Then 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 livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill 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 moves on the earth.” And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And unto every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. (Genesis 1:26-30)
These verses have four very important theological and social implications. First, the creation of man was a direct act of the Godhead. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were all present and active throughout the process of creation.
Secondly, God chose to make male and female in both the image and the likeness of Himself, giving humanity a special relationship to God. These are not necessarily physical attributes (although god is described as having certain body parts, such as “the hand of God”) as they are spiritual. The soul of man, being created in God’s image, has the unique capability of embodying God’s communicable attributes, such as rationality, reason, intellect, will, and emotion. Man was also originally created in the likeness of God by embodying God’s moral attributes, such as righteousness and the ability to have relationships. These moral attributes, however, have been lost as a result of the fall, but can be re-gained through faith in Christ alone. Since every human being is created in the image of the Godhead, every human being is special to God. Therefore, we should recognize that every human life is sacred. From the unborn baby, to the woman with mental retardation, to the young man with quadriplegia, to even the elderly man with dementia, every life is special and significant to our creator.
Third, God has put man in charge of the earth, its resources, and its creatures. Man has been given the right, by the Creator, to use everything in the earth for his own benefit. However, even though God has given man dominion over the earth, man should not abuse it. We should be wise regarding our earthly environment, striving to eliminate pollution and harmful waste that destroys God’s creation, while at the same time knowing that we are not sinning when we consume the plants and creatures of the earth.
Finally, man is called to multiply his kind. God has given man the “cultural mandate” to reproduce without shame.
These implications mean that all men and women, regardless of race and social class, have been directly created by God in His own image and likeness. Since man is God’s representative on earth, man has been put in charge of the earth and its resources. Man also is commanded to reproduce in order to keep charge of the earth.