And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. – Genesis 1:24-25
So what does this all mean? Why would God want to make us in His image? Was He bored with seeing angels and spirits, or did He just need a new form of entertainment as some atheists cynically argue? I will like to share with you why I think He did so.
The heavens and the earth, the celestial bodies, and all living things declare the glory of God. After each day’s work, God would take time out to evaluate His work and proclaim it to be good. It was beautiful. Everything He made spoke of His heart, of His grace, power, and wisdom. However, none of all these grand creatures is ever called godly or god-like. They all reveal the majesty of God, not God himself.
God needed a channel through which creation could see and understand Him, a visible representation of an invisible God. He needed a vessel through which He could explain the concept of the trinity, love, sacrifice, and leadership to all creation. To fulfill this role, the vessel must be in the image of God and be like Him—hence Genesis 1:26- 27. He must have a free will, emotions, the ability to reason, and be decisive (Genesis 2:19-20 and 2:23). He would make man in His image and breathe a part of Him into his nostrils, and in so doing, to fill him with the life of God.
That breath of God dwelt in Adam and was what linked the mortal to the eternal, making them one (1 Corinthians 6:17). Whenever the rest of creation saw this being called man, they would see the life of God in him and submit to him (Genesis 1:28). In 2 Corinthians 3:1-3, the Bible describes us as the epistle (letter) of Christ written by the Holy Spirit to be read by men. The world cannot see or know God, but they see and know us. The deaf will be able to hear God through the echoes of our lives. The blind will see God through the light emitted when we live the Word of God. The cripple will receive life into their lifeless body through the warmth and joy we spread by godly living. We are the letter to these people written in God’s handwriting. What does this letter say? – God is, and He rewards those who diligently seek him (Hebrews 11:6).
Male and Female?
In the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. – Genesis 1:27
Now here is a fascinating concept. The first reference to Man is to “him” (singular) and then to “them” (plural). If the image of God means the spirit, soul, and body as earlier discussed, then that image is the same regardless of gender. So why did God make two genders and which one of them represents God’s gender? Considering that the Bible talks about patriarchs (not matriarchs), calls God our Father (not mother), and because I am a man, I would like to vote in favor of a male God. The reality, however, is that God has no gender.
Having a male and female is practical for procreation, but more importantly, together they bear the likeness of God. Now what do I mean by that? There are characteristics of God that are mostly lacking in men, such as the nurturing side. This is the softer side of God that exhibits jealous protection over His children, a feature we commonly assign to motherhood. The Holy Spirit is often depicted as a gentle, harmless, and easily grieved dove or of a faithful widow mourning her love long after he is gone. This is an aspect of God not commonly found among men.
I know it sounds chauvinistic, but is there a love greater than a mother’s love? I certainly have not seen any—except in Christ. Even Christ used the example of a hen trying to gather her chicks to illustrate how God tries to gather Israel to Himself. Why didn’t He use the example of a rooster? He did not, because the desire to gather under one’s protective wing is a feminine virtue.
No man or woman is complete in him or herself, but each would complement the other. Together, they are the perfect likeness of God. Where one is deficient, the other is sufficient, so when one falls, the other will lift them up (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10). Each is a helpmate for the other, giving strength to one another. Together they unleash a power greater than the sum of their independent abilities. The union of male and female goes far beyond just physical comfort. There is a joining of the soul, of visions, and of aspirations. It is a union that is not easily broken except by an extremely hardened heart. It is one of several reasons why God hates divorce and why the Bible warns against being joined to a harlot (I Corinthians 6:16).
When a man is married to a believing woman, his spiritual state is elevated and new spiritual possibilities are attainable. By finding a wife, he finds a good thing and the favor of God comes upon him in new measures (Proverbs 18:22). It is also worth noting 1 Timothy 3:1-2 states that the desire to be a bishop is a good thing, but marriage is a requirement. I believe this requirement exists not just so the man can avoid possible temptation, but because there is more spiritual support and power available through their union. I can almost hear some say, “What about apostle Paul? He was never married and he certainly had power.” To that I can only say: imagine how much further he could have gone had he had a helpmate.