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But with all this abundance and beauty, and while these works declared unto their Maker his own “eternal power and Godhead,” there was no head of earthly life to yield unto the Creator and Father of all the homage of a spiritual service, the expression of a rational nature in sympathy with the mind of God himself. But ere the shades of evening cast again their darkening influence over the earth, this blank was filled up. The grandest step ever taken, in so far as man knows, in the direction of the divine self-manifestation, was realized—“God created man.” In virtue of his spiritual nature-eternal, and with a capacity of fellowship even with Him whose throne is set above the riches of the universe—he stands forth invested with a deeper interest than all geological changes, or even than the creation of the forms of life at whose head he was put :
“For though the giant ages heave the hill
And break the shore, and ever more
What know we greater than the soul ?”—(Tennyson.) The opening expression of verse 26 distinguishes the creation of man from all the other creative acts recorded in this chapter. In the latter case it was simply “Let there be;" but in the former it is “Let us make man,” implying deliberation at the threshold of the work, and the presence of more than one distinct personality—“let us do this, and let it be done in our image, and after our likeness.” This cannot be mistaken. A fair interpretation of Heb. i. and ii. will exclude the angels from all share in the work. To account for the mode of expression by falling back on the grammarian's “plural of dignity,” as if the words were used after the manner of kings, is even less satisfactory. But if we bear in mind the words, “In the beginning God (Elohim) created the heaven and the earth," and such sentences as, “Behold, man is become as one of us” (Gen. iii. 22), “Let us go down and confound their language" (Gen. xi. 7), Whom shall I send, and who shall go for us” (Isa. vi. 8), it will be found that a satisfactory interpretation demands the recognition here of the triune God-Father, Son, and Holy Ghost—met with already in the first forth-puttings of fashioning and creative power. The divine counsel passed into action, and the result is thus stated :-“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” The divine image lay in spiritual and moral resemblances—in intellect which might triumph over the objects of mere sense, with which, even in their highest efforts, the previously created animals could alone be conversant, and which, as the eye of the soul, might gaze on God as a father and friend, and have true fellowship with him; in affection which dwelling on the Creator would find in the object of fellowship a great example of “ righteousness and the holiness of truth.”
The points at which these statements regarding the creation of man impinge upon the alleged findings of science are many and most instructive. We may glance at a few of them here:
I. The Scripture account of the creation of man represents him as the last created of the present races of animals. The sketches given above of the fossiliferous strata, with between thirty and forty thousand species of animals distinct from living forms, tell, at every point in the ascending scale, that man was not. It is only when we meet with the remains of existing species that traces of man appear. Science thus bears direct testimony to the same facts as the first chapter of Genesis.
II. The Edenic pair were the first of the race—the parents of all who have ever been on the earth. “ God made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on the face of the earth.” The most recent researches of unbiassed and trustworthy anatomists, proclaim this great truth as distinctly as the Scriptures do.
III. A great miracle is implied in the introduction of man to the scene of being. Think on his twofold nature—body and soul-and, having weighed the peculiarities of each, search the great fossil-bearing formations, and ask, Is there aught in all those successive worlds of life that bear any resemblance to man? Is there any one species of the thirty or forty thousand which will warrant a candid mind to affirm, Here I find an individual so like man that of it I may predicate mind, thought-a moral constitution, in short? Before such a position could be assumed, imagination must be substituted for sober scientific research, and the spirit of philosophic inquiry must be superseded by the fool's heart, where the wish is ever father to the thought, and the thought is, “There is no God.” The appearance of man among the animals of the sixth day bears witness to a great miracle in creation. And here let me urge a consideration which should have an important bearing even on the miracles of the New Testament. Science and Scripture testify to the miraculous creation of man on the sixth day. Should it, then, seem a strange thing, or something which timid apologists should seek an excuse for, in the ignorance of the Jewish mind and the like when
our Lord appeared, that the mission of that Redeemer by whom man was at first made, should be characterized by a remarkable fulness of miraculous manifestation? In the primeval creation of man we meet with the forthputting of almighty power in order to a miraculous result. Why, then, should it seem anything but most likely, when the work of recreating in the image of God was fully inaugurated in the coming of Christ, that his work should be marked again by the same power? The truth is, that the use which infidelity has made of the phenomena accompanying the action of natural laws has driven many Christians into a position of apology, instead of one of uncompromising defence on the merits. The success of the attack has not been the result of any joints in the harness-openings in the coat of mail—but of the ignorance and faint-heartedness of those wearing it. The weapons were at hand, but they knew not where to find them; the armour was complete, but not having seen the mode in which it was fashioned, they distrusted it in the hour of need.
God pronounced his blessing on the newly created man. blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” Thus in his position, as blessed of God, man forms the connecting link between matter and spirit. By the origin of his body—“God formed man of the dust of the ground”—he is associated with all the other forms of animal life; and by his soul—“God created man in his own image,” “God breathed into man's nostrils the breath of life”-he is connected with the Creator himself and the whole spiritual world. No wonder that even a thoughtful heatben, meditating on this apparent twofold relationship, should rise to something like a true appreciation of man's nature, and of the place which the Creator designed him to occupy on the earth :
“ A creature of a more exalted kind
Was wanting yet, and then was man designed :
Many difficulties have been raised touching the interpretation of verses 29 and 30. To meet these not only have fanciful constructions been proposed in abundance, but liberties have been taken with the Hebrew text, which, if allowable, would put an end to any reliance on even plain forms of speech. The difficulties have sprung out of the desire to know more of the divine arrangements than God has made known. It is asked, But was the use of flesh not prohibited to man in innocence? Were there no animals which lived on each other then as now? Had all to be satisfied with the green herb for meat? These questions find a ready answer in a well-defined understanding of the verses themselves. The relation of man to the lower animals is fixed in verse 28. They were put under him, not in the sense of mere subjection only, but in that of servants; they were for him, at his disposal. He may have used them as food or he may not. We seek to be wise above what is written, when we attempt to settle this question one way or another. It is certain that Gen. ix. 3 does not absolutely inform us that, up till the time of the flood, man had lived on vegetables. Indeed it is not a fair use to make of that verse, to seek light from it on any question that might be raised here. The words simply cover the permission of two kinds of food to the post-diluvians. “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given unto you all things.” If it be held that they have any retrospective bearing, it would certainly, according to all fair principles of interpretation, not tell in the direction in favour of which it is generally quoted.
Having, then, defined the relation between man and the lower animals, the Creator next settles, on the one hand, the use of the seedbearing herb and the fruit-yielding tree to man—" to you it shall be for meat;" and on the other hand, the use of the to the lower animals—to them“I have given every green herb for meat:" in a word, that, directly or indirectly, the vegetable world supplies the staple of the food of man and the lower animals. The question “Did the lower animals prey upon one another at this early period ?” will be answered when we come to consider the introduction of death to man as the “wages of sin.”
And now when the great Creator looked back on the six days' work, and when he beheld the wondrous beauty, and rich luxuriance, and teeming life in earth and ocean, and the unbroken happiness of all, we are told, “ And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”
Thus,” adds the inspired historian, “ the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended
every green herb" his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it (set it apart for holy uses) : because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”
Throughout the foregoing exposition and discussions I have regarded the first chapter of Genesis as a plain but divinely inspired historical narrative. Dealing as it does with matters which could never come under the notice of its writer, it was necessary that he should be told it by the Creator himself. But this has no bearing one way or another on its character as a true history. Accept the Creator as the witness to his own works, and you may apply all the acknowledged principles of historical criticism to the Mosaic narrative. Our Lord and his apostles looked on this chapter from this point of view, and referred to its utterances as plain historical statements. The following verses, arranged in parallel columns, illustrate this remark:
NEW TESTAMENT. In the beginning God created the heaven Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid and the earth.—Ver. 1.
the foundation of the earth, and the heavens
are the works of thy hands.—Heb. i. 10. And God said, Let there be light: and For God, who commanded the light to there was light.-Ver. 3.
shine out of darkness, hath shined in our
hearts.--2 Cor. iv. 6. And God said, Let the waters under the By the word of God the heavens were of heaven be gathered together into one place, old, and the earth standing out of the water and let the dry land appear.- Ver. 9. and in the water.—2 Peter iii. 5.
Let the earth bring forth grass, and herb The earth which drinketh in the rain that yielding seed.—Ver. 11.
cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs.
-Heb. vi. 7. Let us make man in our image, after our Thou crownedst him with glory and likeness, and let him have dominion, &c.— honour, and didst set him over the works Ver. 26.
of thy hands.-Heb. ii. 7. So God created man in his own image, He is the image and glory of God.--1 in the image of God created he him : male Cor. xi. 7. and female created he them.-Ver. 27. Made after the similitude of God.-James
Have ye not read that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female ?-Matt. xix. 4.
The second chapter of Genesis is connected by so many links with the first, that some reference to these is called for before we deal specially with such references in the second as fall within the scope of this work. Much time and labour, much learning and ingenuity, have