Q. 10. How Did God create man?
A. God created man male and female, after his own image, in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, with dominion over the creatures.
“Then 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 birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth."" (Gen 1:26-28)
See also Psalm 8
"[Jesus Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.” (Col 1:15)
“Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” (Col 3:9-10)
"[Jesus Christ] is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.” (Heb 1:3-4)
There are some things about us only God can say. They are such unimaginably great things that if they were said by a mere man, be they revered theologians such as Augustine or Calvin, if not for the fact that God himself has said it, we would have to say they are blasphemous. For example, “The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.” (Rev 3:21) No way! We get to sit with Jesus on his throne? Who can say this but God? If Calvin had said so, we would have said he was out of his mind. But these incredible words, which elevate man higher than he can dare dream, come from the Lord. At the end of our history, when God’s work is done, we will sit with Jesus on his throne!
What is just as amazing is that the wonder which will be man’s at the end of the world was his at the beginning of the world. Man (male and female) was created in God’s image! Think about that for a moment (or for an eternity). The closest thing to man is not any creatures of this world, but God? We are, in the totality of our being, somehow, and in some sense, like God? We, the creatures of the dust, are God’s highest workmanship? Can it be when the angels look at us, they marvel that God is better pictured in us than in them?
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” We have read these words so many times. But do you ever stop to wonder what an amazing thing it is for man to be created in God’s image? Again, if it had been Calvin (I can't think of a greater source of godly wisdom) who said this, we would have said his great learning had driven him mad. But God himself poured into man, male and female, unspeakable and unimaginable worth by creating them in his image.
So what is the image of God in man? This is a complicated question, especially if we try to look at the fallen and sinful man, and try to deduce from therein what God is like. A better way to understand God’s image is to see the One man who was not touched by sin’s corruptions. That is, if we want to understand God’s image, we have to look at Jesus, who is the image of the invisible God (Col 1:15), the radiance of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s nature (Heb 1:3-4). Jesus is both the origin of man’s creation in God’s image as well as man’s aim, for saved sinners are being renewed in his image (Col 3:9-10).
We see in Jesus God’s perfect image, in knowledge, righteousness, holiness, and dominion over the creatures. This in turn helps us to understand the glory which God bestowed upon man when he created him in his image. Adam and Eve were created to reflect God’s attributes and glory, as much as it was possible for finite creatures to reflect the infinite Creator. Their creation in God’s image also means a special kind of fellowship with God, a kind of relationship God shares with no other creatures. The perfect image of God in Jesus Christ also includes the unique bond of love the Father and the Son share. In many ways, that was also true of God and Adam in Eden, and it will be true of us in heaven. For in heaven we will be invited into the special relationship of love between the Father and the Son and the Spirit through our union with Jesus Christ. In short, God created Adam and Even and bestowed upon them a high and distinct privilege, one which should not have been considered so lightly.
Our study of the Shorter Catechism will soon begin to lead us to consider man’s fall. So remember the height from which man fell. Remember the glory which man so arrogantly disdained. Otherwise, sin will always be a light matter. Then remember how God rescues sinners from the depths of their depravity, to once again lift them up to glory in the atoning death and the resurrection of his son Jesus Christ.