(rough notes journey through Scripture)
Genesis 1:26 (RSVCE): Let us make man in our image, after our likeness;
So...exactly who is God talking to when he contemplates making humanity and uses the plural pronoun "us" and the plural possessive "our image?" Holy Scripture doesn't mention others present, so I am always a little shocked when I read it. Was there some other present at the creation of the world?
There is much written about this verse. Early Christian missionaries pointed to this verse as evidence of the Trinity in Hebrew Sciptures. There are others, both Christian and Jewish scholars, who say that God is speaking to the heavenly host (angels) who were previously created. Instead of enlisting their help, God is announcing his work to his created order. Still others say that it is simply a matter of Hebrew grammar with God using the "royal" we (pluralis majestatis). It doesn't take much to reach what goes before this verse and what comes after to see that no other "beings" are mentioned and the next verse uses the singular throughout pointing to a grammatical error.
But I can't help going back to the Trinity concept. I have always wondered if this were some early indication of the Holy Trinity. God showing us that even in God's self a relationship exists with the "let us" and "in our" language. I then jump to the New Testament and point backwards - "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God... And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father." (John 1:1, 14). Of course,this is reading Hebrew Scriptures with Christian eyes. Unlike others who get hyper-sensitive about this, I do read Holy Scripture with a Christian lens...I can't help it. And while I acknowledge the dangers in doing this, it is still something that informs my own web of faith. But then the scholar in me takes charge and tells me I shouldn't do this for all the reasons I have read or been told I shouldn't do it. Okay...okay...I get it.
Maybe less than some fleshed out doctrine or indication of the Holy Trinity, which is more than a stretch, this verse points to the importance of relationship to God. It certainly highlights the love God has for humankind. Out of the dust, making us in His image, naming us (an ancient action of possession and care) and giving us respnsibility ("dominion over") for creation. I take courage in knowing that I belong to God and that I have responsibilities through His creation. It doesn't insult my sense of independence or any modern concept of self direction and identity. I'm glad at the end of the day to bow my head and bend my knee to the Almighty. I take courage in knowing that God is one of love and that I exist because he wants me to be in relationship with Him - it was near the top of his list when it all began.