"Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth,'” (Genesis 1:26).
This verse has been woefully abused by a variety of unbiblical religious groups to insist that there must have been more than one god involved in the creation of the world. For example, in one of the Mormon Scriptures, this verse is modified and "explained" as:
"And the Gods took counsel among themselves and said: Let us go down and form man in our image, after our likeness; and we will give them 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," (Pearl of Great Price, Book of Abraham 4:26).
Jehovah's Witnesses only believe in one eternal, almighty God. They teach, however, that Jesus (who they consider to be Michael the Archangel) was the first and greatest creation and is himself a "god" of sorts. They, thus, explain Genesis 1:26 by saying:
"When God used 'us' and 'our,' he was simply addressing another individual, his first spirit creation, the master craftsman, the prehuman Jesus," (Should You Believe in the Trinity, 1989, pg 14).
"When God spoke, God used the plural terms “us” and “our” instead of using the singular terms “me” and “my.” Through this observation, we can see that there is not just one God, but two. That is, God our Father and God our Mother, who together created mankind,"1
While each of these interpretations is very different, they all share the assumption that when God spoke using plural pronouns in Genesis 1:26, it could only mean that God was addressing some other divine being (or beings) who, in some sense, shared with Him in the work of creation. The most glaring flaw in this interpretation is that the very next verse goes on to explain that God created man by Himself and in His own singular image:
"God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them," (Genesis 1:27).
God says "let us make," and then He alone makes. God proposes to make man in Our image and then makes man in His image, not in the image of Himself and someone else. This is consistent with rest of Scripture which says, for example, that God personally made the earth, created man upon it, and even stretched out the heavens with His own hands, (Isaiah 45:12). He did not need nor have an angelic craftsman, a divine council, or a heavenly consort in bringing the world or mankind into existence, as "the builder of all things is God," (Hebrews 3:4).
"Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb, 'I, the LORD, am the maker of all things, stretching out the heavens by Myself and spreading out the earth all alone," (Isaiah 22:24).
Nowhere in Scripture is man ever said to be made in the image of "the gods," nor in the image of God and an archangel. While both male and female are made in the image of God, they are all said to be made in His image, not in His and Her images. One singular God alone made humanity in His own unique image, and this is what God was referring to when He said, "let Us make man in Our image." These pronouns, though plural, are referring to Jehovah God alone.
The best explanation for this language is the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. There is only one God, and He created man in His image. This God, however, exists in three distinct, equal, and interactive persons. God has fellowship and communion within His own nature in a manner that finite beings like ourselves do not. The eternal Father, Son, and Spirit can speak to and interact with one another, but they are not three different gods or three separate beings. It is one God, one Divine Being, existing simultaneously as three distinct persons. This is marvelous, but should it surprise us that God Almighty is marvelous? It also fits the text:
God creates the world and makes man. His Spirit moves over the waters (Genesis 1:2), and His "breath" (same Hebrew word as "Spirit") brings life to man (Genesis 2:7). It is God's Spirit whom He sends forth to continue to create and give life on the earth (Psalm 104:30). God commands "let there be" and there is, be it light, land, seas, or living things. The heavens were made "by the word of the LORD," (Psalm 33:6). Yet, God's Word is not mere sounds coming out of His mouth. God spoke, and man was, yet God formed man from the dust of the earth (Genesis 2:7) and made all creation "with his own hands," (Isaiah 45:12). Indeed, John tells us:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being," (John 1:1-3).
And, in the coming of Jesus Christ, that:
"And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth," (John 1:14).
When God said "let us make man in our image," He was not speaking to another god. God was speaking to His own Word who was with God and, in fact, was God. God was not talking to a spirit creature he had made. He was speaking to His own Spirit. God, through His own Word and Spirit, made man in His own singular image. This is the glorious truth of Scripture.
- 1. https://wmscog.com/heavenly-mother/elohim-god/ (Accessed 3/1/17)