Created to Govern
By Heath Jarrett
After God created light, earth and sky, galaxies and solar systems, plants then creatures which swam, flew, crept, and roamed the earth, his attention turned to the capstone of his craftsmanship: man. As remarkable as all God’s creative work is, Genesis 1 takes a notable shift in verse 26:
“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.'”
The language is much more personal. Sure, God spoke everything else into existence, but here, God dialogues with himself, “Let us make…” Everything else was created by divine command, man was created through divine consultation.
Further setting man apart, God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” All creation bears the signature of God, only man bears the personal image of the artist himself. We are not just another one of the animals.
While the image of God is difficult to fully define, it no doubt includes man’s moral responsibility, hard-wiring to worship, superior intellect, ability to govern, delight in beauty, creativity, and desire for relationship. All these pixels of the image emerge in the first two chapters of Genesis.
And, as verse 26 continues, God reveals more—his role for man:
“And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth'” (Gen 1:26b).
As soon as God makes everything, he hands over to man the responsibility to govern it all. God remains sovereign over all that he has made, but, in a very real way, he has set up man as his vice-regents, endowed with the power and resources to manage his assets.
“God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27).
Note that both male and female are created in God’s image, both are given dominion over his works, “And let them have dominion” (v. 26), “male and female he created them” (v. 27). Man and woman are created by God to govern in a mutual relationship with each other and with him in their most dignified task, bearing the image of God in all their work.