The plural used at a decisive moment in the creation account in Genesis 1 has puzzled commentators for millenia. I learned today of a striking suggestion made in Thomas Friedman’s Commentary on the Torah. Who were the most recently mentioned characters in the story immediately before the plural? The animals! It is thus possible to suggest that God addresses the animals and involves already-existing life in the creative process (just as the sea and land were involved in bringing forth life in the first place), so that humanity is “created from animals”, and so that we are in the image both of the animal and of the divine. I consider it not just a very creative interpretation, but one that does justice to both the text and to our scientific knowledge to an extent that is truly remarkable.
So I am yet again indebted to Rev. Indulis Paics (who visited my religion and science class today and mentioned this) for a helpful and striking new insight.