The Beginning - Part VII
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” —Genesis 1:27-31
Some preachers misunderstand what seems to be morality evidenced in the lives of unbelievers. However, let all know and understand that any and all morality shown in the doings of unbelievers is strictly from the influence of biblical Christianity. If one looks at the nations of the world that have had little teaching regarding biblical Christianity, one will find that interest is shown in others only as it benefits self-interest.
For the spiritual connection of man to once again be reestablished with God, man must be born again. Jesus said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (Jn. 3:3). For this great work to be carried out in man, a tremendous plan had to be put into effect, in fact, a plan that originated even before the foundation of the world (I Pet. 1:18–20).
God would have to become man, which He did, and literally die on a Cross in order for the terrible problem of sin to be properly addressed. When Jesus died on the Cross, He addressed every single thing that man lost in the fall. Admittedly, at the present, we only have the firstfruits of that which Jesus did, with the balance coming at the resurrection; however, we must never forget that it took the Cross to address the situation. Only through faith in Christ and what He did at the Cross, all on our behalf, can we regain what was lost—the image and likeness of God.
“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 upon the earth” (Gen. 1:26).
This proclaims two things:
Incidentally, the word man in this verse actually means “mankind”; hence, the word them.
This dominion that God gave unto man was meant to be carried on in a responsible way; however, the fall, while not taking away this dominion, did cause man to warp and twist that which God intended.
- This dominion was given by God to man.
- The relationship of man to the rest of creation is now defined to be one of rule and supremacy. The sphere of his lordship is from the lowest to the highest of the subjects placed beneath his sway.
Once again, even in this enlightened age, when you go to the nations of the world that little know God, you find a rape of the land and the resources, irrespective of what kind, to be appalling!
Dominion And Self
When we carry the word dominion to its full length, it should be understood that it is dominion under God; however, as a free moral agent, man could do with this dominion what he liked.
The fall resulted in Satan gaining a dominion over man, which means that man has lost the greater part of this dominion. Satan is now “the god of this world (who) has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (II Cor. 4:4).
At the fall, man lost dominion over self, which means that he is no longer ruled by God, but rather by his own passions, and passions, we might quickly say, that are evil. That’s why Paul constantly spoke of our own personal strength and efforts as “the flesh” (Rom. 8:1, 8).
As someone has rightly said, “When Jesus died on the Cross, He did so not only to save us from sin but, as well, to save us from self.” The only way that dominion over self, which is the first requirement of all, can be regained is by the person first of all being born again and then continuing to look exclusively to the Cross for all things.
That’s what Jesus was talking about when He said: “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his Cross daily, and follow Me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for My sake, the same shall save it” (Lk. 9:23–24).
Taking Up The Cross Daily
Most Christians misunderstand this statement made by Christ.
When He spoke of denying self, He wasn’t speaking of asceticism, which is the denial of all things that are pleasurable or comfortable. He was speaking of denying self in the capacity of our own strength and ability, meaning that we understand that we cannot live this life by our own means. We can only do so as Christ lives through us.
When He spoke of taking up the Cross daily and following Him, He wasn’t meaning suffering, as most Christians think. He was meaning that every single blessing we receive from the Lord—every good thing—all and without exception, come through the finished work of Christ on the Cross. Consequently, even on a daily basis, we are to draw down these benefits of what Jesus did at the Cross. That’s the way we live and maintain our victory.
When He spoke of saving our lives and, thereby, losing them, He was meaning that if we try to live for God by our own machinations and ability, instead of saving our lives, we will actually lose them. However, when we lose our lives for His sake, meaning that we give it all to Him and trust completely in what Christ did at the Cross on our behalf, then we save our lives. It’s just that simple! It is all in Christ, and if it’s not in Christ, there is no proper dominion over self.
Paul said,“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).
Male And Female
“So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them” (Gen. 1:27).
As far as we know, this represents the first time that God has created the female gender, at least as it regards intelligent beings. There is no record of any female angels.
The threefold repetition of the word created should be observed as a distinct rebuttal against the mindless philosophy of evolution.
Evolution teaches that man is gradually evolving into something better and better, while creationism teaches that man has rather fallen from his high beginning.
As well, the Holy Spirit here through Moses not only speaks of creation some three times, but, also, some three times He makes mention of man created in the image of God. As stated, that image, however, was lost at the fall.
Martin Luther said the following, which I repeat:
But now it is the purpose of the gospel to restore this divine image. By faith we are born again unto eternal life, or let me rather say, to the hope of eternal life, so that we live in God and with Him, and are one with Him, as Christ says. But we are not only born again unto eternal life, but also unto righteousness, for our faith receives the merit of Christ, as we steadfastly believe that we are ransomed through His death. To this must be added another righteousness or image of God, according to which, instructed by the divine Word, we diligently try, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to render obedience to God. But this righteousness merely begins in this life; because of the corruption of our nature it can never become perfect. Yet God is pleased with it, not as though it were perfect or an atonement for our sin, but because it flows from a sincere heart, which, endowed by faith, trusts in God’s mercy for Christ’s sake.
Through the gospel we receive also the Holy Spirit, who wars against the unbelief, envy and other vices in us and makes us earnestly strive to honor God and His Word. Thus there begins in this life the restoration of the divine image through the gospel, though this is never fully accomplished here upon earth. But when it will be accomplished in the heavenly kingdom of God, then our will shall be perfectly free from sin, and perfectly good, and our intellect will be perfectly enlightened, and the memory will be absolutely unfailing.
The Blessing Of God
“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth” (Gen. 1:28).
This proclaims the blessing of God, which is the very opposite of the curse.
In the word multiply, we have the meaning of procreation.
When God created the angels, every evidence is that He created all of them at the same time. In other words, there’s never been such a thing as a baby angel. However, when He created mankind, He created them male and female and gave them the power of procreation, which refers to the ability to bring offspring into the world.
In fact, it was the intention of God that these offspring would be sons of God, and, thereby, continue in the image of God; however, the fall ruined that in that offspring now are brought into the world in the likeness of Adam, with all of its attendant misery, and not like God (Gen. 5:3).
The word replenish is thought by some to point to a former creation on the earth before Adam and Eve.
According to Isaiah, Chapter 14, and Ezekiel, Chapter 28, Lucifer ruled this world for an undetermined period of time, and did so in righteousness and holiness as a beautiful angel created by God. This was in the dateless past, as stated, before Adam and Eve.
If, in fact, he did rule this world at that time, it would stand to reason that there had to be some type of creation on the earth for him to rule. Some believe that the word replenish is referring to that creation.
When Lucifer fell, this creation, whatever it was, threw in its lot with him, as did approximately one-third of the angels. In fact, some think that demon spirits are actually the spirits of this fallen creation. One thing is certain: Demon spirits aren’t fallen angels. Fallen angels have spirit bodies, and demon spirits have no bodies at all, but seek to inhabit a body, whether animal or man.
As is obvious, the Bible doesn’t give us much information on this inasmuch as the Bible is the story of the creation, fall, and redemption of man and not angels, etc. But yet, what little it does say in this respect lends credence to the idea of what we have just stated.
“And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creeps upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so,” (Gen. 1:29-30).
This passage refers to the fact that both animals and mankind were vegetarians before the fall. Incidentally, this was changed after the flood (Gen. 9:3).
Of the three classes into which the vegetable creation was divided—grass, herbs, and trees—the last two were assigned to man for food.
We are told in verse 30 that the green grass was given to the animal kingdom for food. The phrase, “Every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creeps upon the earth,” tells us that the animals were not originally created as predators.
In other words, all animals were then vegetarian, as well, which means that all, and not just some, were docile.
That means that the lamb and the lion played together exactly as they will do again in the coming kingdom age (Isa. 11:6–8).
“And God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day” (Gen. 1:31).
This means that it was not simply good, but good exceedingly. It is not man alone that God surveys but the completed cosmos, with man as its crown and glory.
By using such terminology, God has hereby set us an example of reviewing our works.
Having given us a power of reflection, He expects that we should use that power. When we have finished a day’s work and are entering upon the rest of the night, we should commune with our own hearts about what we have done that day.
However, when we come to review our works, we find so often that to our shame, much has been very bad; but when God reviewed His work, all was very good.
The Sixth Day
In six days, God brought the world back to a habitable state, plus He created plant life, the animal kingdom, and mankind.
From this, we are not to think that God couldn’t have perfected this work in a much shorter period of time. Actually, due to the fact that He is almighty and all-knowing, He could have spoken it into existence in a moment’s time. However, He did it in this way, taking some six days, in order that we might see His wisdom, power, goodness, and order.
We find from this that God’s government extends even to His creation, and above all to His creation. Government demands order, and God’s order is perfect, thereby, meaning that His government is perfect as well.
Matthew Henry said, and I concur, “Thus ends a chapter containing the most extensive, the most profound, and most sublime truths that can possibly come within the reach of the human understanding.”
This article is an excerpt from the book 'The Fall Of Man' by Jimmy Swaggart.