Made in God’s image as man and woman – but what for?

When God said he made humans in his image, what was he getting at? Well, in context he was talking about rulership of the planet, Genesis 1:26.

Rulership is central to what God created humans for. It’s what he made us in his image for, to equip us to rule in the same way that he rules. Because that’s what he created the planet for, to enable humans to learn how to rule like him.

So God didn’t just slap together a beautiful, functioning planet to hum along on its own. It could easily have hummed along on its own, because the plants, trees, birds and animals all had to ability to endlessly reproduce. The animals would live off the land, plants would reseed themselves to keep on producing food for the animals, water bubbled up from the ground to feed the plants, and the sun took care of the rest. It all worked perfectly on its own, without humans – up to Genesis 1:25.

Verse 26 then makes it clear that God wasn’t interested in the planet just spinning away in space for no purpose. He created humans to rule it. But why create a creature for the sole purpose of rulership?

Because that’s what God is all about. He’s about rulership, which is easy for us humans to understand, because we like kings and queens and kingdoms too. We like setting up systems that use human talent and the planet’s resources to nurture and develop the creation so it flourishes. It’s exciting stuff. And clearly it’s exciting for God too, because he created this planet with exactly that in mind. He deliberately designed this planet so that it would flourish under human rule.

But not any old human rule, though. It would have to be rulership the way God does rulership, ruling the way he rules, in the same image and likeness of his rulership. And only then would his creation flourish.

So here we are now, thousands of years later, and have we discovered yet what ruling in his image means? Do we know yet what kind of rulership works to the benefit of all creation?

We should know, because Genesis 2 tells us. Rulership is simply about caring. It starts with caring for every part of the physical creation, pictured by the man being made from the ground and working the garden that God created – and because the man needs the help of a woman, it’s their caring for each other that completes the picture. And there you have the essence of good rulership – man and woman together caring for the planet and each other.

And God made us in his image so we could.

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Why did God create just male and female?

To those with a gender identity crisis or a same-sex sexual relationship I ask, “Do you have any idea what you’re missing out on?” But as a man married to a woman I also have to ask myself, “Do I, on the other hand, have any idea why God created just male and female, and especially male and female marriage?” Because I’m in no position to ask others what they’re missing out on if I have no idea what I’m missing out on either.

So back to the beginning I went, where, right from the start in Genesis 1:26-28, God explained his purpose for creating male and female. He made us male and female to rule the world together – not as a same-sex couple, or in a spectrum of gender identity – but in a sexual relationship as male and female together that would produce children, and in our relationship as male and female we’d learn how world rule works.

And God quickly explained how world rule works too, because he made male and female in his image, and according to verse 26, God is an “us,” meaning God is a relationship, and it’s in consultation and working together as that “us” that their plan for this world unfolds.

So God is an “us” and so are humans. We, like God, therefore, work together as an “us,” which in our case is male and female together. Life for humans, then, is not a search for self-identity or self-fulfillment, nor is it trying to sort out what one’s true gender or sexual attraction is; it’s about male and female working together, because in working together that’s where the basics of world rule are understood and lived. And male and female together is still the best way as far as God is concerned, as anyone in a community of humans soon learns, whether it be marriage, church, club, business or organization, because it’s in what males and females both have to offer and contribute that balanced and wise plans unfold.

It does away with male domination and feminism too. Think how great life would be if women didn’t feel oppressed or ignored, men didn’t bully women and treat them as inferiors and sex objects, and men and women both realized that God created them each with highly customized and specialized abilities that only working together brings to light.

So while we’re fighting about women’s rights, gender rights (or no-gender rights), or sexual rights, etc., where are the voices crying out, “You’re missing the point, folks; it isn’t about rights, it’s about valuing each other as male and female, because that’s the secret to a world ruled well.”