And God said, let us make man in our image, after our
These words are directed not to the earth, out of which man was made, as consulting with it, and to be assisting in the formation of man, as Moses Gerundensis, and other Jewish writers F6, which is wretchedly stupid; nor to the angels, as the Targum of Jonathan, Jarchi, and others, who are not of God's privy council, nor were concerned in any part of the creation, and much less in the more noble part of it: nor are the words spoken after the manner of kings, as Saadiah, using the plural number as expressive of honour and majesty; since such a way of speaking did not obtain very early, not even till the close of the Old Testament: but they are spoken by God the Father to the Son and Holy Ghost, who were each of them concerned in the creation of all things, and particularly of man: hence we read of divine Creators and Makers in the plural number, ( Job 35:10 ) ( Psalms 149:2 ) ( Ecclesiastes 12:1 ) and Philo the Jew acknowledges that these words declare a plurality, and are expressive of others, being co-workers with God in creation F7: and man being the principal part of the creation, and for the sake of whom the world, and all things in it were made, and which being finished, he is introduced into it as into an house ready prepared and furnished for him; a consultation is held among the divine Persons about the formation of him; not because of any difficulty attending it, but as expressive of his honour and dignity; it being proposed he should be made not in the likeness of any of the creatures already made, but as near as could be in the likeness and image of God. The Jews sometimes say, that Adam and Eve were created in the likeness of the holy blessed God, and his Shechinah F8; and they also speak F9 of Adam Kadmon the ancient Adam, as the cause of causes, of whom it is said, "I was as one brought up with him (or an artificer with him), ( Proverbs 8:30 ) and to this ancient Adam he said, "let us make man in our image, after our likeness": and again, "let us make man"; to whom did he say this? the cause of causes said to "`jod', he, `vau', he"; that is, to Jehovah, which is in the midst of the ten numerations. What are the ten numerations? "`aleph', he, `jod', he", that is, (hyha) , "I am that I am, ( Exodus 3:14 ) and he that says let us make, is Jehovah; I am the first, and I am the last, and beside me there is no God: and three jods (yyy) testify concerning him, that there is none above him, nor any below him, but he is in the middle:
and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the
fowl of the air;
that is, to catch them, and eat them; though in the after grant of food to man, no mention as yet is made of any other meat than the herbs and fruits of the earth; yet what can this dominion over fish and fowl signify, unless it be a power to feed upon them? It may be observed, that the plural number is used, "let them", which shows that the name "man" is general in the preceding clause, and includes male and female, as we find by the following verse man was created:
and over the cattle, and over all the earth;
over the tame creatures, either for food, or clothing, or carriage, or for all of them, some of them for one thing, and some for another; and over all the wild beasts of the earth, which seem to be meant by the phrase, "over all the earth"; that is, over all the beasts of the earth, as appears by comparing it with ( Genesis 1:24 ) so as to keep them in awe, and keep them off from doing them any damage:
and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth;
to make use of it as should seem convenient for them.
F6 Vet. Nizzachon, p. 5. Lipman. Carmen Memorial. p. 108. apud Wagenseil. Tela ignea, vol. 1.
F7 De confusione Ling. p. 344. De Profugis, p. 460. De Opificio, p. 16.
F8 Tikkune Zohar, correct. 64. fol. 98. 2.
F9 Ibid. correct. 70. fol. 119. 1.