26Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
31And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
The image bearers. Here we have something different – something that can no longer be called ‘something’ but ‘someone’. Let us make man.
Both male and female constitute this image, together reflecting the likeness of God himself. This is a high view of humanity; made with the same raw materials as the other created beings, but given the pattern of God within them. A God of relationship.
And God blessed them. The power of blessing, so strong in the Genesis narratives is here,right at the beginning, performed by God himself. God is the one who blesses, the source of all blessing, where blessing begins.
The image bearers are special and they are blessed.
The image bearers have responsibility.They too are told to be fruitful and multiply, their life begetting life, potential ‘someones’ still to come. They are also told to have ‘dominion’ over every other living thing (with the breath of life – breath so powerfully associated with what it means to be alive).
We can think of dominion very negatively, and misuse the idea, making it about heavy handed unpleasantness, an abuse of authority, an imposition. But these are the image bearers, and it is God whose image they carry, the God who formed the earth and saw that it was good. If the humans are to truly reflect his image, they will care for the earth with the same care and concern as its creator. They are the appointed stewards, caretakers of the earth. They are not just part of the cycle of the living, they carry a special responsibility for it. They are given this responsibility. Their position in creation is a gift.
They are filled with potential.