Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg, Dean of the Jewish Studies Faculty at eTeacher (the online biblical Hebrew class that John and I are taking) and Host of the “Jewish Studies for Christians” blog, gave me an interesting insight into Gen 1:26:
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. Gen 1:26
Dr. Lizorkin-Eyzenberg says:
First, note that in vs. 26 the word for “man” is literally adam (אָדָ֛ם) – pronounced adam. However, later in the same verse God speaks of letting “them” (not only him) to have dominion over the creatures of the earth. Therefore, “man” (adam) here is mankind (and not Adam). In the very end of vs. 27 this idea is reinforced – “male and female He created them”. Second, the word “image” (צֶ֥לֶם) – pronounced tselem, has the same root like a shadow (צֵל) – pronounced tsel. Just as a shadow looks similar to a subject from which it is cast, human beings resemble God. This idea is repeated by use of the phrase “into his likeness” (כִּדְמוּתֵ֑נוּ) – pronounced kidmutenu. Third, the word “man” (אָדָ֛ם) is connected with the word ground (אֲדָמָה ) – pronounced adamah, which in turn is connected with the word (אָדוֹם) – pronounced adom, which means “red.”
So Dr. Lizorkin-Eyzenberg suggests that the phrases “in our image” and “in our likeness” are intended to convey the idea that in a small way – a ‘shadow’ of a way – mankind reflects the nature and character of his Creator.
I agree wholeheartedly with this assessment of the passage, but I would like to suggest another dimension to it.
An Additional Meaning?
We know that Y’shua was the pre-existent Creator of this planet and all life on it:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. John 1:1-3
And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. John 17:5
This understanding is confirmed by Y’shua Himself, who says, “I am the Aleph and the Tav.” (Rev 1:8, Rev 1:11, Rev 21:6, Rev 22:13) Our English translations render this statement as “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” but Y’shua spoke Hebrew, and the Hebrew scrolls bear out that He actually called Himself the Aleph and the Tav. In the Torah scrolls, the Aleph-Tav ( את ) symbol occurs in Gen 1:1 as follows:
In each of these critical verses, we see Y’shua’s identifying ‘fingerprint’ in the Torah scrolls, telling us that He was the literal Creator of our known universe, including Mankind himself.
This leads me to believe that we were created literally in the physical image of the pre-existent Y’shua, who had already determined the physical shape He would assume in order to minister on our behalf.
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Messiah Y’shua: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Phil 2:5-8
For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Hbr 2:16
The implication of these verses is that Y’shua was pre-existing, that He selected His own form, and that He could have selected any form in which to come to us. He chose the image that we call “Mankind.” When it came time to create Mankind, Y’shua created him in the physical shape of Himself!
Just a thought. What do you think?
© Sue Wyatt and The Lamb’s Servant Blog, 2015. Permission to use and/or duplicate original material on The Lamb’s Servant Blog is granted, provided that full and clear credit is given to Sue Wyatt and The Lamb’s Servant Blog, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.