Genesis 1:26 – Then God said, let us make man in our own image, in our own likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.
Genesis 2:7 – The Lord God formed the man from the dust, of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
“The Genesis 2 account of God’s creation of man is introduced with a description of the actions of the God of Israel. Verse 7 begins with the phrase, ” And the Lord God…” This refers to YHWH, the Hebrew name for God. This is “Jehovah Elohim,” the self-existent and supreme God, the Ruler of all. While Genesis 2:7-25 focuses on the human being and the human experience, reverence for the holiness of God stands as the precursor to those events.” (1)
“The phrase “heavens and earth” is found in that order, three times in Genesis 1:1, 2:1 and 2:4. However, Genesis 2:4 then reverses the order and focuses on the human being on earth rather than God in heaven. This signals the shift in God’s emphasis to the human experience (Berlin and Brettler 2004). The shift also shows man’s complete dependence on God. Human origin is God’s responsibility and God is the source of sustenance.” (1)
“The creative act of putting man on earth was a unique operation of God. In verse 7 the words for “man” (Heb.’adam, aw-DAWM) and “ground” (Heb,. ‘adamah, ad-aw-MAW) come from the same root word. Man’s formation from the from the ground indicates God’s ability to make the inanimate animate. God formed, made, and established man by shaping, and fashioning similarly to an artist creating a painting or a potter rendering a piece of art. The basest ingredients God used to create man. These are not spectacular elements. They have no value, no reproductive qualities;yet they are the very items that God uses.” (1)
“God’s interaction with man was a two-fold process. First, God formed man from the dust of the ground. In English, we usually translate the word “dust” as fine particles. A stronger translation of “dust” would be “clods, lumps,of earth, soil or dirt.” This would indicate that God formed man from clumps of dirt.” (1)
“The second phase required God’s breathing into man’s nostrils. Formation of the human species culminated in a physical body, but the “breath of life was the spiritual phenomena that made man a living soul. The phrase “breath of life” means “the breath that gives life.” Until God put His breath into man, man was nothing but a lump of clay that could not move alone. The breath of God was the power that made the difference between the physical man and the spiritual man. Thus, Adam became a living being. Only the divine nature of God can bring that which is without life into life.” (1)
The New International Version of the Bible footnote to Genesis 1:26 teaches this: since human beings are made in God’s image they are all worthy of honor and respect; they are neither to be murdered (Gen 9:6) or cursed (James 3:9-10). (2)
We are living in a time when man is so devalued. We’ve become unwilling to support, care for, or nurture man. We find man being constantly replaced by other means to create life, to do meaningful work, and to take care of the world. Yet, there is a charge given to man by God in Genesis 1:28. What can be done to restore man to his rightful place of value? Jesus gave us two great commandments–to love God with all our hearts and souls and minds and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves. (Matthew 22:34-40)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, give us the courage to begin to show your love to our fellow-man so that your name may be glorified. In the name of Jesus, Amen
1. Price, Cheryl, Carey, Evangeline, Sailes, Rosa. With These Hands, Inspiring a Call to Stewardship for God’s Creation, Urban Ministries, Inc., 2010.
2. The Holy Bible, New International Version, Zondervan, 1973.