Then comes two major directives given to mankind. “Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth’” (Genesis 1:28). To this very day, the creation directives still stand because God’s nature, character and will for mankind has not changed. “For I am the Lord, I do not change” (Malachi 3:6). “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17). The first directive is children, a gift from God. It should be noted that God wanted Adam and Eve to have multiple children, with no pain during childbirth for Eve. “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward” (Psalm 127:3). The children of Adam and Eve would also have immortality, having full access to the “tree of life” as food and live forever (Genesis 3:22).
After filling the earth, the second directive flies in the face of those who worship creation over the Creator, or more specifically worshipping the earth and animals over mankind. “The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s; but the earth He has given to the children of men” (Psalm 115:16). The phrase “subdue it; have dominion over” from Genesis 1:28 means to keep or bring into bondage the earth while ruling over all animal life that moves. “I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are on the ground, by My great power and by My outstretched arm, and have given it to whom it seemed proper to Me” (Jeremiah 27:5). Any policy or law that promotes the earth or any living thing over mankind’s well-being is paganism and is contrary to God’s directive. More on that subject later in another post.
This brings to mind two obvious questions. First, did God give away His ownership of creation when He instructed man to subdue the earth and have dominion over animal life? “Indeed heaven and the highest heavens belong to the Lord your God, also the earth with all that is in it” (Deuteronomy 10:14). “The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein” (Psalm 24:1). “The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours; the world and all its fullness, You have founded them” (Psalm 89:11). The obvious answer to the question is “No.” As Exodus 19:5 states, “for all the earth is Mine.“
Secondly, did God expect man to treat the earth and animal life irresponsibly? To the contrary. All life was vegetarian from the beginning and lived in harmony with each other without fear. “And God said, ’See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food’” (Genesis 1:29-30). The lion could lay with the lamb beside Adam and eat herbs for food. Moreover, God gave Adam a charge which he failed to do and as a result sin entered the world through him, not Eve. “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12). That charge still stands today. What is it?
“Before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown. For the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground” (Genesis 2:5-6). “Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it” (Genesis 2:15). The words “till” and “tend” have the same Hebrew root meaning, to work and labor. Even more specific, to serve another by labor. Adam was also to “keep” the garden, meaning he was to guard, observe, have charge of, keep watch and ward, protect and save life. He was the first watchman! He failed miserably at the task because Eve was tempted by the serpent in the garden (Genesis 3:1).
Man’s charge is to protect God’s creation. The problem with environmentalism and paganism is that people have taken good stewardship, as charged by our Creator, and turned it into worshipping the earth and/or animals over mankind. That is idolatry. Lastly, it is not possible for mankind to destroy creation since he and she are a part of it. Can we pollute it? Yes. Can we clean it up? Yes. Can we control nature? No. Can we destroy the earth in its entirety? No! “You alone are the Lord; You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and everything on it, the seas and all that is in them, and You preserve them all. The host of heaven worships You” (Nehemiah 9:6). “For thus says the Lord, Who created the heavens, Who is God, Who formed the earth and made it, Who has established it, Who did not create it in vain, Who formed it to be inhabited: ‘I am the Lord, and there is no other’” (Isaiah 45:18). God did not create the earth in vain. It was perfectly designed to be inhabited by all living things. There was no death. “His work is perfect” (Deuteronomy 32:4). “His way is perfect” (2 Samuel 22:31; Psalm 18:30). It was simply perfect!
NOTE: The preceding excerpt was taken from the book, “God on Climate Change: Worshipping creation instead of the Creator” by Jim Wear (the author of this blog)… available in paperback at Amazon.