We Were Created in God’s Image and Likeness
God created us as three-part beings
to be His expression
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
— Genesis 1:26-27
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
— 1 Thessalonians 5:23
On the previous page we saw that God created the entire universe for the sake of His purpose. Now we want to see that He created us as human beings in a very particular way for that very purpose.
First, unlike any of the other creatures, God created us in His own image and likeness. He did this because He wants us to express Him. And because we had His image and likeness, He also commissioned us to rule the earth on His behalf (Gen. 1:26-27).
Second, He created us a three-part beings, “spirit and soul and body” (1 Thess. 5:23). Some claim that the spirit and the soul are the same thing, but the Bible shows us very clearly that they are not. Rather, they are two distinct parts of our being, and if we desire to enter fully into God’s salvation it ‘s very important to understand this. This is because it is our human spirit within us that enables us to receive God’s divine life in the Holy Spirit.
One place where we see this difference is when the Bible speaks of God actually creating us, in Genesis 2:7. In this verse it says that first He “formed” us from the dust of the ground; this of course refers to our physical body. Then He “breathed” into us the “breath of life.” This refers to our spirit, because in the original Hebrew language the word “breath” is the same as the word for “spirit.” And then, as a result of all this, “man became a living soul.” So, here we see the three parts of our being at the time we were created.
We should also add that, on the day we were created we were absolutely pure, without any element of sin in our being. It’s hard for us to understand this today, now that we are so fallen, but it’s really so: we were sinless on the day we were created.
As for the three-circle diagram we use in this chart, it of course signifies the three different parts of our being. The body is the outermost part, what everyone sees today, the soul is in the middle, and the spirit is “hidden,” so to speak, within the soul (1 Pet. 3:4).