Who Is the “Us” in Genesis 1:26?

This article is from Hank Hanegraaff, The Creation Answer Book (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2012)
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Commentators variously refer to the “us” in Genesis 1:26 as angels, a plural of majesty, or a divine plurality. Which interpretation is correct?

First, though the Bible pictures God as surrounded by an angelic host who worship him and carry out his commands, there is no biblical basis for suggesting that angels took part in the creation of humankind or that humankind was created in the image of angels. Indeed, humans are said to be created “in the image of God” (v. 27).

Furthermore, there is no biblical precedent for the notion that Genesis 1:26 employs the first-person-plural-pronoun us to refer to God the Father in a fuller, more majestic sense—i.e., a plural of majesty.

Finally, there is warrant in the immediate and broader contexts to support the idea that theplural pronoun us refers to the divine plurality of the Trinity. In the immediate context, the man is said to be created in plurality (male and female), thus forging the finite relationship of a man and a woman in the image of infinite relationships within the Godhead. Likewise, the broader context of Scripture undergirds the us as one God revealed in three Persons, eternally distinct.

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness,
and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air,
over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures
that move along the ground.”

Genesis 1:26

More Bible Answers with Hank

Will the Created Cosmos Be Resurrected or Annihilated?

How Can the Eternal Son of God Be the “Firstborn over All Creation”?

Will Adam and Eve Receive Brand-New Bodies in Eternity?

Do Naturalists Consider Chance the Singular Cause of Evolution?

Why Did Heliocentrism Triumph over Geocentrism?

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