God’s Crowning Achievement: People

Now we get to God’s crowning achievement: Man. Man is created differently. In fact, he is created so differently that there’s a second chapter in Genesis just to describe the process[1].

It is important to note that God created both male and female humans on day six. But, there is a difference. God created man. The Hebrew is ‘adam, which can mean clay/dirt, a human male, the specific human male Adam, or Mankind. As noted earlier, God doesn’t clarify this specifically, but He does make it clear that the man was created first. This goes right along with chapter two, where the woman is created from the man’s rib.

Some have quipped that after God saw the man He created, He realized how badly He messed up, and made the woman to correct the issue. As a joke, it’s OK, but it’s actually not far off from the truth. But, well check that out when we get to chapter 2.

Note also that when God makes Man, He uses a different structure to describe the action. In all the previous examples of creation, God basically speaks them into existence. But, here God says “Let US make …”. This is a very curious use of the plural word for God, when earlier He exclusively used the singular. Now, this could be because God is using the “majestic plural”, to signify his greatness. But, if that were true, He would have used it throughout the chapter.

No, there has to be a reason for the change. But, don’t fret that it doesn’t make sense, because it took God’s people (first the Israelites, then Christians) well over 4000 years to figure it out. It’s clear NOW that God meant to make sure we knew that He is a plurality. God is triune, meaning three persons in one Godhead. There is still much to understand about God’s triune nature, and we shouldn’t fault people for missing this for four millennia. But, there it is, plain as day: God is a single plural Being.

Why tell us now (on day six)? I think it’s because He transferred some of His glory to man. In fact, the man, we are told, is the image of God Himself. Man is put in charge of all the animals, on land, sea, or in the air. The male is clearly the one responsible for this dominion, but the woman is also included in the description. In other words, when Adam sins, it’s his sin that is the basis for the cursing of the universe. The woman and the serpent get their own curses, but the curse on creation itself is laid squarely on Adam’s shoulders.

What would have happened if Eve sinned, but Adam didn’t? Or, Adam sinned, but Eve didn’t? It’s impossible to know. And, it’s really not all that helpful to see an answer to those questions, because God knew that they would both sin when He created them.

Anyhow, all the above was to give the reason for what’s known as “The Dominion Mandate”: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it, and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:28)

As with the other two times in this chapter, the Dominion Mandate is both a blessing and a command. We have the ability to procreate and rule, and we are also commanded to do so. This means we have the right to control, or rule, over the entire animal kingdom. But, it’s also a huge responsibility. We not only have the authority, we also must rule it properly (i.e. per Godly methods.)


[1] Some have incorrectly proposed that chapter two is a different creation account, and thus that there were two creations. But, this idea doesn’t line up with Scripture very well. In fact, it isn’t stated anywhere else in the Bible, so I don’t think it has any validity at all.