Monday, November 5, 2018

Dominion Over Creation

"Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground” (Genesis 1:26).

The Bible tells us that man was created in the image of God. This fact has two important meanings for us. First of all, to call man the “image of God” (in theological Latin: imago Dei), differentiates all human beings from God. Whatever else it means to be human, the first thing it means is that we are creatures—finite, dependent, derived, and accountable to someone else. We are not God, but the images of God. No human being is divine.

Second, the fact that human beings are images of God sets us apart from all other creatures. This is a major theme in the biblical account of creation. Man, though subordinate to God, is given dominion over all the earth. The world is both a trust given to man, and a support system for man’s life.

As a trust given to humanity, the world must be nurtured. God has entrusted the earth to us, and He holds us accountable for its care. We are not to deface or destroy the world God made. At the same time, we are not to fall into the error of putting the lower creation on the same level as human life. In India people go hungry while sacred cows roam the streets. This is a perversion of God’s order. The world was made for us to enjoy. We are to work with it and glorify it.

Some people will give account to the heavenly tribunal due to their ecological transgressions. Instead of dressing and guarding God’s garden, they exploit and devastate it. On the other hand, many people will have to answer for the fact that, in the United States today, fish eggs are given greater protection than pre-born human beings.

Finally, because man has been made the captain of creation, the world is linked to humanity. When we fall, the whole world suffers, as Paul says in Romans 8:19–23. Just as the whole world fell in Adam, so the whole creation will be restored in Jesus Christ.

Environmentalism has become a radical religion. Taking into account the thrust of New Age philosophy and pantheism in the environmental movement, the church can still take responsible, biblical action to protect the earth. What can you do to become a Christian environmentalist?