THESE NOTES ARE PROVIDED TO LOOK ALONG WITH THE SPOKEN MESSAGE. SEE Three Rivers Unity Audio FOR AUDIO OF SERMONS.
The Whole Story of the Bible in 16 Verses
Genesis 1:26-28: God Makes Human Beings to Represent Him in His Kingdom…Covenant
We have discovered God created a kingdom and he is the King.
Now we discover that God makes human beings in his image to represent him in this kingdom.
Understanding the gospel and how all the stories, patterns and types point us to God’s redemptive work in Jesus and his restoration of all things begins in the beginning, Genesis. Genesis 1 and 2 are the baseline for what is God’s purpose, what is normal, what is right and where God is taking all things back to in redemption.
So, in Genesis we are seeing that baseline that determines our ethics and practice as people in Christ.
Mankind as God’s image bearers to represent him in his kingdom reign
- Man is created in the image of God.
There are a host of items would could tackle regarding us being God’s image bearers. That would be a systematic theology of the topic.
Among all the items we could discuss, we have to mention that God’s image is bound up in the characteristics and relational tendencies we share with God.
The specific item we want to focus on this morning is that the image of God means we are able to fulfill the mission he has given to us.
Of course, there are ethical implications to mankind being image bearers of God, but those are subject to the larger movement of the story of the gospel. They are not less than, they are simply subject to the overall purpose of God in all that he has done, and our purpose for these 16 weeks is to see purpose in how the stories of Scripture fit together to point us to Jesus and his mission.
1a. We are a unique reflection of God.
No other creature in all of creation shares this designation.
1b. We are dependent on God.
Because we are created in his image we are unique, but because we are created we are completely dependent on God. We can only be sustained by God.
1c. We are responsible to God.
Because we are created by God and dependent, we are responsible to God.
Even though we have not yet been given our clear instruction, we have to be responsible to the one who made us uniquely like him.
- Man is created for the purpose of God
Not purposes but purpose. Verse 28 defines in nuances the purpose of God for his representatives/ambassadors that flows out of their created distinctions.
God made Adam and Eve, gave them life, placed them in the garden and gave them this important purpose of verse 28. This relationship introduces a key theme for us, and that theme is covenant. We’ll unpack that as we go along, just be aware that God’s relationship to man is mediated through covenant, and this first covenant involves us doing God’s mission.
Male and female to multiply and fill. Whole families on the mission. Not one and the rest disagreeing.
Female and co-laborer and helper for male to subdue and have dominion over the whole earth.
2a. We are created as image bearers to be in a relationship with God.
God made us NOT because he needed a relationship (he has that in Trinity).
God made us in relationship with himself.
This has implications for the execution of our mission…we are to produce others who walk in relationship with God.
2b. We are created to fill the earth and subdue all creation.
This command validates every task necessary to fill and subdue creation on the whole earth as a holy task.
This fact redeems all legitimate vocations as good, holy and right.
2c. We are created to take God’s glory to the ends of the earth.
God gave a great commission to his image bearers to fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over it.
You won’t fail to see this theme all over the Old Testament from Noah’s recommission to fill the earth and multiply to Abraham’s call to bless all the nations that were just scattered from Babel over the whole face of the earth, to Habakkuk 2:14, “for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea”, to Jesus’ command to disciple all nations.
God commissioned Adam and Eve as the first missionaries.
Jesus command in Matthew 28:16-20 is not divorced from his command in Genesis 1:26-28. Rather, the command in Genesis is a pattern set to be fully executed after redemption was secured and the restoration was begun at the cross.
Good News Patterns to Observe and Obey
- Adam and Ever were to leave Eden, go to the whole earth and fill it with other image bearers who walk in relationship with God…we are to leave the homeland for the whole earth and make disciples who walk in relationship with God in Christ Jesus.
- They were to subdue the earth, take it from wilderness to fruitfulness…we are to make disciples who bear fruit by subduing the curse of the fall with the powerful subduing gospel.
- They were to have dominion…we are to expand the locale of God’s rule into every domain of society in teaching them to observe everything commanded by Jesus and taking dominion of every created domain of created order.
Check this link for our strategy of “glocal” engagement:
 Chris Bruno, The Whole Story of the Bible in 16 Verses (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2015), 24.
 Ibid. p. 24.
 Ibid. p. 26.