Sunday: Dominion Given at Creation

According to Genesis 1:26, Adam’s dominion extended to all other created
entities—in the sea, on land, and in the air.

Image © Standard Publishing from

Image © Standard Publishing from

Dominion includes the idea of ruling or having power over these creatures. Nothing is said about dominion over the forces of nature themselves but only over the creatures. And, according to the text, this rule was universal: Adam was to be, essentially, the ruler of the earth.

Read again Psalm 8. What is David’s response to the honor God gave to humans? What does it mean that we have been given “honor and glory,” especially in the context of humans having been given dominion over the earth?

According to Genesis 2:19, one of Adam’s earliest tasks was to name the animals. Names had great meaning in biblical times. One’s name represented one’s person and, often, one’s status. The authority to give names to the birds and beasts was confirmation of Adam’s status as ruler over the animals.

Read Genesis 2:15. In what ways do you see the principle of stewardship revealed here?

Adam was assigned the task of caring for the Garden, to manage it and tend to its needs. The Hebrew root, smr, translated here as “keep” it, often means “to watch over” or “to protect.” The Garden was a gift to Adam, an expression of God’s love, and Adam was now given responsibility over it, another example of the dominion that Adam received at the time of Creation.

How should our understanding of God as the Creator, or even more specifically our understanding of the Creation story itself, impact the ways in which we treat the environment? Why should our understanding of these things protect us from either gross indifference toward the environment or, in contrast, a fanatical devotion to it?

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Sunday: Dominion Given at Creation — 22 Comments

    • Good question there would be no weeds or pests to kill I suppose! Maybe it involved re-planting, tilling the soil, watering, generally doing whatever God instructed to ensure order remained!
      Because everything was perfect his role to tend the garden was (I imagine) part of the great order of things, part of the harmonious synchronisation of activity, just as the sun rising and setting each day and night. It was needed because God made it so!
      As a sinless being, at that stage, he obeyed and fulfilled his function. If he did not obey then that would be sin and we know only too we the deterioration and decay that has affected the environment because of eventual sin and disobedience!

  1. God has entrusted us everything around us hence we are accountable of taking a good care of these things. Taking note we have dominion over all things on earth. However these things shouldn't be our gods because we have all power and authority is given unto us.

    • What do we do with gifts that we receive from those who love us? Pets, for example? We take care of the pet, make sure it gets food, play with it, indeed love it, because of the love of the giver that it represents. Just so with the environment God has given to us as an expression of His Love for us.

  2. What does it mean that we have been given “honor and glory,” especially in the context of humans having been given dominion over the earth?

    • The bible has said in Psalm 8:5 that we were made a little lower than the angels and yet God has given us the dominion over all that He created. So it means that it's just an honour indeed because He could have put angels in charge.

  3. When we understand and accept the place that God gave us as rulers over the rest of our natural world as found in Genesis, we know our place and role. We certainly are above animals and not their equals. Although we should cherish every living creature and want them to live and thrive as best they an in our world, we do not need to displace people in order to protect a natural habitat of lower creatures. We should never consider the plight of lower creatures as more serious than that of humanity.

    • To me there is a proper balance of value between man and animals.

      Unfortunately evolution teaches that we are absolutely equal to insects and even bacteria in cesspools. Notable people in that camp such as David Attenborough have even gone so far to claim that, "We are a plague on the Earth" ( that we are nothing more than vermin that needs to be controlled, or even stamped out (reminds me of Nazi Germany and eugenics).

      While sin does seem to be out of control, in spite of that situation, Jesus died for us. He values us more "than many sparrows" (Matt. 10:31 NKJV) and that is certainly far above bacteria. If God values us that much shouldn't we value ourselves that much also? And if we have that much value how should we view our responsibility to everything around us?

  4. The question on how was Adam to tend and keep a garden that is already perfect can be extended to heaven. What will we do with a perfect world - forever? How long will it take us to build our homes, or visit other planets, or meet with the other saved people?

    God's plan for us far extends our limited thoughts. We can only guess what might have been. What I do know is that we will not be idle.

  5. In our context of earth after sin, what happened to the dominion of man over all creatures? how are we to modify the stewardship since we are vulnerable to many of the animals we were to dominate?

    • While it is true that we are physically vulnerable to animals, man remains the greatest predator on earth. When man was given dominion over the animals it was more to do with responsibility than control. We have often misused that dominion by exploiting animals for our own selfish satisfaction. Some examples come to mind: Dairy farms where there is not even a hint of fresh green grass, chickens that spend their entire lives in a small mesh cage barely large enough to turn around in, dogs and cats bred to look like a specification without any consideration for their health.

      All too often our dominion has lead to species loss, environmental damage, and inhumanE treatment of animals. There is a genuine need to think about the responsiblity side of dominion.

      • Maurice, I totally agree. It often amazes me what man chooses to do for the sake of self. What is even more amazing is that man is blind to the fact that his own well being is to a large degree tied to the quality of the environment around him.

        I guess that is part of the deception that sin causes. As they say, "what goes around comes around." Truly, we live in flatland and the trouble we push out the front door sooner or later finds its way around to our back door. So to a large degree we are our own worst enemy.

  6. To me dominion implies both authority and responsibility. When Adam and Eve believed the devil rather than God our authority was to a great extent transferred to Satan. We therefore no longer have the authority over God's creation that was once given to us and with it we have lost a good part of the responsibility for what happens to the earth. For instance we are not responsible for the natural death of a particular person, which is something that happens because of personal sin by that person. Since we all have sinned we all die (1 Cor 15:22). Therefore I cannot control the fact that my neighbor will die some day and since I have sinned I can't control the fact that it will happen to me also. The same goes for much that happens in nature. We have no control over earthquakes and volcanoes and even though we can influence atmospheric events to some extent for the most part we are totally impotent when it comes to cyclones and tornadoes.

    That, however, has not released us of all responsibility. We are still responsible for those things we are able to control. We can control sanitary conditions and we can control the trash and litter we introduce into the environment. We can also control land use policies and how we manage renewable resources. We may not be able to do much on a national level but we can control what happens in our own back yards. Concerning these things we will be held responsible and judged accordingly.

    To those who don't care and choose to rape the land and abuse what has been given into their hands to manage the warning has been given, "Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth" (Rev. 11:18 NKJV).

  7. we still have dominion over environment. although there is enmity between animal and man and between animal species, but we still have dominion though not as the same as it was during Adam times. the environment we have depends on how we preserve or destroy.

  8. In keeping and tending the garden,God was allowing adam to fulfill the need of the human body to work and excercise. The work could involve training the plants in the way to grow, teaching the baby animals; naming fruits and animals could take a long time..

  9. Human being were created in a special manner.After doing everything God gave the earth an everything in it to man to till and subdue it.God also charged man to have dominion over everything that he created.In other words God made man superior.

  10. i have been blessed and the lesson gives me a sense of responsibility to the ox, the cat, the dog we always abuse

  11. The questions has been asked in our study group what we are stewards of. If the things belong toGod, does it mean God asks us to keep his things and we own nothing. Does God pretentious to give us things when in reality it's just his things. Is God being hypocritical and playing house with us?

    • Hi Brian, A "steward" is an overseer of goods belonging to another. So being God's stewards means that we are overseers or governors of His creation. Whatever God gives to us, He gives to us in the context of "stewardship."

      If everything belonged to us outright, we would not be "stewards" at all. We would be owners. But the Bible teaches that we belong to God, and all the earth is His. God gives us things to use, but that doesn't make us outright "owners." For that matter, it is impossible for God to make us outright "owners," for then we would be on His level. (That's what Lucifer aspired to, and that aspiration transformed him into Satan.)

      Let me try to illustrate: You may have a pet -- let's say a dog. And you buy some toys for your dog to play with. But that doesn't mean you relinquish ownership of the toys. After all, the dog belongs to you.

      On a human level, we have children. We provide things for babies, but that doesn't mean we relinquish ownership of what we provide for them. After all, they are our children, and they are not mature enough to manage on their own. The same holds true for even 8-year-olds, for instance. We may provide things for their use, but if they misuse or mismanage these, as good parents, it is our responsibility to intervene. After all, they are our children, and thus whatever we have given them still remains ours in a sense. In a sense, we allow them to be "stewards" over what we give them, but we intervene if they misuse these things.

      Another example of stewardship: A bank manager may have "stewardship" over millions of dollars, but they don't belong to him. They belong to the people who deposited the money.

      In the light of God's ownership of His creation, it is impossible for us to own anything outright. And, since He is Creator, even the things the godless possess belong to Him, and He will some day require an account of what He has provided.

  12. If there wasn't sin and the garden of Eden was perfect, why was Adam given an assignment to protect the garden. From what and who, was He to protect the garden from ?

    • Roberto, Genesis 2:15 says, "Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it" (NKJV). The first word "tend" means to work the ground or till it, the second "keep" usually means to guard (protect) but in this instance probably should be taken to mean to maintain or to be in control of in the same sense that we keep the commandments and the Sabbath (Ex 15:26; Ex 16:28; Ex 31:14) all which use the same Hebrew word.

      The word used in these instances is the Hebrew shamar {shaw-mar'}
      Meaning: 1) to keep, guard, observe, give heed 1a) (Qal) 1a1) to keep, have charge of 1a2) to keep, guard, keep watch and ward, protect, save life 1a2a) watch, watchman (participle) 1a3) to watch for, wait for 1a4) to watch, observe 1a5) to keep, retain, treasure up (in memory) 1a6) to keep (within bounds), restrain 1a7) to observe, celebrate, keep (sabbath or covenant or commands), perform (vow) 1a8) to keep, preserve, protect 1a9) to keep, reserve 1b) (Niphal) 1b1) to be on one's guard, take heed, take care, beware 1b2) to keep oneself, refrain, abstain 1b3) to be kept, be guarded 1c) (Piel) to keep, pay heed 1d) (Hithpael) to keep oneself from.

      With Satan on the loose this would not be an incorrect command. When the pair gave their trust over to the devil they lost what they were commanded to keep.

  13. Thank you very much, Tyler but am not still convinced but confused.
    I think this will be one of the questions for Jesus when we get to that Promise Land.


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