Holding the Fort during Siege
Early this month, I became aware of the Holy Spirit’s providential guidance in choosing the June memory verses. The original intention in choosing Genesis 1:27-28 was to incorporate “foundational” verses of doctrine into our memory verses for the of edification of the saints. However, it wasn’t until I began to meditate on these verses that I realized just how relevant they are to our particular context. Now that I have had time to soak in these verses, I want to share my gleanings with you.
I find this particular passage so relevant because the world is attacking its truths from every angle. Our culture has attempted to lay siege to Genesis 1:27-28 in hopes that somehow they can raze it. Sadly, they are only kicking against the goads. Nevertheless, the presence of this onslaught stresses how crucial it is that believers acquaint themselves with the scriptural realities of Genesis 1 and prepare to defend them. I hope to help you get there in two ways. First, I will emphasize the particular details that Genesis highlights about man’s beginnings and their implications. Second, I will give examples to help readers understand how our world is attacking these characteristics with their “philosophies and empty deceits” (Col 2:8).
We are Specifically Created Beings
Genesis 1 is all about God’s creation of the world out of nothing. Chapter two will explain some of the more intimate details, but chapter one summarizes everything God created. Humanity’s creation marks the pinnacle of this narrative at the end of the sixth day. The opening words of verse 27 state, “so God created man.” Here we come to the first truth in the devil’s crosshairs, that humans are created beings.
Despite the scriptural teaching and experiential reality that things showing specific design have a designer, our world is adamant that this must not be the case. The last two centuries have especially levied this attack on God. Despite the poor evidence, modern atheists have hidden behind Darwin’s theory of evolution as support for their unbelief. But Why? Why go to all this trouble to deny man’s creation? The answer is simple. To acknowledge God as creator is to accept moral accountability to Him as creator, a concession they refuse to make.
We are Created with Specific Likeness
Verse 27 doubly states that man has been created in God’s image. Other translations capture the collective nature of the word man by using words such as human beings, humanity, or humankind, all of which clarify that every human, male or female, resembles God. It is unclear how exactly men and women bear God’s image. Different suggestions have ascribed it to their status as His earthly rulers or their various unique attributes (e.g. volition, emotion, intellect). It may incorporate many of these different elements.
What we do know, though, is that humanity’s creation in the image of God has an important implication—that all men and women are equally God’s image-bearers and have intrinsic value. Since we universally bear the divine image, it is a heinous offense to deal with other humans as inferior or insignificant (Gen 9:6, James 3:9). Ironically, humanity does this continually. Social Darwinism, abortion, slavery, and racism are all attacks on humanity’s intrinsic value and equality of personhood. Unrestricted abortion suggests that unborn babies have less value: racism, slavery, and social Darwinism propose that other people groups are inferior. All of these perspectives assault the idea that humans are bearers of the divine image.
We are Created with Specific Genders
Additionally, we find in verse 27 that God designed humanity with two genders; male and female. Marriage is not explicitly mentioned until chapter 2, but verses 27-28 reveal that God’s specific design for sexual activity and reproduction is the male-female marriage relationship. This aspect of creation is observable by our biological composition. We see it in the presence of different chromosomes, body frames, and reproductive systems. However, despite the overwhelming evidence of this reality, our culture would propose otherwise.
One clear example of this has been on display all month. If you weren’t aware, June is pride month. What I have found that to mean practically is that the internet, radio, social media, and TV are flooded with company advertisements indicating in one way or another that they support the LGBTQ+ agenda. Each ad contains statements that both condone worldly sin and condemn anyone who refuses to share their views. They are never worded in a condemning tone, though. They say things like “we support equality” or “a loving world starts here.” The obvious implications of such statements are that anyone who doesn’t support transgenderism or homosexuality doesn’t support equality and is un-loving.
We are Created with Specific Purpose
Finally, this passage reminds us that mankind was made with purpose. Verse 28 captures the essence of that purpose. God tells Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion.” The primary task here is to have dominion over the earth and all its creatures. Humanity’s chief purpose was to be God’s vice-regents, and their responsibility was to care for the earth and its creatures as service to the true King.
Here comes the unfortunate part—humanity failed! Just as a king’s failure impacts a nation, so Adam’s sin corrupted his domain. The devastating effects of sin were death, destruction, conflict, and calamity—realities we continue to confront daily. Adam and Eve’s sin had marred the divine image and left humanity in a hopeless position.
Fortunately, the story doesn’t end there! Jesus Christ, THE image of God (Col 1:15), reversed the condemnation brought about by Adam’s sin so that “as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 5:21). His righteousness gives us hope, both for eternal life and of once again bearing an unmarred image. As we put off the old self, renew our minds in his Word, and put on the new self, we recapture what it means to bear His image (Eph 4:22-24). Those disfigured and faded markings begin to brighten and revitalize. One day, when our inheritance is fully awarded, we will again bear perfect replicas! In the meantime, we must press on in knowing and obeying Christ: putting on “the whole armor of God,” and standing “strong in the Lord” “against the schemes of the devil” (Eph 6:1).
Be strong and stand firm!