And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness (Genesis 1:26).

The living creatures generally, which were formed to dwell upon the face of the earth, are represented as coming forth from the earth when impregnated with the creative power of God’s Spirit, and assuming as they rose into being their severally distinctive forms. But in the case of man it is not the spirit-impregnated earth that brings forth; it is God himself who takes of the earth, and by a separate individualizing act, fashions his frame, and breathes into it directly from himself the breath of life;—a distinct personality, and in the attributes of that personality, a closer relationship to God, a form of being that might fitly be designated “God’s offspring” (Acts 17:28).

The hortative “Let us make,” is particularly striking because it is plural. Though almost all commentators of our day reject the view that this is to be explained in connection with the truth of the Holy Trinity and treat this so-called trinitarian view as a very negligible quantity, yet, rightly considered, this is the only view that can satisfy.… Those that hold that a reference to the Trinity is involved do not mean to say that the truth of the Holy Trinity is here fully and plainly revealed. But they do hold that God speaks out of the fullness of his powers and his attributes in a fashion which man could never employ. Behind such speaking lies the truth of the Holy Trinity which, as it grows increasingly clear in revelation, is in the light of later clear revelation discovered as contained in this plural in a kind of obscure adumbration. The truth of the Trinity gives explanation to this passage.


The Christian doctrine of God as personal, ethical, and self-revealing, ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.