Encouragement From The Word

Rethinking dominion

In Genesis 1.27-28 (NLT), we read:

So God created human beings in his own image.
    In the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”

Over the course of time, there have been countless views opined on what constitutes the human mandate to “govern” the earth.  The older translations refer to this as our responsibility to “subdue” the earth.

There is no doubt that in the order of creation, humanity was given the mandate to steward the world, because, as the Psalmist says, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it” (Psalm 24.1, NLT).  But to what degree can we “govern” or “subdue” the earth, while also being stewards?

The terrible flooding in British Columbia recently has raised this question in my mind.  The area most ravaged by these ‘atmospheric rivers’, around Abbotsford, was once a lake.  Sumas Lake, as it was called, was drained to create a fertile prairie for agriculture.  A process was begun around 1909 and completed in 1924 that created dikes and drainage systems that left the lake bone dry…most of the time.

The human creation of that fertile prairie has come at a cost:  there are records of periodic floods that have caused untold amounts of damage.

Perhaps our understanding of dominion over the earth needs some adjustment.  The earth is our gift from God, to be used for our sustenance and enjoyment.  But it is still his world, and we must take due care to ensure that we honour God in our enjoyment of his creation.Please join me in praying for the people of British Columbia who are affected by these floods.