Who is Man? (Genesis 1:26-31)

2016-Week 2When considering the Foundations of our Faith, one of the most critical questions we can ask is “Who is man?” Who are we? How did we get here? What are we here for? These are all questions to which we, as humans, want answers. But where do we find these answers? We cannot find these answers within ourselves, because we were not present at the creation of humanity nor were we the creators of ourselves.  This means we must go to a source that was breathed out by the One who was present at creation and who is the Creator of humanity. We must look to Creator God, and we must go to Genesis 1.

In Genesis 1 we find a special telling of the creation of man. We’re given in verse 26 what seems to be the conversation of the Godhead amongst the trinity. In this conversation God says,

Let us make man in our image, after our likenessSo God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them…And it was so. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.

There are a couple of things that we can pick up from this conversation of the creation of man.

  1. We Are a Reflection. (Gen. 1:26 – “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.”)

Has there ever been a time, say prom or your first date or your wedding day, when you took some time to look good. Like, pretty good. No. I mean, really good! After you get done fixing yourself up, you take that first look into the mirror and all you can do is say, “WOW! Man, I look good!” That first look in the mirror affirms that all the time and effort you put into your appearance was well worth it. The image in the mirror satisfies the work put in.

This example is exactly what happened when God created man. He created man in His image so that mankind might reflect back to God everything that is beautiful about Himself. We were created as a reflection. You were created as a reflection. And when God looked in the mirrors of Adam and Eve in Genesis, He said within the Trinity, “it was very good.” God looked into the mirror of the first humans, representative of all humans and how we were originally created to be, and God basically said, “WOW! Man, I look good…in them!” God’s first look in the mirror affirmed that the creativity and effort He put into “forming” us was well worth it. The image in the mirror satisfied the work He put in.

  1. Our Primal Identity is Beauty. (Gen. 1:27 – “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him.”)

When God created man, he gave mankind a primal identity. God did not begin with the creation of man by calling him a flop, or shattered, or damaged. Though this is true, too often in evangelical circles we begin by discussing the sinfulness of man, the brokenness of man, and the damaged state of this world. Too often we forget the this is not our primal identity. A primal identity indicates an original distinctive. And the original and distinct fashion in which God formed humanity was “Imago Dei,” in the “image of God.” I like how Jefferson Bethke describes this idea of our primal identity:

“God got particular and creative with us human creatures. He rolled up his sleeves when he made us and declared us to be Imago Dei. Image of God. He did not call us broken, sinner, or failure. (Check Gen. 1:26-27) Which means our primal identity (the one most at the depths of who we are — in our very bones) is one given by the Creator himself. We are his. While it is true that after Genesis 3 we are sinners, we are still made in the image of God, no matter how broken that image is. Beauty is more primal than the curse; and we were children before we were runaways.”

When we skip God’s original creation of man as beautiful in Genesis 1 and skip to Genesis 3, we overlook the one of the most important answers to the question, “Who is man?” The answer found in Genesis 1 is that humanity was created with the primal identity of beauty because we are created in Imago Dei.

To be sure, Adam and Eve sinned when tempted by the serpent, which passed a nature of sinfulness on to the rest of humanity. Not only has sin affected humanity, but also the rest of creation has been placed under the curse of sin. This sin has shattered the mirror of humanity that originally, perfectly reflected the beauty of God. We experience this broken and shattered state daily. The beautiful conclusion of this story is that Christ is making all things new. Jesus declares after establishing the new heavens and new earth in Revelation 21:5:

“Behold, I am making all things new. It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.”

This week’s devotional was written by Kasey Clark. He is the High School Bible Teacher at Traders Point Christian Academy. Kasey is also an aspiring pastor and currently serves as a church planting intern at New Circle Church in Downtown Indianapolis. He loves digging deeper into theology and helping his church family do the same.

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