The Significance of Genesis 5:1-2: Being Created in the Image of God

The Significance of Genesis 5:1-2: Being Created in the Image of God

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland OH on Saturday, March 5 and Sunday, March 6, 2022.

We have been talking about the importance of Genesis chapters 1-11. I do not believe that we are accidents. No, we are created and created in the image of God with intent. The following comes from the updated “Evidence that Demands a Verdict”:

Evolutionary biologists have faced great difficulty in trying to explain the origin of human language in evolutionary terms. A 2014 paper coauthored by leading evolutionary paleoanthropologists admits that we have “essentially no explanation of how and why our linguistic computations and representations evolved” and “the origins and evolution of our linguistic capacity remain as mysterious as ever” since “studies of nonhuman animals provide virtually no relevant parallels to human linguistic communication, and none to the underlying biological capacity.” (Hauser et al., MLE, 1) Under a biblical view, however, one would expect humans to have a distinct form of communication not seen among lower animals.

A biblical view also makes it reasonable to expect that stories concerning our ancient ancestors would persist in cultures around the world. These stories would have been preserved as oral traditions until systems of writing were developed.

The Sumerian civilization in southern Mesopotamia (c. 3500–2000 BC) is credited with developing the world’s first written language. The oldest written Sumerian records date to 3100 BC. (Britannica, s.v. “Languages of the World: Language Isolates”) The system of writing used was a pictographic type of cuneiform, which gradually changed to conventionalized linear drawings. These were pressed into soft clay tablets with the edge of a stylus, giving it a characteristic wedge-shaped appearance. Cuneiform was adopted for use in other languages, for example Akkadian and Babylonian. (Britannica, s.v. “cuneiform writing”) Archaeologists have uncovered thousands of cuneiform tablets in the Middle East. Many of these have been studied and translated by scholars around the world, enabling them to gain great insight into ANE beliefs about origins. Collins has described how three texts from ancient Mesopotamia demonstrate some parallels with Genesis 1–11. (Collins, DAERE, 137–160)

Chinese characters

There is written evidence for the first humans from a civilization far from Mesopotamia: ancient China. Modern Chinese can trace its roots to inscriptions that have been found on oracle bones dating back to the second millennium BC. (Thong, FOF, 46) Chinese has remained a pictograph-based language since that time, although the characters have changed over the centuries. The characters used today have been grouped into six categories. (Thong, FOF, 47) As described for example by Chan Kei Thong, two of these categories are pictographs and ideographs. (Thong, FOF, 51–52) Pictographs depict objects while ideographs convey abstract ideas and are composed of two or more pictographs. A study of ideographs reveals some of the stories that inspired the ancient people who developed them. Thong demonstrates how several ideographs show clear consistency with the Genesis account of Adam and Eve and their disobedience in the garden of Eden. The three examples listed below are formed using these pictographs: (mouth), (tree) and (female).

The symbol (shu), meaning “to restrain,” is represented by a mouth superimposed over a tree. This correlates to the first restraint placed on Adam, namely the prohibition from eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Thong, FOF, 56–57)

The symbol (lan) meaning “to covet,” is represented by two trees on top with a female on the bottom. The use of two trees correlates with the two key trees in the garden of Eden: the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and the tree of life. The female correlates with Eve, the first human to covet something forbidden (fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil). Thong notes: “The composition of this character is even more interesting when one recalls that in ancient China, women had no place in society. . . . Yet, the ancient Chinese chose to use the character for ‘woman’ rather than the one for ‘man’. . . . This shows that the ancient Chinese had some knowledge of the story of the first act of disobedience against God.” (Thong, FOF, 58)

Finally, the symbol , meaning “death,” shows that death is associated with two mouths eating from a tree. This correlates with Adam and Eve’s disobedience, for which they suffered the promised consequence of death. (Thong, FOF, 61)

The fact that these three characters have ancient forms demonstrates that they were formulated long before the first Christian missionaries visited China, generally considered to be Nestorians in AD 635. (Neill, HCM, 95) While Thong has acknowledged that Chinese calligraphy scholars do not necessarily agree with his interpretations, he argues that one of the artifacts from the San Xing Dui civilization discovered near Chengdu, Sichuan Province, a bronze tree dated to 1600 BC, supports his view that the ancient Chinese had some knowledge of the events from the garden of Eden. The tree includes fruit, knives protruding from the branches as if to guard the fruit, a feminine hand reaching to the tree, and a serpent. (Thong, private communication)[1]

God created us in His image. We are designed and created with purpose. We are not accidents and neither is our language ability.

Today, my theme:

In Genesis 5:1-2 we see the restatement of God creating male and female in His image.

My application: we are not accidents. We are image bearers.

Read with me Genesis 5:1-2:

This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. 2Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created.

  1. Paradise has been lost.
    1. Allow me to review last week’s message and put this passage in context. More than that, allow me to review Genesis thus far.
    2. Here we are in Genesis 5.
    3. In Genesis 1 God creates everything. We have the big picture of creation.
    4. In Genesis 2 we have the micro. We see creation specific to Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden.
    5. In Genesis we see the devil, in the form of a serpent, enter the Garden of Eden and we see the people sin. Paradise has been corrupted.
    6. Everything was paradise. Everything was perfect and then sin.
    7. Sin enters and everything changes.
    8. God in His grace says that it is better than man and woman leave the Garden of Eden lest they live forever in a sinful state. After they leave the Garden of Eden they do not have access to the Tree of Life and they will die (Gen. 3:22).
    9. God set up a guard around the Garden of Eden to keep man out (Gen. 3:24).
    10. In Genesis 4 Cain and Abel are born and we have the first murder.
    11. Paradise has truly been lost.
    12. They were in paradise and now they are out of paradise and there is pride, jealousy, anger, murder, polygamy, among other sins. Yet, Adam and Eve would be alive for quite awhile and see the corruption.
    13. If I was a betting man I would argue that Adam and Eve wept over the corruption. I would bargain this was very difficult for them to see. I would bargain Adam and Eve longed for redemption.
    14. At the end of Genesis 4, in verses 25-26, Eve gives birth to Seth.
    15. This brings us to Genesis 5:1-2.
  2. Life continues
    1. In Genesis 5 we see that life continues.
    2. As we see that life continues we see that God is giving grace.
    3. As long as life continues there is potential for redemption.
    4. God had promised a redeemer (Genesis 3:15). God is faithful.
    5. So, in Genesis 5:1 we have an introduction to the book of generations.
    6. This is called a Toledot which means “family records.” We see it 11 times between Genesis 2:4 and 37:2.
    1. Allow me to share a few words about the geneology in this chapter, though we will share more next week.
    2. The purpose of the genealogy is showing death. They could not correct the problem of death.
    3. Only Enoch escapes death.
    4. Christians must respond to death by calling on the name of the Lord as the previous verse says.
    5. Notice verse 1: This is the book of the generations of Adam. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God.
    6. This is the book of the generations of Adam.
    7. So, this the record of the descendants of Adam.
    8. Verse 1 is powerful.
    9. God created man. God made him in the likeness of God (See Genesis 1:26-27).
    10. Verse 2 continues: male and female He created them.
    11. It takes male and female to reflect the image of God (Gal 3:28).
    12. God blessed them.
    13. God named them man, that literally means “adam.”
  3. The likeness of God/image of God:
    1. Male and female were created in the image of God. This is repeated here.
    2. This is showing design and intent and I want to focus on that for the remainder of the message.
    3. There is great danger of a naturalistic worldview. There is grave danger of saying that we evolved from random chance.
    4. Do you realize that evolution across species is based on death?
    5. In Genesis chapters 1-2 we do not see humanity coming about by a process of death.
    6. Let me ask a question: are we getting better? Evolution says that we are getting better, we are evolving better, but we are clearly not getting better.
    7. A naturalistic evolutionary worldview leads to the idea that people are of no greater value than animals.
    8. Look at this quote from Peter Singer a professor of Bioethics at Princeton University:
    9. Therefore, Singer says, causing these animals pain—killing them for food, caging them while they produce eggs, shackling them and kidnapping them for exhibition in a zoo—subverts their preferences and is wrong.  The fact that animals are nonhuman makes no difference.  In fact, an intelligent adult ape has more conscious interests than a newborn human infant. Therefore, faced with the choice of rescuing from a fire either a severely retarded infant, who is unlikely to develop many preferences in the future, and an ape, we should rescue the ape.  To think otherwise is simple bigotry, an example of speciesism.[7]
    10. Another quote:
    11. “[Darwin’s] general theory, that all life on earth had originated and evolved by a gradual successive accumulation of fortuitous mutations, is still, as it was in Darwin’s time, a highly speculative hypothesis entirely without direct factual support and very far from that self-evident axiom some of its more aggressive advocates would have us believe.”[8]
    12. It (Darwinism) is atheism and utterly inconsistent with the Scripture . . . [a] denial of design in nature is virtually the denial of God (Charles Hodge, 1874)
  4. Significance and applications:
    1. Let’s make some applications:
    2. In God’s grace the human race continues. We must trust in God’s grace.
    3. We must trust in God’s plan. God is faithful and His plan is still going forth. God is allowing humanity to continue.
    4. We had sinned against God and yet we continue.
    5. In Genesis 5:1 the Scripture says that they were created in the likeness of God. This corresponds with Eph 4:24; Col. 3:10 and Genesis 1:26-27. We are image bearers of God.
    6. We were created: this means that we are subject to the creator.
    7. We must submit to the creator (James 4:7).
    8. We are finite and dependent. We must depend on the creator.
    9. We are physical creatures and can expect to be in a physical realm for all eternity (Rev 21-22).
    10. Being physical means that we need work, sleep, exercise, food, hygiene, relaxation, laughter, diet, etc.
    11. We are a unity of material and immaterial parts. A physical body is essential to humanity, but we are more than our body.
    12. It is not correct to refer to the “inner you” as the “real” you.
    13. Our body is not evil. That comes from Greek philosophy.
    14. Being created in the image of God shows that we were created with intent.  
    15. We are not accidents.
    16. We are not the product of random evolutionary accidents.
    17. We have worth before God.
    18. Am I valuable for my performance?  What if I fail to live up to my own or society’s standards?  Am I then of no value? No, we have value being created in the image of God.
    19. Am I valuable because other people think I have worth?  Will rejection destroy my value? No, we have value being created in the image of God.
    20. Am I valuable because I decide to invent “self-esteem”? No, we have value being created in the image of God.
    21. Being created in the image of God sets us apart from animals. We have the ability to think metacognitively, to feel, and to choose. We have moral responsibility to God for our behavior. We have the potential to glorify God by choosing to live in fellowship with Him.
    22. It takes male and female to represent the image of God.
    23. We must not look down on male or female as both represent the image of God.
    24. We must not commit idolatry knowing that humans are visible representations of God.
    25. There is no room for bigotry, or prejudice. Everyone is unique and to be treated with respect[9]


C.S. Lewis writes:

There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations ― these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit ― immortal horrors or everlasting splendours. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously ― no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption.[10]

Since there are no ordinary people, I challenge you to write a letter to someone this week. It could be an email, or a card, or a written letter. But write a letter to someone telling them how much they mean to you. Write a letter to someone sharing your love and respect.


[1] McDowell, Josh; McDowell, Sean. Evidence That Demands a Verdict (pgs. 440- 441). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

Hb Hebrew

[2] Robert D. Bergen, “Genesis,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 13.

[3] Tom Constable, Tom Constable’s Expository Notes on the Bible (Galaxie Software, 2003), Ge 5:1.

[4] Crossway Bibles, The ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2008), 59.

v. verse

[5] Robert D. Bergen, “Genesis,” in CSB Study Bible: Notes, ed. Edwin A. Blum and Trevin Wax (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2017), 13.

[6] Michael A. Rydelnik and Michael Vanlaningham, eds., “Genesis,” in The Moody Bible Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2014), 54.

[7] Christian Century, July 3-10, 2002

[8] Michael Denton, Evolution, 1985, p.77

[9] Some of the content under point IV comes from Cedarville University; Christian Life and Thought notes around 2003.

[10] C.S. Lewis; C. S. Lewis. The Weight of Glory (pp. 26-27). UNKNOWN. Kindle Edition.

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