THE CREATION OF MAN IN GOD’S IMAGE
AND ACCORDING TO GOD’S LIKENESS
God’s Image and Likeness Being Organic
We have seen that God created man in a particular way. First, He created man in His image and according to His likeness (Gen. 1:26). This means that God created man in a living way, because His image and likeness are not lifeless, outward forms but are organic and full of life. Both God’s image and God’s likeness are organic. The image of God is what He is. What He is as the living God is living and organic. Likewise, since God’s likeness is the expression of what He is, His likeness also must be organic. Therefore, the man created by God is a living entity, because this man was created in God’s image and according to God’s likeness, both of which are living and organic.
Man’s Body Being from the Dust and
Man’s Spirit Being from the Breath of Life
Second, God made a spirit for man (Gen. 2:7). To make man in God’s image and likeness did not require any material, but to make a body, a frame, for man required some material. The material used by God to make man’s body is dust (Gen. 2:7a). Anything made of dust is lifeless because there is no life in dust. Thus, in itself man’s body, man’s frame, is lifeless. After forming man’s body from dust, God then made another part for man—the inmost part. This part is called the spirit (v. 7b).
God made a spirit in man with His own breath. God’s breath of life is the material with which God made a spirit within man. Proverbs 20:27 says, "The spirit of man is the candle [lamp] of the Lord." The word spirit in this verse is neshamah in Hebrew, the same word for breath in Genesis 2:7. Thus, the breath of life in Genesis 2:7 is the spirit of man in Proverbs 20:27. This is confirmed by Job 32:8, which says, "But there is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives them understanding." The breath of the Almighty in the second clause is in apposition to a spirit in man in the first clause. Therefore, the breath of the Almighty is the spirit in man.
Something in man’s makeup is very close to God and is related to God. It is not God the Spirit nor God’s life, but God’s breath of life—something very close to life. It is not life, but it is the breath of life. God breathed this part of Himself into man’s body. The breath of God, after being breathed into man’s body, became man’s spirit. With this part man can contact God.
Man’s Spirit Being the Organ to Contact God
In order to substantiate anything, we must use the proper organ. In our body we have many organs, including two ears for hearing, two eyes for seeing, a nose for smelling, and a tongue for tasting. In order to see colors, we must use the right organ. It is impossible to smell colors; but we can see colors. In order to contact God, we must use the proper organ—our spirit. God is Spirit (John 4:24). God cannot be realized by the mind. God is a spiritual entity, a spiritual reality. In order to realize Him we need to use the proper organ. Some people who are atheists say strongly that there is no God. During the day they may give lectures to people, stating strongly that there is no God. But at night when they go back home, something within checks with them, "Suppose there is a God. What would you do?" If we would turn from our thinking mind to our innermost part, our spirit, spontaneously we would say, "O God!" and God’s presence would be realized by us. Our spirit is an organ particularly made by God with His own breath of life. We do have such an organ that is crucially related to God. Because of this, in John 4:24 the Lord Jesus told us, "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit [man’s spirit]."
(The Organic Union in God's Relationship with Man, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)