Genesis 1:26 Pinnacle

26 Then 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.”


I was looking over Genesis 1 and 2 using the new Logos Bible software that my wife purchased.  It had connection to a number of commentaries and so I browsed through them.

The first thing that struck me was man’s relation to the soil.  The word for earth and the word for man in Hebrew are very similar to each other.  It implies to me an earthiness that is in man.  The term earthiness describes a person who is unaffected.  I hear in it a sense of innocence, which is evocative of mankind’s state in the garden.  Of course the term can also mean unrefined and crass, but we won’t push things too far.  When I think of affected people, I think of people who have added layers and layers of masks.  They are hypocrites.  This reflection is not the result of solid exegesis.  It is probably not in the mind of the original author or the reader.  However, it does connect me with a deeper appreciation of cutting things down to their essence.  What is it that makes a person all that he should be?  What is it that we add that makes a person something corrupted?  Even when we think that our additions  and refinements?  How have we departed through our tinkering from the original design of God?

The second thing that struck me was that the introduction of mankind was a pinnacle.  The text builds its creation narrative toward a man who is superior to all else around him save God himself.  The majesty of man stands out.  Somehow we have abased ourselves, but we were meant to be the pinnacle.  It seems arrogant to walk out into undisturbed nature and think of ourselves as its master.  However, we were designed to cut down, control, and cultivate.  What a heady responsibility!


As we walk this earth let us see our true potential.  Help us not to accrue gaudy trinkets, unaware of their vulgarity.  May we let go of schemes which lead us farther from you.  Thank you for the dignity that you give to the unclothed baby purely because they belong to the human race.


  1. How are the words for Adam, mankind and earth related?
  2. What is the role of mankind?
  3. Why does mankind have its own distinct creation story on day 6?
  4. How has mankind lost his relationship with the earth?
  5. How can we regain some of the dignity of being the pinnacle of creation?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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16 Responses to Genesis 1:26 Pinnacle

  1. Rob Bailey says:

    God created everything for man, but man in turn was created to serve and love God and to offer all creation back to him:

    “What is it that is about to be created, that enjoys such honour? It is man that great and wonderful living creature, more precious in the eyes of God than all other creatures! For him the heavens and the earth, the sea and all the rest of creation exist. God attached so much importance to his salvation that he did not spare his own Son for the sake of man. Nor does he ever cease to work, trying every possible means, until he has raised man up to himself and made him sit at his right hand.” John Chrysostom

    passage taken from the catechism of the catholic church, 2nd Edition, part 1, #358

  2. Emmy R says:

    We are made in the image of God. This is something that I have heard thousands of times, but when you really take the time to stop and meditate on it… wow! God chose us, human beings to be made in His image, knowing the mistakes we would make. May we never lose sight of the power of this truth, and may we live our lives as image bearers of our Creator.

  3. Maelynn says:

    The role of mankind was to be the pinnacle of God’s creation, ruling over the earth. God told us to be fruitful and multiply.
    3. This is evident in thr fact that mankind recieves its own day of creation on day six. We are to be separate and different and above other created things. Nevertheless, today, man sees himself as the product of natural selection. We are told that we are not much different than apes. This is not what God intended.

  4. Jung Kim says:

    I love that we are designed to cut down, control, and cultivate this earth as the pinnacle of God’s creation. However, I fail to do so everyday in my life. To be honest, I still fail even when I am realizing this fact. As I study more about God, my head gets bigger and bigger. Lord, what should I do? Mold me and teach me at this very moment..

  5. Andrew Moore says:

    When I think about mankind being the pinnacle of creation, I get a little confused. Certainly, your average man would lose in a fight to a lion or some other fearsome beast. Yet, being made in God’s image has a lot more to do with psychical power of survival skills. I think ultimately, we are the pinnacle because that is how God has chosen. We are the greatest of earth’s creations because we are the most loved.

  6. Megumi says:

    1. Similar root word in Hebrew
    2. Divinely appointed image-bearer and ruler of the rest of creation
    3. Mankind is not just another part of creation, it is the climax that the rest of the creation narrative was leading up to.
    4. The curse. I am reminded of C.S. Lewis’s book Perelandra and always wonder, just how much we have lost.
    5. Restored relationship with God, with others, and good stewardship of earth’s resources.

  7. Molly says:

    I really enjoyed the prayer at the end of this blog, especially, ” Thank you for the dignity that you give to the unclothed baby purely because they belong to the human race.” As we go through life and gain more and more items and titles we lose sight of the fact that we are made in the image of God, His pinnacle of creation, and the goal of life here is friendship with God, not gaining nonsense.

  8. Christa says:

    1. How are the words for Adam, mankind and earth related? The words for man and earth all relate to the earth because man was formed from the dust of the earth, he is one who came from earth
    2. What is the role of mankind? To have dominion over the earth, and to love and have relationship with God
    3. Why does mankind have its own distinct creation story on day 6? Because man is set apart from the rest of the animal kingdom as man is created in the image and likeness of God
    4. How has mankind lost his relationship with the earth? Man no longer enjoys the innocence enjoyed in the perfect earthly environment of the garden, man often abuses the resources found on the earth for his own purposes
    5. How can we regain some of the dignity of being the pinnacle of creation? By recognizing the role our Creator gave us, by fulfilling that role in a way that is beneficial for all of creation and in a way that glorifies the Lord

  9. Maria T. says:

    How has mankind lost his relationship with the earth?
    As we have sought to subdue the earth, we have done so for our own purposes and to our own glory, rather than recognizing that we are stewards. In using the earth rather than taking care of the earth, I think we have lost much of the good in our relationship with the earth. We have not completely lost the relationship, though, and as Christians, I believe that we have hope of redeeming the good by subduing the earth for God’s glory.

  10. Kimberly W. says:

    The first commands to man were to “be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it” (Gen 1:28). There is something sacred about the way man relates to the earth. I love that part of the role of mankind is to care for the earth, to cultivate it and use the produce of the earth. What a good and gracious God we have to give us such a gift! I think of the diversity in foods, in fruits and vegetables. They are a blessing from the Lord. The diversity in plant life, in flowers and beautiful trees, is a blessing. As those who know the Lord, we can see so clearly how creation testifies to the Creator. Being in nature and working the soil points us to God in a unique way.

  11. Michael McCardle says:

    I have always found a deep connection with the Lord through his creation. I love the outdoors and marvel at the earth’s beauty. I can only imagine what a completely new and holy heaven and earth will look like. So often I look down upon and devalue myself. I always need to remind myself that I am made in the image of God. That is who I am. To truly think about that is an amazing thing.

  12. I often forget that I am made in the image of God and don’t always live with that mindset. I know we are a fallen humanity, but I tend to set high standards for myself and others which probably aren’t healthy most of the time. Setting standards for myself and others that are unrealistic just lead to disappointment; I have to remind myself that only through the strength of the Holy Spirit can we accomplish anything of value.

  13. 1. They both have the same root word in Hebrew, referring to an earthiness which is unaffected. Adam’s name itself means. There is also a word play with Adam’s own name and its relation to earth.
    2. Mankind’s role as made in God’s image was to have dominion over the earth.
    3. Man is the pinnacle of God’s creation. He is set apart, being made in God’s image and being filled with HIs very breath. In the Old Testament when someone blessed someone, that word of blessing was related to God’s breath filling them just as God’s breath filled Adam’s lungs.
    4. When Adam sinned, he brought down not only consequences on himself but also on the earth which is now groaning for Christ’s return and restoration of itself. In taking the fruit, Adam was also abusing his dominion over the earth. The one thing he had no right to he took.
    5. We need to remember our identity of being made in His image. This is true of all people, whether or not they are saved. The lack of the realization of that image makes us feel entitled to our bodies as our own, whether we see fit to care for them out of our own desire for ourselves rather than God’s glory or to abuse them because we do not think it hurts anyone else and we are worthless anyway. I cannot tell you how often I have seen the latter, especially in some of the people I love most in this world and it hurts to the core. We have our value in our image bearing and that is given to all people. How gracious is our God. However, when they do not see that and no one bothers to tell them, pretending that we really aren’t that bad and denying where our preciousness comes from, they see no value in themselves at all. It is entirely backwards from what we would expect. In order to see our worth, we have to see who we would be without that image. Then we realize the intense and miraculous beauty we have because of Him who made us to be like Himself. It is so hard to convey to a world who cannot see that the only One who gives them worth is the One in whose likeness they are made when do not know Christ. They have to know Christ to realize this reality and even then it is a struggle.

  14. Olyn says:

    It is amazing to me that God-the Creator of the Universe!-would make humans in His image. It is a beautiful thing, too. It gives worth and dignity to every human, regardless as to how the world views their value. It also challenges me: how often have I ascribed value to people depending on how they perform/act? And how could I dare do that when they are made in God’s image and loved by Him, just as He loves me despite my unworthiness.

  15. Christina W. says:

    I really loved that you mentioned that we have dignity and worth merely because we are human. It is amazing that God chose to make us in His image and likeness and that he places such worth and value on us. We are so unworthy but even so, God made us the pinnacle of His creation.

  16. 1. The word for earth and the word for man in Hebrew are very similar to each other. It implies that there is an earthiness in man.
    2. Mankind’s role is to have dominion over the earth.
    3. Mankind was unlike the rest of God’s creation in the fact that we are made in God’s image.
    4. Because of the Fall, the ground has been cursed and man will have to eat food from it through painful toil, the ground will produce thorns and thistles, and man will return to the ground as dust when he dies.
    5. While we are living in post Fall times, I think we can still attempt to live life the way God originally intended for us to live. We need to understand that we are not our own, but we belong to the Most High God.

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