TEXT: Genesis 1:26-31; 2:7, 18-23
The students will realize that man is unique, differing from all God’s other creations in that he alone was created in the image of God and has a living soul.
Create means “to cause to come into existence, form out of nothing.” Image is “an imitation of any person or thing, likeness.” These words have special significance in this lesson.
We see in this text the crowning achievement of God’s creation. It has been said that all other parts of creation are the effect of God’s Word, but man is the work of God, created in His image and likeness, by God’s hand.
Adam was the name God gave the first man. It comes from the Hebrew word meaning “of the ground.” He was created of the dust of the earth, the last of all the things created on the sixth day, the same day as the beasts, but by a separate act of creation and in the image of God. Adam received a special blessing—dominion over the earth and its inhabitants. Adam died 126 years before the birth of Noah. He was 930 years old when he died.
In the beginning God gave man vegetables and fruit to eat. The animals were to eat of the green herbs. It wasn’t until the fall of man that the animals began to prey on other animals.
What a person believes about his origin greatly affects his entire philosophy of life. If a man were convinced that he does not have an eternal soul, then it would seem to him that he would have no responsibility to God for the way he lives his life. But a person's disbelief in the Bible does not release that one from his responsibility to God. As Christians, we believe that the most important decision a man can make is the one that will afect the eternal destiny of his soul. It is imperative that we arm ouselves against those who would erode this basic belief—that man was created by God in His own image and possesses a never-dying soul. We can do this by studying the Bible, God's divine Word, with simplicity of faith.
- When the initial part of the Creation was completed and the earth was in readiness, God performed His last creative act—He made man. Why did God make man? See Isaiah 43:7 and Revelation 4:11.
Response: God made man for His glory. Everything was created for God’s glory and pleasure, but man has the added blessing of being created in God’s image. Ask your students, what man can do that the animals can’t do. Show that man was created a spiritual being who was given the ability to praise, thank, and worship his Maker. Since God made man to enjoy perfect fellowship with Him, how can that fellowship be deepened?
- How was man’s physical body created? What factor made the creation of man unique or different from all the creative acts which had already taken place?
Response: Allow time for your students to give their answers. Help them recognize that man was formed from the dust of the earth. The biologists of today confirm this: the basic elements of which man’s body is composed all came out of the dust. But his creation was unique in that man alone was created in the image of God, and was given a living soul. As he came from the hand of his Creator, he was perfect in body, soul, and spirit, without a blemish or taint of sin—the noblest specimen of God’s handiwork.
- Man is distinguished from all other living creatures in that he alone possesses a living soul. How and why was man given a soul?
Response: When God breathed into man the breath of life, man received an immortal soul that he might be able to spend eternity with his Maker. See Ecclesiastes 12:7. Ask your students to define soul. Discussion of this should bring out that man’s soul is his spiritual, eternal essence—the part of him that lives forever.
- Genesis 1:26-27 states that man was created in God’s image and likeness. What does this mean to you?
Response: Let students discuss their answers. Point out that man has an intellect, an ability to reason, a conscience, a capacity to choose, emotions, etc., all characteristics also possessed by God, but not to any significant extent by animals.
- Causing a deep sleep to come upon Adam, God took one of Adam’s ribs and from it created a woman. Then He brought the woman to Adam for a helpmate. Why did God feel man needed a helpmate?
Response: God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” Lead the students into a discussion about the love God had for Adam. Such things as God putting him in the beautiful Garden of Eden, and giving him the privilege of naming all the animals, birds, etc., show the elevated status of Adam. But among all of God’s creation there was not found a “help meet” for Adam, so God made a woman and brought her to Adam.
- Read Psalm 8:4-8. What place was man given in God’s creation?
Response: Begin your discussion of this Scripture by asking your students to define preeminence. Lions dominate the jungle, sharks dominate the sea, yet man rules over all. God granted man superiority over all the animal kingdom. Reinforce the point that man is also the only one of God’s living creatures charged with responsibility concerning his never-dying soul.
- What is meant by the word dominion, in Genesis 1:28?
Response: Your students’ answers should bring out that dominion means “responsible oversight and authority.” This does not mean freedom to exploit as one pleases. It is as though God gave to man the rights of managership, or stewardship. Final authority belongs to God the Creator, but in His wisdom and love, God delegated responsibility for management to mankind. Man as manager must report to God the owner, for with dominion goes accountability.
- How will the Christian look at God’s creations differently than the non-Christian?
Response: Responses to this question should bring out the thought that when a person is one with his Creator, he is one with His creation. Contemplation of nature, and the marvel of man’s creation may cause one to extol God’s greatness; but the person who has been born again and saved from sin by his faith in Christ has even more reason to shout: “O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!”
Have an interview session with your class. Ask one student to be Adam, another to be a reporter asking Adam questions such as: “How did the earth look the first time you saw it?” “How did you feel when you saw Eve?” “What were some of the things you and God talked about when you walked with Him in the Garden?”
Bring clay or playdough to Sunday school and let students mold a man from it. Show that there is no life.
Use an ink pad to take each child’s fingerprint, pointing out that each one is unique. (Bring a magnifying glass.)
Show the students some charts of the human body which picture the skeletal system, the muscular system, the heart, etc. Talk about how complex the human body is. Even so, doctors and scientists have worked and experimented until they are able to transplant most of the parts. But they cannot start from scratch and make a living soul. God created a soul in man and that is what makes man unique. Animals can move about and do things that are instinctive to their kind, but only man, through his soul, can touch the heart of God.