God’s image, our authority

Mankind is created in God’s image.  And we can understand a great deal about God by his prescriptions for Adam and Eve in the beginning.  It is this passage that I’ve seen pointed to most often:

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” — Genesis 1:26

It’s then been suggested that — because this mention of ruling the earth immediately follows God’s talk of creating mankind in his likeness — this is the chiefest way in which we are like God.  We have authority and dominion over all the earth, just as he has authority and dominion over all creation. 

I don’t dislike this interpretation of the text; rather, I mostly agree.  And it ought to speak loudly to how we treat the earth.  Are we being good stewards of that which God placed in our care?  The subjects of pollution, endangered animals, recycling, responsible consumption (etc) are not only for tree-huggers, hippies, and my teammates, the McNeals.  They are questions every Christian must consider.

What am I doing to rule over the earth in a responsible fashion?  In Godly fashion?

I’m not sure if you caught my previous mention that I mostly agree with the above interpretation.  I do agree — up to the point where it’s offered that having authority and dominion over the earth is the chiefest way in which we are like God.  I believe this interpretation stems, as I offered earlier, from the fact that man’s dominion sits so close (in the text) to God’s decision to make man in his (/their) image.  And I certainly believe how we rule the earth is important.  

But I’m not sure authority is necessarily the primary way in which we are like God.  Actually, I didn’t intend today to write about our dominion over the earth, but rather about another way in which I believe we’re created in God’s likeness.  I suppose I’ll get to that one tomorrow.

So, for now, what do you think about all this dominion and authority stuff?



Filed under musings on the Word

3 responses to “God’s image, our authority

  1. Pingback: God’s image, our creation | aliens and strangers

  2. Daniel

    As the big trash mountain in our city continues to grow, I can’t help but think it’s because we are obsessed with convenience. People leave the house where there is food and drink in abundance and go to the convenience store to buy an overpriced cola and a bag of air with a few chips in it. You can buy candy by the pound with every single little piece individually wrapped to enjoy at your convenience. Plastic grocery bags line the streets and rivers because we are too lazy to bring our own reusable bags. Hardly anything gets repaired anymore because it’s much easier to just buy a new one.
    My family recycles and tries to limit waste, but are still far from being more creator than consumer. I’m thinking about using my own water bottle to buy fountain drinks in for a start.

  3. Good post. I think one of the biggest ills of the human spirit is that we want the benefits of… well, everything… without the responsibility. Unfortunately, even Christians fall victim to this horrible thinking, sometimes completely unaware that we have. Shocker! We can slip outside of God’s will before we’ve even realized it; now what (or who) could cause that to happen??

    Anywho, I’m definitely glad that you touched on the subject, and called us all to a higher standard than just ruling over the earth. Ruling OVER this ball of gas and matter was never God’s intention; I like to think He wanted us to be rulers OF this kingdom, which obligates us to also take care of it. Can you imagine Adam or Eve litering in Eden? Yes, I know Earth today is far from Eden, but it’s still a beautiful place to be, and deserves our respect; or at minimum a little appreciation.

    That being said, I have to go, I have an hour long shower to take, I’m filthy after dumping the dirty oil from my Humvee down the sewers outside…

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