Studies in Genesis 1
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. (Genesis 1:26 ESV)
Here are a few observations about God gleaned from Genesis 1, supported by the rest of Scripture. We will look at these characteristics of God individually in the future. For now, these characteristics will help us understand the image of God given Man. His image is not an exact representation but enough of a likeness for us to recognize God’s character in Man.
God is eternal. He is not created but is the Creator. He was before the beginning and will continue to exist after the ending. God is self-existent.
Man is created in the likeness and the image of God. Man is not and eternal being in the same way as God but created, coming into existence by divine fiat. Though Man has a beginning he does not have an ending. Where space and time will cease to exist, Man will continue to exist in eternity.
God is spirit. He is not physical, nor is He constrained by space and time. As the Creator He created space and all matter and brought into existence time and history.
Man is physical yet has a spirit. Not the motivation or drive we call spirit but the breath of life given by God as part of Man’s eternal character. Though the physical body will cease to exist the spiritual man will continue to exist in eternity.
God is transcendent. God can move into the created, physical universe and out again at His will because He has supereminence.
Man is bound by the constraints of the physical universe. His existence, while in the universe, means he cannot move out of the universe. He is bound by the physical and natural laws of creation. Yet, once again, Man will move from the physical universe into eternity at the will of God.
God is omnipotent, all powerful, placing every atom where He wants to accomplish what He wants. He created all matter out of nothing, ex nihilo. He then created all things out of created material.
Man’s power is limited and comes in conjunction with all of the characteristics of the given image of God. Man cannot create but can make. Man is capable of making that which serves him out of existing material.
God is omniscient. From the beginning He knows the direction and purpose of what is created. He knows all things. He knows Himself.
Man is conscious, aware of his surroundings and capable of discerning purpose and function through observation and experimentation. Man is able to grow in his knowledge of God but never completely know his Creator.
God is omnipresent. He exists outside of creation but is throughout His creation, distinct yet present.
Man is present and makes his presence known through his works. God placed Man on the Earth He created for Man. Everything God did in the universe and on the Earth was designed for Man.
God is sovereign. All of creation comes under His authority and is owned by Him. He is owned by no one and directed by nothing.
Man is given limited control over the Earth and life on Earth, which is part of the environment of God’s creation given for him. Man cannot suspend or override the natural laws of the universe. This is a prerogative of God, the Creator.
These are only some of the characteristics of God and comprise a foundation for understanding the image of God given Man. They are not part of but are necessary to the image of God given Man.