The Creation of Man
God spent six days creating everything on earth, and then finally, we reached the point where humanity came on to the scene. In scripture we are given two accounts of this; in the first account, we see God created man and woman out of nothing. It should be noted that each account of creation portrays God in a unique way. The first account shows God as being distant and forming man from nothing out of His words; however, in the second account of creation, it is a much more personal approach. We are treated to the imagery of God being in the garden and actually modeling man: “Then God formed man out of dust from the ground, and breathed in his face the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (Genesis 2:7). It is because of this second story of creation we can see that man truly is the pinnacle of creation. The creator of the universe came into creation, and created man and breathed life into him. In the footnotes of the Orthodox Study Bible, it tells us of how amazing this truly is: “God formed Adam’s body out of the dust from the ground. The breath of life is the grace of the Holy Spirit, the Giver of Life (the Creed). God breathed the breath of life into man’s body, and he became a living soul. Therefore, Adam was a living soul because he possessed a body, a soul, and the grace of the Holy Spirit.” It is that grace of the Holy Spirit that becomes the issue later on in the creation story, but before that, the question must be answered as to why man was created.
It is in the creation story that we find why we were created. We were created to rule over all of creation. As rulers of creation, we were shown that we were created in the image and likeness of God and that all of the creation we were to rule over was created good. He creates humanity in the persons of Adam and Eve, our first parents, created to rule over all of creation. Humanity, after all, created in the “royal image of it’s creator” (Synod of The Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church 2018) is the crown jewel of all creation. Perhaps that is why Kirill of Turov in his sermon, Sermon for the Fourth Sunday after Easter says:
Who else is there that ministers to you more faithfully than I? All creation I created to serve you; the heaven and the earth serve you: the one with moisture, the other with fruits. For your sake the sun serves with its light and with its warmth, and the moon and the stars lighten the night. For your sake the clouds nourish the earth with rain, and the earth brings forth all manner of grasses with their seeds and the trees with their fruits to serve you. For your sake the rivers bear fish and the wastes rear beasts.
Humanity was created to rule over creation, and, created in the image of God, to rule over paradise. In the Anaphora of the Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great it says that, “…[God] honoured him…with [His] own image…[and] placed him in the Paradise of delight.” But man’s time in paradise would be short lived.