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In the Image of God

Please explain the term “Let us make man in our Image”.


Perhaps the simplest explanation for this verse is that it refers to the gift of free will. Just as God is the Creator of the world, a creation that He fashioned by His will, so man is able to ‘create’ — to make an impact on the world, in both a physical and a spiritual sense — by means of his free will. We are able to choose our paths in life, to decide, from our own volition, what to do and what not to do. As Meshech Chochmah (Rabbi Meir Simchah of Dvinsk) writes, this is the simple meaning of the Divine image that is reserved for humankind.

In another sense, man is made in the actual Divine image, in that the very form of man is a physical manifestation of spiritual forces by which God reveals Himself to us. Thus the verse describes Divine supervision in terms of the “eyes of God,” and, corresponding to this power, humankind is created with eyes; the verse refers to Divine power as the “hand of God,” and humankind is created with hands. Therefore, while of course God has no physical body, the form of man parallels the spiritual revelation by which God reveals Himself to man.

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