The Creation of Man
"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. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth." Genesis 1:26-28
Solomon understood that all the problems of men in this world are owing to the sin and fall of our father Adam. Original sin is the origin of all evil, sorrow, and death in this world (Ecc. 7:20, 29). God created our father Adam morally upright and righteous, in the image of Christ; but Adam sinned and, sinning, plunged all the human race into sin and spiritual death, under the curse of God’s holy law. In this study, we will see the original state in which our father Adam, as the head of all the human race, was created, the circumstances in which he lived, and the terrible sin and crime by which our race was plunged into spiritual death and made subject to eternal death and the wrath of God.
The Creation of Man
Genesis 1:26-28 speaks of a consultation made between the three Persons of the holy Trinity in which God the Father said to God the Son and God the Spirit, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” Then, on the sixth day of creation, as the crowning work of his hands, the Lord God “formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul" (Gen. 2:7).
Throughout the ages there have been some who have taught that there was another race of men created by God prior to Adam. This preadamite doctrine has been maintained for many reasons. Most commonly today, those who teach it do so as a justification for some form of racism. If you are exposed to such doctrine, do not allow the arguments given to convince you of this error to have any effect upon you. The Scriptures speak plainly about Adam and describe him as “the first man Adam” (1 Cor. 15:45). That one statement is sufficient to lay to rest all arguments given to support the preadamite error.
I cannot add anything to all that has been said and written about the creation of man. I simply want to remind you of those things obviously revealed in the Word of God. I hope you will be led, in the consideration of these things, to worship, trust, and adore your Creator. As we consider the things taught in Holy Scripture about the origin of man, we should stand in awe of God, declaring with David, "I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well” (Ps. 139:14).
In his original state man was created, body, soul, and spirit, in the image of God. Without question, that means many, many things. It certainly includes the fact that man was created with intellect, emotion, and will. It certainly includes the fact that man was given dominion over all creatures in the earth and over the earth itself. Without question, it also includes the fact that man, as he was created by God, was given a living, undying, immortal soul.
Man’s physical uprightness reflects the image of Christ, our God, Mediator, and Creator. Others debate the issue, but I have no doubt at all that it certainly includes, though it is not limited to, the erect posture of man’s body. Man’s erect body is one of many things which distinguish him from four-footed animals. I am fully aware that God is not a physical Being. “God is Spirit.” He does not have physical parts or a physical body. However, our Lord Jesus Christ, who alone is said to be “the Image of the invisible God,” does possess a physical body. When God said, “Let us make man in our image,” he certainly had in mind the physical as well as moral image of the incarnate God who would come into the world in the fullness of time. In other words, the first Adam was made in the image of the last Adam.
John Gill observed that by the erectness of his body - “Man is fitted and directed to look upward to the heavens, to contemplate them, and the glory of God displayed in them; and even to look up to God above them, to worship and adore him, to praise him for mercies received, and to pray to him for what are wanted.” Gill went on to say that the uprightness of our bodies, “Instructs men to set their affections not on things on earth, but on things in heaven. Indeed, it is natural for every man, whether in any great distress, or when favored with an unexpected blessing, and when he receives tidings that surprise him, whether of good or bad things, to turn his face upwards. In the Greek language man has his name, anthropos, from turning and looking upwards.”
Man was created in the image of God morally. I mean by that that our father Adam, in his original creation was righteous. He was created with an uprightness and rectitude of character, holy and righteous. “God made man upright” (Ecc. 7:29). Adam was free from all error, weaknesses, and mistakes of character as well as free from all sin. He was perfect. His will was biased toward God. His affections flowed out to his Creator. His thoughts were pure. His deeds were holy. There was no sin in him, no propensity toward sin, and no inclination to sin. “This righteousness,” Gill said, “of his was natural, and not personal and acquired. It was not obtained by the exercise of his free will. It was lost, not got, that way.”
Adam was created in the image of God typically, too. The first Adam was created by God to be a type, picture, and representative of the last Adam, our Lord Jesus Christ. The first man was a picture of the second man (1 Cor. 15:45-47). As we were lost by the work, sinful work and disobedience, of the first Adam, so we are saved by the righteous work and obedience of the second Adam (! Cor. 15:21-22; Rom. 5:12, 18-21).
The Coronation of Man
Read Psalm 8:1-9, and see how God has crowned man with a dignity surpassing all other creatures. Man was originally created in the image of God; and, as man was the crowning work of God in creation, God crowned him above all his creatures. This is a subject worthy of much more attention than I can give it in this study; but here are a few things which will display the high honor God placed upon man, exalting him above all his creatures.
The Lord God planted the Garden of Eden for man (Gen. 2:8). No one has any idea where Eden was; but it was a perfect spot for the perfect man whom God had made. God gave Adam everything he needed in the Garden of Eden to support and maintain his life (Gen. 2:9-10). The tree of life was a type and picture of Christ, the Tree of Life in the midst of the Paradise of God (Pro. 3:8; Rev. 2:7; 22:2). That tree was filled with fruit to sustain Adam in life. It was God’s gift to him and represented the fact that his life was from God, maintained by God, and depended upon God. Thus, even in his daily meals, Adam lived by faith in God and worshipped him.
There was also a river in the Garden with four heads, by which both the Garden and all the earth were watered. This river symbolized life, vitality, and refreshment. It was typical and representative of Christ, the gospel of God’s free grace in him, the Spirit of God, the Word of God, and the everlasting love of God, all of which are represented to us in the Scriptures under the symbol of water (Ps. 46:4; John 7:37-39; Rev. 22:1). The gospel of Christ and the doctrines of it, like this river, go forth out of Zion to water the earth, making it fruitful everywhere. The Spirit of God, like a mighty river, flows with living waters of grace to all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ himself is a river, a fountain opened for cleansing from sin. The everlasting love of God toward his elect is a pure river of the water of life, flowing to sinners through all the earth. It is a river with four blessed heads, or branches: (1.) Sovereign Election, (2.) Effectual Redemption, (3.) Irresistible Grace, and (4.) Eternal Life (Rom. 8:29-30).
Adam was placed in the Garden to dress it and keep it (Gen. 2:15). There was no toil or fatigue involved in the work. Adam’s worship of God had as much to do with tending the Garden as it did with walking with the Lord in the cool of the day. Even in innocence, man was not without work. Even the angels of God have work to do by which they serve him. They are ministering spirits sent forth to minister to God’s elect. The work Adam was given was the most honorable work imaginable. He was God’s gardener!
God gave Adam dominion over all his creation. He made Adam king over everything (Gen. 1:28) and gave everything in the earth to him to use and enjoy as he saw fit for the glory of God (Gen. 1:29-30). Then he brought every living creature to Adam to be named by him (Gen. 2:19). What a brilliant man Adam must have been. Even Plato was overwhelmed by the brilliance of that mind that gave names to all things, saying that it must have been more than human.
Then the Lord God made an helpmeet for Adam (Gen. 2:21-25). Adam was formed first, then Eve. They were not equal partners in a self-gratifying relationship. They were a man and woman, husband and wife, living together in love for God and one another. Their relationship is a beautiful picture of Christ and his church. As Adam was put into a deep sleep for Eve’s creation, so Christ was slain for the life of his church. As Eve was taken from Adam’s side, so the church is born from the wounded side of the second Adam. As Eve was created for Adam, not Adam for Eve, so the church exists for Christ. As Eve was to be obedient to Adam in all things, so the church is to be obedient to Christ in all things. As Adam was in all things responsible for Eve, so in all things Christ is responsible for his church. As Adam willingly became sin and died under the wrath of God because of his love for Eve, so Christ willingly became sin and died under the wrath of God because of his love for us. As Adam by his disobedience brought Eve into death and condemnation, so Christ, by his obedience brought his church into life and blessedness.
The Covenant with Man
Genesis 2:16-17 reveal a covenant God made with Adam. We know that this commandment given to Adam by God was a covenant because God says so in Hosea 6:7, where he speaks of Adam’s sin as the transgression of his covenant. This covenant made with Adam was a covenant of works. It was a covenant sanctioned by the promise of life and the threat of death. The only thing God required of Adam was perfect, personal, perpetual obedience. The covenant was soon broken by Adam. In this covenant, Adam was God’s appointed substitute, federal head and representative of all men. It is in this sense that Adam was a type and figure of him that was to come (Rom. 5:12-14).
The breaking of this covenant did not take God by surprise. He said to Adam, “In the day thou eatest thereof,” (not if you eat thereof, but when), thou shalt surely die.” The sin and fall of Adam was typical of and made way for the coming of the second man, the Lord from heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ and the new covenant of grace in him (Ps. 76:10). The breaking of this covenant, Adam’s disobedience to God led to the sin, corruption, and death of the whole human race.
The Corruption of Man
Adam’s transgression of God’s covenant was the ruin of our race. The Scriptures teach, emphatically and constantly, that which is commonly referred to as the doctrine of original sin. That is to say, -- All men and women became sinners when Adam sinned and are born as sinners, in a state of utter and total depravity (Ps. 51:5; Rom. 5:12), going astray from God from the womb, “speaking lies” (Ps. 58:3), with hearts which are “deceitful above all things and disparately wicked” (Jer. 17:9).
The Conversion of Man
The fall of the first Adam made room for the obedience of the last Adam. Adam’s sin made necessary Christ’s righteousness. Our ruin by Adam made room for our redemption, resurrection, and restoration by Christ. After Adam and Eve sinned, the Lord God came seeking the fallen pair (Gen. 3:9). God himself preached the gospel to the guilty couple (Gen. 3:15). Before he drove them from the Garden, God made a sacrifice for Adam and Eve and clothed them with the skins of an innocent victim (Gen. 3:21). This is exactly what God did for us in the sacrifice of his dear Son upon the cursed tree (Isa. 53:10-11; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 3:18).
 The fact that man was created in the image of God places special sanctity upon all human life. "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man" (Genesis 9:6).