THE FIFTH DAY AND THE MAKING OF HUMANITY
BY: ADOLPH E. KNOCH
THE MAKING OF HUMANITY
In the corresponding section of the account of earth’s restoration (Gen.1:6-8), we were told of Elohim’s work in bringing forth the atmosphere and separating the waters. Now in Genesis 1:20-23, on the fifth day, soul-life is created for the waters and the atmosphere. The air and the sea were provided with swarming and moving souls before the land-life was placed on the ground on the sixth day. Preceding this, on the third day, life had appeared on the dry land, but it was insensate, soulless, plant life. It could not feel or hear or see, but, more than that, it was rooted in the soil, stationary, dependent largely upon constant contact with the ground in which it grows for its sustenance. In these things it differed from the life created in the water and the atmosphere.
The words swarming, moving and soul indicate differences between living animals and living plants. For “Let the waters swarm with swarming things,” the AV reads, “Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature.” But plants also bring forth abundantly. In its second occurrence, the AV translates the word “moving.” This is much nearer the mark, as the usage of the word in the following passages indicates.
“…bring them forth with you, so they can swarm in the earth and be fruitful and increase on the earth” (Gen.8:17)
“As for you, be fruitful and increase, swarm in the earth and hold sway over it” (Gen.9:7)
“The waterway will swarm with frogs, and they will ascend and enter into your house” (Ex.8:3)
“This is unclean to you among the swarmers swarming on the land” (Lev.11:29)
“It will come to be that every living soul that swarms wherever the watercourse is coming shall live” (Ezek.47:9) The AV has “living creature that moveth” in verse 21.
The word rendered “creature” in the AV has no connection with the Hebrew word create, but is the word nphsh, usually rendered soul. It is used here to differentiate plant life, which has no sensation, from animal life, which has many means of sensing the world about it. (Editor’s note: While Brother Knoch felt the word “swarm” was better than the AV rendering “bring forth abundantly,” he preferred the word “roam” as a translation of the Hebrew term used here. Yet the word “swarm” does suggest movement as well as abundance and may fit all the occurrences even better than “roam.”)
Hebrew has a special term for bird (tzphur), which does not appear in Genesis 1:20. The term used here is the noun of the verb fly (which immediately follows), so it should read “and let flyers fly.” The context here calls for all winged creatures, which mount up into the atmosphere. The AV reads “whales” in verse 21, but the Hebrew term is not so specific. It seems wisest to choose a more inclusive term such as monster, which may be used in other contexts where this Hebrew word appears.
Scientists have varied much in the classification of the animals. Most of them are based on differences of structure. The divine division seems to be based on habitat and mode of motion. There are flyers above the earth, moving souls in the waters and land animals on the earth, besides creepers of the ground. Swarming animals are also classified by their means of locomotion. The flyers have wings as well as legs, the beasts have legs, and the lowest of all, which bend their bodies with a sinuous motion, such as fish and those amphibians and reptiles that have no legs.
After God had created the many species of these living souls, He adds the blessing of fruitfulness, so that they increase and fill the water of the seas, and the air of the atmosphere. I once had a very realistic experience, which gave me a little idea of the results of these words. I was out fishing from a small rowboat near the island of Santa Catalina, off the shore of Southern California. As I passed another boat, I asked if they knew where the fish were. All they said was, “Look down.” Shading my head with a large sombrero, I was astonished as I saw such a solid school of fish that I could not see through them! I can’t say I enjoyed fishing that day. It came to be tiresome to let down a hook and pull one up, without a wait between. So I left an innumerable shoal of fish when I departed.
Another time I was standing on the shore of the lake of Galilee, north of Tiberias. I could not see any fish from where I stood. Suddenly a man came down from the hill behind me and hurled a small bomb into the water. Within a minute the surface was dotted with floating fish, and he jumped into the water and gathered up a few dozen in a bag. Even in such a small body of water it was possible to net one hundred and fifty-three large fish. (John 21:4-11) The stem of the word fish in Hebrew means PROLIFIC. Genesis16 should read, concerning Ephraim and Manasseh, “And that they may proliferate to a multitude within the land.” These two were “fish-like” in that they out-numbered the other tribes.
Thus God has provided an account of the origin of the soul life with which He populated the atmosphere and the waters before the deluge. In this way He prepared the scene for a habitation for humanity, in such a way as to reveal Himself to the creatures of the heavens as well as the earth.
THE MAKING OF HUMANITY
In Genesis 1:24-31 we once more deal with the dry land, yet not with plant life as in verses 9-13, but with soul life. These two forms of life differ radically, in that plants are fixed immovable in the soil, which is the source of their sustenance, and, having no sensation, neither see nor hear nor smell nor feel. But soul life has all these senses, and roams freely over the surface of the land, in the air, and in the water. Soul life is evidently divided into three classes, for which the English language does not seem to have precise equivalents. The CV has domestic beasts, creepers, and land animal. As this is the only account of the creation of soul life, we may be sure that the list here given includes not only all the kinds of each class but every class also, those in the earth as well as those that live on its surface.
In Hebrew the same name, adm, is used for the first individual and for the race, which has sprung from him. In Wigram’s Englishman’s Hebrew Concordance the occurrences of the name Adam are not listed by themselves in the list of proper nouns, but the student is referred to the appellatives, or common nouns. There we find it translated both man and Adam, etc. How are we to know which is meant? The only safe way is to keep in accord with the context. Here the following pronouns are plural, hence adm, though singular, is a collective noun and refers to the race. Moreover what follows was not confined to the first human, but is the portion of all humanity, according to other scriptures. The scholastic rules of grammar often do not work in practice, in idiomatic languages.
Therefore, Genesis 1:26 should read, “Let Us make humanity in Our image.” So also in the next verse. In any case, more than Adam is included, for the account proceeds, “Let them hold sway,” and “male and female He creates them.” The fact that the same word is employed for Adam and humanity expresses a great truth in a terse form. It is especially precious when referred to Christ, for Adam was only a type of Him. All were created in Him. When He was created, then they also were included, even as every human was incorporated in Adam. No doubt the same name was given to its progenitor as to the race in order to express the vital fact that all were in him, and so provide a clearly comprehensible picture of the creation of all in Christ long before.
A very striking anomaly is found in between these two plurals, for Adam and humanity. The singular it is used for humanity as well as the plural them (v.27). This expresses the solidarity of the race. Not only Adam is in God’s image. This is also true of all his progeny. One man alone is not enough to make the image. It takes a composite portrait to complete the picture. Incidentally, this is a good example to show that, in the Word of God, grammatical forms are not always literal. They must sometimes give place to a higher harmony and spiritual accord.
It is not until after the elements are in order, and the light is regulated, and the animals are brought forth, that the earth is ready for humanity. As distinct from the rest, man is made in God’s image and likeness, and is given the place supreme in his sphere. It is most helpful to note that, in the account of creation and restoration, only the title God the SUBJECTOR, is used. The image of God, therefore, consists in this, that man also is a subjector in his own realm, and is to sway over the other creatures. Let us not imagine that this likeness makes us a deity, or gives us control over ourselves or the rest of the universe. Humanity’s realm is first limited to the lower creation on the earth, and we have largely forfeited even that, due to our insubjection to our Subjector, and the resultant lack of vitality, and our decadent condition due to the operation of death in our bodies.
Adm, the inspired name given humanity is probably the noun of the stem dm LIKE, so means LIKENESS. Being a likeness of God, Who is spirit, it is limited to a spiritual resemblance. Indeed, this account says nothing of man’s form. That is dealt with when man’s formation is in view (Gen.2:7). As God is invisible (1 Tim.1:17), it must refer to the unseen attributes which characterize the human race which eventually qualifies it to reveal God to the rest of creation. This is not very apparent when we look at humanity as it is today, but even now mankind dominates all the other creatures on the earth. The size and the strength of a man may be less than other animals, and the senses may be inferior, but his spirit sets him above them, and they must be subject to his will. Man’s superiority over the animals is not due to his physical size, but to his spiritual supremacy. The elephant is many times as big and heavy as the largest human, yet he obeys his mahout like a child. The horse is several times man’s weight, yet the driver or rider bends him to his will. Indeed, God gave us a striking picture of the weakness of flesh in His sight when He created great monsters. We would be tempted to think that these would dominate the animal world, and that even man today would be in terror of their enormous paws and jaws. Instead, they are extinct. Nothing is left of them but their bones. But how few who view their towering skeletons learn the lesson that they teach! Not by valor nor by vigor, but rather by My spirit, says Yahweh (Zech.4:6).
His Son is the Image of the invisible God (Col.1:15). Human eyes are affected by only about one-fiftieth of the vibrational impulses, which have been discovered, so man is very limited in the range of his perceptions. There are even some solid substances, such as glass, which hardly register on the retina of the human eye. But it is only through our perceptive organs that we can acquire knowledge of the tangible, so that God, if He wishes to reveal Himself to His creatures, must do so through some medium, which can be sensed. Foremost of all, His Son, Who is His creative Original in Whom and through Whom He made all, is the great Mediator, Who will fulfill this function. In a much lower degree, humanity also has this office. Indeed, God’s Son condescended to become a Man for this purpose, for in no other way could God’s immanent love be displayed.
The title, God [Alue-im, or Eloh-im], has the plural ending, but is usually referred to by a singular pronoun, I. This shows us that it is not a grammatical plural but rhetorical. Here, however, we find the plural pronoun, We [“Us” and “Our”]. Even though it is grammatically correct, why is He referred to as We on this occasion? We will find the key to this enigma in this very passage, for here we find Him making others in His image and likeness, who, in their place are also subjectors, for they sway over all the denizens of the air, the sea and the land. In reality and ultimately there is only one Subjector out of Whom and for Whom all is. But He is spirit, and cannot be perceived by any of His creatures, so He works through them in order that He may reveal Himself to them. He-imparts a measure of His spirit to them so that they also have authority to subject those beneath them in the scale of creation. Essentially and indirectly, He alone operates all in accord with the counsel of His will. (Eph.1:11) Yet He does not do this directly in all cases, but through others whom He created for this very purpose, as in this verse. Adam, and the race in him and through him, represent God, the Subjector, to the rest.
But here the We cannot refer to them, but must refer to a previous delegation of this authority. Was there an Image and Likeness of God before the creation of Adam? There certainly was! The Son of His love is the first Image of the invisible God. In Him all was created, as all mankind was in Adam. And all was created through Him. (Col.1: 15,16) Adam was created by God through His Son, hence two were involved in this creation. God had committed all authority to His Son, so could only delegate a part of it to Adam and His race in concurrence with Him. He, as God’s creative Original (Rev.3:14), received God’s spirit without measure. (John 3:34)
We can understand how the Subjector could delegate His power to subject all to the Son of His love, for He was the channel of its creation, and will be the means of its reconciliation. But how could He delegate authority to humanity over the other creatures on earth, when He knew beforehand how they would abuse it, and turn against Him? Because our very unworthiness and failure are the needed foil to display, not merely His power as the Subjector, but His love as Saviour and Father. It is one of the most overwhelming of truths that God not only works for humanity through Christ, but He also operates through humanity for other realms of creation. He not only subjects all on earth beneath his feet (Heb.2:8), but, as the body of Christ, we will rule the rest of the universe for the eons to come.
Not only was the race, as such, given the place of subjectors, but the man was especially chosen to be the image and glory of God, while the woman is the glory of the man. (1 Cor.11:7-10) And even among men there are some specially distinguished in this way. In Noah’s day human government was instituted, to deal with murderers, on the basis that humanity was made in the image of God. (Gen.9:6) Paul insists that we be subject to the superior authorities, because they are under God. If we resist them we withstand God’s mandate. They are God’s servants. He operates through them. We dare not say that God will carry out His intentions without them, for it is His will to do it through them.
The name subjector (disposer, or arbiter) was used of men who exercised authority over their fellows. In order to show the futility of Pharaoh’s opposition, God put Moses in the position of a subjector or arbiter to him (Ex.7:1). Moses played this part in relation to the sons of Israel, also, and, when it became too great a burden, he followed his father-in-law’s advice and appointed others under him. (Ex.18:21) To them men came on decisive occasions. (Ex.22:8, AV judges) They were not to be slighted, because God was carrying out His will through them. (Ex.22:28) The name “subjector,” or arbiter, is freely used of false gods when these usurped the place, which belonged to the true. Creation, disruption, restoration, and salvation, rule, ruin, redemption and reconciliation, all could have been done by God directly, without intermediaries. But that would not have accomplished His purpose to reveal His heart as well as His head. It is by working through His creatures that He harvests their affection and becomes All in all. We may be weaned from a selfish interest in our own by an active interest in God’s side, and by being used as a channel to bring it to others.
Humanity’s unity is a factor, which persists. Even now, when male and female are distinct persons, the Scriptures insist on the important truth that God makes out of one every nation. (Acts 17:26) Moreover, even the entrance of sin, which some might insist came in through two, Adam and his wife, or if one is insisted on, one woman, even this came in through one human (Rom.5), for they were one flesh and, as such, are types of Christ, the One Antitype. In the resurrection neither are they marrying nor taking in marriage. (Matt.22:26) Adam was created bi-sexual, like many plants. The woman was built from a part of him. Even so were we created in Christ. The separation between the sexes will lapse after their function is fulfilled. It is not permanent, but temporary. In order to picture the great truths that all is out of God, and that all was created in Christ, it was necessary to show all humanity was in one human, Adam. For this revelation it would not do to create two, one of each sex, for that would spoil the picture. What a help it is to see all humanity in the first human! This we can comprehend. Without such an example, it would be almost impossible for us to apprehend how all could have been in God, or created in His Son. On the other hand, it is also essential for the revelation of God’s love that there be two distinct sexes. By creating mankind in one human, and then by making or building the woman out of a part of him, God has wisely provided us with illustrations, which reveal His love as well as His power.
Christ, the last Adam, the Antitype of the first, holds His high place by reason of His anointing with the oil of exultation beyond His partners. Because He has the fullness of God’s spirit, He has the right to sway over all creation, and to subdue all that are opposed to the Deity. The same is true, in a minor measure of the first Adam, and of humanity, in relation to the creatures of the earth. And a fuller endowment with God’s spirit, which will be ours when we are vivified by His presence, will raise the saints of today to sway over the celestial spheres with Him, in the future. Our Lord, Jesus Christ, is a Man, and as such He is the Head, not only of humanity, and of the ecclesia, but of every sovereignty and authority among the celestial hosts as well. (Col. 2:10) Indeed, the secret of Christ consists in His headship over all, that in the heavens and that on the earth. (Eph.1:10) But why should a Man be given the place supreme? Indeed, why was it necessary for Him to empty Himself and descend from the highest height to the lowest depth, in order to sway over all? It is only when we see that the object of rule is not simply the subjection of God’s creatures to Himself, but their heartfelt reconciliation, that we will understand the need of humiliation and suffering, as well as power in rule that is pleasing to God. In the final phase of rule God will not be King, but an affectionate Father.
Man was not equipped to rule in the heavens at his creation. Neither physically nor spiritually was he able to subdue the celestial realms. A soulish body cannot even leave the earth and ascend into the empyrean without taking its environment with it. And the heavenly hosts are greater in power and might. This is doubly true since Adam offended God, and man became a dying creature, with gradually diminishing vital powers. Indeed, he cannot even fulfill his earthly function, and subdue the creatures below him, even though he was created and endowed for this place. His spirit store is too small, and ebbs away.
Even Christ, our Lord, who had an abundance of Holy Spirit, was prepared for His future glories as the Head of every sovereignty and authority (Col.2:10) by His humiliation. Even He was perfected through sufferings. (Heb.2:10) Only those who have tasted of evil can realize and appreciate the good that God showers upon them, and only their hearts can respond in thankfulness and praise to Him. This might be called the priestly side of rule. It is the element in government which perfects it to the point where it will vanish in hearty obedience to God, as Father. Both the first and the last Adam, and the race which they head, must be prepared in the school of suffering for their function as rulers on earth and in the heavens, before their rule will be successful, and fulfill the purpose for which God created them.
Therefore it is that the sovereignties and authorities now in the heavens, like mankind on the earth, are not able to subdue and subject all to God. Indeed, sin was introduced into Adam’s race through an adversary from above. And so it is that Christ, the Saviour and future Sovereign of all, emptied Himself and descended to human form and humbled Himself to death to shameful crucifixion. This prepares Him to rule, not alone with might, but with sympathy and affection, and in such a way that all will not only be subject to God, but reconciled with Him. A corresponding experience is the necessary equipment of all the saints who will rule with Him, either on the earth or in the heavens. The lower we descend, the higher will we ascend. So it is that those who will be with Him in His celestial glories, are now called upon, in spirit, to share His crucifixion. Adam, as created, seems to have had sufficient superiority in spiritual power to subdue the lower creation, but he lost this with the advent of death and disintegration. Now there is only a feeble flicker of this left remaining. As a result, many of the animals are at enmity with man even as he has become the enemy of God. But this will be remedied at the advent of Christ, when man’s sovereignty will be restored to him on the earth.
Man is a mediator. Christ became a Man in order to mediate between man and God. But humanity, in its turn is being used by God to reach and reconcile the rest of creation. The earth is the stage and the eons the story in the tragedy in which He is revealing Himself to the universe. In close accord with this is man’s place in nature. He is neither a microbe nor a mammoth, but a medium in his physical makeup. He is not placed in the deep, nor yet in the air, but roams upon the surface of the earth. Man was not created to rule over man. Human government was not instituted until after he had demonstrated his insubjection to his Subjector, God, before the deluge. The ideal and proper state for humanity is to be immediately subject to God, and so it will be in the consummation, when all will be obedient children of the Father. Indeed, rule of man over man is an impossibility, for, in that case, some must take the place of subjection to man, rather than rule. And usually this is the subordination of most men to a very few. Neither was man made like the Subjector merely to exalt him to a superior place. Rather man was given sway over a small portion of creation in order to reveal to himself and other creatures in the universe, the universal sway of the One to Whom he is likened. Because man was made in the image and likeness of the Subjector we must not reason that he is the highest of God’s creations. He is not. Spirit messengers are greater in strength and power than he. (2 Peter 2:11) The heads of the heavenly host look down upon him. Michael and Gabriel far outshine him in their exalted station. Above all, our Lord Jesus Christ humbled Himself when He was found in fashion as a human. (Phil.2:8)
The highest creatures are elevated to their position by spirit, not by flesh. Man’s sway over the lower creation is his by right of spiritual preeminence, not by physical force. We might reason that the great monsters that God created (Gen.1:21) would soon dominate the scene and thrust man from his throne by their terrific strength. They certainly could destroy all the rest of the creation, including man, if it were a matter of muscle and bulk. Instead, they themselves were destroyed, and are now extinct. Only their bones remain as mute witnesses of the weakness of physical strength to sway over God’s creation.
Nevertheless, man’s middle position gives him a vast advantage as the mediatorial messenger between God and His creation. Even Christ, the great creative Original (Rev.13:14), found it necessary to descend to human form in order to be completely furnished for His mediatorial office. Man is in sympathetic touch with all souls on the earth because he also suffers and dies. By his spirit he can reach the spirit sphere. And when a select company has been given spiritual bodies so they can leave the earth and reach the celestial spirits, then God will have a complete mediatorial staff equipped to reach the lowest and the highest creatures in His universe with the revelation of Himself, as given in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.
FIFTH DAY AND THE MAKING OF HUMANITY, THE [Adolph E. Knoch] 1