Man’s Responsibility for Creation

MEMORY VERSE: “Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou Nast put all things under his feet.” —Psalm 8:6

GENESIS 1:26-31; PSALM 8

AMONG the various orders of animal life—the beasts of the field, the fish of the sea, and the fowl of the air—man stands out as the highest of all earthly creatures whose position over the lower creation is likened to that of God’s position over the entire universe. As God is Ruler over all things, even so was man made ruler over all earthly things.

The Psalmist David’s testimony agrees with that of the Genesis account of creation, where we read, “And 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.” (Gen. 1:26) And we know that this arrangement was a good and proper one because God said that it was (Gen. 1:31): “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.”

Psalm 8 is one of reverence and grateful praise to God as emphasized in its opening and closing words of praise: “O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!” And additionally, in the first verse the following words are added, “Who hast set thy glory above the heavens.” So we see that God’s incomparable greatness extends far beyond the realm of this earth to the outer reaches of the universe. He is Lord of all! The psalmist wishes to convey the thought that God’s very name is majestic and glorious, and one which brings honor and praise to the whole creation.

The enemies of God, spoken of as “the enemy and the avenger” in verse 2, may attempt to defeat his purpose, but we may rest assured that God has all things under control and that the forces of evil cannot prevail against him.

Then the writer is awed and deeply impressed by the majesty and splendor of the heavens, which are a manifestation of God’s greatness and power. The moon and the stars are examples of that work. But what about man? We are told that he was created a little lower than the angels, as far as his nature in connection with the earth is concerned. We know, too, that angels are more excellent so far as their nature is concerned, being spiritual creatures. But man was given a dominion and in that respect is superior even to the angels, who have no dominion, either over other angels or over any other of God’s creatures. All are subject to God alone. Man, however, in the likeness of his Creator, has been given a dominion over the lower creatures, and God “crowned him with glory and honor.”

He then goes on to enumerate some of those creatures, which include the sheep and oxen, the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, the fish of the sea, and whatever passes along the paths of the sea. And although man was appointed by God as a steward over these lower orders, he must learn to appreciate that he, too, is a part of nature and is responsible not only for the animal life, in all of its varied forms, but also for the natural resources of the earth. It is only in recent years that there has been an awakening to the responsibilities in this connection. He is now faced with staggering problems throughout most of the world, with polluted streams, eroded soil, vanishing wildlife, and unhealthy air. It has become of serious concern for many as they contemplate the compounding problems of the future, which are indeed most perplexing.

But we believe that the Scriptures teach us that this condition will not continue always, but will, with the inauguration of Christ’s millennial kingdom, give way to a reconstruction work that will include man’s relationship to his natural surroundings. The whole situation will be reversed in that future time of blessing when he learns to cooperate with nature and once again regains his God-given dominion over the lower creation.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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