Before we get into chapter three let’s step back into chapters one and two of Genesis and get a picture of the people and the environment the Lord created.
The phrase “let us makeman” (1:26-27) which God used on the final day of creation, introduced a part of creation that would be different from everything else. The man became the greatest part of the week’s work and the only part of creation that is said to be made in the “image of God” (the word “image” is used three times 1:26-27). This image of God is of course, no longer a perfect image, because of sin (Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10). But it is important to understand that the “image of God” is still in humanity despite man’s sin, and for this reason, human life is sacred (Genesis 9:6; James 3:9).
There are two things you need to know about being made in the image of God (Hoekema 1986). First, we represent God on earth. As representatives of God, we are to rule the world for Him; by being “fruitful and multiply…”(Genesis 1:28), being good stewards (Genesis 2:15), and having dominion over the rest of creation (Genesis 1:26). This also means that we have an obligation to our fellow man (Matthew 22:38).
Second, we share personality and intelligence with God. We are made to think. Mankind has been endowed with an extraordinary capacity for knowledge. Some are more endowed than others, but we all can think, reason, form arguments, and make choices. This is not just something we can do. This is our responsibility.
God knows that we can think, and He demands that you use this ability. Conversion—being born again—is an intellectual exercise. It is the battle of the mind (II Corinthians 11:1, 3, 14; I Timothy 2:14). God gives you information and demands that we respond to that in faith. This is how God treated Adam in the garden.
God sets choices before us. The Scripture clearly sets before us two ways, two destinies—only two. Adam and his wife were given this choice. There was service to Satan and sin or service to our Creator-God. This is the same choice that Moses, and later, Joshua brought to the people of Israel. There is a blessing and a curse (Deuteronomy 11:26). There is life and death (Deuteronomy 30:19 cf. Joshua 24:15). In the New Testament, the Christian life is likened to a “way” (Acts 9:2; 22:4)—Jesus introduced this language when He spoke of a broad way and a narrow way (Matthew 7:13-14). So, we were made with the ability to choose, and we still have that responsibility.
God stimulates a response. The very first sinner God dealt with was Adam. Adam was running and hiding but God found him. Notice how God dealt with him. God asked Adam a series of questions. God, of course, knew where Adam was and what he had done. But God asked him questions to agitate and activate Adam’s mind—to get him thinking. Throughout the Scriptures we see God using this method of questioning his subject. Jacob in Genesis 32:27 and Saul in Acts 26:14 are two examples.
God summons us to engage Him. God engaged with Adam and he demanded, by a series of questions, that Adam engaged with Him. Later on in the history of humanity, God invited Israel to argue it out with Him (Isaiah 1:18). He invited the Israelites to take their arguments to God and hear what He has to say. God listened to Adam’s arguments and reasons in the garden.
The bottom line is, that God created you to think, He expects you to think and he will make you think. He will cause you to engage with him, not just on a spiritual level, but on an intellectual level.
My name is Aaron Dunlop. I am married to Grace and we have five children. I grew up in Northern Ireland and after seminary in Greenville, SC, I church planted in Victoria BC, Canada, and pastored there for ten years. In 2018 my family moved to Kenya where I worked among rural pastors.
Early in 2020, we returned to Ireland from where I am the director of The Krapf Project and associated missionary with UFM Worldwide, helping to prepare ministry resources for pastors in rural East Africa. In this blog, I write devotional, pastoral, and theological articles. I also write on the history of evangelicalism (especially 20th century) Church History and issues related to Missiology.