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Please explain the verse: “Let US make man in our image”

by Mrs. Sarah Levi

  

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This is a classic case of Torah mistranslation. This verse is usually translated: “And G-d said: ‘Let us make Man in Our image, in Our likeness. They shall rule over the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and over the animals, the whole earth, and every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.’”

The questions that usually arise on this verse are:

1. Who was G-d speaking to?

2. Does G-d have an image?

3. What is the meaning of the repetition, “in our image, in our likeness”?

4. Did G-d create Man just so he might “rule over the fish…”? I’m sure G-d could have thought of a better purpose for Man!

As far as this translation is concerned, your questions are valid. However, this there’s another way to translate this verse:

“And G-d said: ‘Let us [G-d and the Creations] fashion mankind in our essence, so he should be like us, and [only then] they [mankind] will subdue the fish of the sea, and the birds of the heavens and the livestock, and all the earth, and every moving thing that moves over the earth.’”

Man is the only creature to be introduced individually to the scene...“in Our image” like G-d, as a single individual. Just as G-d is One, so too was man created One
Man is the only creature to be introduced individually to the scene, because Man is the pinnacle of creation. Everything was created for him and his use. It is self-understood that Man is therefore held responsible for his actions, for they affect not only himself, but also all of G-d’s creatures. Man was not made “according to his kind” like an animal, in large numbers, but “…in Our image” like G-d, as a single individual. Just as G-d is One, so too was man created One.

Now, as for the individual questions:

1. Who was G-d speaking to? The answer is simple: G-d was speaking to the same entity He spoke to in the preceding days—the entire universe! G-d is in fact saying: “Let the cosmos (and all that is in it) and I produce man.”

Man is the most complex of all creatures. His existence is a constant battle of opposing forces pulling him in different directions. It is no wonder that man is the only creature that seeks therapy! His duality extends to the extremes of all spectrums: from unfounded anger to senseless acts of goodness, from energetic inspiration to pathetic depression, from cruelty to altruism, from conscience to indifference, from spirituality to materialism. It is as though all the forces of nature were compressed into a little creature called Man. But this is precisely what this verse tells us.

2. Does G-d have an image? No, “For you did not see any image” (Deuteronomy 4:15), and “To whom can you liken Me; with whom I will be equal?” (Isaiah 40:25). When the verse says “image,” it means “essence,” meaning that man was created of the essence of the cosmos, and of the essence of G-d. Man has an aspect of all of creation in him: every animal has its counterpart in man, as does every mineral and element.


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Adam

Posted by: Hank on Sep 25, 2005

Let the cosmos (and all that is in it) and I produce man. The cosmos produced Adam, with Gods help. and notice the cosmos first then I. Only a learned person could make the scripture say something it does not say. There was a tree in the garden, called the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, it produces fruit such as this (let the cosmos). But there is also the tree of life, its fruit is beyond knowledge,when you eat its fruit (beyond torah) you eat life. If you dont understand (torah) or agree with it, move on but dont twist it.

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