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)
God gave Man dominion. No other creature has dominion. Only God has absolute dominion because He is the Creator.
Man is a replica of God, created in His image, embedded with specific characteristics and qualities inherently God’s. Every person born has these characteristics. God’s image is not an exact duplication of His characteristics but working facsimiles, limited but true.
Man is created in physical space and time and is given a spiritual nature so that, once the physical ceases to exist, the spiritual will continue to live. God is spiritual and uncreated, living fully in eternity, able to enter His creation but unconstrained by anything created.
Some of the characteristics of God given Man include intelligence, the ability to be consciously aware and rationally understand the truth of creation. Yet, Man’s understanding does not come all at once but grows gradually in knowledge as each person examines and studies both God and nature.
People have a moral compass or standard, which includes intimately and emotionally knowing what is good, righteous and just. Conversely, people are able to differentiate that which is not good, righteous and just. God’s moral standard is interpreted for Man through the emotions. Morality and emotions are implied through God’s declaration of “good” when He finished creating a specific thing. What He creates is not only excellent but pleases Him.
People are also given a will to act upon that which they think and know is morally good. Man, like God, works and builds and makes and is pleased with what is accomplished.
God embeds another defining characteristic of Himself in Man which, to this point in creation, only He owns. He gives Man “dominion” which means to tread down or subjugate, prevail against, reign or rule over. Man is given ownership and responsibility over the Earth and everything on and in it. God has absolute control and ownership. He delegates to Man the power and authority over this piece of creation, not over all creation. There is no other created thing or being we know of from Scripture given dominion.