We find detail concerning the Creation of man in Genesis 2. We find in Genesis 1 the conference of the members of the Godhead in deciding to Create man. The Bible says, And 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 fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 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, 27] There are a couple of things in this these two verses that I would like to point out.
First, by the use in the text of the personal plural pronouns, “us”, and “our” we find intimated the Trinity, or “Tri-unity” of God. Secondly, we see that man was created in the “image” and “likeness” of God. What exactly does that mean? One thing it clearly does not mean is that man was created in the physical image and likeness of God. Why do we say that? Because God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit have no physical form. It was only in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ that we see Him taking on a body so that He could come in the form of sinful man (although He was absolutely without sin), to purchase our redemption. He was “the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” [Col. 2:9]
What are we to do then with the physical attributes that are given to God in the Bible? For example, hands, feet, eyes, etc. In theology we refer to these references as anthropomorphisms. That is, attributing physical characteristics to a deity. These references are used really to better enable us to understand and relate to God. So is God just a wisp or some ethereal entity? No, God is Spirit [See John 4:24]. His truest essence is that He is Spirit. He has a spiritual body. Don’t misunderstand please. I am not suggesting, as is taught in the Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible that all three members of the Trinity have a personal spirit, soul, and body. This has given rise to some strange teachings, not the least of which were the teachings of Benny Hinn in his bestselling book, “Good Morning, Holy Spirit” published by Thomas Nelson Publishers. (In all fairness after being confronted about the doctrinal errors in the book, Hinn did revise the book and in Nelson’s eighth printing of the book these corrections were included though not acknowledged as having been made.)
I am just stating the truth of 1 Corinthians 15:44, that there are spiritual bodies that are not the same as physical bodies. So while God has substance, He does not have form as we understand such. So what is Genesis 1:26, 27 teaching then? We are in the “image” and “likeness” of God so that we can enjoy fellowship with Him. It does not imply that we are gods or can ever become gods. The Hebrew word translated, image is, tselem. It is from an unused root meaning, “to shade, a phantom, (figuratively) illusion, resemblance; hence a representative figure, such as a statue or in a negative context, an idol.” It never means, “an exact duplicate of kind” as has been taught in some circles. “Likeness” is the Hebrew, demuth, and it carries the meaning of “likeness, similitude.” We are in the moral and spiritual image and likeness of God. It should never be thought of in a physical connotation.
Why are we taking so much space to address the Creation of man? Because in studying the first Dispensation, the Dispensation of Innocence, we begin with the Creation of man. Genesis 2:7 gives a detailed account of how God accomplished this.
And 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. [Gen. 2:7] There are several salient Hebrew words in this passage that I want to call your attention to. First, the word translated, “formed” is the Hebrew word, yatsar, and it is “formed” in the sense of a potter forming a lump of clay on the potter’s wheel. The second is adamah, it is literally, “soil, or red earth”, from which of course Adam derived his name. God actually formed the body of man from dust. He formed the bodies of the animals in much the same manner. [See Gen. 2:19]
The truly unique thing however in the creation of man that separated him from the animals was the infusion of the Spirit of God. When Adam breathed his first breath from the mouth of the Almighty, he became a living soul. This is a picture of the Triune God in operation. Man is a triunity of body, soul, and spirit. Man has a body, he acquires a soul, but he is a spirit, even as “God is a Spirit” [John 4:24]. God first molded a lifeless body out of the ground, and then breathed into it “the breath of lives” (the Hebrew is plural). The breath of life became the spirit of man, which gave him life [See James 2:26, John 6:63].
When God placed the spirit within the body, the result produced a third part, and man became a living soul. This may explain the plural “breath of lives.” The inbreathing of God became the spirit, and simultaneously, but its action upon the body, produced the soul. Therefore, man is a tri-chotomous being, body, soul, and spirit.
Adam was created with an intelligence far superior to that of fallen man, for the Bible says, And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. [Gen. 2:19] This speaks of the superior intelligence of Adam to fallen man. The names he gave the animals incorporate every characteristic of each creature, and these names have come down to us today. It was in this perfected state that God took Adam and “put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. “ [Gen. 2:15] After Adam had surveyed all of the beautiful garden of Eden and the animal kingdom, it became evident to him that “there was not found an help meet for him.”
And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. [Gen. 2:18, 21 – 23] We see then that the man and the woman were created on the sixth day of Creation, Adam being in existence only a few hours before God formed his wife. Their perfection and innocence are described by the fact that they were both naked and were not ashamed [Gen. 2:25]. No doubt, they were clothed with the Shekina Glory of God.
The Dispensation of Innocence is named due to the fact that this was a period of time when man was responsible to God in total sinlessness, innocence, and freedom from guilt. The length of this Dispensation, although not expressly stated, could not have been more than six days. Why do I say that? There are several reasons:
- Only one Sabbath day’s rest is recorded (Gen. 2:2).
- Satan, undoubtedly, would have been swift to bring temptation before man.
- Adam and Eve had not consummated their relationship (Gen. 4:1).
- There had not been sufficient enough time for either of them to visit the Tree of Life (Gen. 3:24).
Adam and Eve not only were created supremely intelligent, but also were created with free moral agency, the ability to choose right from wrong. They were not mere puppets controlled by God; they were given the capacity to think and to reason for themselves. This was also true, incidentally, of the Angels and the inhabitants of the original perfect Earth (Isa. 14:12 – 14; Ezek. 28:14 – 17). Man was a replica of God in soul and spirit faculties. The Lord placed in the spirit of man the principle and power of obedience, and made a Covenant with him contingent on man’s obedience. This Covenant is often referred to as the Edenic Covenant.
This Covenant was given by God to govern the life of man in his unfallen state. The terms were simple:
- To be fruitful and multiply and replenish the Earth (Gen. 1:28).
- To subdue the Earth and have dominion over the animal kingdom (Gen. 1:28).
- To be vegetarian, eating only herbs and fruit (Gen. 1:29).
- To dress and keep the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:15).
- To abstain from eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, under the penalty of death (Gen. 2:17).
I want to point out the fact that the command to “replenish” the Earth does not necessarily mean to populate the Earth a second time. The Hebrew word used is, mala, which simply means “to fill”. It is interesting to note however, that the translators chose this word, and also used it in Genesis 9:1 where God commanded Noah to “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” Is it possible that the translators of The King James Version had an understanding of the pre-Adamic Earth and, therefore, chose the word “replenish” as the translation of mala rather than simply “to fill”? It seems only logical that the specific word used in reference to Noah’s repopulating the Earth would carry the same connotation in reference to Adam and Eve.
We will finish our look at the Dispensation of Innocence next time.