Who’s Responsible for Creation?
Day 4 – Who’s Responsible for Creation?
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.”
Genesis 1:28, ESV
As a Rice, I grew up most my life on a ranch where we broke in horses for riding, but also working. Some horses were used for hauling in camp gear when we would go on our annual father/son hunting trips into remote areas of the Ozark mountains. Not every horse could do that. It took conditioning and training for a horse to be able to haul in and out lots of gear down and up those mountains, cross creeks, wedging through tight crevices near cliffs, all while carrying a rider, gun, and gear.
I am so glad that we had these tough horses to help us. Without them these trips would have been impossible, for the area we would hunt in wouldn’t allow motorized vehicles. So anyone that dared to hunt in this wilderness area either hiked in, canoed in, or rode in on a horse or mule.
As we think of our special role as human beings, we must remember that God has put us in charge. The Hebrew word used in scripture that helps us to understand our role as human beings is “kabash”. It’s the word “subdue” that we find in Genesis 2:18, which means to dominate, or to bring into servitude. This implies that God’s intent was that we train, teach, and control animals to serve. The word “kabash” has several implications beyond training animals, which we will explore further.
IMPLICATIONS OF KABASH
- We care for all of God’s creation. We must realize that we are called to “kabash” not squash creation, because it’s good. God created everything, and after he was done, he said “it’s good!” In fact, it’s very good (Genesis 1:31). Therefore, our role and relationship to creation is not to worship it, but work it. We are to care for it, cultivate it. This should motivate Christians to care for the environment. Some Christians would argue why should they if God is going to destroy it one day and build a new one. This is a faulty idea. The Bible says that the Lord will renew the earth, he will build a new heaven and new earth, and it will be like the world we see but glorified: a world with no sin, in perfect harmony, and whole. (Revelation 20-21)
- We were made to work. God put man in the garden to work it. When we read in Genesis, we find that God put man in the Garden “to work it, and keep it” (vv.2:15). This is to mean that God has given us a responsibility to work in the world, and the idea for farming, agriculture all is part of our development and dominion over all of creation.
- Be kind to animals. We should care for animals, as well. As the Proverbs teach us that “the godly care for their animals, but the wicked are always cruel” (vv.12:10). With our role as human beings, we are entrusted with the world, and all that is in it. The Psalmist David as well said, “What is man that you are mindful of him… You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas” (8:4-8).
- All food is a gift of God, that we are to cultivate and enjoy for our good. In fact, in Genesis we read “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything” (9:3). Additionally, the Apostle Paul taught that eating meat was morally right, if one wanted to. (See Romans 14:2-3, 1 Corinthians 8:7-13, I Timothy 4:4 and Mark 7:19 and which says that Jesus declared all foods clean!) So, as Paul said, “whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God!” (1 Corinthians 10:31)
This means if you vegan, do it for the glory of God. If you’re Paleo and love red meat, do it for the glory of God. If you’re plant based, do it for the glory of God. New science is showing that food is like medicine and being mindful of what we eat is being a good steward of your body, as it is a temple of God’s spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19).
In closing, being made in God’s image means that we rule with him, as he has ultimate rule, power and dominion. We are to serve here on this earth as his representatives, creating and cultivating a better world, for the good of all people and God’s glory. In doing so, we will experience much joy.
As the Theologian Millard Erickson once said, “Every human being is God's creature made in God’s image. God endowed each of us with the powers of personality. That make possible worship and service to our creator. When using those powers to those ends, we are most fully what God intended us to be, and then are most completely human.”
We will not experience the extent of our humanity until we participate and use our abilities, powers, and personality for God’s glory in our world! As big or little as these services may be, they all matter to God! We have been called to kabash, not squash it!