Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” Genesis 1:26
What is the image of God? What makes man different than all the fish, birds, plants, rocks, trees, livestock, and bugs?
One answer, and not an insignificant one, is language. We speak.
Certainly, lots of other living things make noise. Birds sing, dogs bark, lions roar. Crickets chirp, frogs croak and snakes hiss. But only people speak. The use of language is unique to mankind. No other creature comes anywhere close to the breadth and depth of communication that we are capable of.
God, also speaks.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. Genesis 1:1-3
In the beginning, God did not draw a picture, he did not form some matter with his hands, he spoke. All of the creation account in the beginning of Genesis consists of God speaking and his words resulting in what we know as reality–the world around us, to include us.
God has spoken to people throughout history, starting with Adam.
We are created in the image of God because we are able to speak. Our words, like God’s, can shape the world around us. We do not call worlds into being, but we can create and destroy, shape and guide through the words we use, because we are created after the pattern of God, and God is one who speaks.