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Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Creation: Day 6 - Land Animals and People

The glory of creation points to Something/Someone greater than ourselves.  Who is this Creator who made animals in such variety? Why did He make people so much like the animals and yet so very different?  What does the story of creation in Genesis tell us about the Creator’s character?

Genesis was written to help us know the Truth about God.  The creation story reveals the character of God and the life He offers us.  If you want to know God and why we are here, you can find out by studying the story of creation in Genesis.

Genesis 1:24-31

24 Then God said, “Let the earth produce every sort of animal, each producing offspring of the same kind—livestock, small animals that scurry along the ground, and wild animals.” And that is what happened. 25 God made all sorts of wild animals, livestock, and small animals, each able to produce offspring of the same kind. And God saw that it was good.

26 Then God said, “Let us make human beings[a] in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.”

27 So God created human beings in his own image.

    In the image of God he created them;

    male and female he created them.

28 Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”

29 Then God said, “Look! I have given you every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food. 30 And I have given every green plant as food for all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, and the small animals that scurry along the ground—everything that has life.” And that is what happened.

31 Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!

And evening passed and morning came, marking the sixth day.

On the sixth day, God created land animals and people.

Science and religion have been embroiled in an unnecessary argument for at least 150 years.  Science argues that humans evolved from animals.  Religion argues this cannot be because it is not the way the Bible describes it.  Unfortunately, the debate misses the point.  Genesis was given thousands of years before the advent of science.  It was never intended to describe the creation of the world in scientific terms.  Genesis was written to speak to the mysterious longings within our hearts to know the Truth about God.  Science offers us information, but the Bible offers Truth that is far more profound than information.  

Why does it seem so important that the sequence of creation in Genesis does not match what the prevailing scientific theories of our time?  God must have told the story the way He did to reveal a wisdom that is different than that which science reveals.  It is unfortunate that science and religion have spent so much time trying to prove each other wrong.  It is much more fruitful to spend our time and energy pondering what God is really trying to tell us in the Genesis story.

We see in Genesis that God works systematically, day by day, to bring order out of chaos.  Day one is simply light. Day two is the sky.  Day three is land and vegetation.  Each day, God moves to more and more complex systems until He finishes with the most complex of all—humanity.  God is telling us something important here.  Humanity is special in all of God’s creation.

People are different from animals.

Each day when God reviewed what He created, He recognized that it was good.  But on the sixth day, after God made people, He reviewed His handiwork and recognized that it was very good.  What is it that sets people apart from animals?

Biologically, humans and animals are very similar.  We share the same basic structure and biological functions.  However, there is something special about humans.  It is more than intelligence.  There are animals that are smart too.  (One could make an argument that some animals are even smarter than people—depending on how you define intelligence.)  Some have said that being self-aware is the characteristic that sets humans apart from animals.

But we see that many animals are self-aware too.

Genesis tells us the difference between animals and humans in verse 26.  It says, “Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us.””  The Hebrew word for image is salem.  Salem is the same word people would use to say that a son is the spitting image of his father.  Salem is also the word used for idols and for idol worship.

God created us to be like Him.

Throughout the Bible, God continually forbids people to make or worship idols.  In the Ten Commandments, the second command is do not make or worship idols of any kind.  Yet this is a perversion that humanity struggles with over and over again—even to this day.  We can find insight in this—not just that we shouldn’t make or worship idols.  We can also learn something about ourselves and God from this prohibition.

We were made to be the image of God—the reflection, the representation of God in visible form. God wanted us to be like Him, as a son is like his father or mother.  No other image of God or representation of God is adequate or permitted.  We are the only authorized “idols” who may represent God.  We were created to represent Him.  

Out of all the extraordinary creations that came from the infinite imagination of God, people were the creatures God designed to represent Him best.

Idolatry is such an affront to God because it fundamentally goes against the very core of who God is, who we are, and our whole purpose for being.  When we make an idol, we attempt to change the whole order of creation.  We try to make God the way we want Him to be.  We make God in our image instead of recognizing we are made in His image.  We switch the roles of our relationship around until we pretend to be the creator while demoting the God of the universe to our underling.  It is a reversal that is an outrage to all of creation, and an abomination to God.

Idols are not just a thing of the past or primitive cultures.  Unfortunately, idol worship is alive and well in our modern world right here in America.  Some idols we worship today are: money, celebrities, power, and possessions.  People may be more actively involved in idol worship today than at any time in our history.  And it is just as abominable to God today as it ever was.

We engage in idol worship anytime we put something or someone (even ourselves) before God.  It is the very definition of Sin—letting something else besides God be the first priority in your life.  This is not what God created us for.  God created us to be a perfect representation of Him and to worship Him as the center of our lives.

Jesus succeeded where we failed.

We have lived as selfish, sinful people who do not fulfill our primary purpose in creation for so long that we can hardly even imagine what it is like.  What are we supposed to do?  What does the perfect human even look like?  Jesus is the one who shows us.

Jesus came to show the way.  He is the perfect, uncorrupted image of God.  If you want to see God, look at Jesus.  He represents God the way humanity was supposed to from the very beginning.  And the most wonderful thing is, Jesus offers a way to restore the image of God in us.

Right now, because of sin, our “God-image” is broken.  But Jesus offers a way to put the pieces back together again.  He says, “Repent of your sins and believe the Good News.” (Mark 1:15)


Jesus laid down his life to pay the penalty for your sins.  The blood he shed on the cross washes away all your sins.  If you will accept this gift He wants to give you, you can be forgiven and made whole again.  All the things you have done that you regret—both the mistakes you’ve made and the things you did on purpose—can be forgotten.  All you have to do is believe, repent, and start following Jesus today.

Pray today to get your heart right with God.

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