Key Verse: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
Genesis 1:26-31; 2:4-7
IT WAS IN PREPARATION for man that the work of the first five creative epochs, and a portion of the sixth, had been carried forward. Man was to be appointed king of earth as the Scriptures set forth. (Gen. 1:26,28) Therefore we may reasonably assume that it was toward the close of the sixth epoch day that God created man.
In describing the creation of man, the Scriptures use a very different expression from that employed to explain the previous creative processes. It is not, “Let the earth bring forth,” as in the case of the lower animals. Instead, it is “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” (vs. 26) This language, and that of our Key Verse, permits no interpretation concerning the creation of man as occurring through an evolutionary process.
The expressions “our image” and “our likeness” call attention to the fact that God’s only begotten Son in his prehuman existence, the “Word of God,” was with the Heavenly Father and took an active part in the creative work. (John 1:1,2, Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott) Indeed, God gave power to his Son to create all things. (John 1:3; Rev. 4:11) Man was not created in the physical image of God, but in more important ways. He was endowed with the gift of speech and was able to reason rather than to be guided merely by instinct. He was given the ability to discern between right and wrong, and a conscience to guide him. No other members of the animal kingdom enjoyed these blessings from the Creator.
Not only was man created in the image of God, but he was also blessed with the faculty of worship. This ability, more than any other, separates him from the lower animals. This is one of the qualities in which the image of God is reflected in him. He was so constituted as to have a natural desire to reverence and serve his Creator.
Our Key Verse also points out that God created them “male and female” because human perfection could not be represented in the full sense by one of the sexes, but by them both unitedly. Together, they were fitted to rule over the beasts of the field, and God blessed them with earthly dominion in which they would both participate. His instructions were to “be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion.” (Gen. 1:28) God’s purpose for man was thus shown to fill the earth and rule it as God ruled the universe.
In Genesis 2:4-7 we have more detail given with regard to the creation of man. Verse 4 begins a second account of the work of creation, not a second creative week, as some have tried to force upon its narrative. The detailed statement of verse 7 clarifies the creation of human life. There we read, “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.” What God formed out of dust was man’s physical body which consists of a combination of the elements found in the earth. The Apostle Paul verifies that “the first man is of the earth, earthy.” (I Cor. 15:47) Man came alive when God breathed into the body formed from the elements the breath of life. Man then became a living soul. He did not receive a soul from God, but became a soul, as clearly stated in verse 7 of the scriptural account.