Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind.” But, it was not so in the present instance. God appears to have set himself more directly, and more solemnly to work. The first thing to be observed, therefore, is, that He commences in such manner, as that it might be understood He was about to produce that, which should highly excel all that had been hitherto seen. We are not to suppose, that the particular mode of expression was accidental, that there was in it any absence of design, or that it is a different, but unmeaning arrangement of the words only, on the part either of the Creator, or of the Historian. The character of neither, will admit such supposition. There is no word of God, or of the inspiration of God, which is casual or unnecessary. The very work itself, would refuse to verify the conclusion of accident of expression, or of form of speech, being exalted in kind above all that had preceded it, and we being compelled, as well as authorized to distinguish Man, as of the peculiar workmanship of God. He said, “ Let us make Man.” He did not command the earth to produce him, as he had done in the several instances of other living beings : He had acted, in respect of them, with truest reason in commanding them entirely from the earth, for, all their properties were to be derived from the earth,-their bodily form, and the breath which animated it; and there is nothing in them which does not partake of, or which is not rather had, from that their original substance: their life comes from itreturns, likewise to it. Man was to be of different

order, and in pursuance of the design of it, was ordained to be created in different manner and circumstance. He was not to be, either altogether or principally, a creature of earth. “Let us make Man” -the whole Godhead is speaking, Father, Word, and Holy Spirit; since it was God the Father, who called the world into being, by the Word his Eternal Son; and his Spirit it was who “moved upon the face of the waters.” The Trinity, thus, was concerned in the work; and, most properly is it the recorded language used at this time, “Let us make Man"-us, in our united capacity; that the Three Persons may be to Man but One God, blessed as he shall nevertheless be, by receiving of the bounty and benefit of their distinct operation.

This expression naturally leads us to anticipate some extraordinary work; and we must in common sense believe, that to the ensuing words a very important meaning is attached—“In our image, after our likeness.” The words themselves are remarkable; and, even if the previous expression had not been made use of, if it had been only said, that “God created man in his own image, after his own likeness," it would have been clear that there was a distinction of value; but, it is complete when taken with the former part of the sentence, and, one would think, irresistible. What is, we ask, the meaning in this place of the words—“In our image, after our likeness?" Some have maintained, that it consists in the government of the world, the dominion over all things, with which God then charged man; but this is manifestly incorrect : the remainder of the verse especially assigns that government and dominion; and the assignment was made, because he had been “ created in the image, and after the likeness” of God; and it was that creation which gave him the ability to receive and exercise the offices of the assignment. Others have made it to consist in a superior intelligence; in a state of innocence; in an erect shape of body. With respect to the shape of his body, that is a point upon which we need hardly dwell: it is a shape, or form, that admirably distinguishes him, so far as it is concerned, from the members of the irrational animated creation; but, it cannot be called an image or a likeness of God, who is Spirit, and to whom we may not ascribe form. The qualities of intelligence and innocence are, indisputably, an effect of the creation “in the image and after the likeness” of God, because God is perfect, and they are essential to a condition of perfectness: they are, therefore, but parts of a whole ; it lies in no single one of them, nor yet in all of them together. To the Scripture it is we must apply for the solution, and there we shall readily find' it. The second chapter of this book of Genesis sums up the work of creation; and in the repetition which it gives of the account of the creation of man, the matter, to my understanding, at least, is made clear. The original account says, “ And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him ; male and female created he them." The re

petition account states" And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” It is here that we first certainly learn that man was “formed of the dust of the ground:” the first and great information regarding him is, not that he was made“ of the dust of the ground,” but that he was "made in the image, and after the likeness” of God, although it may be inferred, from the twentyninth verse, where God says, “ Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.” If there had not been something earthy in his composition, he would not have had a sustenance appointed to him from the earth; and, as the following verse grants the green herb, which also grew out of the earth, as food for those other animals which had been previously said to have been called from the earth, we may justly infer that man was originally in some respect earthy too; but, still, as I have noticed, it is by inference only that we conceive any thing of the fact from the original ac, count; and, as it is permitted to be learnt by inference only, we may be sure it was God's purpose that man's earthly character should not be brought first and most prominently forward, but that nature, in which was his excellence, in which was his destiny; that nature, whatever it was, which he obtained from his creation in God's image, and after God's likeness. There is an observation, which may now be advantageously offered. In the first account, the expressions are, “ Let us make man--so God created man.” In the second, where the twofold character is brought into view, the words are, “ God formed man of the dust of the ground.” Thus, man was not made, or created, of the dust of the ground; he was only formed, or shaped, out of it; it was the other process by which he became the creature of God. To proceed. Whatever meaning we are to attach to the expression “a living soul,” in the second account, must be the meaning of the terms “ image and likeness of God,” in the first. Man was made into that “living soul,” or “ image and likeness of God,” by the Almighty“ breathing into him the breath of life.” But, who was the Almighty that “ breathed into him the breath of life?” The Holy Trinity-Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. So do we discover the full force and value of the expression, “ Let us make man.” All made him, in the terms of the description : all were concerned in his creation: the Father, who called him into being, and is by reason thereof denominated the Creator: the Word, “ by whom all things were made, and without whom was not any thing made that was made-in whom was life; and which life was the light of men;" and the Holy Spirit, by whom man received understanding, and sanctification, and inno

This is the Scripture interpretation; and it is an interpretation which none but the revealed word of God could have spoken to us, or have made us to comprehend; and we see from it how man was

cence.

« ZurückWeiter »