New Hope, KY., Jan. 8, 1861
Brother Beebe: - Will you or brother Leonard Cox, Jr., give your views either privately or through the Signs, on Gen. i. 27, and also on chapter ii. and last clause of the 5th verse? and may God bless you, my brother, and oblige yours,
J. E. SETTLE.
Reply: - There is probably enough in the Scriptures proposed for consideration to engage the best abilities of all the brethren. We do not wish to prevent brother Cox giving his views on the subject, but will leave enough for him when we have said all we can upon these Scriptures.
Gen. i. 27: "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them."
Gen. ii. 5th verse, and last clause: "And there was not a man to till the ground."
Some have supposed that after the Lord God had created man, there still was not a man found to till the ground, but we should observe that in the first of these passages we have an account of the creation, and in the other, of the generations of the heavens and of the earth. Although a record of the creation is fully given in the first chapter, in order to relate the generations of the heavens and earth, it was necessary to recapitulate the origin of man, which in the second chapter fully accords with the record in the first. That the man formed, Gen. ii. 7, is the same man created, Gen. i. 27, for the Lord God blessed him, and said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth, &c. That this man created and formed is the same of whom it is written, "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 called their name Adam, in the day when they were created." - Gen. v. 1, 2. The terms, created, formed and made, are used in ascribing the origin of man to the creative power and workmanship of the Lord God. God who had the power to create, form and make man of the dust of the ground, had power also to give to him the decree, multiply and replenish, &c. He spake the word, and it stands fast; he commands, and it is done. This man was by the order of his Creator to multiply, and accordingly without any further creation has been constantly multiplying, and all the millions of his posterity for nearly six thousand years are but the multiplication of the one man which God created, formed and made out of the dust of the ground. In mathematics, multiplication differs very widely from addition. Man has accumulated nothing in the six thousand years of his history, but has been from the birth of Cain constantly developing what was embodied in him at his creation. And this principle of multiplication is exemplified in every part of the vegetable creation. Every green thing which God caused to grow out of the earth, contained in it the seed for its propagation. How awfully grand and sublime is the contemplation of the infinity of God, displayed in his perfect knowledge of all the myriads created in the one man, Adam, embracing all nations of men who dwell on all the face of the earth, and he hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation. (Acts xvii. 26.)
But we are not only informed that the Lord God created man, and in him created all the human family, and appointed each descendant of Adam, the bounds of his habitation, and time of his development, but we are also told that the Lord God created man in his own image and likeness. From this declaration some have inferred that man was like God in regard to the perfections of the Deity. But although man in his creation was without sin, until he transgressed the law of his Creator, his sinless innocence was not to be compared with the immutable holiness of God. Man was capable of sinning, as his history has painfully demonstrated, while his Creator's perfections are unchangeable. Not only so, but the wisdom, power, truth, justice, omniscience and independence of God were and are peculiar to himself, and have never been found in any of his creatures. What is an image? It is something visible, that can be seen. The supreme and eternal Godhead is invisible to finite beings, and he is called the "Invisible God." No man hath seen his face at any time. But we read that "God was manifest in the flesh," and that our Lord Jesus Christ, in his Mediatorial relations, is the image of the invisible God. That he, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God. That he is the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person, and as God only reveals himself to us in and through Christ, and as the Father is in Christ, and Christ is in the Father, he that hath seen him, hath seen the Father also. Every perfection of the Father is fully deliniated in him who is the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person.
We speak of Christ in his Mediatorial glory, as the image of the invisible God, while at the same time we hold that he, in his essential Godhead, is the very Lord God, whose attributes are so clearly portrayed in him as the divine Mediator. He is as truly God, as he is truly Mediator between God and man, hence the creation of the world, and the salvation of his church, are both ascribed to him. See John i. 3, "All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made." Also, Col. i. 15-17, "Who is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature; for by him were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions, or principalities or powers; all things were created by him, and for him; and he is before all things, and by him all things consist." Hence he is the very Lord God who created man, as declared in our text; while as the Mediatorial Head of the church, he is the image or perceptible manifestation of the eternal Deity, which is in every other sense invisible to us.
If, then, we hold that Christ is, as the Scriptures declare, the express image of the invisible God, how was man created in the image and likeness of the Creator? To our mind the explanation of the inspired apostle, Rom. v. 14, is satisfactory. In this text Paul declares that Adam is the figure of him that was to come, and in the connection shows that Christ was "Him that was to come." And as we have shown that Christ is the Lord God who created Adam and all things in heaven and in earth, it is enough to know that Adam was constituted in his creation, the figure or image of Christ, to show that he was created in the image of his Creator. A sculptor may from a block of marble carve a perfect image of a living man, but he cannot inspire it with the life or animation of a living man, and so there were many images or figures of him that was to come, contained in the Old Testament types. So Adam, though a mere creature, wholly dependent on God for support, and liable to fall, to sin, and then to die, still "is the figure of him that was to come," that is, Jesus Christ our Lord.
It is not necessary that we should now attempt to trace the analogy of the type and anti-type, the figure, and the body which it represents, the image and the original, designed to be represented. Look at man, as presented in the character of an image, and what do we see?
First. In the earliest presentation he stands a unit, embodying a multitude which no man can number, thus an emblem of the Mediator which is One, and but one, and yet in him God has secured a people which were chosen in him before the foundation of the world.
Second. Adam was the federal head and legal representative of all the human family, before Eve was formed, or any of his posterity born, and in that unity and identity of human life, in his transgression they all were made sinners, even so do we find in Christ the spiritual life of all the spiritual seed, so identified that he is emphatically the life of all his people, and the unity and identity so perfect that by his obedience to the law, all that he embodied in his Mediatorial headship of the church, are made righteous. See Rom. v. 14-21.
Third. As our text says, "Male and female created he them." And in Gen. v. 1, 2. "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." Then turn to the Book of the generation of the second Adam, the Lord from heaven, and read, Psa. xxii. 30, "A seed shall serve him, it shall be counted to the Lord for a generation." Also, Psa. cxxxix. 15, 16, "My substance was not hid from thee when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest part of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy Book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them." "Lo, I come, in the volume of the Book it is written of me to do thy will, O God!" Psa. xi. 7; Hebrews x. 7-9, compared 1 Pet. ii. 9.
Again: Who can contemplate the creation of the bride, and all the posterity of Adam in him, to make their development in his own likeness, their future destiny established in him, and then when Eve had received her formation, was beguiled by the serpent, was in the transgression, and read the account of Adam following her in the transgression, receiving the fruit at her hand, that he might legally share the penalty with her, and fail to see in all this that Adam is the figure of him that was to come?
We have not time nor space to devote farther to this subject now, but trust we have left ample room for the more able comments of brother Cox, or any other brother who may do better justice to the subject.
Middletown, N. Y.,
January 15, 1861.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 4
Pgs. 448 – 452