by Jonathan McLeod

This content is part of a series.

The Beginning of Humanity (3 of 9)
Series: The Beginning
Jonathan McLeod
Genesis 1:26-31

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them (v. 27).


On the sixth day of creation, God made the land animals and man. Genesis 1:26-31 tells us what sets humans apart from the rest of God's creation.

[Read Gen. 1:26-31.]


A few years ago I read a book by Peter Singer called Rethinking Life and Death. In the book, Singer argues that traditional (Judeo-Christian) views about life and death are outdated and should be replaced by a new ethical approach. For example, he says that we shouldn't always treat human life as more precious than nonhuman life. To Singer, this is discriminating on the basis of species (i.e., speciesism). So, according to this ethical view, if a burning building contains a terminally ill human and a healthy ape, it might be better to rescue the ape first.

But, according to the Bible, there is a big difference between humans and animals.

Humans were made ''in [God's] image, after [God's] likeness'' (v. 26). The animals were not made in God's image.
Humans were made to have ''dominion…over all the earth'' (v. 26; cf. Ps. 8:5-8). The animals have many physical advantages over humans (e.g., the eagle can fly; the lion is stronger; the cheetah is faster). But, unlike the animals, humans have been able to ''subdue'' (v. 28) the earth (i.e., use the earth's resources for their benefit). Now we can fly higher than the eagle (in an airplane). Now we are stronger than the lion (with the use of weapons). Now we are faster than the cheetah (on a motorcycle).
Humans were made to be relational creatures. God spoke to Adam and Eve (''And God said to them,'' v. 28). He never spoke to the animals.
Humans were made to be moral creatures. God prohibited them from eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (2:16). God never gave comman ...

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