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Creation – Genesis 1

Blessing and Limitations bestowed on 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

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth. We find a record of this momentous event in Genesis 1-2:2. There are some interesting features regarding this record.

In the first three days of creation, we see God naming the things He created.  On day 1, He called the light Day and the darkness Night. On day 2, He made a firmament and called it Heaven.  He called the dry ground Earth and the gathering of the waters Seas on Day 3.

The record of the second three days mentions God making or creating things.  God made the sun, moon, and stars on Day 4.  He created the sea creatures and birds on Day 5. On Day 6, He made land creatures.  In my imagination, I can see God rolling up His sleeves and getting His hands dirty as He forms His creation.

The last three days of creation, days 5-7, are days having a record of God blessing His creation.  On first of those days, Day 5, God blessed the sea creatures and birds with fruitfulness and population increase.  On the last day, after He completed His creation, He blessed and sanctified the day because He rested from all His work. However, on Day 6, He gave a three-fold blessing on Man:

  1. Be fruitful and multiply.
  2. Fill and subdue the earth.
  3. Have dominion over all other created creatures.
Be fruitful and multiply.

Obviously, this portion of the blessing tells us that God intended there be more than one man and woman. God wanted a planet full of people.

Subdue the Earth.

Although God created an uncultivated planet, it was not His intent that wild, untamed wilderness always characterize the earth. He wanted mankind to spread throughout the planet, not as sub-component of nature, but as its master.  He blessed mankind with the authority to transform nature, making of it whatever they saw best.

Have dominion over the animals.

Furthermore, God gave mankind power over the animals. Regardless of what men did with untouched wilderness, they would not be obligated to negotiate rights of its use with the animals.  In other words, they wouldn’t need to discuss terms with the mice when they converted a meadow into a garden. Nor would the animals be capable of resisting man’s advances in taming the wilderness.

With the blessing to multiply, men would need increasing allotments of real estate.  God blessed them with the license to do whatever they wanted with His creation. Even the animals were placed under man’s dominion. He granted mankind free reign to do as they wished.

These blessings gave mankind abilities and freedoms unknown to the angels. The angels were not given the ability to multiply (Matthew 22:30).  Evidently, they were not given the authority to bring order to an untamed universe, for we do not observe unexplained modification to the physical universe.  Lastly, they were not granted dominion over men and animals – although they can control people (demonic possession), it is only if they are given permission.  God’s administration over man differs significantly from the angels.

Man is a creature to whom God has given free reign to multiply and do as he wishes within the realm of Creation that he occupies.

God bestowed on mankind both blessing and a key limitation. Unlike the angels, man’s life is not self-sufficient. He depends on external resources to preserve his life. God does not create nourishment daily, but provided a source of natural food from plant life. He gave the green herbs to the animals as food, but to man God gave the seeds and fruits (Genesis 1:29-30).

Interestingly, mankind generally doesnt consider the limitation a curse but a blessing. By granting to mankind the seeds and fruits of plant life, God provided nourishment capable of transforming into rich feasts.

Incidentally, but not coincidentally, food points to a key component of human life – fellowship. God designed mankind to thrive on fellowship (i.e., sharing in the good things of life’s experiences). In giving mankind nourishment that is enjoyable, God created an environment for man to thrive – a life of continual sharing the experience of good food.

Ultimately, God’s purpose was a creature with whom He could share the good things of life. Simply put, God created a creature with whom He could fellowship.

When God blessed and sanctified the seventh day, He certainly didn’t need to recuperate from His work of creation. But the time of rest gave opportunity for God to share with man the enjoyment of what He had made.

It would appear that the seventh day of creation is a foreshadow of God’s agenda and purpose for mankind.  He intends that one day, all His people will enter a rest of enjoying the results of the work of His Son. Already, mankind can begin to enter that rest (Hebrews 4:1-3).

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