Our ‘dominion’ is driven by love
26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27 So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him,
male and female he created them.
28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Many different words come to mind when we hear the word ‘dominion.’ Kings, kingdoms, and misused power might be a few. Given the history of humans preceding us, they would be fitting. But this isn’t the intent of the word here. The love God expresses in the magnificent creation described in Genesis 1 and 2 is carried over to these verses where God gives the power to ‘subdue’ the Earth to his human creation. Our ‘dominion’ over it is driven by love, and nothing more.
At the end of Genesis 2:5, we find there is no one to work the ground. After the fall, in Genesis 3:17, working the ground becomes more difficult. The realization is, since creation, the Earth was created to be worked and humans were the ones created to work it. Historically, those who till the ground have had a special bond with the earth. It is amazing to look into the eyes of a farmer or gardener and see the love they have for the soil as they talk. This is a demonstration of the love lying behind the use of the word ‘dominion.’ A true farmer wants nothing but the best for the soil. Certainly, there is hope this love and care for the soil will produce profit enough to last, but without love, the soil becomes worthless.
In the same sense, God has dominion over us, and, like the example of the farmer, he turns us, applying this lesson to our lives, enriching us so we can thrive. While these times of enrichment are sometimes painful and leave occasional scars, like the lines left in a newly plowed field, our reaction should be realization of the depth God’s love, whose sons back was furrowed by the Roman whips for us. Listen to ‘Multiply’ and consider the true meaning of the work we are called to do.
By Rich Obrecht