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"וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹקים נַעֲשֶׂה אָדָם בְּצַלְמֵנוּ כִּדְמוּתֵנוּ"

And God said, “Let US (plural) make man in our (plural) image, after our (plural) likeness..." Bereshis 1,26

To resolve the apparent problem of the plural "us" all the interpreters explain it was meant for the angels. It should be pointed out that G-d does not consult them in all other parts of the creation - creating the plants, the animals or Eden or else.

On the other hand, we hold that the purpose of the whole creation was the Man (for G-d to bestow his Brochos etc), and the rest of the creation (the plants, the animals AND the angels) are the "scenery", the setting for that purpose.

I have some difficulty understanding the situation where G-d asks the secondary actors whether the leading actor should be brought into the play.

Why would G-d consult the angels to bring the Man into the world?

  • See Guide for the Perplexed 2:11 which I cited in this answer – Alex Mar 10 at 0:52
  • @Alex did you mean "it cannot be that everything was created for the sake of man" conclusion? – Al Berko Mar 10 at 1:01
  • Basically, yes. – Alex Mar 10 at 1:02
  • @Alex I, personally don't consider the Guide to be a serious informative work, as his only goal was to address his generation's problems. Anyways, does anybody put angels instead of the man as the goal? – Al Berko Mar 10 at 1:09
  • That's part of why I didn't post it as an answer. – Alex Mar 10 at 1:10
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As Rashi on that Passuk says, the purpose of this consultation with the angels was so that man would learn to emulate His actions to learn proper conduct and humility (text and translation from Chabad.org).

נעשה אדם: אף על פי שלא סייעוהו ביצירתו ויש מקום למינים לרדות, לא נמנע הכתוב מללמד דרך ארץ ומדת ענוה שיהא הגדול נמלך ונוטל רשות מן הקטן. ואם כתב אעשה אדם לא למדנו שיהא מדבר עם בית דינו אלא עם עצמו, ותשובת המינים כתב בצדו ויברא א-להים את האדם, ולא כתב ויבראו:

Let us make man: Even though they [the angels] did not assist Him in His creation, and there is an opportunity for the heretics to rebel (to misconstrue the plural as a basis for their heresies), Scripture did not hesitate to teach proper conduct and the trait of humility, that a great person should consult with and receive permission from a smaller one. Had it been written: “I shall make man,” we would not have learned that He was speaking with His tribunal, but to Himself. And the refutation to the heretics is written alongside it [i. e., in the following verse:]“And God created (וַיִּבְרָא) ,” and it does not say,“and they created וַיִּבְרְאוּ.” - [from Gen. Rabbah 8:9]

  • Please explain how the creation of the man was different from the previous creations. – Al Berko Oct 26 at 17:40
  • @AlBerko I suspect that the reason it was said by the final creation/creation of man is that a) the lesson has a greater impact when it's done with the pinnacle of creation and b) since the lesson is something for humans to learn, it makes the most sense to teach it while creating humans. I'm leaning more towards answer b at this moment, but I don't have any further sources to prove or explain further. – Salmononius2 Oct 27 at 20:27
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The image (selem) and likeness (debut) “Leu us make man in our image after our likeness (Gen 1:26) seem to be expressing the opinion that G-d has a shape. Selem does not mean a shape because G-d does not have shape. G-d does not have corporeality (tzelem). People are not made in the “image” of G-d in terms of likeness but in intellect.

The Talmud exclaims that G-d always consults His angel before he does anything in the Creation. How can an all-powerful G-d be unsure? Why is the plural used in this verse? Genesis verses 1:26 states, “Let us make man in our demut. Verse 1:27 relates that “God made man in His tzelem, in the tzelem of God, He made him.”

The (selem) denotes natural form which comprises the essence of reality and that is man's intelligence.

Plato's Timaeus quotes a sage, "The Holy One, blessed be he, as it were, does nothing without contemplating the host above." Does G-d contemplate? Rambam interprets it to mean that "G-d contemplates the intellects," and what comes into existence emanates. The sage says that G-d "does nothing without consulting the host above." Is something "above" G-d? The rabbinic dicta convey the idea that G-d works through angels. Maimonides equates angels with natural forces because G-d is not a Pasha surrounded by servants that carry out the Pasha's commands. G-d has no need for assistants. Thus, Rambam says G-d works from natural forces. This is why we must study nature.

Thus, G-d is not consulting angels but He is consulting nature (metaphorically).

  • I'm lost in your answer, it oversmarts me. THe question was: IF the Man was the original purpose of the whole creation, why his creation needed consulting with angels? They knew the 6 days were the foreplay for the Man. – Al Berko Oct 26 at 19:02
  • The answer was that G-d does not consult His angels but nature (metaphorically). Which is to say that G-d works through nature. The 6 days creation can be understood that the world might have been around for a long time and humans might have developed over millions of years, but I am convinced that the 6 days creation is an allegory. Additionally, the Bible never says 6 days. – Turk Hill Oct 26 at 21:46

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