The Intention of the Creator In The Creation of Man Ian McDonald Explain the intention of HaShem in the creation of man in Genesis 1:26 in regard to both image and likeness from the use of the Hebrew words. DECEMBER 2020
Introduction A universal question asked by those who read the Bible is, “Why are we here?” A further question that flows from this question is, “What was God's intention in the creating of Adam from whom mankind arises? In particular, “Why was Adam made in the image, tzelem and likeness, demut of God?” as given in Genesis 1:26-27.
This paper will attempt to answer this question using the Torah as the primary source with the Talmud and other Jewish writings as secondary sources together with references to the Brit Hadashah.
The creation of Adam and Eve (Chavah) at the middle of the on the sixth day of creation is seen as the pinnacle of God's creation activity as attested to in Bereshit 1:26-27:
And God said, “Let us makeadam in our image,after our likeness. And let them dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the cattle, the whole earth, and all the creeping things that creep on earth.” Godcreatedthe Adam in His image, in the image of God He createdhim, male and female He created them.
Using this scripture together with Bereshit 2:7 this paper will show God's intent to have Adam who has both earthly and heavenly attributes to have communion with Him out of a freewill choice, not like the Heavenly Beings - Malachim who had no choice. Adam and Chavah had to exercise this freewill choice by eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil leading to the loss of eternal life as given in B'reshit 2:17. God's intention was then to bring Heaven back to Earth through people who are restored back into His image through the Second Adam, the Messiahwho overcame death returning eternal life to Adam.
In the Beginning Firstly, we need an understanding of Hebrew and the different Hebrew words used in B'reshit starting from “In a beginning” בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית. The first letter of this word, beitבְּ is enlarged with a sh’va underneath it which usually indicates an indefinite articlei and it acts as a preposition 'in'. The shape and size of בְּ hints that this is the beginning of everything. The second word at the beginning of Bereshit is בְרָ֨אbara which is translated 'create' or 'to create from nothingness'ii'. The understanding is only God can bara, that is create, ex niliho, something from nothing. In fact Elohim, the Creator God creates time and space out of Himself as Targum states, 'In His Wisdomiii'. The term elohim is plural word, but with a singular verb is always translated God, not gods. Elohim can also refer to angels and judges reflecting their power of reason as Sforno has statesiv.
Did God make 'asah'Adam out of what He had already created? The word used in B'reshit 1:26 is נעשׂהwhose shoresh is עשׂהasah with the meaning of 'to do, fashion, accomplish' making from that which pre-existed.v In contrast the Hebrew word to create is baraברא..vi This word bara is used in Bereshit 1 five times in verses 1, 21, 27 and then again in B'reshit 2:7. In verse 21 it refers to the creation of life (nefeshchaiym) on the fifth day. On the sixth day in verse 25 God extended this life to all other kinds of creatures declaring them good (tov) or “conformed to its purpose”vii. God then declares His intention to make 'asar' Adam from the already existing creatures into His image and after His likeness. In verse 27 bara is repeated three times in relationship to Adam in his image being both male and female before blessing them to multiple and be fruitful. This carries the implication that God wants mankind to live in unity (echad) with emphasis on the unity between a man and a woman and the sanctity of marriage. Here the Hebrew for 'in our image' isבְּצַלְמֵ֖נb'tzelmenu, with the preposition בְּtranslated 'in' and the ending נindicating the plural possesive 'our' which relates to elohim, the creator God. The shoresh(root)צֶלֶם tzelemhasthe meaning of 'image, likeness or shadow, phantom; spledour or whatever makes man remarkable or procures respect, illusion, resemblance or reflection'.viii
"Man was made in God's image and likeness which is then explained as his having dominion over God's creation as vice-regent as in Psalm 8:5-8.... as in his spiritual, intellectual, moral likeness to God from whom his animating breath came."ix
Adam Hence, God made Adam in such a way that the likeness of the spiritual worlds was reflected in his neshamah, as well as the physical world. Thus, Adam included all the worlds, and his spiritual light shone from the highest to the lowest worlds, since he was conscious of all levels of Creation. The animals below and the angels above were in awe of him because of his likeness to the image of God as given in Psalm 8:6. Note that the word "image" appears twice in the verse quoted, and we need to understand the reason. Certainly, the reason is that man was created both male and female. Thus, the first use of the word "image" is masculine - "tzelmo" - and the second, is connected with the name Elokim, which is connected with judgment, the feminine aspect of divinity.x Sforno states about this word בְּצַלְמֵ֖נ; "Adam shall be one that is everlasting and endowed with reason, and thus God, gave man an opening in His Torah to acquire knowledge regarding those separated from matter (i.e. the angels) through the (intuitive) knowledge of our souls."xi
In Our Image ... So through this power of the intellect, Adam possesses an image similar to the angels and has an immortal soul as quoted above. The next word in verse 26 is כִּדְמוּתֵ֑נוּkidmutenu which is translated 'as our likeness'. While 'image' refers to man's intellectual apprehension, this word refers to the actions of men and angels. Sforno make the observation that כִּwhich is the preposition 'like, 'as' or after' is used and not בְּas in the previous word which means 'in' or 'with'. These are two very similar shaped letters. So Adam is similar to angels and God in his action but not identical. Adam, not like the angels, can be tempted by his evil inclination (yertzer hara) and can choose not to fulfil God's commandments as covered in B'reshit 3. He could become like the beasts that perish (Psalm 49:21) by not freely fulfilling God's commandments. This freedom of choice granted to man is a reflection God Himself who knows good and evil as stated in B'reshit 3:5. Sforno notes that until man stops squandering these great potential forces and abilities with which he is endowed, the ultimate goal of attaining the greatest wisdom of all, the love and reverential fear of the Almighty to insures man's immortality.xii Hence Adam was intended to be immortal like His Creator having eternal life. Continuing in second part of verse 28, וירדו בדגת הים 'and they shall have dominion over the fish … [and over the beasts] — the expression וירדו may imply dominion as well as descending - if he is worthy he dominates over the beasts and cattle, if he is not worthy he will sink lower than them, and the beast will rule over him.xiii
So we are getting closer to the purpose of God creating Adam. Adam is the only entity of creation that has this unique attributeof having neshamah, the breath of God in him. Sforno writes, “The intended purpose of the human race is that man shall be like his Creator in his behaviour and intelligence, to the extent possible, as the Torah attests in Genesis 1:26 …. Hence the mission and purpose of man is to strive to emulate God's ways, for it is impossible to imitate God Himself .xiv
The Sixth Day The last verse of B'reshit 1:31 “God declares that He had made was very good (ט֖וֹב מְאֹ֑ד). And there was evening and there was morning, The sixth day.” Two points at least can be made from this verse. The first is that God declares every thing He made was ט֖וֹב מְאֹ֑ד 'very good' referring specifically to Adam (מְאֹ֑ד 'very' contains אָדָ֛ם) and then for 'the' sixth, הַשִּׁשִּֽׁי. The definite article הַis used for the first time compared to the previous days. Hence this sixth day is the most significant day of creation as God declared it not only 'good' but very good for the seven times 'good' is used. Sforno states that: “The end result of existence in toto was far greater 'very' than the end of each particular part which was intended for general purpose.” The Notes add that “all things made 'conformed to His intention and purpose', and continue so 'without ceasing to correspond to what was intended.'”xv Hence God had completed His creative acts and effectively passed the baton onto Adam. Sforno picks up the prefix הַwith gematria of 5 linking with the Torah and makes the point that 'the sixth' day was the beginning of all sixth days, Erev Shabbat in preparation for Shabbat when man can rest with His God. The Sages in Shabbot 88a indicates that this day points to month of Sivan when the five books of Torah was given on Mt Sinai. This indicates that the existence of the world depends on mankind's acceptance of the Torah and being able to be set apart (kadosh) to Rest with God in a never ending Shabbat. This is the ultimate purpose of our Maker for mankind 'to be holy as He is Holy' (Vayikra 11) and everlasting by acknowledging their Creator and walking in all His ways.xvi As Yeshua states in Mark 2:27-28 And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Aḏam is also Master of the Sabbath.“
Image and Likeness Before we can continue we need to look into the make up of Adam and especially the term neshamah that contains the 'image and likeness' referred to above as given inB'reshit 2:7 “The LORD God (יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהִ֖ים ) formed (yitzer וַיִּיצֶר֩) the man (ha'adam הָֽאָדָ֗ם) from the dust(afar עָפָר֙) of the earth. He blew into his nostrils the breath (neshmat נִשְׁמַ֣ת) of life (chayim חַיִּ֑ים) and the man (ha'adam הָֽאָדָ֖ם) became a living(chaiah חַיָּֽה) being (nefesh נֶ֥פֶשׁ).” Note the double יִּyud in yitzer וַיִּיצֶר֩which is unusual and can indicate that Adam is formed with two souls. From this verse and B'reshit 1 can be determined that God created three things, ex nihiloxvii:
In the first day He created matter from His wisdom 'be-hukema'xviii, the dust 'afar' of the universe, the fundamental building block from which all physical matter is made.xix Ramban refers to this as the “ God first created the primordial matter from which the earth was fashioned.”xx
Secondly in day five He created every living being 'nefesh chaiyah' לְנֶ֥פֶשׁ חַיָּֽהthat is God brought about life.
Thirdly in the middle of the sixth day God breathed His נִשְׁמַ֣ת'neshmah'xxi into Adam's nostrils imparting to Adam a speaking spiritxxii, unto the illumination of the eyes and the hearing of the ears.xxiii God's image andafter His likeness.
This is key to understanding the intent of God in creating the universe. Hence, Adam is made up of at least three parts, a body (basar), a living soul(nefeshchaiyah) or animal souland divine soul(neshamah). In this respect Adam reflects Elohim in His plurality. Note that Rashixxivand other commentators would differ with 'our image' indicating the plurality of God.xxvThis plurality is similar to the Mikdash with an outer court, a holy place and then an inner sanctum – the holy of holies. The Divine spark is enclothed within an earthly shell (klipot). Hence man may oscillate between crass hedonism and spiritual ecstasy. Before his sin, Adam’s soul radiated through his body and all his bodily functions. All his limbs fulfilled their Divine purpose. Adam stood here at the crossroads of creation. His body was formed from the dust of earth—“min ha’adamah”. Yet his soul originated from the innermost aspect of Godliness when God blew into his nostrils neshamah.xxvi
Hencethrough this divine breath, Adam was given the ability to speak with divine authority over creation similar to his Creator. Rabbi Moshe Cahim Luzzatto is quoted in this connection: "Our Sages of blessed memory have instructed us that man was created for [the sole purpose of] revealing in the Eternal and delighting in the splendour of the Divine Presence, this being the ultimate joy and the greatest of all pleasures in existence, which was created with this purpose in mind."xxvii
Neshmah, the Breath of Life It appears that the Torah considers that once the “heavens and earth” were created, the universe had the ability to produce everything else on its own. Once creation got going, no further creation, bara was needed, except for animals who possessing animate life and humans who posses animal life with divine souls neshmah'xxviii. Hence the whole of the physical world has two parts to it, the inanimate and that which has life, Chayim. This includes all life in the universe including Adam. Adam is unique in that he has a living souls 'nefeshchaiyah' as the animals but in addition he has the neshmah or the divine spark within him that no other from of life has! However, Maimonides states in his third principle of faith that God does not have a body and physical concepts do not apply to Him. The classical commentaries explain that man alone is endowed—like his Creator—with reason, a sense of morality, and free will. It is in this vein that man is described as having been created in G-d’s image.xxix Psalm 8:5 clearly states that the Lord made adam slightly lower than elohim (god), crowning him with glory and honour! So there is an issue here with the prophecies of Isaiah 9 and 53 and with Maimonides. Before getting into this disagreement, lets dig into in B'reshit 2:8-9 where God places Adam in Gan Eden with two very special trees. In the midst of Gan Eden is the Tree of Life and the the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. In Kli Yakar on Genesis 2:9:1, Hashem did not command Adam to refrain from eating of this Tree of Life because it bore no seductive fruit. Rather it was the tree itself that granted immortality. By contrast the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge was extremely tempting and after they had eaten of it they understood the benefit to be had by partaking of the Tree of Life as well.xxx Adam is given a choice between eternal life and or eternal death as Moses states in Devarim 30:15. He could eat of the Tree of Life freely but not of the other tree without the consequence of losing this eternal life and walking with The Holy One. By giving Adam this choice God was allowing Adam and Eve to attain a higher status than the angels, if they chose to love Him freely and walk in His ways. He was conscious of the wisdom of the spiritual worlds and the physical "natural" world. It is this Neshamah that gives Adam the distinction of being in the image ( צֶלֶם tzelem)xxxiand likeness (צַלְמֵ֖נdemut)xxxiiof YHVH.Tzelem Elokimאלהים בצלמנו indicates an abstract quality that man and God both posses, which is the ability to reason, his intellect.xxxiii
Loss of Eternal Life After Adamand Eve partook of the fruit,there stature was diminished, and they shrunk from contact with the higher worlds having been expelled from Gan Eden where the Tree of Life was and prevented from returning by cheruvim. This engendered disunity, and the highest spiritual wisdom of the Divine deserted him. Man's consciousness then became focused on his physical needs alone driven more by his yerzter hara than his yerzter tov.As Rav Shaul states in Romans 5:14-15
"But death reigned from Aḏam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Aḏam, who is a type of Him who was to come. And the Torah came in beside, so that the trespass would increase. But where sin increased, favour increased still more, so that as sin did reign in death, even so favour might reign through righteousness to everlasting life through יהושע Messiah our Master." (TS2009)
The death spoken of here is not only physical death but more eternal death. Moses brought about the hope of redemption as he points to one greater than himself, the Messiah. Shaul sums this up in verses 19-21:
"For as through the disobedience of one man many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the One many shall be made righteous. And the Torah came in beside, so that the trespass would increase. But where sin increased, favour increased still more, so that as sin did reign in death, even so favour might reign through righteousness to everlasting life through יהושע Messiah our Master." (TS2009)
Adam was alienated from God but now through Messiah who is the image of the invisible God made flesh brought peace and reconnected fallen Adam with His Maker. So here we come to consider God's intent of making man in His image and likeness that many of the rabbis have missed. The Eternal One out of His abundant chesed allowed Adam and Eve to exercise their freewill so that mankind could then freely chose to love and follow Him. When we do accept Yeshua HaMashiach, Yeshua the Messiah we regain eternal life that the first Adam lost as Shaul states in 1 Cor 15:22- 45 For as all die in Aḏam, so also all shall be made alive in Messiah. … 45 And so it has been written;
“The first man Aḏam became a living being,”(Gen_2:7) the last Aḏam a life-giving Spirit.
The Divine Creator 's intent for man made in His image and likeness will be a return to His original intent that man would become immortal just as the Divine is Immortal as Shaul states in 1Cor 15:54 “And when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall come to be the word that has been written;
“Death is swallowed up in overcoming.”Isaiah_28:5.(TS2009)
The Final Intent Then all mankind who are prepared to give up their lives for Messiah will reign with Him in the millennium as stated in Revelation 20:4 & 6 and death will be overcome. Finally Gan Eden will be completely restored in the New Jerusalem and God Himself will dwell amongst men as stated in Revelation 21:2-4. This then would be the final completion of our Heavenly Father intention and purpose of making mankind in His image, after His likeness. This is all summed up in Psalm 97:6 “The heavens declare His righteousness, and all the peoples have seen His glory.”(TLV) So for us to understand the purpose of God creating mankind as given in B'reshit one must look at the ending of the Bible as given in the Book of Revelation of Yeshua HaMashiach to Yochanan, the Apocalypse! The word apocalypse is from the Greek word apokalupsis, which in turn comes from two root words: apo meaning away or to remove, and kalupsis meaning veil or covering. So apocalypse is the removal of the veil that takes place at the end of the Book of Revelation with a Wedding. The Bride and Groom come together face to face as echad, returning man, אִ֖ישׁ ish and woman אִשָּׁ֔הishah, recombining the י yod and הhay to the fullness of the Godhead יְהוָ֨ה when the וָ֨ vav which represents Messiah as the connector/ladder (Sulam Ya'acov) as intended from the beginning.xxxiv This then is the final completion of God's intention and purpose of man's creation to be in fellowship with one another for worship of their Creator in holiness and truth.
Conclusion To sum up, this paper covered God's intention from the beginning of creation and creating Adam in His image, after His likeness as male and female right through to the completion of His purpose as given in book of Revelation. Just as Adam walked with God in Gan Eden, the second Adam will restore Adam/mankind back to this oneness to dwell on earth for a 1000 years with Messiah as King and then finally with our Creator in the New Jerusalem for eternity. Halleluyah!!!
B iRashi, Sholmo ben Isaac, Commentary on Bereshit; Abraham Ibn Ezra, Sefer ha-Yashar: Bereshit. iiClark, Matityahu Etymological Dictionary of Biblical Hebrew p. xi iiiEtheridge JW, Targum Jerusalem, Gorgias Press 2005, “In wisdom (be-hukema)” p.157 ivPelcovitz, Raphael, Sforno Commentary on the Torah, The Pentateuch, (1997) ArtScroll Mesorah Publications p.13 vThe Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon viSpecific mention of creation ex nihilo in II Maccabees 7:28 viiPelcovitz, Raphael, Sforno Commentary on the Torah, Mesorah Publications. Notes p. 14 viii Wilson's (William), OT Word Studies, Hendrickson Publishers, p. 225 צֶלֶם (male) tzelem (H6754) ixHarris R, Archer GL, Waltke BK,Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, Moody Publishers (1980), 1923a x https://www.chabad.org/kabbalah/article_cdo/aid/677805/jewish/Rooted-in-the-Supernal-Image.htm xi Sforno Commentary on the Torah, 'In our image' p. 12 xii Sforno Commentary on the Torah, Mesorah Publications. Notes on p. 14 xiiiGenesis Rabbah 8:12 xivSforno in Ohr Amim ArtScroll Sforno Commentary on the Torah p. xiv xv Sforno Commentary on the Torah, Mesorah Publications. B'reshit 1:31 xvi Sforno Commentary on the Torah, Mesorah Publications. Vayikra/Leviticus 11:44-45 xviiII Maccabees 7:28 creation ex nihilo xviii Targum Jerusalem, Genesis 1:1 xix Schroeder Gerald, The Science of God' Broadway Books (1997) Referring to 'quarks' for those into fundament particle physics xx The Book of Genesis Vol 1 Judaica Press p. 5 xxiBDB Definition: H5397 נשׁמה neshâmâh -breath, spirit. (noun feminine from H5395; a puff, that is, wind, angry or vital breath, divine inspiration, intellect or (concretely) an animal: - blast, (that) breath (-eth), inspiration, soul, spirit) xxii Targum, Onkelos, Genesis 2:7 xxiii Targum Jonathan, Genesis 2:7 xxiv Genesis Rabbah 8 xxvhttps://www.chabad.org/parshah/article_cdo/aid/558595/jewish/Who-was-Gd-addressing-when-saying-Let-US-create-man.htm xxvi Tanya Speech And Breath https://www.yu.edu/sites/default/files/legacy//uploadedFiles/Academics/Torah_Studies/IBC/Curriculum/Tanya%20Sources.pdf xxviiLuzzatto, Rabbi Moshe Chaim, 'The Path of the Just', Feldheim Publishers (2005) p. 8 xxviii H5397 נשׁמה neshâmâhBDB Definition:breath, spirit. Part of Speech: noun feminine from H5395; a puff, that is, wind, angry or vital breath, divine inspiration, intellect or (concretely) an animal: - blast, (that) breath (-eth), inspiration, soul, spirit. xxixhttps://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/361873/jewish/Adam.htm xxx https://www.sefaria.org/Genesis.2.9?lang=bi&with=Commentary&lang2=en xxxiH6754 צֶלֶם tselem tseh'-lem From an unused root meaning to shade; a phantom, that is, (figuratively) illusion, resemblance; hence a representative figure, especially an idol: - image, vain shew. Total KJV occurrences: 17 xxxiiBDB H1823 דְּמוּת (n-f) demut from root H1819 resemblance; adverbially like: -fashion, like(-ness, as), manner, similitude. TWOT entry: 437a xxxiii Wiederblank, Netanel 'Illuminating Jewish Thought' Maggid Books (2018) p. 41 xxxiv Cahn, Jonathan, The Book of Mysteries in Apokalupsis, FrontLine Publishers