Genesis 1:26-31 It is through love that man finds his destiny and live abundantly
Genesis 1:26-31 It is through love that man finds his destiny and live abundantly
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 29 Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you; 30 and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so. 31 God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
After constructing the necessary foundations of the earth and creating the living creatures in the sky, sea and land, God proceeds to make the crowning glory of His creation: man, the apex of the created order. On the sixth day, God makes man in His image and likeness and gives him the mandate to be fruitful, to multiply and to rule the earth. In today’s devotion, we see love as man’s greatest expression of God’s likeness. It is through love that man finds his destiny and live abundantly.
Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…
“God” or il in Hebrew, is usually set in plural form in order to connote majesty and power, but it is singular in meaning. Why does God speak in plural form as in “Let us make man…”, in Our image…”, “to Our likeness”? This is a declaration to the angels and the heavenly hosts of God’s intention to create man. However, God acted alone in the creation of man as evident in the singular verb “created” in v.27, as in “God created…”
To none of the living creatures does God declare He will create in His image or likeness except for man. Man, in being created in God’s image or likeness sets him apart from the other creatures. What are the characteristics of man as a result of being created in God’s image?
a. Man, as God’s image possesses God’s life and to a certain extent God’s own characteristics: He gives man ears to hear and eyes to see the plight of the poor (see Psalms 94:9). However, man is not a facsimile (exact copy) of God or else he would have possessed the capacity to create like God does.
b. Man, as God’s image possesses the ability to interact with God and desire Him at a profound level. What distinguishes man from animals is a passionate appetite for God (see Psalms 42:1-2) as well as the capacity to exercise god-like compassion towards others.
c. Man, as God’s image represents the presence of God as regent to rule creation on God’s behalf. Man is charged to rule over the animal kingdom through divine principles in the way that God will rule.
God blessed them… Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.
Because of God’s blessing, the entire earth is teeming with life! When God blesses, He imparts divine potency and favour. To be fruitful and multiply is to project God’s glory and virtues to every corner of creation. Nothing communicates fruitfulness more fully than the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 says
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
Therefore, God’s mandate is for humanity to populate the earth and to preside over it with divine virtues and principles. Habakkuk says,
“For the earth will be filled
With the knowledge of the glory of the Lord,
As the waters cover the sea.” Habakkuk 2:14
To this end, man has to assert his authority and shape the environment making it conducive for abundant living. The act of subduing the environment is necessary as it requires effort on man’s part. God also charges man to rule over every living thing in the sea, sky and land, to upkeep the earthly habitat thus ensuring the wellbeing of the living things.
Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you…
God has given man plants and fruits, and to the animals, plants as food. Even though meat is not mentioned here, God does not forbid its consumption. God provided Adam with a garment made of animal skin (see Genesis 3:21). Abel keeps cattle and sacrifices sheep as an offering to God (see Genesis 4:2-4). In the days of Noah, he distinguishes between clean and unclean animals for food (see Genesis 7:2). And after the flood waters has subsided, God ratifies the practice of eating meat: Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant. (see Genesis 9:3).
God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.
This is a fitting statement of appreciation that reflects God’s satisfaction and enthusiasm having set man as the crowning jewel of His handiwork. Every detail is crafted to perfection, nothing is left undone, and it is truly paradise on earth.
The capacity to love is what makes man like God.
God does all things out of love. He creates life freeing it to multiply and fill the earth. Love is empowering, not controlling or manipulative. Thus, God creates out of love and out not of selfish purposes; not a single act in creation appeals to God’s personal ego. When humanity embroils himself in sin resulting in irreversible destruction, God sacrifices His own Son to save an undeserving race. That singular act that unmistakably represents the very essence of godliness is Christ’s forgiveness of the people who persecuted and murdered Him without a cause. Therefore, to love in spite of injustice, to sacrifice and to serve when nobody else is, is a natural expression of the image through which man is created.
Church culture relates godliness with the religious expressions of prayer, praising God, and being fervently committed to church, evangelism and to knowledge. However, genuine piety must lead to spontaneous acts of love as a lifestyle. Even so, the modern church has become institutionalised having substituted the face of Christ with opulent buildings, theatrical sermons, captivating messages and mega congregations. But if these does not flow from the simplicity of Christ’s sacrificial love, it is meaningless, pretentious and hypocritical. Jesus says to the churches of the last days,
Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. Revelations 3:17
The churches of today competes with another in a bid to draw people ladened with personal needs, mired in their own addictions with little aspiration for Christ-likeness. Hence, churches endeavour to deliver messages that are relevant to the desires of the masses as opposed to relevance to God’s kingdom. However, pure and undefiled culture of God’s kingdom: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world (see James 1:27). Man is robbed of his peace and purpose when he looks to fulfil his personal desires. However, man finds his destiny when he returns to his original design by loving God and by putting the interests of others before his own.
Kingdom mindedness brings fruitfulness and multiplication.
When God creates man, He puts into him the vision and mandate to bring a positive change to the world. To be fruitful and to multiply expresses the divine vision of:
a. Filling the earth with the virtues and the glory of the Maker. Man endeavours to instill values of justice, mercy and humility in the circle of influence at work and in his community.
b. Harbouring a kingdom mentality as opposed to a silo mentality. The latter is concerned about personal territory and branding, whereas the former is concerned about getting the blessing out there. When man puts on kingdom mindedness and work unselfishly, God enlarges his territory and empowers him to fulfil it.
Therefore, church and business leaders must see the world with God’s perspective being secured that what they have been entrusted with will not be taken away from them. On the contrary, God will endow them with greater wisdom and resources so that they may multiply and become even more fruitful.
Do you find yourself living a purposeless existence and having to cope with daily problems with no end in sight? By discovering your identity as one being made in God’s image and by embracing His vision for your life: to love God and to love others, you will experience God’s provision and live abundantly. Discover new ways to love God and others by reaching out to the people at the work place and by serving in church and charity organisations. God will in His time enlarge your territory and influence for the good of His kingdom.
Dear Lord, I desire a greater capacity to love and to serve in your kingdom. Imbue within me your perfect love so that I may be fruitful and multiply souls for your kingdom. Open my eyes to your perspective and vision so that I may participate in your work. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.