Friday, September 14, 2018

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday September 16, 2018

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(We are created in GOD’s OWN spiritual image)
(Genesis 1:26-2:7)

    On the sixth day of creation, after GOD had “spoken into existence” all of the universe and the earth, and fashioned from the soil, all types of animal life, bird life, and marine life, which were to dwell upon the dry land of the earth, in the air, and in the sea, in dramatic fashion, HE suddenly changed HIS “creation method” when HE created man.
    Here in this passage, instead of speaking man into existence, like HE had done with all the other animal, bird, and marine life which HE created, GOD decided to form physical man from the dust of the earth, and then, place within him “a human spirit”. GOD decided to “pattern” (v.27) (“dmuwth”-which is pronounced “dem-ooth” and means “mannerism”) that human spirit to reflect HIS OWN spiritual image, or “nature” here on earth.
    Our spiritual make-up consists, first of all, of a “heart” (“kardia”), not the physical organ in our chest, but rather, “the center of our thoughts” where GOD must be kept). Then there is the “soul” (the human spirit), which embodies GOD’s “nature”, a set of “communicable attributes”, which include Life, Personality, Love, Truth, Justice, Wisdom, and Holiness. And finally there is the “mind”, where we are free to make choices and decisions in life regarding all things. In other words, GOD did not make us into robots, but rather, HE gives us “wills that are free”
    And so, the word “image” (v.26 and v.27), “tselem” in the Hebrew, is in reality, a “spiritual image”, not a physical one. We don’t look like GOD, but rather, “we are what GOD wants us to look like” physically. GOD placed within our “human spirit”, or “soul”, a set of “communicable attributes”, or qualities, that would make man compatible with HIM, and desire to obey, worship, and have an experiential, personal relationship with HIM.
    And so GOD breathed into man, the breath of life, and from that day forward, man became a living person and began to embody the elements, or attributes of “GOD’s OWN Nature”. Mankind became “personally” related to GOD through HIS nature which includes those attributes I just mentioned. Man became a living “person”, having a “personality” just as GOD does. Without these qualities we would be just another animal, like wildlife, livestock, and all the other domesticated animal life forms.
    When GOD said “let us make man in our own image”, HE, being an invisible Spiritual GOD, was not talking about a “physical image”. “We do not look like GOD”, because “GOD doesn’t have a physical image”. JESUS tells us in John 4:24 that “GOD is SPIRIT” and so, the only way that we can resemble GOD is to act like HIM by incorporating HIS spiritual attributes into our everyday behavior and existence. We must resemble HIM spiritually, through our behavior.
    We are required by GOD to use those communicable attributes of HIS to reflect HIS “image” to others through our behavior, the same way the coming CHRIST would do during HIS first advent. These attributes also equip us with the capacity to care for ourselves and GOD’s other creation, similarly to the way that GOD cares for us.
    After perfecting man for HIS service, GOD then blessed us and instructed us to multiply ourselves and “replenish” (“male” – pronounced “maw-lay” in the Hebrew, and it means “to fill again”, or “refill”) the earth (v.28). That command from GOD suggests that there was something here before mankind, and the earth we now know. In fact, it is true that many archeological finds have been discovered to show that human, animal, and plant life, and even the universe can go back millions of years.
    The phrase “in the beginning” suggests just that, “that GOD was already here in the beginning”, or, in fact, before the beginning was, there had to be GOD. HE’s the ONE WHO got the ball rolling, and so, HE had to be already here before the beginning. This is too great for us to understand because we can only think in “linear time”, however, by telling Adam and Eve to “replenish the earth”, that tells us that GOD probably already had put something here before HE decided to start all over again with the creation of earth and mankind as we see it today. It suggests that everything began with GOD, and not that, everything began with us.
    In addition to providing us with the wonderful reproduction system that HE fully intended for us to take advantage of, GOD also commanded us to subdue all of HIS creation, and to maintain full responsibility and dominion over it (Vs.26-28). GOD then set up all of HIS human and animal creation with an almost unlimited vegetarian diet (Vs.29-30), with one distinction or restriction of course, and that is that we not eat of “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil”, which was planted in the center of “The Garden of Eden” along with “the tree of life”.
    GOD evaluated each of the first five days of HIS creative work that HE had spoken into existence, and at the end of each day HE called HIS work “good”. However, near the end of the sixth day, HE physically created and formed man from the dust of the earth, and when HE had finished making man, HE called HIS work, “very good”.
    GOD, our CREATOR, seems to have invested much more time into the creation of man than HE did in all of HIS other creations, and as a result, HE expects much more from us than the rest. The intricate details that GOD embodies into every living thing clearly suggests that HE deliberately and strategically placed each and everything here on earth, and, in the heavens above, with great vision, and, with great purpose. And man, and everything else, was made specifically to serve GOD in a predetermined special way, according to “a superiorly wise plan” that we need not fully understand or comprehend, but rather, must go forward with it, by faith.  
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

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