Divine Deliberation and the Creation of Man

Genesis 1:26

“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.'”

Luther’s Commentary
“Moses is here celebrating the formation of man as having been wrought by a peculiar design and contrivance of the mind of God; my own opinion is that all the other animals of the earth stood forth created in a moment, as the fishes were made on a sudden in the sea…let us now approach the last and most glorious work of God: the creation of man! God says, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.’ Here again Moses adopts a new phraseology. The divine expression is not in this place, ‘Let the sea be moved,’ or ‘Let the earth bring forth grass’ or ‘fruits.’ But the remarkable Word of God here is, ‘Let us make, or form, or fashion, or fabricate man.’ Wherefore this expression implies manifest deliberation and counsel; the like of which is found not in the creation of any former creatures. In those cases God says simply without any deliberation, counsel or particular design of mind, ‘Let the sea be moved;’ ‘Let the earth bring forth,’ etc. But here where God wills to create man, he turns himself as it were to deep thought and enters into profound counsel and deliberation…All three Persons here concur and speak unitedly when they say, “Let us make.” For neither does the Father make any other man than the Son makes; nor does the Son make any other man than the Holy Ghost makes. But the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, the one same God, are the one same author of the one same work and are the one same creator.”
 
Martin Luther. Luther on the Creation: A Critical and Devotional Commentary on Genesis [1-3] (Kindle Locations 2090-2095, 2103-2104, 2170-2172).
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3 comments

  1. Man: the pinnacle of creation. This ties in with Jason’s treatment of the ‘neighbor’ earlier. We don’t see man that way when we look at our culture. We see him, many times, debased and devalued. Operating at his worst. A dim reflection of God. But this is the reality we should be called upwards to. We are ‘the most glorious work of God’.

    I’d like to better understand what exactly is meant by ‘image’ and ‘likeness’ in this passage.

    1. Rob, I really agree with what you are saying here. Blaise Pascal argued that the greatness of our fall and depravity points us to the heights from which we came. He saw in man the greatest of paradoxes. I do think we really need to look at people through this lens of great value and worth. This really needs to balance our thinking on sin and maybe even the lens through which we view sin. What are your thoughts on the likeness and image language?

  2. There seem to be many theories on this. God is spirit and man is made with a spirit. Man is made with a ‘soul’ (mind, will and emotion) as opposed to the animals who have instinct. Obviously, in some way(s) we are ‘God-like’, ‘resembling’ Him in some ‘form’. Is there any significance to the word for likeness – ‘demuth’ being in feminine form, and the word for image – ‘tselem’ being in masculine, as according to Strong’s?

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