I would like to quote the following passages from the Message Bible, and then look at the Hebrew and nuances of the passages. Genesis 1:26-27 declares:
God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature So they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle, And, yes, Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.”
God created human beings; he created them godlike, Reflecting God’s nature. He created them male and female.” (Genesis 1:26-27 Message Bible)
Plainly stated, Elohim created man godlike, reflecting his nature. The question remains concerning what nature of Elohim man reflects.
And God (‘ĕlôhı̂ym) said, Let us make (‛âśâh) man (‘âdâm) in our image (tselem), after our likeness (demûth)…” So God (‘ĕlôhı̂ym) created (bârâ’ – ‘êth) man (‘âdâm) in his own image (tselem), in the image of God created (bârâ’) he him; male (zâkâr) and female (neqêbâh) created he them.” (Gen 1:27-27 Hebrew)
‘âdâm – mankind in a general sense of humanity.
tselem – shade; a phantom, that is, (figuratively) illusion, resemblance. It is used of molten images; and of painted pictures of men. (Ezekiel 23:14)
demûth – resemblance, model, or shape.
bârâ’ – ‘êth – means to call forth out of nothingness. Ex nihilo the same “create” used in Gen. 1:1 meaning to create out of non-existent matter.
‘êth – entity
zâkâr – remembered because all genealogy in the Bible traces from Adam, or the male of the family. This will be important to remember when we get in the third and fourth chapters.
So what are we to take from this description of Elohim creating man in the first chapter of Genesis?
Notice from the description of Elohim creating man in the first chapter of Genesis that there was an inventive act by Elohim, which is not in question because the Hebrew word bârâ’ was used.
In what why was man made in the likeness of Elohim? Man was made in the “image and likeness” of God, as seen in man’s tri-unity and in his moral nature. Furthermore, it is evident in those things which are intrinsic to humans, such as laughter, because they are intrinsic to Elohim. Man is “spirit and soul” and body. Moreover, there seems to be a hint of man being made in a bodily resemblance of Elohim. Moreover, clues exist that humans were created with a bodily resemblance to Elohim.
In the opening words of the Gospel of John, that through Jesus, “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (John 1:3 KJV) Thus, it is reasonable to assume that man was fashioned out of a resemblance to Jesus, and it is possible that he (Jesus) created man and walked in the garden as well.
And the LORD God (Hashem Elohim) formed (yâtsar ‘êth) man (‘âdâm or ha adamah) of the dust (‛âphâr) of the ground (‘ădâmâh),
and breathed (nâphach) into his nostrils the breath of life (nishmat chayyim); and man (adam) became a living soul (nefesh chayyah). (Genesis 2:7 Hebrew)
See here in the verse above the use of a dual name; “Hashem Elohim” or “Jehovah Elohim.”
yâtsar ‘êth – to mould into a form like a potter.
âdâm , ha adamah, – mankind as humanity.
‛âphâr – clay, ruddy earth, the same root as Canaan.
‘ădâmâh – solid, redness.
nâphach – puff, inflate, blow.
nishmat chayyim – breath, divine, inspiration, intellect.
nefesh chayyah – alive, breathing creature.
By a creative act of Ex nihilo, man arose from the clay. The clay, by virtue of Divine omnipotence, shaped itself into Adam then he became a living soul. Man received his life through a distinct act of divine inbreathing of the Ruach Elohim, or Spirit of God.
Human form did not spring forth from the slime of primordial matter, but was created by Divine act. Man became a spirit having life. Although animals are said to have the breath of life, God did not breathe into their nostrils making them into living souls.
Man was, by his creation, in intimate fellowship with God, and developed out of the very substance and nature of Elohim. Due to this manner of design, all humans are God’s children. Everyone pre-existed within Elohim’s mind and immediately received life from him. Hence, man consists of a material substance and an immaterial substance, called spirit. Thus, Jehovah Elohim imparted some measure of his own spiritual nature to Adam.
Now, I understand that when you have one of the Godhead you have all three; however, we are going to talk about a theophany, or an appearance of Christ in a physical form before His birth. Jesus is described as the “everlasting Father” or, as it is better rendered, “Father of eternity“. (Isaiah 9:6)
John 1:1-3 also states,
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. (John 1:1-3 KJV)
EW Bullinger‘s translation of this verse is ideal.
In the beginning [of the ages] was [already pre-existent] the Word [Christ], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1EWB-CB).
Perhaps Jesus has always been the Elohim of the Old Testament, not that Elohim isn’t three persons known as the Trinity (which is reveled in the NT), but that Jesus has always dealt with man. In addition, you might say if you have one, you have all three.
Jesus, in his pre-Incarnate form, breathed the Ruach Elohim into Adam. As a result, Adam became a “living soul.” Imagine Christ reaching down and picking up a handful of clay (perhaps from the Temple Mount), and then breathing the “breath of life” into it.
Knowing that humankind would fall and He (Christ) would have to die for humanity would you have created a creature that you knew in your Divine knowledge would betray you? Moreover, knowing you would have to become the creature in order to save the creature, I dare say not! What a portrait of Divine love.
This is a true depiction of Divine love in action on the doorstep of humanity’s creation. Some may never understand the incarnation, whereby God the Creator became man the creature! However, accept and believe that he did it. Suffice it to say, no one else would dare do what he did for his children!
The red dirt from which Adam was fashioned may signify the yod, which is the first letter of the name Jehovah. Furthermore, Canaan comes from the same root. According to E.W. Bullinger, Adam was created in Canaan and put in the Garden.
And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden [delight], eastward; and there He put the man [Adam] whom He had formed” (Genesis 2:8EWB-CB).
Clearly, Adam was not created in the garden; he was put in the Garden. Lucifer had fallen prior to this event. He came into the garden and took over the serpent (according to most theologians). Therefore, it was necessary for Elohim to build a hedge-garden around his new creation. Garden in Hebrew means a protective hedge. I might add, if theologians are correct, then the hedge didn’t work very well.