Creation - The Sixth Day Part 3
Man is God’s Image-Bearer
Genesis 1:26ff tells us that God created man. As we have seen, man is the crowning point in God’s creation activities. God created man “in Our image, according to Our likeness.” The significance of man being created in the image and likeness of God is truly astounding. Psalm 8:5 says, “You crown him with glory and majesty.” The image of God in every human being demands that we deal with every human being with respect, dignity and honor, regardless of our differences and disagreements.
It is because of the image of God in man that God gave us the sixth commandment which says, “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13). “Murder” refers to premeditated murder. (See Exodus 21:12-14). Prior to these passages, God said to Noah and his sons in Genesis 9:5-6, “Surely I will require your lifeblood; from every beast I will require it. And from every man, from every man’s brother I will require the life of man.
6 “Whoever sheds man’s blood,
By man his blood shall be shed,
For in the image of God
He made man.”
The penalty (punishment) for premeditated murder is death. The Divine rationale for the penalty is the image of God in man. First and foremost, the death required is a penalty. The penalty may or may not have a deterrent effect. But deterrence is not the point of the penalty. The point of the penalty is that man is made in the image of God and murder is a direct affront to God Himself.
Man’s Poetic Beginning
We are told by Old Testament Hebrew scholars that vs.27 is the only portion of Genesis 1 that is poetry. The brief poem consists of three lines :
Line 1: “God created man in His own image”.
Line 2: “In the image of God He created him”.
Line 3: “Male and female He created them”.
The creation of mankind is celebrated with poetry. And in Genesis 2:23 we will discover that the man celebrated the creation of the woman with poetry. You would note the Hebrew verb bara, translated “created” is repeated in each line of this brief poem. Line 2 is an inverted repetition of Line 1. Line 3 gives us further information about the creation of man. In Lines 1 & 2 the creation of man is described in singular terms. In Line 3 the plural “them” is used. As previously noted, bara is used only of God. And bara is used three times here to emphasize God’s creation of mankind. The creation of man was not impersonal. God did not speak man into existence. God used His hands to create man.
The Origin of Sexual Identity, Roles and Sexuality
Vs.27 clearly teaches that God created mankind male and female. God created only two genders who are clearly identifiable by their outward form, their sexuality, and their God-given roles. The Hebrew word for “man” is adam. Adam is used to mean generic “man” or “mankind”. Adam is also used to refer to a male human being. (Genesis 2:5,7,8). And Adam became the name of the first man. (Genesis 2:20; 3:17). In creating mankind, God created a male adam and God created a female adam. God created two distinct sexual human beings, one male and one female. You would note in vs.28 that “them” is used twice in referring to the man and the woman. The verse says, “God blessed them; and God said to them.”
The Hebrew words for “male”, zakar, and “female”, neqeba”, particularly express and emphasize human sexuality, sexual distinctions, sexual gender. Zakar describes a biological male as opposed to a biological female. Neqeba describes a biological female as opposed to a biological male. Let it be clear that gender is not a social invention. Gender is not determined by what you feel you are. Gender is not what you decide you are. Gender distinction is God’s intentional design in creating mankind. You would notice that these truths are repeated in Genesis 5:1-2 that marks the beginning of the second section of the book. We read, “This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day when God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. 2 He created them male and female, and He blessed them and named them Man (Adam) in the day when they were created.”
I want you to note also from Matthew 19:4 and Mark 10:6 that Jesus clearly taught that God created mankind and God created them male and female. Jesus used Greek words that emphasize gender. Paul used the same Greek words in Romans 1:26-27 when he wrote,
“For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.”
Very clearly, the gender and biological distinctions are God’s will.
Victor Hamilton wrote, “Sexuality is not an accident of nature, nor is it simply a biological phenomenon. Instead it is a gift of God.” It is part of God’s will for His image bearers. (Genesis, p.138). Richard Phillips wrote, “At the most basic level of every person’s identity, therefore, in addition to our awareness of God and our shared humanity, is gender.” We are either he or she. “This distinction is grounded not in our self-assessment but in our biological and physiological make-up. We did not make ourselves male or female any more than we made ourselves human beings.”
Kenneth Matthews wrote, “Being human means being a sexual person…. There is no place in God’s good order for unisexuality or for any diminishing or confusion of sexual identity. Human sexuality in Genesis is a blessed function in the creative purposes of God, and it is essential for carrying out God’s mandate for humanity.” (Genesis, p.173).
I turn your attention to Deut.22:5 where God said, “A woman shall not wear a man’s clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman’s clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD your God.” What is the issue here? The issue is not clothing per se. The issue is the maintenance of the sanctity and identification of the sexes established by God in the created order. When you look at a man you must see and know immediately that is a man. When you look at a woman you must see and know immediately that is a woman. The failure to maintain the sanctity and identification of the sexes established by God in the created order is an abomination before God. I emphasize : it is an abomination before God.
Very sadly, we are living in abominable times. It is also a time of daring and arrogant rebellion against the Creator and His intentional design for human beings. Such abominable and rebellious conduct has opened the gateway for the outpouring of the wrath of God upon this world. The wrath of God is indeed being revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who are continually suppressing the truth in their rebelliousness against God. (Romans 1:18). As Jesus warned, “Except you repent, you will all perish.” (Luke 13:3, 5). This perishing is the opposite of eternal life in Christ. (John 3:16). Let today be your day of repentance and salvation in Christ.