Editor’s Note: This article was reprinted with permission from Warren Vanhetloo’s newsletter “Cogitation.”
Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.
It may seem that most of creation had been accomplished in the five days examined thus far. The shape and function of the heavenly bodies and of planet Earth have not been changed in the millennia since day five. Boundaries of the seas have shifted slightly, but what God separated has remained distinct, with a set sea level and land arising to be dry land. Vegetation has covered the earth. A great variety of fish have spread through the waterways. Birds of all sorts freely fly across the face of the land.
It might appear that creation was nearly complete. Yet, as a culmination to all that had preceded, that which was added to this new world on the sixth day was without question the most important. Vegetation and birds were on the land mass. On day six God created land animals and humans to reside on that dry ground. They might penetrate the seas or the sky, but their home would be on the surface of the dirt.
And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after its kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after its kind; and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after its kind, and cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps upon the earth after its kind; and God saw that it was good (Gen. 1:24-25).
1. The fiat (command) creation of animals is recorded in the same manner as the formation of other elements created earlier. God spoke, giving a command. There was no power in the earth to bring forth any animal life. God made the variations and set their reproductive limits, each after his kind. That which was done was just as He had commanded: thusly, just so, fully according to the divine plan.
2. These forms of life were new, having had no previous existence. New Testament revelation makes clear that the One who actually brought different forms of life into the created world was the Son.
3. Three groupings are indicated, some that creep along the ground, some that are wild, and some that are domesticated. All groups contain both large and small animals. All have limited reproductive boundaries.
4. Once more God proclaimed that that which was done was “good.”
And God said, Let us make humankind in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the air and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth (Gen. 1:26).
1. Since in English it is customary to capitalize names and pronouns for God (except who or whom), the verse might more properly be written: And God said, Let Us make humans in Our image, after Our likeness …
2. The “Us” of this mutual conference included Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The angels probably existed already, but had not yet fallen into sin. There was no reason that angels should have been consulted or included.
3. That the eternal Godhead desired to make a human race like unto the Persons of the Godhead indicates that the original plan and status for man was greater than that for angels. Angles had free choice. They were independent agents, and thus similar to God, but lacked full likeness. Mankind by creation was superior to angels, but by sin became lower than the angels.
4. Each human is in the image and likeness of the Creator, but since Adam’s sin, that image has been defaced. The farther man falls into sin, the less he is like God.
5. The stated purpose for the creation of mankind was to have dominion over the entire earth and all that dwell on the earth or in the seas or the sky. Man was thus intended to be supreme lord over creation and all its various forms. Man has never completely fulfilled this assignment. The first pair were placed in a small place to keep it, and failed to do so. Mankind through the centuries has had divine assignment to use minerals of the land, benefits of the sea, and produce of the ground for his own needs, but has not always honored God in that stewardship.
So God created mankind in His own image; in the image of God created He them; male and female created He them (Gen. 1:27).
1. It had been commanded (“Let Us make”), and it was done as commanded. God created (a newness and thus a work of the Son of God), and the first pair of the human race were brought into existence. Details of that formation are further given in chapter two.
2. Some groups of previously created beings were given reproduction patterns of male or female characteristics. The mention of both here is probably to stress that the personality differences of the two are much more significant than the reproductive pattern.
3. Both male and female were from creation made in the image and likeness of God. One was not superior to the other in initial formation, only in assigned tasks.
|Warren Vanhetloo has A.B., B.D., Th.M., Th.D., and D.D. degrees. He served three pastorates in Michigan, taught 20 years at Central Baptist Theological Seminary (Plymouth, MN), taught 23 years at Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary (Lansdale, PA), and is listed as adjunct faculty at Calvary. Retired, he lives in Holland, Michigan. At the urging of fellow faculty and former students, he sends an email newsletter called “Cogitations” to those who request it. You may send e-mail to him at email@example.com.