Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Created to Have Dominion: The Divine Image and Likeness

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, 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. (Genesis 1:26-27)
You and I were created to have dominion, and that is why God created man in His own image and likeness. There is not another creature in the universe about which this has been said. Only man is said to be created in the divine image and likeness.

The Hebrew words for “image” and “likeness” are synonymous, and speak of resemblance and representation. They are used together to emphasize that man was to be very much like God.

Notice that both Adam and Eve were created in the image of God. When they looked at each other, they would portray the likeness of God to one another. And when God Himself looked at them, He would see His own image reflected back to Him. But that’s not all; they were also to present the image and likeness of God to the earth and all its creatures, so that when they beheld Adam and Eve, they would behold the image of God. For man was created to be a god-like class of being.

God created us to represent and be like Him on the earth. “Let Us make man in Our image, according to our likeness.” Then the purpose follows in the second part of the verse: “Let them have dominion … over all the earth.” We were created in the image and likeness of God — to be like God — so we could have dominion over all the earth, to rule and reign as God’s representatives.

Though this was lost to us in the Fall, when Adam rebelled against God, it is restored to us by the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, and through faith in Him. As Peter said,
His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature. (2 Peter 1:3-4)
Through Jesus Christ, we are once again enabled to partake of the divine nature, and to be God’s representatives on the earth. The rule and reign Adam lost because of sin is restored in Christ:
For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who received abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. (Romans 10:17)
God created man to be His image and likeness, and to have dominion over all the earth.