Studies in Genesis 1
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.” (Genesis 1:26 ESV)
Creativity is one of the eternal characteristics of God. Since God exists outside of space-time His creativity is not something begun and finished, as space-time has a beginning and will have an ending. That which He creates may have a beginning and an ending if placed in the space-time universe. However, we cannot use “time” words with Him. God creates. Each creation is unique coming from His infinite mind and will.
Man is unique, more so than the rest of God’s creation. Given the image of God, Man is created for a specific function and purpose. God gave people dominion over that which He created to live and prosper on the Earth. Every living creature, from fish to birds to livestock and all animals, are Man’s responsibility.
Following God’s lead, dominion for Man is not oppressive and malevolent, but benevolent and gentle. Man is to govern with meekness. Scriptural meekness is strength under control. Jesus teaches, in the Sermon on the Mount, “blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5 ESV). Jesus uses a word for meekness which means gentle and mild. Yet it is used, not of the weak but the strong. It means God’s strength in the person under God’s control. Dominion, as part of the image of God, is a reflection of God’s eternal character of absolute power.
I have to jump ahead of the study at this point. I do not want any to misunderstand that, because of sin, misunderstanding and misinterpreting God’s words is part and parcel to the corrupted nature of Man.
We do not have the right to judge God according to or against our corrupted nature. He has not given anyone the right to sin or rebel against Him. Sin corrupts our understanding of everything, including ourselves, not just our view of God. We must, therefore, be careful to not put words or ideas into our thinking and moral understanding, which God has not clearly shown and revealed. We must adhere to God’s idea of meekness and dominion, not man’s misinterpretation. This is a constant struggle, but doable in the strength, guidance and wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Still, many will hold a corrupted idol of God and teach others to attribute to God their false ideas.
Dominion is the God-given authority and control over the Earth done with meekness and humility, seeking to act responsibly according to the direction and purpose of God. Dominion is not unfettered, arbitrary control. Dominion is part of the image of God embedded in Man.