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.” 27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. —Genesis 1:26-27
Genesis chapter 1 is a flyby account of creation. Starting with the “heavens and the earth” (v. 1), God reveals His masterpiece as each day He adds to the splendor of the universe. All He says is, “Let there be,” in verse after verse, and another part of the created order appears. In the first five and a half days, God puts together all the components of a very special environment.
Finally, half-way through day six, verse 26 reveals God’s original design for us: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion.” Did you know we were created to rule over all God created? God crafted the whole thing, then turned it over to us to take care of for Him. The world has never been ours; we were put in charge of it by the original Creator.
Despite plenty of evidence to the contrary, some people incorrectly think natural, untouched-by-humans creation is the ideal state. That idea cares for nature, but eliminates the caretaker’s role. Others make the mistake of believing we can just steamroll over everything. That error distorts the caretaker’s role into a destroyer of what God entrusted to us. Both wrong views of our place in creation show how badly things are messed up.
We were designed by God to steward His creation—but this was lost in the Fall. When our first ancestors sinned, the design went off the rails. Ever since, Paul says, “The whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now” (Romans 8:22). God intended for us to use creation and rule (have dominion) over it. We are not to misuse or abuse it, but to steward it for future generations.
All of that to say: the day is coming when we’ll resume and carry out our caretaker role perfectly. God has not forgotten or given up on His original plan. Dominion will be restored. Jesus demonstrated what perfect dominion looks like, and we’re going to have that privilege again. Revelation 20 says we will rule over creation with the Lord Jesus Christ—someday we will reign with the King! And everything will be as it was created to be.
- What part of creation reminds me the most that my role as steward is currently distorted and made difficult by the effects of sin?
- What is the best way to deal with that?
Father, I see so many ways people try to practice dominion, but only manage to make things worse. And I see glimpses here and there of how it could be. You gave directions to Your people to steward the Promised Land, even though we would be limited by the Fall. Lord, help me to be attentive to my current limited role and continue to become a better steward of that which You have entrusted to me. Teach me the humility of wise living in creation during this time in Your plan. In Jesus’ name, Amen.