Scripture Reading: Genesis 1:26-27; 2:7-9; Proverbs 20:27; 1 Thessalonians 5:23
I. The Creator—the Triune God.
II. In God’s image—Colossians 1:15; 2 Corinthians 4:4.
III. After God’s likeness—Romans 5:14.
IV. With the dust for the body that man may exist.
V. With the breath of life for a spirit that man may receive God—Proverbs 20:27; John 4:24; Romans 8:16.
VI. God breathed the breath of life into man.
VII. To produce the soul that man may live through the mind, emotion, and will.
VIII. The intention of God’s creation of man.
IX. Putting man before the Tree of Life, indicating that God wanted man to receive Him as life.
X. Man being created a vessel to receive and contain God.
This series of brief messages on life and service are being given for the purpose of training the believers. You need to pray much to get yourself into these messages, and even to get these messages into you. Merely to repeat what is here in black and white will be a kind of dead speaking of knowledge according to the dead letter. These messages may be considered as groceries, which you need to cook in a living way through much, much prayer. You have to pray yourself into the message, pray yourself into a burden, and pray that the message will become your personal message in a living way. These are just the materials, but you have to cook them. You have to labor on all these points, and you have to pray until you yourself get into these messages, making them your own messages. Then you will speak not my message but your message, and you will speak out from your being with much exercise of your spirit! Then whatever you speak will be living, will be personal, and will be with the living impact! I do hope that we will not carry out this training in a light way but in a way full of prayer, full of the Spirit, and full of life!
In this first lesson on life, we want to speak about the creation of man. We need to read all the verses cited in the Scripture reading above and be impressed with the main points of these verses.
The Creator of man is the Triune God—the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. Man’s creation was wrapped up with the Divine Trinity. It was not merely God who created man but it was the Triune God—the Father, the Son, and the Spirit! This is based upon Genesis 1:26, which says, “God said, Let us make man in our image.” Here the plural pronouns us and our are used, indicating that the very God who intended to create man was triune—the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. According to Genesis 1:26, it seems that before God came in to create man, the Triune God had a kind of “Godhead conference,” a kind of conference among the Trinity, to make a decision about how to create man in His image and after His likeness. The decision to create man was made by the Triune God, indicating that the creation of man was for the purpose of the Triune God! The Trinity of the Godhead is not for theological doctrine, but for the dispensing of God Himself into man according to His divine economy. Thus, at the very beginning when God intended to create man, God decided to do so in His Trinity. This is why He said, “Let us make man in our image.” God’s intention in creating man was to carry out His economy for His dispensing of Himself into man!
Colossians 1:15 says that the beloved Son of God is the image of the invisible God, and 2 Corinthians 4:4 says that Christ is the image of God. God decided in His Godhead to create man in His image, and the image of God according to the Bible is just Christ! This image is not a physical form, but it is the expression of what God is in all His attributes and virtues. All God’s attributes and virtues are invisible. These are the constituents of God. God is full of invisible attributes and virtues. Christ is the expression of all that God is in His attributes and virtues, and this expression is the image. Thus, the image of God is the expression of God in all that He is!
We have to point out to people that the image of God does not mean a kind of a figure, a kind of an image, for people to worship, but it means the very expression of what God is. God created man in His image. That means God made man to have the attributes and virtues that He has. When God created man, He created him in His image, according to His attributes and virtues, so that man can express Him through these attributes and virtues. For example, God has love, and God loves. God also created man that man may have love and that man may love. God has wisdom and God has His purpose, so God made man also to have wisdom and to have a purpose. God can think, God can consider, God can love, God can like and dislike, God can make choices, God can have [desires and] intentions, and God can make decisions. God created man in the same way so that man could express God! What man has, however, is only the image of God’s attributes and virtues but not the reality. Man must receive God as his life and content, and then God with His attributes and virtues will fill up man to become the reality of man’s attributes and virtues!
Man was made in the image of God which is Christ! This indicates that man was made for Christ to enter into man so that He could occupy man and use man as His vessel to express Himself. Man is a container! A container is always made in the form of the thing which it is going to contain. Suppose the thing that is needed to be contained is square. Then you make a square container. If the thing that is to be contained is round, then you make the container round. The container is made in the image of its contents. Man was made by God in the image of God, Christ, with the purpose that one day man would be taken over by Christ and filled up with Christ that man would be Christ’s container and Christ would be man’s content!
God’s image is His inward being! God’s likeness is His outward form! Inwardly, God has His being with all the attributes and the virtues, and outwardly, God has a likeness. On the one hand, God is invisible. Since God is invisible, how could God have a likeness? This is something very hard for us human beings to understand and to explain. God appeared to Abraham in Genesis Chapter 18 in the likeness of a man. We cannot say that God was invisible in Genesis Chapter 18 and that He did not have a likeness. God appeared to Abraham in a visible way with man’s likeness. Genesis Chapter 18 shows that God has man’s likeness! Man’s likeness is after God’s likeness. We human beings have a physical body and this is our likeness. We also have our inner being. In the same way, God has His inner being and also His likeness. Man’s outward body was created after the likeness of God. Before God was incarnated to be a Man, He appeared to Abraham in the form of a Man. The form of man is the form of God, for man was created after the likeness of God!
Genesis 2:7 says that God formed a body for man with the dust of the ground. The physical body is for man’s existence. Without such a physical body formed with the dust, man cannot exist. When man’s body dies, the man dies, so man’s existence is altogether dependent upon his physical body.
God created man with the Breath of Life for a spirit that man may receive God. This is also recorded in Genesis 2:7. After God formed man with the dust of the earth to give him a physical body, God breathed the Breath of Life into the nostrils of man. The Hebrew word for breath in Genesis 2:7 is translated into spirit in Proverbs 20:27. Proverbs 20:27 says, “The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord” (NASB). This is a strong proof that the Breath of Life God breathed into man’s body was eventually the spirit of man!
Our body of dust is a physical organ, and our spirit of the Breath of Life is a spiritual organ. We have a body of dust as our physical organ to contact the outward, physical world; we also have the spirit that comes from the Breath of Life as our inward, spiritual organ so that we can contact God in the spiritual world. Thus, it is clear that the man created by God has two organs: the body formed with dust and the spirit that came from the Breath of Life.
Here we need to point out that the Breath of Life breathed into man at his creation should not be considered as something of God’s eternal life. When God breathed the Breath of Life into man, He did not put His eternal life into man. The Breath of Life was not the eternal life, because God’s intention was that man would exercise his own free will to choose God’s eternal life! Because of this God surely would not put His eternal life into man just by His own will, His own decision, without letting man exercise man’s own will, even man’s free will, to choose the divine life. According to His divine principle, God would let man exercise his own free will to choose God and take God as his life. This life is the eternal life, which man did not have at the time of his creation.
Another proof that man did not have God’s eternal life when he was created is that after man ate the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, God closed the way to the Tree of Life lest man partake of the Tree of Life and live forever with his evil nature (Genesis 3:22-24). This proves that at the beginning when man was created, man did not have the life of God! What he had was the Breath of Life getting into him and becoming his human spirit, which is the organ for him to receive God into him as the eternal life! We must be clear about this!
According to the Bible, man was never able to receive the eternal life of God until the Lord Jesus came and died on the Cross to accomplish redemption for us, thus opening the way for us to contact God as the Tree of Life! After Christ’s death and resurrection, man could believe into the Lord Jesus and receive Him as the eternal life. Before Christ’s death and resurrection, man could not have the life of God!
God created man with the Breath of Life that man might have a [human] spirit as a kind of receptacle to receive God.
The producing of man’s soul is also recorded in Genesis 2:7. Genesis 2:7 says that when the Breath of Life was breathed into the nostrils of the body of man, man became a living soul. God used two kinds of materials—the dust for making man’s body and the Breath of Life for producing man’s [human] spirit. When these two things came together, right away man became a living soul. That means the soul is the issue of the Breath of Life getting into the physical body of man.
It is clear that man was made in three parts: the outward body, the inward spirit, and the soul as the very being of man. This is why 1 Thessalonians 5:23 says that our whole being is composed of our spirit, soul, and body. We are a tripartite man. The soul is our being with our body as the outward organ and with our spirit as the inward organ. The soul as our being is composed of the mind, emotion, and will. This is according to the revelation of the Bible. The Bible shows us that in our soul we have our mind to think, to consider things (Psalm 13:2), we have our emotion to love and to hate (1 Samuel 18:1; 2 Samuel 5:8), to like and to dislike things (Isaiah 61:10; Psalm 86:4), and we also have our will to make decisions, to make choices (Job 7:15; 6:7; 1 Chronicles 22:19). These are the functions of the soul.
The intention of God’s creation of man is that man may understand God’s desire with his mind, like God’s desire with his emotion, choose to take, to receive, God with his will, and eventually exercise his spirit to receive God as his life. God created a mind for man. By this mind man may understand God’s desire. God also created man with an emotion. By this emotion man may like God’s desire. God created man with a free will, that man may exercise this free will to choose, to make a decision, to take and to receive God into him as his life. Eventually, man may exercise his spirit to receive God as his life! This is the intention of God in His creation of man!
God created man in a way that was good for man to take God, to receive God into man as his life. Man was created by God with a mind, an emotion, and a will, and also with a [human] spirit in the center of man’s being as a receptacle for him to receive God [as life]. Thus, by his mind man can understand what God wants; by his emotion man can like, can love, can prefer, what God wants; and by his free will man can make a decision to choose God, to take God. Furthermore, man has a spirit as an organ, even a receptacle, to receive God into him as his life. This is God’s intention in His creation of man.
God put man before the Tree of Life, indicating that God wanted man to receive Him as life. We have to see that at the very beginning, God had no intention to ask man to keep any law, to do anything good, or to bear any kind of burden. At the very beginning, right after God created man, God only put man in front of the Tree of Life. This indicated that God wanted man to receive Him as life, signified by the Tree of Life. God also warned man that he should be careful about his eating. Of course, what man did was altogether up to his own free will. What he chose to eat was up to him. But God’s desire was that man would choose the Tree of Life, which means that man would choose God as life!
Man was created as a vessel to receive and contain God. This is fully revealed in Romans 9:21 and 23 and 2 Corinthians 4:7. In Romans Chapter 9 we are told that God is a Potter, and we are the clay. The Potter made the clay vessels, and He made us vessels of mercy, vessels unto honor, and even vessels unto glory. Our being vessels to contain God is not because we are so good and preferable to God; it is altogether a matter of God’s mercy. God had mercy upon us, and He wanted us to be His vessels, so we are the vessels of mercy. We are vessels of honor because we contain the God of honor. Eventually, we all will be filled with God’s glory and glorified in the glory of God to become the vessels unto glory. Thus, God created us as vessels—vessels of mercy, vessels of honor, and vessels unto glory to contain Him.
We must see that God’s creation is to make us vessels to contain Him. We must stress this one point in this message—that man was made a vessel with a human spirit as a receptacle to receive God. This is the first message concerning life in our training. We have to make it so clear and so impressive to all the trainees that the creation of man was just to make man a vessel with a receptacle, that is, our spirit, to receive God into us as our life.
Verses and footnotes are taken from The Holy Bible Recovery Version and Words of Ministry from Brother Witness Lee, Basic Lessons on Life, Lesson One and [with personal enlightenment and inspiration]. Both are published by Living Stream Ministry, Anaheim, CA. All Rights Reserved.
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