer and patiently wait on Him to supply what you need.
(Was it God’s intention for human beings to rule over one-another once they multiplied? This is a very interesting question but too complex to discuss right now.)
They had to subdue the earth and reign over it.
In subduing the earth, reigning over it, and in particular over the fish, birds and animals, they were to see themselves as rulers over all of creation and had to positively take up that position of authority. It is difficult to visualise exactly how they were to accomplish this, as all of creation was in complete harmony; a place where all the animals lived according to their God given instinct without need of being taught what to do or how to behave. They were not damaging the garden or harming one another. God, however, does nothing without good reason, therefore, in one way or another, they had to start giving effect to this command. (Perhaps they exerted their authority by sending the monkeys up the trees to pick and bring them the ripe fruit which they could not reach – my imagination!)
For us, the importance of this instruction lies in the fact that even in these perfect conditions, God worked within the framework of structures of authority; therefore, structures of authority within marriage, the workplace, the country etc. are from heaven; they are quite normal, healthy and the logical way to set up a peaceful and flourishing society. If a person finds it difficult to submit to sound rules and regulations, he has a rebellious nature and must seek God’s help to overcome it. Some nations are ruining their countries because every citizen wants to rule and few are willing to submit.
The fact that man had to guard the garden, implies that it was threatened; as we will see in due course, this was indeed the case.
E. THE SEVENTH DAY (Please read Gen 2:1-3)
“1The heavens, the earth, and all their vast array were finished. 2On the seventh day God finished his work which he had done; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done. 3God blessed the seventh day, and made it holy, because he rested in it from all his work of creation which he had done.”
In six days God completed all of heaven and earth and everything on it. On the seventh day He rested and because He rested on the seventh day, He set it apart from the other days and blessed it with a special blessing.
What exactly the rest that God arranged for Himself on the seventh day implies, we do not know as elsewhere in the Scripture it is stated clearly that He does not become tired or exhausted (Isaiah 40:28). Then, in Exodus 31:17 again, we find the interesting revelation that on the seventh day He rested and refreshed Himself; but, since He is able to completely maintain Himself (providing for Himself and being self sufficient) He has no need of refreshing Himself (as we refresh ourselves), so why did He rest? And exactly how did He rest? We do not know, except that He did no work like He did on the other days. Well, He is God and we are not given to understand Him completely.
What is of practical importance to us is that man, who is similar to God, therefore also requires “a Seventh Day” to be refreshed; it is not only a need, but was ordained so by God. Amongst Christians there is much debate about the ”Seventh Day” which is not so important for us for now, for our main focus is on creation and not on Christian conduct, but let it for the moment suffice to say that we must set aside sufficient time, separate it from all our activities and dedicate it to God in order for our bodies to be refreshed by the rest from labour and our spirits to be refreshed by the anointing of his Spirit. That, He will do for sure, because He pronounced His blessing over the “Seventh Day”.
(My personal experience is that I cannot wait for six days for the seventh day to come so that I can rest and replenish my strength. While writing these study guides, I every now and then have to stop for a while to afford my mind, eyes and my body a time of rest and my spirit to be refreshed by fellowshipping with God. Even during the night I would wake up and, while lying in bed, have half an hour or more of intimacy with God to revive my spirit.)
SUMMARY AND SUPPLEMENT
God’s reason for creation
Why did God create everything? This is a difficult question but we can think of the following possibilities:
Because He could, as it were, not do otherwise just, as the artist’s inborn talent irresistibly drives him to capture the breath-taking colours of the sunset by painting it on a canvass, or the composer grabs his music instrument or reaches for a pen and paper when the melody of a new song floods the chambers of his imagination.
Secondly, because He is love He yearns for plants, animals and human beings on which to pour out his love and with whom He can share the delights of his glory, joy and pleasure, like a husband and wife wanting a child of their own to love and cherish.
Creation is God’s display window
The Lord not only constructed all of creation to function smoothly, but also to serve as a display window through which man may look upon the glory of his Creator. Within creation He displays his almighty power, wisdom, tenderness and beauty, yes His entire glory is portrayed by form, sound, smell, taste and touch. He did as we see the shops in the cities doing; having large display windows on the street in which they place all the beautiful articles that are obtainable within that shop. They do this to create a desire in the hearts of passers-by to enter in and buy what they saw. Likewise, God wants man to look at the beauty of nature, then enter into His kingdom to meet with Him and share in his glory.
Let every Christian take time to sometimes stand still and behold the work of God’s hands and let his spirit be restored and refreshed by the sweetness of His being.