This one sentence opens up many avenues for exploration and wonder. Why does God say "Let us" instead of "Let me"? Is it an indication of the Trinity or just the so-called "royal we" of kings? If no one else exists, who is God talking to? What does it mean to be made in the image and likeness of God? What does it mean when God says, "let them rule over" (other translations have "let them have dominion over")?
There have been a lot of answers proposed over the years to all of these questions. One that has been important to me concerns being made in the image and likeness of God. That assurance - of being made in God's image - has strengthened me countless times. What do we know of God's image up to this point in the story? Basically, we know that God is a creator. He has tremendous imagination. He creates light, sun, moon, stars, sky and land, fish, birds and animals, and men and women. He sets in motion time, seasons, days and years, plus an entire ecosystem with a vast planetary system. There is a lavishness to his creation and attention to detail that could be seen in the diversity of his creation in the skies and on the land. We know much more about these now due to microscopes and telescopes, but even in the beginning God's creativity was evident.
So, being made in God's image and likeness, must include being creative and imaginative. But there is more. We are able to create and imagine things and systems, as does God, but we are also able to create and imagine life, new and perfect and whole. That is to be like God.
What do you think of any of the questions raised above? Your comments are welcome.
Let us pray: God, creator, thank you for making us in your image and likeness. Thank you for lavishing your love and your Spirit, your creativity and imagination upon us. Thank you for allowing us to join you in creating and imagining.