The image, living beings and being accountable to God

A man and a woman created for each other, accountable to their Creator, in whose image they are made creative beings.

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The writer of the Scrolls of the heavenly Creator and the beginning of times, considered that divine Creator of the utmost highest position and as such let Him speak in the plural form. God speaking out loud to no one in particular. “Let us” has also some people to understand as if God were addressing the earth in this uniquely cooperative process of creation.

Franz Rosenwaig writes

During the process of creating, God does not in fact say “I” but “We,” an absolute, all-inclusive term that does not refer to an I outside the self but is the plural of all-encompassing majesty. It is an impersonal I, an I that does not face another Thou, that does not reveal anything but lives, like the metaphysical God of pre-creation, only in itself.

We have seen that Moshe lets the Divine Creator speak in the plural form to indicate His Hadar Highness and that he and the writer of the book Iyob (Job) (possibly Job or Moshe or Solomon or Elihu) as well as King David declare That High Divine Creator to be the only one in charge of the creation and of their being. The Most High is it Who creates after an “image” (Hebrew צַלְם ) which can refer to man as God’s image or to idols (Num. 33:52).

“God’s image obviously does not consist in man’s body which was formed from earthly matter, but in his spiritual, intellectual, moral likeness to God…”

At other places we can find “in the image” also as “in the likeness

Gen. 5:3 When Adam had lived thirty and a hundred years, he begot one in his likeness, according to his image, and called his name Shet.(Schocken B.)

The first two chapters of Genesis spoke of the origins of the world in its original condition. Man. אָדָם (adam) is formed from the earth (אֲדָמָה, adamah, thus “earthling”), which should have us to think about our relationship with where we come from … from the earth (A-dham) … being part of the earth.

Gen. 2.7 Then God Eternal fashioned the man—dust from the soil — and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, so that the man became a living being. (TMC-E)

Like-sounding words were thought to hint at a special association of concepts. An English equivalent might be: God fashioned a soul from the soil. Life came into the death matter by the Neshemet el (Breath of God). Without the life giving Breath of God there would be no life.

For “Nefesh chayyah” today we also could find a better translation than the older “living soul”  in “Living being“. The dichotomy between body and soul was of postbiblical origin.

From then onward we can see that the focus turns to growth, to humankind’s actual condition, and to the general challenge of being human. Having life in oneself man has to make something of that life. Having received a partner, bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh (Gen 2.22), man became accountable to God for how he should conduct himself in a relationship with the אִשָּׁה (ishah) [derived from אִישׁ (ish,man)].  Clinging to his wife being more than simply a statement of personal relationship, both coming to form a family and household, having to multiply, bringing more people in the world, God imagines to become beings in front of Him with also creative power.

We are told that man perhaps was not satisfied with the responsibilities God had given them (like naming things) and that they not only wanted to be in that image of God but came to love to

“be like God in telling good from evil.”

File:Adam and Eve by George Hayter.jpg
Adam and Eve, illustration to Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost,” pen and brown ink, by the British artist Sir George Hayter. 153 mm x 142 mm. Courtesy of the British Museum, London.

We come to see that making the wrong thoughts and following them brings chet or “sin” which breaches relationships between humans as well as between humans and their Bo’re or Creator. (Gen.3.12) It gets people to give the fault to some one else. With that choice to follow bad thoughts we find the basics of all are problems and suffering. Verses 16–19 from the 3rd chapter serve to explain the basic condition of humanity: in the case of the woman, her problems in childbearing and delivery, as well as her relationship to her husband; in the case of the man, the universal need to work for a living.

Though perhaps we should find some hope in the promise made there in the Gan. The adversary of God (the satan here represented by a serpent) is cursed but comes to hear that her seed will be conquered by the seed of a woman. The crushing of that adversary shall come from God, and as we shall see later, this time it shall be a second Adam who shall prove that man is able to follow God’s Will. It is by his death and his resurrection that those who shall have faith in him shall have confidence that our labour will produce more than thorns and thistles (1 Cor 15:58).

1Cor. 15:58 So-then my beloved brethren, become grounded, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your* labor is not vain in the Lord. {Footnotes: 1Co 15:33- OR customs OR habits. (Inward & outward)}

In the Bible, the loss of Eden is ultimately traceable to human volition and action. If we fail to live up to our potential, it is our own and no one else’s doing.

After being thrown out of the Gan Adam and Eve had to take their duty serious and became the onset of the generations to come. For all their offspring it would become important to try to fit that being in the image of God. Now having become fallible limited beings they were going to feel it, that they had to work not only to stay alive, but also to have a continuing relationship with their Maker. Having come out of the zachar and nekevah every male and female being had to learn everything and had to grow up by falling and getting up again, this being accompanied by worries, pain and suffering. Though they had to come to understand that there are possibilities to lessen the struggle. Being part of the earth we shall not be able to escape lots of things of this earth. Being part of the earth it does not mean we do have to be spiritually “off this earth”” or “of this world” or to “belong to this world“. Having to live in this world does not mean we do have to serve this world. The mental state of mankind got damaged and has to come to a healing process. The relationship with God has been broken but should be restored again. Worries could be made less severe when people would come to recognise Who they should honour. Working at the relationship with the Most High can only turn out for the better. To be in the knowledge according to the image of their Creator believing in Him and following His Word shall create the possibility to have a facilitation in life, being aware that all that suffering in this world is only temporary, and that one day all the promises of God shall come into fulfilment. As human beings we should prepare ourselves to be ready for that moment of Change, that Moment of Truth.

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Preceding

Created in the image of the Elohim to use their likeness properly

United flesh and knowingly actions

Orders for the first human beings and Rebellion against their Maker

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Additional reading

  1. Pluralis Majestatis in the Holy Scriptures
  2. The very very beginning 1 Creating Gods
  3. Necessary to be known all over the earth
  4. Necessity of a revelation of creation 2 Organisation of a system of things
  5. The very very beginning 2 The Word and words
  6. Necessity of a revelation of creation 7 Getting understanding by Word of God 5
  7. No other god besides Jehovah who gives all explanation
  8. Challenging claim 4 Inspired by God 3 Self-consistent Word of God
  9. An anarchistic reading of the Bible (2)—Creation and what follows
  10. Something from nothing
  11. Means of creations
  12. Genesis – Story of creation 2 Genesis 1:26-31 Creation of man
  13. Creation of the earth and man #2 Evil Angels and moments of creation
  14. Al-Fatiha [The Opening] Süra 1: 4-7 Merciful Lord of the Creation to show us the right path
  15. The 1st Adam in the Hebrew Scriptures #1 Beginning of everything
  16. The 1st Adam in the Hebrew Scriptures #2 Beginning of mankind
  17. Creation of the earth and man #17 Man in the image and likeness of the Elohim #1 In the image and after the likeness
  18. Creation of the earth and man #19 Man in the image and likeness of the Elohim #3 Beholding image and likeness of the invisible God
  19. Creation of the earth and man #22 Man in the image and likeness of the Elohim #6 Spirits, spiritual bodies and illusory perception
  20. Man in the image and likeness of the Elohim #8 The Formation of woman #1
  21. Man in the image and likeness of the Elohim #9 The Formation of woman #2
  22. Bereshith 1-2 The Creation of the World – The Seven Days
  23. Bereshith 2 Man and Woman placed in a Royal Garden
  24. The figure of Eve
  25. Forbidden Fruit in the Midst of the Garden 1
  26. Forbidden Fruit in the Midst of the Garden 4
  27. Created to live in relation with God
  28. A multifold of elements in creation and a bad choice made
  29. First mention of a solution against death 1 To divine, serpent, opposition, satan and adversary
  30. A solution for a damaged relationship 1 All vegetation for food except one fruit
  31. Not trying to make the heathen live like Jews #1
  32. First man’s task still counting today
  33. Struggles of life

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Further reading

    1. The Garden of Eden: A Biblical-Theological Framework
    2. God’s omnipotence in creation and the image of God
    3. In the image and likeness of God Gen 1:26-27
    4. Created in the image of God
    5. Made in the Image of God! Really? Me Too? Yep, You Too!
    6. Rethinking Salvation, Sin, and the Image of God
    7. The Image of God and Human Dignity
    8. Creative People in the Image of a Creative Creator
    9. it is more than slightly frightening to assimilate the notion that God finds us lovable
    10. Considering Introverted Community and Relationships
    11. Being Human, Becoming Imago Dei – Part 16: The Crucified Serpent
    12. Reclaiming Beauty
    13. Colossians 3:10 ” …and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”
    14. Says who? Seeking God’s face in every culture
    15. God’s Perspective NOT Ours

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