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When God said “Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness” if nothing except Him existed?

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Full Question

In Genesis 1:26, why does God say, “Let us make human beings in our image, after our likeness” if there is only one God?

Answer

Christian theologians have seen this as an implicit reference to the Trinity. In Christian theology the persons of the Trinity all play a role in creation, especially in the creation of humanity.

Jewish scholars have seen this verse in two ways.

One is that God is simply talking to himself in the same way that a person would debate with himself about whether or not to do something. In this interpretation, God is essentially using the “royal we.”

The other is that God is addressing both heavenly and earthly creations that already exist. In ancient Judaism, God was often portrayed as presiding over the heavenly assembly of angels and consulting with them (1 Kings 22:19–22; Is. 6:8; Ps. 29:1–2; 82; 89:6–7; Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7). As to why God would consult with angels, Jewish tradition gives us this answer:

When Moses was engaged in writing the Torah, he had to write the work of each day. When he came to the verse, AND GOD SAID: LET US MAKE MAN, etc., he said: “Sovereign of the Universe! Why dost thou furnish an excuse to heretics?” “Write,” replied he, “whoever wishes to err may err.” “Moses,” said the Lord to him, “this man that I have created—do I not cause men both great and small to spring from him? Now, if a great man comes to obtain permission [for a proposed action] from one that is less than he, he may say, ‘Why should I ask permission from my inferior!’ Then they will answer him, ‘Learn from thy Creator, who created all that is above and below, yet when he came to create man he took counsel with the ministering angels’” (B’reishit Rabbah 8:8).


By Fr. Charles Grondin













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  1. Patrick Gannon Reply

    A more realistic explanation is that some of the oldest parts of Genesis (written by different authors), were written at a time when the Israelites were still worshipping multiple gods, just like everyone else. Among those, the most popular, according to archaeological evidence, were Baal, Asherah, and Yahweh. I forget what the other two were, but Yahweh was the god of war (go figure, right!). In time, as the Torah developed and was modified and added to by later writers, and in time, Yahweh became the only god. There are several passages such as “You shall have no other gods before me,” found throughout the Torah to support the idea that the Israelites at one time worshipped multiple gods. This meant that it was acknowledged that there were other gods, but the Israelites were only to worship Yahweh. Off the top of my head, another notable reference to multiple gods is in Gen 3:22, where we learn that the talking snake was right!

    Another problem with the explanation is that it is well understood by historians and archaeologists that Moses was a mythical figure. The mass Exodus from Egypt did not happen in any way, shape or form as described in the bible. There is not a shred of evidence; not a wagon wheel, shard of pottery, spear tip, shield, nothing to show the passage of 2 – 3 million people spending long periods of time in fixed locations. This lack of evidence is acknowledged by apologists. They work like a Catholic theologian to work around it, but there is no evidence, plain and simple, and much to dispute it. I’m not sure that the Church officially acknowledges this yet, but leading Jewish archaeologists have given up the search as fruitless. The Church knows this – or the evidence would be paraded before us like the return of Jesus. There was also no conquest of Canaan, although there is evidence of Persian conquests. Without these things the very foundation of the Abrahamic gods is washing away… No six day creation, no two-person DNA bottleneck, and no global flood. Not much foundation remaining for Yahweh to rest on any more, is there? Remember, he was the God of War in his early days. That’s why in the Psalms and elsewhere, people are always asking him to destroy their enemies. Do we really need one of those any longer?

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