God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.
By now, we have a pretty good idea that our having been created in the image of God applies to us as a total package; body, soul and spirit. If this is true, as it appears to be, then we should find evidence in the story of Adam and Eve, something that would confirm this image in action or application. These verses from Genesis 1 follow the text we looked at the other day in which “image” and “likeness” were first mentioned, ending with both the male and the female comprising all or part of God’s likeness.
Right away, God tells them to “be fruitful and increase in number” which is an obvious reference to making babies. I’m pretty sure there is a clue here, what do you think? God continues to say that their increased numbers should fill the whole earth “and subdue it”, and I am thinking this is a second clue. Finally, God tells them that they (humanity) should “rule over” all of the creatures that God has created, or as the old King James said to “have dominion” over them.
Let’s begin with that one, that humans should rule over all of the creatures that God created, to “subdue” the earth. Who is it that rules over all of Creation?
That’s an easy one, for we all know that God rules the universe through the Person of Jesus Christ who rules as King of kings and Lord of lords. Thus, when God told Adam to “subdue” and “rule over” He was in effect delegating a portion of His divine prerogative to them. They would rule according to God’s will and purpose over the earth.
Stop and consider: These two original people, bearing the image of God Himself were to multiply through a physical act to fill the earth with more people bearing the image of God to subdue and rule over all that God had created here on earth. In doing so, they would be (in His image and doing His will to accomplish His purpose) the very expression of whom and what God is. This is why God created humanity; to express Him through fellowship with Him, and quite clearly that fellowship consists of both relationship and His purpose.
Why did Jesus come to earth in the incarnation?
Yes, He came to go to the cross so that God’s original purpose could be restored and attained. By the cross, fellowship between Man and God that had been broken (Gen. 3) was restored, and today it is back in place, only our purpose is to subdue the earth by making disciples for the Kingdom of heaven which upon Jesus’ return will culminate in the removal of evil from the earth in its fullness.
Back to Genesis…
Verses 29-30 contain the terms of this arrangement: God gave us all of the trees and plants for food, and forbade them to eat from that one certain tree; follow the rule, and all is fine and dandy, break this one simple request, and there would be problems…
There is a parallel in Genesis 2, and I think that next time, we should have a look; see you then!