Thursday 24 September 2020

Bible Book:

male and female he created them. (v. 27)

Genesis 1:26-31 Thursday 24 September 2020

Psalm 125 


Today’s story is about the creation of human beings and includes a word play that tells us something important. The Hebrew word for ‘soil’ or ‘ground’ is adamah. This word is first used in Genesis 2:5, which talks about there being no one to till the ground until humans are created. In our story today, God decides to make ‘adam in our image’. That means that this story hints at what the second version of how humans were created will make explicit. In Genesis 2:7 adam is formed from the dust of the adamah. In other words, the very word used for human is related to the idea of soil and some scholars have suggested that, at this point in the story, we should translate adam as ‘earth creature’. It reminds us that there is something fundamental in our very being that ties us to the earth, we are made of the soil which we also need to sustain life.

Then God says something extraordinary. The ‘earth creature’ is to be made ‘in the image of God’. It is difficult to know exactly what ‘in the image of God’ means, especially when it is said of an earth creature. Some interpretations have suggested that our bodies are just containers and the image of God is the soul, but that is not what Genesis seems to say at all. In nearby Mesopotamia, the king was said to be ‘in the image of God’, which was understood to mean that the king ruled as a representative of the gods, and this story may be saying, that all of humanity not just the king had that responsibility and privilege. This, of course, raises the question of what it means to ‘have dominion’. The word may have been more helpful when Genesis was first written and read – then life was a struggle to keep nature under control and make life liveable. Now, of course, we are aware that we have been too successful and the greatest threat to our existence is our overuse of resources.


To Ponder:

  • Human beings are both, ‘of the earth’ and ‘made in the image of God’. What do both phrases mean to you?
  • How do you work out in your life what it means have dominion and to be God’s image on earth?


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