Likeness Of God And Dominion
“Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to our likeness; let him have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth”.”–Genesis 1:26
The first thing we notice in this verse is that God is using plurals, “Us” and “Our”. We also see that both words are capitalized, indicating the divinity attached to them. This brings up the question, who is God speaking to? Some might be inclined to say He is speaking to other gods, yet such a belief lessens God’s glory. At no other time when other gods are mentioned—unless a proper name is being used—there is no capitalization. It also indicates that He was working with others and required their input and assistance. Verse 1 specifically states, “In the beginning God…” Just one; just Him. So, if we rule out other gods, who is He speaking to?
Some might say He was speaking to the angels. While they may have been present at the time, this is also a false belief. It implies that God was seeking their approval, something He did not need. The Creator had no need of the approval of those He created. We must also remember the descriptions of angels from the Bible rarely are those of a human-looking creature. It is only when they appear on earth that they resemble something human. We must also remember the angels are of the spiritual realm, not the physical.
When God speaks in the plural, He is referring to Himself, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. We know from Scripture both were with Him from the beginning. Jesus is described as the lamb that was slain before the foundation of the world, while it was the Spirit who moved on the face of the waters.
The second thing we notice is God refers to image and likeness. Likeness refers to our general appearance. When you look at yourself in a reflective surface, you are getting a glimpse of what God looks like. Image, on the other hand, goes much deeper than just appearance; it is the embodiment of the Divine. When we look not at what we are, but what we were meant to be, we can see God’s intention.
In Jesus, we see God in the physical realm; that is our realm. As Christians, we are to be Christ-like. Although it has become something of a cliché, we really should ask ourselves “What would Jesus do?” During His time on earth, Jesus’ desire was to do the will of the Father. Being in the flesh, however, Jesus faced all the temptations we face on a daily basis; He even prayed for God to change His situation while in the Garden of Gethsemane. God’s answer to this prayer was no. The death of Jesus was all part of the greater plan, the opportunity for salvation for the entire world. In the image of Jesus, we see the need to be obedient to God.
The Holy Spirit—Who is with us today—is our link to the spiritual realm. In Him, we find the intangible things of God. He is the presence of God, the force of creation and beginning. Whenever God prepared someone for a specific task to do His will, the Holy Spirit was there. He is also a source of comfort until Christ returns. You may ask how we are to take on His image. By being a source of comfort, of course, but there is more we can do. We can create; we can be the beginning. By creating a lifestyle of humble devotion to God for ourselves, we can lead others to Him. This will give us the opportunity to embody the intangibles of God so others might see them in action.
God is all-encompassing. He is both the physical and the spiritual. To be in His image, we must let the physical and spiritual work in unison in our lives. Beyond asking “What would Jesus do?”, we must ask ourselves “What would God have me do?”. By striving to do His will (as Jesus did), we let ourselves be opened to receive the Holy Spirit Who then brings about our new beginnings. This allows us to show that it is possible to live in this world without the world living in us. It is also where we discover the dominion God gave us over the creatures of the earth is both a gift and a duty.
To have dominion over something is to have responsibility for it. God intended for the world, and everything in it, for the survival of man. For something to be of use, it must be cared for and maintained, not abused. When God gave us dominion over His creations, He gave us the opportunity to truly be in His image. It is our chance to show both compassion and good stewardship. By caring for the earth, and everything in it, we show God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit in Their purest form.
We are special; we carry the likeness of God. You are special. You have the opportunity—today, right now—to be remade into the image of God. I pray you do so if you haven’t already.