"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness."
The plural form of the personal pronouns used in this text imply a plurality of personality engaged in the creation of the world. That God, as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, was in the work of creation, as the one only living, and the true God, to work of creation, as the one only living, and the true God, to us appears abundantly demonstrated. We are expressly told, "And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters," and God said, "Let there be light," &c. That Christ as the Son of God, and mediatorial Head and Life of his church, was there, is equally certain, from the declaration, John i. 3, and Col. I. 16-18, and that the creation and formation of man, was designed especially to set forth Christ in a figure. We have never understood that man was to be like his Maker in every particular; God was to be the Creator, and man the creature, and consequently subject to the government, power and providence of the Creator. If man had been in the likeness of God, in relation to his eternal perfection's and peculiar attributes, he could not have fallen, for he would have been immutable. His fall proves to us, then, that it was not in that sense that he was made in the image of his Maker. That he came from the hand of his Creator, a pure, sinless being, and a perfect specimen of the workmanship of his God, is sufficiently clear, and that he remained in a state of a spotless innocence until he sinned, is beyond dispute. But we must remember that no creature or created perfection can compare with the uncreated perfection of the eternal God.
We are told in our text that "God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." In the next verse we are told that God created man in his image, in the image of God, he created he him, male and female, created he them. And in chapter iii. 22, the Lord God said, "Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil," &c. From all these, and many other portions of inspired truth, we infer that the image and likeness of God, in which Adam was created, consisted in his being created and formed, "the figure of him that was to come," which is Christ, according to Romans v. 14. To create Adam a figure of him that was to come, namely, a figure of Christ, was to create him in the likeness of Christ, so far as the figure is applicable; for Christ is the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person. (Heb. i. 3). Paul declares to the church of God, that, "We have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins; who is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature." – Col. i. 14,15.
There are many things in the person and history of Adam, which fully justify Paul in declaring that he is the figure, or image of Christ. Let it be remembered that there can be no image without a figure, and that wherein a figure delineates its object, or prototype, is that wherein the imagery consists. Thus the image of a man may be made of a block of marble, by dressing the marble in such a manner as to fashion its form to the figure or likeness of a man, and yet the man is an animate, and the marble an inanimate, substance. Although the whole ceremonial economy abounded with images, or figures of the Messiah, yet Adam is emphatically the figure of him that was to come, which is Christ. Time and space will not allow us to trace even the outlines of this important image, but we will briefly notice a few of the most prominent of them. First, as being vested with universal, temporal dominion, over all the animal creation, he prefigured him that was to come, whose spiritual dominion should be from the rivers to the ends of the earth, who should have all power in heaven and earth, and power over all flesh, that he might give eternal life to as many as the Father hath given him. The manner of his creation, "Male and female, created he them" teaches us the important doctrine of the creation of the church of God, in Christ, and her standing in him from everlasting. Not only Eve, the bride of Adam, but all their posterity was created in Adam, were embodied in him, and their manifestation are the multiplication, or development, of Adam, and in this he was a very striking image or type, of our Lord Jesus Christ; for Paul says of the church, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." – Eph. ii. 10. Adam said of his bride which was created in him, after her distinct formation, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh, she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man." – Gen. ii. 23. Paul says, "No man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: for we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones." – Eph. v. 29,30. Again, Eve and all the human family were created in him, for, "This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name. Adam, in the day when they were created." – Gen. v. 1,2. So also it is written, "For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named." – Eph. iii. 14,15. As the married wife is known by her husband's name, and as all legitimate children have an inheritance in the name of their father, so all the members of Christ are interested in his name. It is only in his name they can approach the Father, receive the Spirit, or inherit the promises of the new covenant. His name is a strong tower, into which the righteous flee and find safety. In his name they trust; in it they preach, pray, sing and exhort, and in that name is all their hope, and all their salvation.
We have thus briefly given our views, on the question, of wherein consisted the image and likeness in which Adam was created. How far any brother may be able to form his conclusions as to what man was, and what he lost by the fall, we cannot say; but among all his losses, we are nowhere in the Scriptures told that he lost the image in which he was created. But after the transgression of man the Lord God said, "Behold, the man has become as one of us," and if he has lost the image, and ceased to be the figure of Christ, it must have happened subsequently to the date of Paul's epistle to the Romans, for up to that time Paul used the present tense, in declaring that Adam is (not was) the figure of him that was to come.
Middletown, N. Y.,
August 15, 1855.
Elder Gilbert Beebe