The Pastor's Class

Created in His Image

Genesis 1: 26 - 31

Last week we looked at the creation of God. By looking at a work of art one can learn something about the artist. Creation is God's canvas. From majestic snow capped mountains to the turning of the leaves in fall there is beauty all around us.

Personally, I am a sucker for sunsets. We always vacation close to a beach. I have hours of vacation videos of sunsets. I can still hear my kids, "Daddy, can we please fast forward through the sunsets?" Sunsets, rainbows, flowers, autumn colors all give us some ideas about the God who created those things.

Only in the last century have we been able to appreciate the grandeur of God's creation. With the modern telescopes such as the Hubble we can see billions of light years into space. Still scientists must confess that they have no idea the extent of the universe.

Creation speaks volumes about the Creator. God is a God of Power, Might, Majesty, intelligence, tenderness, love and beauty.

Keep this in mind as we read our text for today.

Genesis 1: 26 - 27

26 Then God 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.”

27 So God created man in his own image,

in the image of God he created him;

male and female he created them.

The New International Version, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House) 1984.

God's Wonderful Creation

The word "Genesis" means beginning or origin. Therefore the book of Genesis is the book of beginnings. This book gives us a day by day account of creation. Periodically God would pause and declare that "It was good." God delighted in His creation. From day one through day five we see the unfolding of this wonderful creation flowing from the infinite imagination of God. As we see this creation unfolding we notice that the elements of creation work together in perfect harmony. Creation responds in obedience to the voice of the Creator. God paused and looked at His creative work and said, "It is good.

1. How is the creation of man different from the rest of creation?

This is the first time that God patterns His creation after something. Up until this time God has created from His infinite imagination.

God must have had a wonderful time creating all the living creatures. When you look at the duck billed platypus, the Dodo bird, or the hammer head shark you know that God was having a ball. However, in verse 26 God gets serious.

As we see in verse 26 we are created in the image of God. We might say that in mankind God has produced a self-portrait.

2. Have you ever suffered through an identity crisis?

Psychologists tell us that everyone goes through an identity crisis. For some it may be just a brief time of self discovery during adolescence while for others it may be a lifelong struggle.

If you happened to be skinny in school as I was skinny. You people probably made fun of you. Or maybe you had the wrong color hair or too many freckles or a bad case of acne. The list could go on and on. If you have ever been made fun of you probably remember that feeling of insecurity or self-doubt.

Many people try to establish their identity based on a set of ever changing social standards. If you are a man you must be tall, muscular, handsome, athletic, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, yet sensitive, caring, understanding. If you are female you must be thin, young, attractive, vulnerable and flirtatious, able to cook, clean house, take care of the kids, while looking like you just stepped out of Vogue Magazine.

Almost every commercial on television will suggest that there is something wrong with you. You are either overweight or you smell bad. You have hair with split ends or you have no hair at all. You have yellow teeth, or you have no teeth at all. You drive the wrong car or you eat the wrong foods. Ultimately, no matter what you do you discover that you cannot meet societies standards for perfection.

Today's teens more than ever before have a compelling drive to be socially acceptable. Many will go to extreme lengths to be socially accepted by their peers. This is the main reason that many teens engage in "high risk" behavior such as shoplifting or experimenting with drugs, alcohol or sex. Teens who fail to find social acceptance may feel depressed or even suicidal. According to the Surgeon General a teen commits suicide every 2 hours in this country. If you are the parent of a teen there is much you can do to help him/her to develop a posivite self-image.

Teens are not the only ones who struggle with their identity. There are many things that can deliver a serious blow to our self-esteem. Things such as divorce, loss of a job, failure as a parent, financial struggles or health issues such as obesity can cause us to question our identity or self-worth.


A drill sergeant barked out an order to a bunch of recruits: "All you dumbbells, get moving!" All but one obeyed. Angered by his seeming defiance, the sergeant marched up to him and growled, "Well?" The young recruit replied, "There certainly were a lot of them, Sir!"

3. What does it mean to be created in His image?

An image describes an exact resemblance, like a son who is the very image of his father. Notice that the scripture also uses the word "Likeness". We are made in the image and likeness of God. The word "likeness" is a more indefinite term and emphasizes the fact that, although man is like God, he is not God. Man is not deity but reflects the divine nature within his humanity.

In His Image

What is the image of God in man that makes him so unique? The suggested answers are numerous. The most common explanation today is that man has a soul and the animals do not. Genesis 2:7, however, states that man became a "living being." The original says " a living nephesh," the Hebrew word for soul. In Hebrew thought man does not have a soul; he is a soul. The soul is the total person. In 2:19 the idea is similar. "Whatever the man called every living creature" literally reads "every living nephesh." The animals are also souls--in this sense. The difference between man and animals is not in that one is a soul and the others are not, but in the kind of soul that man is. And that is a radical difference!

We tend to think of the image of God in terms of the total revelation of God in Scripture. The Old Testament writer was probably thinking of God's nature in relationship to his own portrayal of God's characteristics. In Genesis 1 God is portrayed as freely creating. Just so man, although unable to acheive God's unique creativity, also has ability to make a new beginning, to make the world better or worse. The animals live by instinct, but man is made for better things. The animals are told only to procreate. Man has the additional assignments of establishing dominion and subduing. If a man is cold, he may light a fire; if he is hot, he maybuild an air conditioner. Animals within the limits of their instincts must adjust to the environment they cannot change. Man can change for better or worse.

4. It is easy to see the differences between the sexes. It is not too difficult to see similiarities between the sexes. Can you identify at least one aspect in which both Men and Women are identical?

Verse 27 states that God created Man in His own image. Then he says "male and female created He them."

Ladies, your female uniqueness is a reflection of the image of God just as is our Male uniqueness.

Even though the bible says that you were taken from man you are not a second generation clone of God's image. We will discuss this more next week when we talk about "created for companionship."

5. The text indicates that God was not alone during creation. Notice the pronouns "us and our". Who assisted God in this creation process?

In verse 26 we get our first glimpse of what we now call the triune nature of God. Throughout the bible God manifests himself in three distinct ways. He is Father, He is Son and He is Spirit.

The name of God used in Genesis 1 is Elohim, a uniplural noun. El is singular, Eloah is dual, whereas Elohim apparently implies three or more persons.

Yet the three Persons of the Godhead act as One God in all they undertake in creation, in redemption and in the management of the universe in which we live.

The creation of man was not an afterthought in the mind of God. From the beginning the plan and design of the cosmos had human being in view. The universe is God's house and men number among the inhabitants, in fact we are the highest of God's creations.

6. How does it make you feel to know that you are created in God's image.? You are not a mistake, an accident, or an afterthought.

Psalms 149: 14 - 16

13 For you created my inmost being;

you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful,

I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you

when I was made in the secret place.

When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

16 your eyes saw my unformed body.

All the days ordained for me

were written in your book

before one of them came to be.

The New International Version, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House) 1984.

Sanctity of Human Life Week

January 20 - 26th is observed by many as the Sanctity of Human Life Week. The teachings from God's word makes it very plain that life is sacred. It is also plain that life begins at conception.

As Christians we live our lives with the understanding that there are moral absolutes and those absolutes originate with God. God has made it clear in His word that taking a life is wrong. Today as we speak over 40 million lives have been lost due to abortion in America alone. Worldwide the numbers are incalculable. It is reported that the Russian woman will have an average of 8 abortions during her lifetime.

The person today who is considering an abortion does not need to be exposed to the antics of the militant anti-abortionists. She does need the love, guidance, education and prayers that a caring Christian friend or family member can offer. Regardless of what society allows or does not allow, we must remember that good choices produce good consequences and poor choices produce bad consequences. The best thing we can do as Christians in a pro-choice world is to lovingly help others make good choices.

The person who has had an abortion does not need to bear that shame forever. The God who created us also loves and cares for us. He is a God of healing and forgiveness. There are many wonderful groups and programs that can help a hurting individual seek and accept God's forgiveness and assist in the healing process.

Genesis 1: 28 - 31

28 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.”

29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

The New International Version, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House) 1984.

7. Over what has God given mankind dominion?

It is clear that mankind is the crown and glory of God's Creation.

God took an active part in making us.

We were made in his image.

We were given dominion over the rest of creation.

8. The creative process ended on the sixth day. How did God feel about all that he had created?

When God viewed all that he had created he declared that it was very good. In other words he was pleased. He was able to accomplish that which he desired. There were no mistakes or recalls. God was pleased.


There is a T-Shirt with a logo that states, "God doesn't make Junk." Anytime you have feelings of low self-esteem, remember that you are created in the image of God. He is the perfect father who is always loving and always affirming. Satan is the one who desires to tear you down and destroy you. He can do that only if you let him.
Never stoop to being less than you were created to be. Stand firm in the knowledge that you were created in the image of your creator.

Remember, you can find this study guide and all previous study guides, (including Pastor's notes) on the internet at

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