ויאמר אלוקים נעשה אדם בצלמנו, “G’d said: ‘let us make man in our image.’” The Torah assigned a special paragraph to the creation of man as he is such a superior creature, totally different in nature from all other living creatures. The word נעשה, in the plural, is used because seeing that on the first day of creation G’d was completely alone in the universe when He created something out of nothing, in the meantime all the phenomena which had come into existence since that day would contribute some of their own essence to the body of man. In other words, earth itself had become a partner in G’d’s creative activities and was invited to contribute to the making of the first human being. There is nothing surprising about this, as G’d had already empowered both water and earth on the fifth day and the early part of the sixth day respectively, to generate living creatures of differing capacities. G’d contributed the living soul which did not originate in either the domain of water or earth but in the celestial regions. (Genesis 2,7) Our sages explained the expression נעשה as G’d having consulted with other celestial beings before creating man. The reason for this “consultation” was that the angel in charge of running the physical universe on behalf of G’d had now to be consulted or instructed when a human being would emerge from earth, a domain which this angel was entitled to consider as his “backyard.” Rabbi Saadyah gaon understands the plural נעשה as basically a variation of the singular, similar to Balak when he invited Bileam to curse the Jewish people, saying to him אולי אוכל נכה בו, “perhaps I may be able to defeat it.” (the people). (Numbers 22,6) Rabbi Saadyah quotes more examples of plural formulations in reality being singulars dressed up as plurals in order to make them sound more impressive
בצלמנו, “ín our image.” A reference to the facial features of man. The word צלם appears in such a context in Daniel 3,19, “וצלם אנפהי אשתנו, and the features of his face were contorted.” The Torah added the word בדמותינו, “in our form,” as the word is related to דומא, the physical contours of creatures or objects, as this word is used to describe phenomena whose external appearances and shapes are similar to one another. The Torah, in this case, draws attention to man and other mammals produced by the earth on the sixth day having much in common in terms of external appearance and raw materials used to produce them. The plural refers to the spiritual similarity of man to disembodied celestial beings on the one hand, and his physical resemblance to purely terrestrial beings on the other. The reason why the Torah added the words בצלם אלוקים ברא אותו, is to emphasise the miraculous properties possessed by a creature such as man.
וירדו בדגת הים ובעוף השמים ובבהמה, “and to exercise dominion over the fish in the sea, the fowl in the heavens, and the domestic beasts.” Although at first glance, the free-roaming beasts do not seem to be included, this is not so; the term בהמה here includes all the beasts on earth.