Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female. - Genesis 1:26-27 HCSB

Some cults teach that since we were created in God’s image and we are physical beings, Yahweh must also be a physical being. But in doing so, they are committing the very sin that enrages God – the sin of ascribing physicality to the Creator.[1]

The first thing to note in today’s passage is the name of God: Elohim. This is literally “Gods” as it is the plural form of the word “El” or God. Thus, we get our first intimation of the Trinity in the very first word of the Scriptures.

This also gives us a clue as to the meaning of God making humanity in His own image. For obvious reasons, it would be very difficult to say that we were created in the form of triune God!

Further, two-thirds of the Trinity is Spirit. Jesus categorically taught[2] that no human besides Himself had ever seen the Father. In this, He was reiterating what Yahweh taught His servant Moses saying, “You cannot see My face, for no one can see Me and live.”[3] In what way then could Man be like God physically? This heresy is particularly foolish when we consider that Jesus described a Spirit as not even possessing a body.[4]

Clearly, God created us “tselem tselem”; literally an image of His image – connoting a reflection. So in what way are we a reflection of God?

We must take into consideration that the Messiah was the “image of the invisible God.”[5] Again, the image is not corporeal, since God is depicted as “invisible.”[6]

But the third person of the Trinity became flesh in order to act as an interface or an intermediary[7] between God and Man. He demonstrated in His loving sacrifice God’s true character. He taught “God is a Spirit and must be worshipped in spirit and in truth.”

There it is! The key! When God fabricated man, He breathed a spirit into us.[8] That spirit differentiates us from the animals. It allows us to worship God, to interact with Him, to have fellowship with Him, to pursue d’vekut – that intimate relationship possible between God and Man.

It is this aspect of our personality that is like God. Birds think. Dogs feel. Dolphins are self-aware. Apes have bodies that are virtually the same as ours. But we are more than mere minds and emotions. Our spirits allow us to surpass our corporeal limitations and worship at the very throne of heaven.

In this is God’s gift to mankind.

[1] Exodus 20:4; Deuteronomy 4:15-16; Romans 1:18-22; Psalm 97:7; Jonah 2:8;

[2] John 1:18; Matthew 11:27

[3] Exodus 33:20

[4] Luke 24:39

[5] Colossians 1:15

[6] Romans 1:20; Colossians 1:15-16; 1 Timothy 1:17; Hebrews 11:27

[7] 1 Timothy 2:5

[8] Genesis 2:7