What makes a human different from all of creation?
Lesson 9 from The HOPE Study Guide
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
– Genesis 1: 26-27
And on the sixth day, after God had created everything else, He formed the first man out of the dust of the earth. Then He breathed life into the man and the man became a living being. God called him Adam. And from the very flesh of the man, God created the first woman. Adam called her Eve. And Adam and Eve were different from all of creation, for God created them in His own image.
– The HOPE, Chapter 1
OBSERVE & CONSIDER
Notice from The HOPE excerpt and the Bible verse above that man was created “in the image of God.” What does it mean to be made in God’s image? To answer this question people often cite characteristics in humans that are similar to the characteristics they attribute to God. These might include the capacity to be creative, to reason, to make choices, communicate, and experience complex emotions.
Some would argue that certain animals display (to some extent or another) many of these same “God–like” characteristics. They would say (rightly or wrongly) that the primary distinction between humans and animals is not one of essence or nature, but rather one of degree, and that humans are only more highly developed (or evolved) animals. Yet the Bible says that “God created man in His own image,” a distinction not given to any other creature.
Genesis 2:7 offers some important insight in this issue:
“Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”
Notice from this verse that after forming man’s physical being from the dust of the ground, God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” The Hebrew word (nephesh) translated here as “being” may also be translated as “soul.” Soul refers to the nonphysical or nonmaterial part of a person. Some people believe that animals, too, have “souls.” Whether that is the case is not the point here. What’s significant is that – according to the Bible – the way in which man received a soul is entirely unique to man. He received it directly from God Himself! Continue reading