God's will for our life is to be formed into the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29) and filled with His Spirit. (Eph. 5:18) In the creation account we see God now filling His creation that He previously shaped and formed into order and function. Last month in verses 3- 10 we looked at God forming, naming and separating the sky, land and seas and now He fills them. The sky is filled with the sun, moon and stars ("and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years" – vv. 14-18), the seas are filled with sea creatures ("the water teem with living creatures" – vv. 20-21) the land is filled with vegetation and animals ("seed-bearing plants and trees" and "livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind." – vv. 11-12, 24 ; these are 1) domesticated animals – "behemah" – cattle, livestock; 2) wild herd animals – "hayya" – creatures that move along the ground – prey; and 3) predatory animals – "remes" – beasts, wild animals). The sky is also filled with birds "every winged bird according to its kind" – v. 2. Man rules over God's creation so we are not to worship the sun and moon as the ancients did and some do today. We are not to look to the stars for guidance (astrology) but to the One who made them. "To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?" says the Holy One. Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing." (Isa. 40:25-26)
So we see that God both names (sky, land, seas etc.) and separates – which we are to apply to our lives morally and spiritually. "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness."(Isa. 5:20) "Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty. Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God." (2 Cor. 6:17-7:1)
"Then God (Elohim) said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." So God created ("bara") man in his own image, ("bara" means a direct creation by God, i.e., – not evolution) in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." (vv. 26-27) "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness." "Elohim could be translated "gods", but it is also appropriate to portray the LORD as a composite unity – unity in diversity. When the Shema in Deuteronomy 6:4 says that "the LORD is one", the word for "one" is "echad" which is the word used to describe the cluster of grapes that the spies brought back (many grapes, one cluster – unity in diversity).This is not an absolute unity as in Judaism and Islam, but a composite unity in diversity (as seen in the one-flesh relationship of man and woman in marriage). So this word allows for the later revelation of the Trinity." (Ken Boa)
What does it mean to be made in God's image? "In the ancient world an image was believed in some way to carry the essence of that which it represented. Thus the Hebrew word selem ("image") is a representative in physical form, not a representation of the physical appearance." (Walton & Zuck – The NIV Application Commentary) We thus share in God's nature (His communicable attributes) such as love, truth, wisdom, personality (self-consciousness), justice, holiness, etc. God is Spirit (John 4:24) and man is created with a spirit and has the capacity to have spiritual fellowship with God Almighty. What an awesome privilege which so many people ignore or reject. This capacity enables us to grow more into His likeness (Christlikeness) as we respond to His loving initiatives and grace. Also male and female reflect the relational image of the Trinity which is not seen in the angelic order of beings – unity in diversity. Like God we are made for relationship as we'll see later when God said it is not good for man to be alone. And we are free moral agents given the tremendous privilege and responsibility of choice. God wants us to freely respond to His love and reign over our lives. He doesn't want robots. In summary, man has 1) dignity (Gen. 9:6); 2) responsibility/accountability (Rom. 14:12); and a 3) capacity to know God intimately – a God-consciousness. (John 17:3).
"God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."(v.28) God gave man the privilege to procreate and fill the earth and subdue and rule all God had created to "bring order to our world even as God has brought order to the cosmos. For man this is primarily societal and cultural (and spiritual – my comment) in nature which in a word is civilization." (A. Wolters) This involves utilization of the earths resources, harnessing of the earth's energy (irrigation, etc.), domestication of animals and the leadership and administration of God's people in the church and the world, i.e., exercising authority in our given domains. We are to steward God's world for Him and for His purposes and glory, not act as owners of His world for our own purposes and glory. The latter is exactly what man tried to do as seen later at the tower of Babel. "Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves." (Gen. 11:4)
Questions for reflection/application
God both names (sky, land, seas etc.) and separates – which we are to apply to our lives morally and spiritually. "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness." (Isa. 5:20) "Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty. Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God." (2 Cor. 6:17-7:1)
Where may you be calling something "good" that God calls "evil"? From what or whom may God be calling you to separate?
Created in God's image: Man has 1) dignity (Gen. 9:6); 2) responsibility and accountability (Rom. 14:12); and 3) a capacity to know God intimately (John 17:3). Human dignity relates to the way we see and treat other people and ourselves -i.e., respect for others and ourselves. Responsibility/accountability relates to our obedience to God's call on our lives in every area of our lives. Capacity relates to our ability to grow in our intimacy with the Lord (Phil. 3:7-10) and more into His likeness. (2 Cor. 3:18)
In which of these do you feel the greatest need for growth?
We are to steward God's world for Him and for His purposes and glory, not act as owners of His world for our own purposes and glory. "Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves." (Gen 11:4)
Where do you see people "making a name for themselves" instead of magnifying God's Name and character? How can we make sure that God gets all the glory in our lives?
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Len and Kristen