God’s Purpose in Creating Man
Why did God create man? What purpose did He have in doing so? This He has already told us in Genesis 1.26-27. These two verses are exceedingly important. The creation of man was truly a special creation, hence it required a council of the Godhead. When God created light, He gave the word and it was done. In creating the air, He again merely pronounced the word and it was done. He created all the living creatures by mere acts of creating. But in the creation of man, it was totally different. Before that creation there was a council among the Godhead: “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 birds of the heavens, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth” (v.26). This was a plan decided in that Divine council: “Let us . . .” This brief phrase reveals the fact of consultation in the Godhead. In other words, here was the blueprint for the creation of man. Then, verse 27 gives us God’s construction work: “And God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” This is followed by verse 28: “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 birds of the heavens, and over every living thing that creepeth upon the earth” (mg.).
Here we see that God wants to have a man, a man who has dominion over this earth. This will satisfy His heart.
The man whom God created had not only the Divine likeness but also the Divine image. Likeness bespeaks what is external; image, what is internal. God wants man to be like Him in nature as well as in appearance. God wants man to have the same senses, the same actions, the same manner of life and the same holiness. He wants man to be like Him so that when people touch one another they may touch the character of God. Such, then, was the substance and implication of this decision made in the Divine council.
Here is another amazing thing. Verse 26 reads: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” But verse 27 tells us that “God created man in his image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” In verse 26 the word “us” signifies plurality whereas in verse 27 the word “his” indicates singular number. Grammatically speaking, if the phrase “let us make man in our image” in verse 26 reveals a consultation among the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit of the Godhead, then verse 27 should have similarly read the following: “And God created man in their image . . . ; male and female created they them.” What is the explanation for this apparent discrepancy? It is because of the fact that in the Godhead there is but One who has image, and that One is the Son. For this reason, at the consultation of the Godhead the Divine utterance came forth: “Let us make man in our image” (for They are one), but in describing the actual construction of man the Scriptures declared: “in his image.” This shows us that Adam was created in the image of the Lord Jesus. It is not a case of first Adam and then the Lord Jesus. Rather is it a case of first the Lord Jesus and then Adam. When God created Adam He created him in the image of the Lord Jesus. And hence we read: “in his image” and not “in their image.”
The purpose of God is to obtain a people who are like the Son. “For whom he foreknew, he also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Rom. 8.29). This is God’s purpose. He wants many sons, and these many sons are to be like His only Son. That only Son of His has an image, He also has a likeness. And these many sons are therefore to be conformed to the image of His only begotten Son. With the result that His Son is no longer the only begotten but has become the Firstborn among many brethren. God’s purpose is to obtain such a people. From all this we should recognize the preciousness of man. Each time when we mention man, we should rejoice. How highly God regards man! He himself even came to be a man! And when He obtains men like this One Man, His plan is realized.