Genesis 1:26 Meaning of Let Us Make Mankind in Our Image

Genesis 1:26
“Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’”

Explanation and Commentary of Genesis 1:26

On the sixth day, God created the crown jewel of his creation, mankind. He made them in his image so that man could rule on his behalf. God gave them the mandate to care for all of his creation as his delegates.

When God said, “Let us…” most scholars recognize a collaboration among the three persons of the Trinity. It is not to the angels he is speaking. We are not made in their image. It is to himself that he is speaking, the Father to the Son and the Holy Spirit.

We should take this massive responsibility very seriously and consider it as we go about relating to the planet. Do we treat animals responsibly? Do we take our views of environmentalism seriously enough to research so that we can know how to live? Our opinions should be well-informed and then lived out.

Breaking Down the Key Parts of Genesis 1:26

#1 “Then God said,”
The whole creation was built by the Word of God from the mouth of God. God created the rest of the universe in the first five days, and, “Then God said…”

#2 “Let us make…”
Up until this point, God had said, “Let there be…” There may be some significance to the way he pronounces this decree. It at least means that he is addressing himself for the purpose of illustrating what he would mean by making man “in our image.” Certainly, nothing created up to that point was made such.

#3 “mankind…”
This word, generally translated “man,” does also mean “mankind.” Men and women are in view here.

#4 “in our image, in our likeness…”
We are not to create idols, that is, images of God to worship. But God did create an image of himself. The same word for idol is the one used here. We are like God as reasoning, loving, creating beings. God intended for man to show the rest of creation what God was like.

#5 “…so that…”
There was a definitive purpose in the way that God created man. He created the world for his glory. He created man to rule that world in his name.

#6 “they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
While mankind has first place in the creation, they must rule with humility, love, and justice. If we are truly ruling the earth in God’s name, we will have proper limits and take a holistic approach to the business.

Bible Study on Genesis 1:26

Expert Overview of Genesis Ch. 1-11

Biblical Translations of Genesis 1:26

NIV
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

NLT
Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.”

ESV
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.”

KJV
And 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 fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

NKJV
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

Genesis 1:26 Meaning and Commentary

Author Bio
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Masters Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years. If you would like to reach out to contact Natalie, then go here to send her a message.