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. 

Encouragement From The Word

Valuing life

When I’m scrolling through my social media feeds, it takes something significant for me to “stop the scroll”.  Reading a post a couple of weeks ago by an acquaintance, whom I met while on a mission trip to India several years ago, made me stop.

As you may know, India is having severe challenges with the virulent spread of the Coronavirus.  Thousands of people each day are dying.

He said that the problem wasn’t that India didn’t have the resources to stop the spread of COVID-19; the problem is that there is a lack of value for human life.

Now, that’s just one man’s opinion, but this is his nation and his culture he’s talking about.  He understands it far better than I ever could.  And this is a sad assessment indeed.

I fear it is not limited to India, nor to the issue of the pandemic.

It’s a deep pond we’d be wading into, filled with quicksand, were we to begin the journey; this is not the forum for such conversation.  But you know the issues as well as I do:  once-civilized societies are demonstrating a lack of value for human life, whether at its beginning, its end, or its middle.

How do we turn that around?

One simple step is for all of us – starting with followers of Jesus, but spreading to all of society – to treat every other person as Jesus would treat him or her.    This doesn’t mean agreeing on everything; it doesn’t mean approving of everything; what it does mean is that each person has value because each person is made in God’s image.

Not every cultural or religious tradition grasps this, but as Christians, we do.

Let’s set the example.

So God created human beings in his own image.
    In the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them” (Genesis 1.27, NLT).