After grounding all matters of doctrine and practice in Scripture and setting forth what Scripture teaches about God, The Baptist Faith and Message next summarizes what the Bible teaches about humanity. Article III first describes man’s original created state: “Man is the special creation of God, made in His own image. He created them male and female as the crowning work of His creation. The gift of gender is thus part of the goodness of God’s creation.” As this paragraph affirms, all people are created in God’s image, as male or female.
The Image of God
According to Scripture, on the sixth day of Creation Week, God resolved to “make man in our image, after our likeness” (Gen 1:26). Furthermore, God’s purpose in creating man in His image and likeness was “so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground” (Gen 1:26 NIV). Being made in God’s image speaks to man being His representative ruler over the rest of earthly creation. As God rules beneficently over all creation, so should mankind rule beneficently over the other earthly creatures (Ps 8:5-8). Even in relationships with other people, those in authority should not be authoritarian (Lev 25:43, 46; Mark 10:42-45). Being made after God’s likeness shows that mankind relates to God as a son relates to his father (Gen 5:1-3). Luke calls Adam the “son of God” (Luke 3:38). Paul proclaims that all people are God’s “offspring” (Acts 17:26-28).
God’s blessing of Adam and Eve shows how they are to exercise their God-given rule over the rest of creation and expand their dominion over it: by populating the earth and spreading out over it (Gen 1:28). As they do so, they are to steward the earth’s resources well (Gen 1:29-30; 9:3).
The Baptist Faith and Message rightly affirms, “man is the special creation of God.” Genesis 1, as well as the Bible as a whole, is incompatible with modern theories of macro-evolution. According to Scripture, humanity is not the product of millions of years of macro-evolution; rather, God specially created Adam and Eve as the first people on the sixth day of creation week. Indeed, the special creation of Adam and Eve is “the crowning work of His creation.” God’s creation of man is the climax of creation week. In Genesis 1, God’s creation of man takes more ink than His creation of anything else. The next chapter gives even more details about God’s creation of Adam and Eve (Gen 2:4-25). The gendered creation of man is also noted in that God created man “male and female” (Gen 1:26, 27).
The Goodness of Gender
God’s resolution to “make man in our image, after our likeness” (Gen 1:26) is Trinitarian; God says that He (one) will make man in our (plural) image. Genesis has already shown the Holy Spirit to be active from the beginning of creation (Gen 1:2). Even from the first chapter of the Bible, we have a subtle hint to the plurality within the unity of God. And John would begin his Gospel by saying that Jesus, God the Son (“Word”), was also instrumental to creation (John 1:1-4, 14). The triune God created all the universe, including man, by the word of His power. And the Trinity (one God eternally existent as three Persons) appropriately creates man (singular) as both male and female (plural) from the beginning (Gen 1:27).
The gendered creation of humanity, then, is part of God’s original good creation. In fact, it is only after creating man, specifically as male and female, that God calls creation “very good” because it is complete (Gen 1:31). Being male or female is good, even from the beginning of creation, for at least two reasons:
- Being male or female is good because whether a person is male or female, he or she is fully an image-bearer of God (Gen 1:27).1
- Being male or female is good because God’s design for man to subdue and rule the earth depends in part on humanity being fruitful, multiplying, and filling the earth, which is possible only through the cooperation between both sexes (Gen 1:28).2
Gender distinctions are not the result of the fall. Abuses of these distinctions result from the fall of mankind (Gen 3:16), but gender distinctions themselves existed prior to the fall of mankind. God created Adam before Eve. When God gave Adam the command not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Eve had not yet been created (Gen 2:16-18, 21-22). So Adam would have been responsible to pass this command along to Eve. God even refers to Eve as Adam’s “helper” (Gen 2:18), which points to Adam’s responsibility to lead her well in their relationship.
As gender distinctions are increasingly maligned in our culture and as gender confusion becomes increasingly prevalent, it is increasingly important for us Christians to stand on the truth of God’s word that God from the beginning created man as male and female. Both genders bear equal dignity and worth as divine image bearers. Both genders have distinct roles in together fulfilling God’s mandate in creation.
We at Friendship Baptist Church gladly affirm The Baptist Faith and Message‘s summary of God’s original creation fo man as faithful to Scripture. The Bible is our final authority for all matters of faith and practice, and we are thankful for God’s clarity on the original good creation of humanity in His image, as both male and female. May we as men and women redeemed by the blood of Jesus strive to glorify Him as men and women in all we think, say, and do!
- The 1987 Danvers Statement of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) also helpfully affirms that God gave “equally high dignity and value … to the roles of both men and women.”
- The CBMW’s 2017 Nashville Statement likewise says, “We affirm that divinely ordained differences between male and female reflect God’s original creation design and are meant for human good and human flourishing. We deny that such differences are a result of the Fall or are a tragedy to be overcome.”