In Genesis 1:26 God says “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness What does God mean when he says “us”? Let us make man in our image. Who is “us”?
Who was God speaking to in Genesis 1:26-27? Was He speaking to angels or other heavenly beings? Was He speaking to Himself? Why is the plural employed in this passage? First, let’s read the passage:
GEN 1:26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
GEN 1:27 And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Now, to whom is God speaking? Some have said that He is speaking to angels or some other heavenly beings in His presence. The problem here is, why does He say that He would create man in “our” image? Then, in verse 27, it says that we are created in God’s image.
We are unique because, unlike all of God’s creation, we have been made in His image, not the image of angels, animals or any other beings. We have a kinship directly related to God. We possess spiritual characteristics that allow us to be aware of ourselves, make conscious decisions and have dominion over the animals and earth. No, God was not speaking to angels or any other created heavenly beings.
Was God speaking to Himself? If He was, then why did the writer use the plural instead of the singular? Certainly, in most every instance where one is talking to himself, there is no need for the plural.
The obvious, but to some degree, hard to grasp answer is, God is speaking to others who possess the qualities of God. That is, He is speaking to Jesus and the Holy Spirit. There are three that have the attributes of Deity, possess the Divine Nature. They agree as one in purpose and action, but they are three distinct beings who play different roles in the Divine work of creation and salvation. Some other passages in Genesis help us understand that there is more than one being who is God.
GEN 3:22 ¶ Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, lest he stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”–
GEN 3:23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken.
GEN 3:24 So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim, and the flaming sword which turned every direction, to guard the way to the tree of life.
GEN 11:6 And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them.
GEN 11:7 “Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.”
GEN 11:8 So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city.
Then, in the New Testament, the picture becomes even clearer as all three are clearly identified in various passages. Just as man and woman are two distinct beings who possesses the image of God, so there are three distinct beings that possess the Divine qualities that make them God.
MAT 28:18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
MAT 28:19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,
MAT 28:20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. ”
JOH 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.
By Gary Hunt