It Was Very Good (Genesis 1:26-2:3)

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It Was Very Good
Genesis 1:26-2:3
KV 1:31a “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning – the sixth day.”

In our life we may have many questions which remain unanswered. This summer my kids pondered over the question why was the housefly made? We couldn’t understand its purpose. Finally, we just had to guess it was created to humble and frustrate people. We may never know the reason the housefly came into being. Just like we may never know the answer to many other questions like who ate the last cookie in the cookie jar.

In today’s passage the Bible answers some of life’s greatest mysteries to many people. Who am I? What was God thinking when he made me? How was I created to live? Thankfully the Bible doesn’t leave us to guess about such important fundamental questions of life but gives us a clear answer. Today, may God bless you to learn that you were created by God in the image of God to be a steward over all of creation. When God finished His work on the 6th day, He said it was very good!

Part One (Who are we?) verses 26-27
We saw from last week’s passage that God created everything including the light, the sun, stars and moon as well as plants, animals of the ground and birds of the air. He did this by the power of His Word, saying repeatedly “Let there be” and it was so. After creating those things we saw where “God saw that it was good”. God didn’t make mistakes. Unlike us, he didn’t have to go back and redo any of the work He had done. He never had to click the undo button because He is perfect and His work is perfect.

In today’s passage we see that human beings were created on the 6th day as God’s final creation and most excellent work. As we see later when God finished the 6th day, he said it was very good! The world was as it should be. Everything was functioning as God intended. In today’s passage let’s examine how and why God created man.

Who am I? Why am I here? It is a question that most people ask themselves at some point in their life. I remember I first started asking this question in middle school. But the more I thought about this question the more frustrated and depressed I became because I couldn’t find any answer from my own reasoning. Thus I gave up at that time. Once Bob Dylan visited a European country. As he was entering customs he was asked 3 questions. Who are you? Where are you from? Where are you going? Msn Daniel Han, were you asked such questions when you entered American customs? Bob Dylan was so shocked to be asked such deep questions he became lost in thought. He felt into deep meditation and couldn’t answer anything. As a result, he was denied entry and sent back to America. Who can answer these deep questions of life? Yesterday, I even asked Alexa “why were you created” and even she said “I am not sure”.

Who are we? What does the created world try to teach us about this? These days due to the influence of the theory of evolution many people now take human as a kind of animal. Most of my students in China believed this to be true and my kids even now in America are greatly affected by this teaching. On the other side, I see others who teach and believe “You are what you think you are”. Thus, you should always think positively and dream big. These two seem to be the most prevalent view of anyone who dares try to answer the question who we are today. While both can have some shades of truth (humans do have some similarities with animals and what you think does influence you) neither can define who or what a human is.

Thankfully the Bible answers clearly who we are and how we were made to live. When we fail to realize this we miss the mark of our life, we miss everything. We were created by God, who we are can’t be determined solely by what we think. Likewise, we are clearly different than animals. Animals live the same as they lived 1000 years ago but man has made many technological and scientific discoveries and progress in that time. Let’s see what the Bible and our creator says about who we are.

Let’s read verse 26 together “Then God said, let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the creatures that move along the ground.”.

The first thing we may notice is that when God created man He put extra thought into the making of man in comparison to everything else including the animals. He didn’t say “let there be man” and there was man. He said “Let us make man”. Man was God’s final creation and as such was the masterpiece of all creation. When man was created the entire trinity (God the Father, Jesus, the Holy Spirit) was involved. You were so important and so distinct from all other creation that all 3 aspects of the trinity had a meeting to discuss the best way you were to be made. God created man wholeheartedly to give him the best. This was God’s heart for man.
But God didn’t stop there. He said “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness”. This is the first difference between man and animal. The author really wanted to impress this point to the audience so he says it again in the next verse in just another way and indeed 4 times from verses 26-28. Verse 27 says “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”. Let’s take a minute to think about image. What is an image? According to the dictionary, image is a representation of the external form of a person or thing in art. When we look in a mirror or see our reflection in the water we see an image of ourselves. The image is not us but it represents what we look like. In English we have an idiom that says when someone resembles someone else almost exactly we say that “They have the same spitting image of said person”. When a child resembles their parents so closely then it is like they could have been spit out of their mouth. When one sees one they think about the other. Look at these pictures of fathers and sons. When I look at these pictures I think about Luke 3:38 “the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God”. When God created man He created him as His precious son by giving him his very own image! There was no greater image than God. Nothing greater than God. He couldn’t have made you any better. Once my son Noah remarked that God did everything really well but there was one thing he thought he could do better. He replied “I wished God would have made me an angel.”. To which my wife replied, “even an angel was created to serve man”. Psalms 139:14 says “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that fully well.”. Praise God that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. God could not have made you any better than he did.
So far we see that God made us in His own image. This does not mean His physical image because God is Spirit. Instead He made us with the same attributes as Him. Just as God is holy, just, merciful, compassionate, loving and faithful so were we created to resemble Him on this earth. We too were created to bear His image and be holy, just, merciful, compassionate, loving and faithful. We were fearfully and wonderfully made. The father, the son and the Holy Spirit all collaborated when they discussed how to make man. But that is not all. God gave man His own image so that he could be God’s representative on this earth. Verse 26 says we were created to rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the creatures that move along the ground. We were to take care of all that God had created and rightfully owned. It was an awesome privilege to be entrusted over all of God’s beautiful creation. What a blessing! It was like the owner of the Orioles or Nationals giving you stewardship to take care of and control of the baseball team for them. Or an Ocean City Beach condo owner giving you the keys to his valuable ocean front condo and yacht but expecting you to take good care of it. Those are such cool and great privileges, right? But how greater the privilege of taking care of all of creation! When David thought about God’s creation and the position which God gave man he said in Psalm 8. David wrote “When I consider your heavens; the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you have set in place, What is man that you are mindful of him, And the son of man that you care for him? For you have made him a little lower than the angels, and you have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen – even the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea that pass through the seas.”. When we think about how God made us, we too have to think like David “who am I that you are mindful of me. Who am I that you care for me”. When David thought about all of this he praised God concluding “O Lord how majestic is your name in all the earth!”.

From verse 26-27 we see who we are. We were created by almighty God, in the image of God himself to be stewards and rulers of the Earth which He created. God made us this way because He truly cares for you. His care for man his most valuable possession is beyond comprehension. When we think about who we are and how God created us how should we respond? We have to conclude that God truly values and loves mankind. God confirmed His love for man when He sent Jesus to die on the cross for man so that he could be redeemed and restored. What God loves and values we too should love and value. If we say we love God we also have to love people for they bear His image. When we lose the fact that people were made in the image of God then it has a big impact on the way one lives, the way a society operates. People no longer have absolute value, they no longer become treasured and valued but the opposite is true. But when people believe that one is made in the image of God then one’s value is not based on one’s position in society or how attractive they are but as the bearer of God’s image one human being is immeasurably precious. When we think about how God made us we should be ashamed to live in petty and selfish ways. Instead we should live to honor God who honored us first.

Part Two (How were we created to live)
When things are created they are created to function in a certain way. They are not just created. The Hennessy Venom GT is said to be the fastest car in the world, reaching speeds of up to 270mph. It was created to drive really fast. The Honda Accord was created to be a reliable car that could last a long time but if you drove it like a Venom GT you’d likely get into trouble. After reaching speeds of 100mph the Accord would probably start to shake, rattle and eventually become worn out much faster than intended. The Accord would then be trying to live as something it is not and fail to live up to the expectations of its maker.
Are we living the way that God created us to live? When we don’t we can become like the Accord that is driven like the Venom GT, shaking and becoming worn out far too quickly. Worse than that when we meet our maker we could not be expected to hear any good news because we didn’t like as he intended or made us. How did God create us to live? Through this passage we find several points.

First, as we are made in the image of God we must live our lives bearing the image of God. We must live in a way that others may see God in us. How do we do that? After the fall, didn’t we lose God’s image? In Mark 12 the Pharisees came to Jesus with a question “Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not”. Jesus replied “Show me a coin. Whose image is on that coin? Caesar’s they replied. Jesus then said Give to Caesar what is Caesar and Give to God what is God’s. The man should have asked a follow up question “What is God’s?”. Jesus would have replied “Whose image is on you?”. Those who bear God’s image must give to God what is God’s. When they do they can start to bear the image of God again. Matthew was a despised tax collector who lived for his own selfish interests, taking money from his own fellow citizens to fatten his wallet. We can say his image of God was badly scarred or blurred or even lost due to sin. But when Jesus called him and said “follow me”, he left his tax booth the thing that he had valued (his old way of life) giving his life over to God. Immediately the image of God could be seen in him again when he invited and served so many fellow tax collectors by holding a banquet for Jesus. He bore the image of God by becoming one who gives, serves and loves. When he did God made him fruitful, happy and blessed. He began to fulfill the life that God intended for him to live.

Like Matthew, until we give our life over to Jesus we will continue to bear sinful nature than the image of God. This is man’s great shame. Genesis 5:3 shows this very well “When Adam had lived 130, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image and he named him Seth”. Thus the only model we have for someone who kept the image of God perfectly is Jesus Christ who was without sin. In John 12:45 Jesus said “The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me.”. In John 14:9 Jesus said to Philip “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?”. Jesus bore the full image of God, also full nature of human. However, in all his temptations, trials, sufferings, he remained faithful to God. He never stopped being holy, loving, humble, merciful, obedient. He redeemed all of human failure, shame and curses by obeying God to death even death on the cross. Through his blood our sins are washed away and God’s image in us can be restored. 2 Cor 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

When people bear the image of God other people around them are blessed and the whole world can be blessed. This was the world that God created. In my college days I was very blessed to be served by two different servants of God who bore the image of God. They served me sacrificially, taught the Bible, gave me rides and food and took care of me. To this day I have no idea why he or my UBF shepherd would take any interest in me or devote their time to serve someone like me. When I think about that I’m reminded of what David wrote in Psalms 8:4 “What is man that you are mindful of him? The son of man that you care for him?”. Through them I could see the image of God himself. They gave of themselves, they humbled themselves showing great concern and care for one sin scarred man. May God bless each of us to bear the image of God in our lives by giving our lives over to Jesus.

2nd, God created man for mission. As soon as God created man we see that God gave him a mission to rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air. By giving man mission, God also set up the order of the world. God – human – the world. When man puts God as his priority, as his king and creator, he can take God’s mission to rule over this world and serve as God’s representative. But when man gets rid of God from their lives, the world will become man’s master. Man will become slave to other creatures, like materials, worldly ambition, money and pleasure. I find when I fail to actively make God a priority in my life I begin to be ruled by my worries and anxieties. I begin to be mastered by things like money and pleasure. Other people can easily influence what I think or do. Jesus reiterated this fact when he said “my food is to do the work of the one who sent me”. That was Jesus’ priority and it is also man’s priority. Mt 6:33 “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all other things will be given to you as well.”. May God bless you to keep God and his mission as your priority.

Third, God created man to live under His authority. Let’s read verse 28. “God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, and over every living creature that moves along the ground”. God blessed them! How did he bless them? By giving them His Word and commands. Man was created to live under God’s authority. When he does he is blessed. In Matthew 4:4 Jesus rebukes Satan’s temptation by answering “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”. Just as Jesus lived under God’s authority we too must live under God’s authority. To live under God’s authority means we have to submit ourselves to His Word. To do that we have to hear it! Jesus said 7 times in the NT “If any man has ears to hear let him hear”. The greatest blessing in the world is to hear the word of God and put it into practice. Luke 11:28 says “Blessed are those that hear the word of God and obey it”. You were created to hear the word of God. May God bless you to delight in His law.
Fourth, we were created to depend on God to provide. Let’s read verse 29-30. “Then God said “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all of the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground – everything that has the breath of life in it – I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.
When God blessed and commissioned human beings for the work he called them to do, he provided their food freely out of the abundant fruits of the earth. God said, “I give you everything…they are yours for food.” God didn’t demand that man keep a record of how many of God’s apples he ate in the course of carrying out his mission. He freely gave and provided. Under God’s blessing, man never had to worry about his basic needs.

Of course, now we live in a fallen world. Obviously, we’re not just walking down the street picking food off the trees and eating. It seems we have to struggle so hard to survive. Indeed, after sin entered the world, the Lord cursed the ground so that man would have to work by the sweat of his brow to bring food out of it. However, in Jesus our Savior, we are spiritually set free from worrying about basic needs. On the cross, Jesus bore all the curses for us and took them away, including the curse of working only for survival. God’s abundant provision in this verse shows that we are not created for worrying about daily bread. So Jesus released us from these worries, assuring us that we are worth more than many sparrows and promising, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Part 3 (It was very good) 31-2:3
Let’s read verse 31. “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.” During the creation week God repeatedly said, after he had made something, “And God saw that it was good.” Here he says it one last time. But there is a difference. When God finished creating man, and commissioning him as the steward of the world, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good”—the adverb “very” is added. This statement, “It was very good,” is God’s authoritative judgment. God created good things, and when he created the world as a whole, with us in it, he decisively declared it to be a very good thing. Chapter 2 verse 1 says, “Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.” Creation was complete; nothing was missing. Man was given everything. He was created in the image of God himself. Given a glorious mission to be God’s representative on Earth taking care of all created things. He was blessed by given the very Word of God to which he could live in an intimate relationship with his maker. He was given every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth for food.
God said it was very good. It was very good. God was pleased with how he made you. I believe because of the grace of the Lord Jesus it is still very good. Though we have sinned and messed up, God still sent His son Jesus to restore and redeem us so that once again we can bear the image of God. He still gives us His mission to be stewards of the world and shepherds of his flock though we are unworthy. He still blesses us by giving us His Word and command even today for anyone who has ears to hear. And He still provides for His people. God said it was very good. We must live our life so that when we see Him again He keeps saying it is very good. Live your life to please Him so that he can say to you “Well done good and faithful servant”. Paul said in Galatians 1:10 10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. May God bless you to live the life He gave you seeking to win the approval of God and God alone.
After the sixth day was complete and God said it was very good he rested. Verse 3 says “And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”. This rest was not for God himself who needs no rest but was for man. Holy means set apart. On the Sabbath we come to worship our creator and redeemer. It is the real rest for our souls and minds. May God bless you to keep the Sabbath every day of your life to give you real rest.