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,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27 So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
It is not difficult to realize that verse 28 is a close repetition of verse 26. In the bible, this is called command-fulfillment formula. When command-fulfillment formula is found, it usually indicates that the one making the command has power and authority to “make things happen”. Obviously, this formula is mostly applied to God himself.
God, the one who has the ultimate authority, has granted us human the authority to rule over the biosphere. “Ruling” is not only what we do, it is who we are. For we are created in the image of God.
This bring us to verse 27. Verse 27 is a chiasm – which is theologians’ fancy way of saying that its content is arrange in a cross-over way. (The Greek letter ‘chi’ is shape like the English letter ‘X’ – a cross) A simple chiasm is ABB’A’, a more fancy one would be ABCC’B’A’, or even ABCDEFFEDCBA. So let us discover the chiasm in verse 27:
So God created mankind (A) in his own image (B),
in the image of God (B’) he created them (A’);
male and female (B”) he created them (A”).
(A = God created mankind, B = image of God.)
So what does this mean? It means that “male and female” are equally the image of God. In the our plurality is found the image of God who is the Trinity. (cf. verse 26 – Let US create mankind in OUR image.)
While we are called to rule over the creation on this planet, we are NOT called to rule over one another. Male and Female are equally the image of God, and should not be oppressing each other. Masters and slaves are equally the image of God. Bosses and workers are equally the image of God. Presidents, civil servants, criminals and welfare-recipients are equally the image of God.
What a tremendous declaration! A declaration that is revolutionary in ancient time as well as in modern time. So look around you, look at your family, look at your co-workers, look at the cafeteria lady. and re-discover our image of God.