Reading: Genesis 1:28; Genesis 9:1-17; Revelation 20:4-6
God created mankind to live in relationship with Him and with each other. God also created mankind to rule over God’s creation. In previous meditations we saw how we reflect God in our relationships. Today we will look at the last aspect of being God’s image: our relationship with God’s creation.
In Genesis 1:28 God ordained mankind to be the ruler over this creation. Being ruler means to subdue this creation, to have dominion over all creatures. In the beginning, mankind was able to fulfill this task. He had received all the gifts needed for that, and this creation willingly submitted itself to mankind.
However, through the fall in sin, not only man himself but also this creation became corrupt. Instead of living peacefully together, the animals eat and devour each other. And not only each other but they even rebelled against their ruler: man!
After the flood, God speaks to Noah and repeats to him the cultural mandate. Compare Genesis 9:1-2 with Genesis 1:28. Mankind is being ordained again as ruler over this creation. The task continues. However, now God speaks about the fear and the dread which shall be on every beast of the earth. Animals will flee from man, and the stronger animals will defend themselves or by times even attack man and kill him, rebelling against their ruler.
In Genesis 9:5 God instructs Noah that he (and mankind) shall not tolerate this rebellion. Every animal that attacks a human being must be killed (Surely for your lifeblood I will demand a reckoning: from the hand of every beast I will require it, … Genesis 9:5).
We notice that the relationship between mankind and the animals is not good. It is not as it should be. That is the result of the fall in sin.
The task of mankind as the ruler over this creation was to take care of this creation, and also to protect this creation. To fight against enemies.
The great enemy in paradise was Satan, who came to Adam and Eve in the form of the serpent. His intention was to destroy, to bring death. Adam and Even had the task to resist him and use their authority to rebuke him. James says in James 4: 7: Resist the devil and he will flee from you. The devil is a huge coward. He will never engage in open battle. He will always work in ways of deception and attack where we do not expect him. He knows that we can resist him. He also is a creature. We can resist him because we have received power to do so from God. But too often we don’t use this power. Either because we like what he is saying, or we don’t recognize his work. Satan is sly and deceiving. Adam and Eve listened to him. They gave in to him and with that, they gave him power over this creation. From that moment on, Satan could do his destructive work on earth and set up the animals and this entire creation against mankind. And even divide mankind against itself.
However, this situation will not remain. Jesus Christ came, in human nature. As the Son of Man (meaning: having a human nature, representing mankind) He defeated Satan and He restored mankind in its position again as ruler over this creation. Therefore, we read in Revelation 20:4-6 that all those who followed Christ, reign with Him for a thousand years. From the moment on that Satan was defeated by Christ, He reigns, and we reign with Him. We are kings over this creation again, together with Christ.
The prophets in the Old Testament could also prophesy about the time when the wolf and the lamb and the lion will all lie together in peace and harmony (Isaiah 11 and 65). That is how it was in paradise. That is how it will be in the new Jerusalem. God’s creation restored, and what is more, the cultural mandate fulfilled: the earth is filled and subdued. Then will remain the last task of our cultural mandate: we will reign with Christ forever over all creatures.
Key Text: Revelation 20: 6: Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ and shall reign with Him a thousand years.
Meditation: As Christians, we are restored in our position as the image of God, and we are called to reign with Christ over all creatures. What does this teach us about taking care of the environment in which we live?