Advertisement

The God Squad: What if God was one of us?

November 08, 2013|By Rabbi Marc Gellman

Q: I don't understand the biblical statement that "God created man in God's image." That makes no sense to me at all! It can't mean physically, because God seems to be a spirit, and not a defined physical being. I don't believe it could possibly mean spiritually, because while mankind is capable of wonderful acts of kindness and self sacrifice, mankind is also capable of horrific acts of violence and cruelty. What does that biblical phrase mean? — P., via godsquadquestion@aol.com

A: In Genesis 1:25-27 we read: "And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and everything that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." (KJV)

Advertisement

God's creative act has several levels. On the lowest level, but still holy because of God's creation, are the non-human, non-animal things of the world like light (first day), rocks and water (second day), plants (third day), and the sun, moon and stars (fourth day). All these things are created and called "good," whatever that might mean.

On the next highest level of God's creation are the animals that are created and called good. They have a higher standing in creation because in addition to being created by God and called good by God, they are also blessed by God. The content of their blessing is to procreate and fill the earth with animal life (fifth day).

Now we come to the sixth day of creation when people are created. People are created (like rocks) and blessed (like animals), but people also are "made in the image of God." This is the highest level of creation. For some reason, the creation of people is not called "good," even though at the very end of creation God saw all that God had created and called all of it (presumably including people) "very good."

Daily Pilot Articles Daily Pilot Articles
|
|
|