Dawn - posted on 03/19/2009 ( 2 moms have responded )
So, this is something I was working through last night & I just wondered what your thoughts might be.
So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. And God blessed them and said, "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion...over every living thing that moves upon the earth."
When I get stuck in life (which is sometimes often, I hate to admit) I go back to the Beginning - back to Genesis - to get perspective and re-direction. There's so much to be learned from the garden. After all, it's God's original design for people in relationship with Him.
I'm struck first by the fact that we are made in the image of God. Image is where we get our word "imagination". We can picture something in our mind and consider if or how we can bring that image to life. This is God at work in us. It overwhelms me that God had a picture of me in His mind and chose to create me. Before time began, God pictured all of us in His imagination. Then He said, "that's good!" and He made plans to form our bodies, our souls, our minds, our families, our moment in time. Then He made a way for us to find Him and know Him and join our imagination with His image and become part of a much larger picture than we ever knew possible. This is real perspective!
Then - God spoke to the people He created. He didn't just set them into motion and leave them to figure it out on their own. He spoke - words of blessing and permission. Words that brought life and adventure and purpose. Endless opportunity and humble privilege to join with God in the work and success of creation. Be fruitful and multiply - grow, live, expand, learn, discover, enjoy! Replenish the earth - the Hebrew word here for replenish generally denotes the completion of something that was unfinished or the filling of something that was empty. God set the stage - He began the work - and then set Adam and Eve free to fill the space with their own imagination and adventure. And the most amazing thing is that God was among them - teaching and encouraging them every step of the way.
Then He told them to subdue the earth and have dominion over it. Subdue means to conquer; to quiet or bring under control; to make less intense. Dominion means the exercise of control; a sphere of influence. God gave His people, created in His image, permission to find a quiet place for themselves where they could have a sphere of influence. He gave them the privilege of affecting their surroundings - of co-creating their world with Him.
So, what does this mean for us today? Does it still apply? Can we still follow the steps of the blessing that God gave His first children? I think so. Philippians 1:6 tells us that God began a good work in us when we received Christ. Hebrews 12:2 tells us that Jesus authors (begins) and perfects or finishes our faith. When we begin our walk with Jesus and He (re)creates us, we begin the great adventure of perfecting that faith. Jesus sets the stage for us to grow and live, learn and discover all of who He is and who He made us to be. He gives us the Holy Spirit to live in us - teaching and guiding us every step of the way. We have a new opportunity to subdue the land before us - to find a quiet place where we can have a sphere of influence on the world - seasoning the people and circumstances around us so that others might know that the God who imagined and created us still desires to walk among us, showing us the best His creation has to offer.
We can be fruitful, multiply and replenish the earth - we can fill the empty spaces with His redemption story and create an atmosphere where God can author new faith - not just in ourselves, but in those we meet along the way. I think Jesus echoed God's blessing to the first man and woman when He gave His disciples the Great Commission.
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All power has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
Jesus gives us the same opportunity that God gave Adam and Eve: Go - subdue the earth and have dominion over it! Make disciples of all nations - Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth! The first words God speaks to the first people and the last words Jesus speaks to His disciples. And just as God walked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day, so Jesus promised to be with us always. Will we embrace the endless opportunity and humble privilege to join with God in the work and success of creation? Or, like Adam and Eve, will we get distracted and do things our own way?