|Topical Bible Study||August 1961|
God’s Plan for Man—Lesson I
The Creation of Man
THE six “creative days” referred to in the opening chapter of the Book of Genesis do not appertain to the original work of creating the universe, but to the preparation of our earth to sustain life, particularly human life. We are informed that the earth already existed prior to the beginning of these “days” of creation.*—Gen. 1:2
* “The New Creation,” page 18, paragraph 1.
These days were in reality long eras of time during which the gradual preparation of the earth for human habitation was carried forward. It was toward the close of the sixth “day” that man was created, in the image of God, and commanded to multiply and fill the earth. (Gen. 1:26-31; 2:7) The “image of God” in which man was created does not mean a physical, but a moral likeness. Man was endowed with the ability to reason and to understand God’s instructions concerning right and wrong, good and evil.*
* “The New Creation,” page 39.
Being created in the image of God does not imply that man was endowed with immortality, nor does it mean that an “immortal soul” was implanted somewhere in the human organism. The expression “immortal soul” does not appear anywhere in the Bible. The word soul simply means a living being. The living being, Adam, was made up of an organism animated by “the breath of life.”*—Gen. 1:26-31; 2:7
* “The Atonement Between God and Man,” pages 307, 308.
God’s commission to our first parents to multiply and fill the earth reveals that the divine destiny for man was that he should inhabit the earth, which had been created to be his abiding home. (Isa. 45:18) Man was created an earthly being, and perfectly adapted to the home God had prepared for him in the earth. (I Cor. 15:47) Nothing was said to our first parents about being transferred to another part of the universe.
Man was given dominion over the earth, and over the lower animals. (Ps. 8:4-8) He was to “subdue” the earth, meaning that he was to bring it under his control and make it beautiful, useful, and productive. In the garden home which the Creator provided for our first parents there was both beauty and an abundant supply of life-sustaining food.—Gen. 2:8,9
It may be assumed that this marvelous garden home was designed by God to serve as a sort of working model for man as he endeavored to fulfill the commission given to him to fill the earth with his offspring, and to “subdue” it. And it is not difficult to imagine what the situation would have been had the divine purpose been carried out in keeping with the Creator’s arrangements.
As the human family increased in number, that garden home which God specially prepared “eastward in Eden” soon would have been too small, so its borders would have been extended as the need required. This would have continued until the entire earth would have become one vast paradise, filled with a perfect and happy human family enjoying continuous perfect health and life, rejoicing in the sunshine of the Creator’s smile. This was God’s purpose in the creation of man.
In order to understand the plan of God for human salvation from sin and death it is essential to know the divine purpose in the creation of man. Can you answer these questions?
Is it the original creation of the universe that is described in the1st chapter of Genesis?
Were the “creative days” of Genesis twenty-four hour periods?
In what sense was man created in the image of God?
Was man created immortal, or given an “immortal soul”? What is a human soul?
What was implied by God’s command to fill the earth, and to have dominion over it?
Explain what the human race would have experienced had the Creator’s will been carried out without interruption.
SUMMARY OF IMPORTANT THOUGHTS
Man was created in the moral image of God, endowed with the ability to know right from wrong. He was commissioned to multiply and fill the earth, which God created to be his eternal home.