God and Creation—Part 6

Man’s Dominion

“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 fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”
—Genesis 1:26

THE CULMINATING WORK of God in preparing the earth for habitation was the creation of man in his own image. As we have seen, this image was that of a moral image and mental image. Verse twenty-six of the first chapter of Genesis uses the word ‘likeness’ as well as ‘image’ in describing man’s similarity to his Creator. We read, ‘God said, Let us make man … after our likeness: and let them have dominion.’ This would seem to imply that man’s likeness to God included the fact that he was given a dominion. God is the Supreme Ruler of all his great universe, and on earth he delegated authority to man, whom he had created in his image. No such grant was given to any of the lower animals, nor would they be capable of exercising dominion. Man’s authority was limited. He was not given dominion over the weather, or seasons, or tides, but only over the lower orders of sentient creatures—the fish of the sea, the fowl of the air, the cattle, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.


God commanded the lower orders of the animal creation to multiply and fill the earth—the same command was given to man. “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’” (Gen. 1:28, New International Version) Thus the animal kingdom, with man as king, was to be extended to encompass the whole earth. Man, under the headship of God, could have successfully controlled his increasing number of subjects.

There was every necessary provision to enable this Divine arrangement for the earth to function as God had planned. Man needed only to use properly what God had provided. “God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”—vss. 29-31


The Bible reveals that the earth was designed to be man’s home, and that man in his original perfection was in every way suited to the earth. God did not give the slightest intimation to Adam that after he ruled successfully for a while over the lower animals, he would be transferred to another home, and exalted to a higher dominion. Nor does the record indicate that if Adam failed on earth, he would be removed from the scene of his failure to enjoy eternity in heaven—or anywhere else!

We know that tragedy temporarily disturbed the smooth working of man’s dominion. Man lost his dominion, and with it his life. But God’s design was not changed by man’s failure. Throughout the Scriptures the fact continues to be emphasized that it is still God’s plan for man to live on the earth, the home which was originally prepared for him. We read, “Thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited.”—Isa. 45:18

In Psalm 78:69 we are told that the Lord has established the earth forever. Psalm 115:16 declares, “The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s: but the earth hath he given to the children of men.” In a prophecy pertaining to the ultimate fulfilled purpose of God concerning his human creation, we read, “The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.”—Isa. 11:9

In a promise assuring us of the ultimate triumph of righteousness and of the righteous, the Prophet Isaiah wrote, “He [the Lord] will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it.” (Isa. 25:8) The false notion that God will one day abandon the earth and destroy it, does not find support in the Word of God. When the Creator’s design concerning man shall have been fully accomplished, man’s eternal home will be on the earth, and it will be here that, throughout eternity, the Creator will continue to pour out his rich blessings upon his human creation.


Man’s dominion will then be restored to him. This fact is attested by Jesus, who prophetically speaks to those who will prove worthy of everlasting life, saying, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (Matt. 25:34) This ‘kingdom,’ as we have seen, is a dominion over the earth, and the lower forms of God’s earthly creatures.

The Apostle Paul also confirms the fact that man was created to live on the earth, and nowhere else. Speaking to the Athenians from Mars Hill, he said, “God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation.” (Acts 17:24-26) This is a strong statement, emphasizing as it does that man was created to live on the earth, and that the ‘bounds’ of his habitation, his dwelling place, or home, had been established.

When the angel announced the birth of Jesus, acclaiming it to be glad tidings of great joy, which would be to all people, the heavenly host sang, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:10,13,14) Jesus did not come to earth to arrange for a transfer of the human race to heaven. He came that there might be peace and joy and health and life for God’s human creatures here on earth. That is why Jesus taught his followers to pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”—Matt. 6:10

There are in the Word of God spiritual, or heavenly, promises, but these are not made to the human race in general. These are promised to faithful footstep followers of Jesus during the Gospel Age.

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Dawn Bible Students Association
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