26 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.”
27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Man was made in the “image and likeness” of God. This image is found chiefly in the fact that man is a personal, rational, and moral being. While God is infinite and man finite, nevertheless man possesses the elements of personality similar to those of the divine Person: thinking (Genesis 2:19-20; 3:8); feeling (Genesis 3:6); willing (Genesis 3:6-7). That man has a moral nature is implicit in the record and is further attested by the New Testament usage (Ephesians 4:23-24; Colossians 3:10). —Scofield, page 3.
Whereas previous acts of God have followed immediately the phrase “And God said, Let there be …,” in this verse God speaks, as it were, to Himself: “And God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness.”
He was not speaking to the angels, because man was not going to be made in the likeness of the angels but in the likeness of God. Thus God could only have been speaking to Himself; one member of the uni-plural Godhead was addressing another member or members.
This fascinating type of exchange within the Godhead appears in a number of other places in the Old Testament (e.g., Psalm 2:7; Isaiah 48:16; Psalm 45:7; Psalm 110:1). Similarly, in the New Testament, such fellowship between Christ (before His human birth) and the Father is noted in such passages as Matthew 11:27; John 8:42; John 17:24; and others.
Man was to be in the image and likeness of God Himself! Therefore, he was also “created” (bara) in God’s image. He was both made and created in the image of God. — Morris, pages 72-73
We can only say that, although God Himself may have no physical body, He designed and formed Man’s body to enable it to function physically in ways in which He Himself could function even without a body. God can see (Genesis 16:13), hear (Psalm 94:9), smell (Genesis 8:21), touch (Genesis 32:32), and speak (2 Peter 1:18), whether or not He has actual physical eyes, ears, nose, hands, and mouth. Furthermore, whenever He has designed to appear visibly to men, He has done so in the form of a human body (Genesis 18:1-2); and the same is true of angels (Acts 1:10). There is something about the human body, therefore, which is uniquely appropriate to God’s manifestation of Himself, and (since God knows all His works from the beginning of the world—Acts 15:18) He must have designed man’s body with this in mind. Accordingly, He designed it, not like the animals, but with an erect posture, with an upward gazing countenance, capable of facial expressions corresponding to emotional feelings, and with a brain and tongue capable of articulate, symbolic speech.
He knew, of course, that in the fullness of time even He would become a man. In that day, He would prepare a human body for His Son (Hebrews 10:5; Luke 1:35); and it would be “made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:7), just as man had been made in the likeness of God.
Both in body and in spirit, Christ was indeed Himself the image of God (Hebrews 1:3; Colossians 1:15; 2 Corinthians 4:4). It does not seem to much to infer that God made man in the image of that body which He would Himself one day assume. In this sense, at least, it is true that, physically as well as spiritually, man was both made and created in the image and likeness of God the Son. — Morris, pages 74-75.
the word “man” is actually adam, and is related to “earth” (Hebrew adamah), since man’s body was formed from the elements of the earth (Genesis 2:7). it may be noted that man was to have dominion not only over all animals but also over the earth (v.26) from which he had been formed. — Morris, page 75.
Because of Adam’s sin, the image of God within us is tarnished. Seth, who Eve rightly prophesied was to be the carrier of the promised seed, was begotten in the image of Adam, whereas Adam was created in the image of God. To labor the point a moment, Seth was born in the image of a man who was in the image of God.
The fullness of the image of God was not to be seen again in mankind until the birth of Jesus, the Last Adam. It is interesting to note that Jesus could be perfect, and still be perfectly human. This is because there was a model of perfect humanity in Adam. — Taylor, pages 74-75.
The presentation of mankind’s creation in v.27 as a single collective event (i.e., And God created man … male and female He created them) does not contradict the more specific description of the two-stage process in chapter two, but is rather intended to emphasize here that the image of God imparted to man in equally presented in both sexes. — Wechsler, page 71.
The only theologically and grammatically viable explanation of this plural language is that it is an expression of the Trinity, and thus the image must pertain collectively to all three persons of the Trinity (since the image is qualified in v.26 as “our” not “my” or “his”). Logically, therefore, this image is that which most defines the Trinity per se—to wit: the capacity for spiritual relationship—or, in a word, the soul. It is the soul, accordingly, which most distinguishes us—humanity—from the rest of created life (including, perhaps, even the angels), for it is only into man that Scripture tells us God breathed in a “living soul” (see 2:7), and it is only human individuals—regardless of their mental capacity, physical ability, or material circumstances—who, by virtue of having a soul, can experience spiritual communion, or “relationship,” with God. — Wechsler, pages 71-72.
There’s a bit of disagreement on what it means to be in the “image” of God. Wechsler says it’s the soul. I think there’s truth to that. Some commentaries say that animals also have a soul in the sense of self-awareness, but it’s obvious that mankind’s soul is of a different sort. Some say the “image” is the capacity to have a relationship with God, which is also obviously part of it. But I think Morris’s take is most compelling—that God created us in the form that He knew He would one day send His Son.