The creation of humans

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So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.Genesis 1:27

The Bible teaches Christians that God created humans in his image. This does not mean that humans physically have the same appearance as God. Instead, they have certain characteristics that they share with God, such as being loving.

For Christians, this shows how important all humans are to God and explains their special relationship with him. It is also a reminder that humans should try to show love and forgiveness.

The creation of the human soul

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Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.Genesis 2:7
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Because God breathed life into Adam, Christians believe that they have a non-physical, spiritual dimension that connects them with God.

The non-physical, spiritual aspect of a person is known as the soul. Many Christians believe that the soul lives on after a person’s life on Earth has ended. According to Christian belief, this sets humans apart from the rest of creation, which God simply commanded into existence.

The role of humans in the world – stewardship and dominion

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Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion … over all the earth.’Genesis 1:26

This verse from the Bible is further evidence that humans are special. They are different from the rest of creation because they were made in God’s image, which means they were made to be like God.

Many Christians also see this verse as evidence that God gave humans the power to rule over the rest of his creation, which is known as dominion. However, this does not mean that humanity should exploit the Earth’s natural resources. Most Christians believe that humans have a role as caretakers or ‘stewards’ of creation, because creation belongs to God. This is known as stewardship.

The first humans – Adam and Eve

In Genesis 3, Adam and Eve, the first humans God created, disobey God by eating fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. This is known as original sin. Christians believe that because of God’s gift of free will, humans have the ability to choose to sin. In this way, humans bring sin into creation. Many Christians believe that humans are born with the taint of original sin as a result of being the descendants of Adam and Eve.

Interpretations of the creation story

There are various interpretations of the biblical creation story. Different Christians have different beliefs, depending on their denomination and on their personal beliefs:

  • Literal – Some Christians interpret the creation stories in Genesis literally. For these Christians, God dictated the Bible and the events it describes happened exactly as written.
    • Inspirational – Other Christians believe that the Bible was inspired by God but that the text was created by people. Because people make mistakes, there could be human errors in the text of the Bible. Therefore, its stories can be interpreted in many ways. For example, these Christians might question the duration of a ‘day’ in Genesis. In this context, the word ‘day’ could actually mean an era.
    • Metaphorical – Some Christians believe that the stories are metaphors or symbolic descriptions. These Christians accept scientific theories about the origins of the universe, such as the Big Bang theory.
Question

What did God create first, according to Genesis?

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).