(26) 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."
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Most people's thinking is limited to what immediately follows, the creation of Adam and Eve. This concentration on them is natural, but it is not the complete story of God's creative purposes. It is only the beginning of God's intention, a first step. His purpose is that we become as fully manifested in His image as He was when He made that pronouncement and remains to this day. The Father and Son are eternal spirit Beings of awesome intellect, character, power, and purpose.
We find another clue to God's intention in Genesis 3:22after Adam and Eve had eaten of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. God says, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever. . . .”
Do we catch the full effect of what God says here? He implies that from the beginning, He has intended that mankind live forever! He means “forever” even as He and the Son live forever. The tree, of course, was only a symbol, and its fruit would not literally impart everlasting life. However, from the very beginning, it was His ultimate purpose that, when His creative efforts are complete, those whom He created would live forever in His image. The creative methods God must employ to ensure that we will live as God lives are the most difficult and time-consuming part of His operation.
Genesis 17:7 provides further evidence as God reaffirms His covenant with Abraham, adding circumcision as the outward sign of the inner intention to be faithful to it: “And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.” For them to enjoy everlasting possession of the inheritance, they must also have everlasting life! No matter where we search, except for Christ Himself, no human yet has lived an everlasting life.
We have progressed through only the first seventeen chapters of the first book, and significant clues about what God has been and continues doing stand revealed. Do we believe them?
We often fail to give much consideration to—and thus overlook to our detriment—that this universe is God's creation. It did not arise from nothing. From within Himself, God designed it and gave it shape and life. Equally important, He governs His creation. He has overseen and administered it from the moment it came into existence. He brought it into existence in a massive operation through His Companion, the One the Bible reveals as Jesus Christ, the Word. The problem is not that God has failed to communicate these truths, but that we fail to believe Him or take what He says seriously enough to do something about His revelation.
The Creator God is carrying out what every living thing does, except for the angels, whom He also created through Christ. In His case, He is systematically reproducing Himself. He is expanding into a Family in His image to share what He is and does with others of His eternal kind.
— John W. Ritenbaugh
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