Breaking Down Genesis 1:26 – Is it Trinitarian?

Genesis 1:26 states: “And God said, Let us make man in our image.”

Some people suppose that we can find the Trinity doctrine in the first chapter of the Bible. They make this claim because the Hebrew word elohim, which is translated “God,” they understand to be plural.

But it says “God said, Let US make Man.” Who is God? And who is He talking to here? What is the verse really saying? Is God talking to Himself in a three person conference? Letting the Bible interpret itself we find much insight on this verse that gives clarity to who God truly is in this verse. And it may be very different than what many have preached from the pulpit for centuries. The Bible is of no private interpretation, so lets allow the Bible to interpret itself.

Eph 3:9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in GOD, who CREATED all things by JESUS CHRIST:”

So in creation GOD said to JESUS “LET US” CREATE “MAN IN OUR IMAGE”. So who is God in this verse concerning the creation? Is it “God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit”? It looks like God and Jesus are distinct in this passage. Let’s look at some more scripture. Speaking of the creation Paul wrote this:

1Co 8:6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

So God the Father created man by Jesus Christ in His own image. The term “God” refers alone to “the Father”. Therefore Genesis 1:26 could read:

And God (the Father) said (to Jesus), Let us make man in our image.” (Genesis 1:26)

That is the way it should be read. The term “God” in this passage is being misread by many to refer to “the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost” or the “Trinity.” But there is not a single passage from the front of the Bible to the back of it that ever uses the term “God” to refer to all three at the same time.  Especially when referring to the creation, we can find numerous verses, and they always refer to God and Christ as distinct individuals. Here are a couple more.

Hebrews 1:1-3 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, (2) Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; (3) Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

God spoke through His Son. Therefore He is is the Father. And God created the worlds through His Son, therefore God said to His Son “Let us make man in our image”. Jesus isn’t sitting on the right hand of himself. He is sitting at the right hand of the Father. This is why the Bible calls it “the throne of God and of the Lamb.” (Rev 22:1) Two distinct individuals.

Here is another verse that refers to the creation.

Colossians 1:15-16 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: (16) For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

He is the express image or copy of God. And God created all things by Him. This is why Paul tells us we have “One God the Father of whom are all things, and one Lord Jesus Christ BY WHOM are all things.” (1 Cor 8:6)

God the Father is the God of Genesis 1:26. Now some may be thinking “Why does it say Jesus is God in John 1:1?” That is an excellent question. “The word was God…The word was made flesh” (John 1:1, 14) This verse refers to his nature. What he was. He “was in the form of God…” then “took the form of a servant…made in the likeness of men” (Phi 2:5-8)

For more on this verse see the page about John 1:1

James White once wrote the following concerning Genesis 1:26 “The inexplicable Trinity that makes the Godhead three in one and one in three, is bad enough; but that ultra Unitarianism that makes Christ inferior to the Father is worse. Did God say to an inferior, “Let us make man in our image?”” (James White, November 29, 1877, Review & Herald)

-Commenting on Genesis 1:26, Ellen White wrote:

“After the earth was created, and the beasts upon it, the Father and Son carried out their purpose, which was designed before the fall of Satan, to make man in their own image. They had wrought together in the creation of the earth and every living thing upon it. And now God says to his Son, ‘Let us make man in our image.” (The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, pp. 24, 25).’

Feel free comment, or ask more questions. If you have a verse that seems hard to understand feel free to ask. Maybe there is something already written on it, or we can do our best to answer it for you.

Truth about God

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