It is important to go back to where it all began (in Genesis Ch1-2) to understand how everything came to be before exploring the current state of things and where it is all headed.

In Genesis 1-2 the Bible introduces the living God to the world through his act of creating the universe. It is through the creation process that God sets out the conditions for his relationship with the universe. This makes Genesis 1-2 the most important depiction of what mankind was created to be in the undefiled order of the universe (in God), before Adam tainted himself and his entire union with sin. These two chapters provide the necessary context for everything that happens in the bible (why God’s plan for salvation has to happen the way it does).

Genesis 1

It was no accident that the universe ended up the way it did, even the order that God chose to create each part of creation on each day represents rational deliberate action. An example of the deliberateness of creation can be seen in the simple fact that each subsequent day requires those things that were created the days before to exist (e.g. dry land before plants, plants before animals, etc). Therefore a complete environment is created, ready for humanity, on the first five days.

Furthermore at the end of each day of creation God shows his approval of his work, declaring it to be “good”. The judgements at the end of each of the first five days are not an assessment of what was created on that day only. God’s judgements are assessments of a work in progress, the total work done on each day and the previous days. Yet after mankind (man and woman) takes its place in the order of creation God’s final judgement is one of resounding approval, judging the entire order of creation as “very good”. So what is the difference between the completed work and the individual parts/work in progress?

God’s approval is based on the union, harmony and consistency between himself (the one true God) and his creation. Without any other standard to measure creation by God can only be seen to be using himself as a benchmark. Therefore “good” can be understood as God declaring that creation reflects who he is. This means that when he judges creation to be “very good” (at the end of the sixth day) he is declaring that the sum of all the parts more fully reflects who he is. In this way the unity of God can be seen in creation, with each part of creation made to fulfil a specific purpose, a functioning part of a greater whole. Nowhere in creation is this more evident than in mankind.

In Genesis 1:26 God declares that he will create mankind in his image. It is in this resolution that the Bible reveals the most important key to understanding the nature of God’s union.

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

(Genesis 1:26-27 ESV)

Mankind was created in the image of God; this simple fact is vital to understanding who God is, the original order of the universe and humanity’s place in it. There is nothing more important in informing humanity about its collective and individual identity than knowing God. So far, in Genesis 1, God has revealed that he is:
• Creator and judge of all things
• Good
• Ordered, structured and logical, and
• Many (more than 1) united in image and purpose.

Therefore when God says that he will create mankind in his own image (good) it is expected that he will create them ordered, united in image and purpose (more so than anywhere else in creation).

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
(Genesis 1:27 ESV)

This passage reveals that the union of man reflects the image of God in the following ways:
• The use of the plural for God implies that humanity was made in God’s collective image,
• The use of both singular and plural for man implies that the image of God is reflected in the union of distinctive members (man and woman). i.e. humanity is not made up of homogeneous members.

Therefore God’s image can be seen in humanity as a whole and in the distinctiveness of its members (man and woman). This is the first indication that the unity and diversity in mankind in some way reflects the unity and diversity of God.

Note:This does not mean that mankind is included in the Trinity because God himself clearly distinguishes mankind as separate from himself in the following ways:
• He calls them man not God,
• God does not declare that he will be changing himself but instead that he will be creating man in his own likeness,
• Man did not participate in the creation process. Meaning man’s perspective on his role in creation can only be understood from within creation, with respect to God. Whereas God, who is creator, knows his place with respect to himself and his act of creation, a perspective outside of creation.

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