So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.


Genesis 2:4-7, NIrV

4 Here is the story of the heavens and the earth when they were created. The Lord God made the earth and the heavens.

5 At that time, bushes had not yet appeared on the earth. Plants had not started to grow. The Lord God had not sent rain on the earth. And there was no one to farm the land. 6 But streams came from the earth. They watered the entire surface of the ground. 7 Then the Lord God formed a man. He made him out of the dust of the ground. God breathed the breath of life into him. And the man became a living person.


If you remember, Genesis means “beginning.” Genesis is a book about the beginning. Chapter 1 describes how God created everything in the universe, from the unbelievably big to the impossibly tiny. Chapter 2 zooms in to give us details about how God created people. God’s man-making mission took place on day six. He masterfully shaped the dust of the ground into the shape of a person, sort of like making a sandcastle at the beach. But God did something amazing with the sandman he made: he breathed on him. And God’s breath turned this dust dude into a flesh-and-bone man!

+ What did God use to make the man? (vs. 7)


+ What did God do to make the man come alive? (vs. 7)


Genesis 2:8-10, NIrV

8 The Lord God had planted a garden in the east in Eden. He put in the garden the man he had formed. 9 The Lord God made every kind of tree grow out of the ground. The trees were pleasing to look at. Their fruit was good to eat. There were two trees in the middle of the garden. One of them had fruit that let people live forever. The other had fruit that let people tell the difference between good and evil.

10 A river watered the garden. It flowed out of Eden. From there the river separated into four other rivers. 


After creating the first human being, God also created a perfect place for this brand-new guy to live. It was a wonderful garden paradise in a place called Eden. The human’s habitat was like an all-you-can-eat restaurant, filled with gorgeous trees growing all kinds of delicious fruit. Whenever he needed a drink, the man could sip from the pure waters of the river that flowed through the garden. In the middle, God grew two special trees: the Tree of Life, whose fruit could give you everlasting life, and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, which we'll learn more about in the next section. 

+ Where did God put the man he made? (vs. 8)

+ What were the trees in the garden of Eden like? (vs. 9)


Genesis 2:15-17, NIrV

15 The Lord God put the man in the Garden of Eden. He put him there to farm its land and take care of it. 16 The Lord God gave the man a command. He said, “You may eat fruit from any tree in the garden. 17 But you must not eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you do, you will certainly die.”


God didn’t drop his man in the Garden of Eden to lay around all day. He had a job for his human to do – gardening. The man needed to take care of the plants that were already growing and help plant new ones. His job was to take an already beautiful place and make it even more beautiful! For breakfast, lunch, and dinner, God told the man he could eat from every tree in the garden... except for one. In the middle of Eden stood the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. It’s fruit was forbidden. If the man even took just one naughty nibble, God promised the man he would surely die.

+ What job did God give the man? (vs. 15)

+ What did God say would happen to the man if he disobeyed God’s rule? (vs. 17)


Genesis 2:18-20 NIRV

18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.”

19 The Lord God had formed all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He had made all of them out of the ground. He brought them to the man to see what names he would give them. And the name the man gave each living creature became its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, all the birds in the sky, and all the wild animals.

But Adam didn’t find a helper that was just right for him. 


In Genesis chapter 1, after gazing out at all he had made, God called his world “very good.” But after he created the first human being, there was something “not good” in God’s “very good” world. What was it? The man was all alone with no one to help him! So the quest began to find him a helper. God called all the creatures he had made to parade past his lone human. As they walked, hopped, and trotted by, the man gave  each creature a name. But after naming everything from lizards to lions, he was still alone. Not a single one of these beasts was a perfect helper for God’s lonely man.

+ What did God say was “not good”? (vs. 18)

+ Were any of the animals a helper just right for the man? (vs. 20)


Genesis 2:21-25, NIRV

21 So the Lord God caused him to fall into a deep sleep. While the man was sleeping, the Lord God took out one of the man’s ribs. Then the Lord God closed the opening in the man’s side. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman. He made her from the rib he had taken out of the man. And the Lord God brought her to the man.

23 The man said,

“Her bones have come from my bones.

    Her body has come from my body.

She will be named ‘woman,’

    because she was taken out of a man.”

24 That’s why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife. The two of them become one.

25 Adam and his wife were both naked. They didn’t feel any shame.


To solve the “not good” problem of the man being alone, God got back to creating! He caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. God made him so sleepy, he was able to remove one of the man’s ribs (the bones that go over your chest to protect your heart) and he snoozed through the whole surgery! From that bone, God formed a second human, a little bit different than the first. As soon as the man laid eyes on her, he knew the quest to find his perfect helper was over! Like he did with the animals, the man gave her a name: woman. And these two humans became the first husband and wife. 

+ Why was God able to make a complete person using just one bone?

+ What did the man call the helper God made from him? (vs. 23)


Genesis 1:26-28, NIRV

26 Then God said, “Let us make human beings so that they are like us. Let them rule over the fish in the seas and the birds in the sky. Let them rule over the livestock and all the wild animals. And let them rule over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

27 So God created human beings in his own likeness.

    He created them to be like himself.

    He created them as male and female.

28 God blessed them. He said to them, “Have children so that there will be many of you. Fill the earth and bring it under your control. Rule over the fish in the seas and the birds in the sky. Rule over every living creature that moves along the ground.”


The first chapter of the book of Genesis tells us the history of the beginning of everything. It describes how God created all we see through the power of his words! After six days of making and filling an entire universe, God finished by creating human beings. And when he did, he spoke something about them that he didn’t say about anything else he had made.

Did you notice what God said? “Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness.” Unlike the sun, the seas, the sheep, and the sloths, human beings were made to be like God. They were made “in his image.” But what does that mean?

Think about a statue of a person. A good image crafted by an amazing artist looks almost exactly like the person they are sculpting. When done well, a statue can tell you a lot about what the real person looked like.

In a similar way, human beings were created to be “images” of God. Now, this doesn’t mean that we were made to look like God. Instead, it means we have the ability to do things that other creatures cannot. God gave us minds that could think deep thoughts, mouths that could speak all kinds of languages, hands that could write all kinds of words, and hearts that can choose between right and wrong. 

Human beings aren’t exactly like God, though. Like a statue is nowhere near as wonderful as a living and breathing human being, our human abilities can’t even compare to the mind-melting powers of our universe-creating God!

Why does this matter? Because it shows us why human beings are so valuable! You may love your pet dog or cat or goldfish, but you understand they are nowhere near as important as a mom or dad or brother or sister (no matter how much they bug you)! Because every person is made in God’s image, they are valuable and special. That’s why God gave us the command, “You shall love your neighbor (other people) like you love yourself.” He didn’t say “You shall love your cat” or “You shall love your fish!”

However, while every human being has been made to be like God, there’s something every single one of us has done that is precisely not like God. From our first human parents all the way to you and me, all of us have sinned. We’ve broken the commands God gave to us. We’ve failed to use our hearts and minds to love God. And we’ve been unloving to the other people God made in his image.

Through all this, God loved his homemade humans. He loved them even when they were unloving to him and unloving to each other. To rescue the men and women he made, God sent his own Son to earth to rescue us. Jesus came into our world and lived as a human being in order to rescue human beings from their sins!

+ Who did God say was made in his image: men, women, or both? (vs. 27)

+ What is the reason that human beings and animals are so different?

© 2023 Andrew Doane. All rights reserved.