People like to point to the Bible a lot to claim dominion over just about anything–other peoples, their own actions, other countries–but one of the favorite things people like to claim dominion over is the planet itself: the grass that grows, the animals that graze, the seas that churn.
True, in Genesis, God puts the things He created into the care of the “ultimate” thing that He created, the thing closest to Himself because it was in His image, that is man. But when God placed something He took the time and care and JOY to create in our hands, do you really think He intended for us to look after it as if it were something we were to dominate instead of treat lovingly and tenderly?
How, after all, does God treat His ultimate creation? Does He do what He can to make our lives miserable, see that we’re unhealthy, put us last on His to-do list? The answer to these questions is a resounding NO. The evil that happens to man in this world is a result of evil having entered into it when we partook of the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden. God is with us when bad things happen to help us, but He doesn’t bring them down upon our heads. Isn’t it in Timothy that we are told that, in fact, God is incapable of doing evil?
More importantly, if you doubt how God really treats what He has created, take a few moments to consider how much He loved us. He sent Christ, His only son, to live among us, experience our pain in person, and die a miserable, horrible death for us, because we are evil, not because of anything that Jesus Himself had done.
In Psalm 6:4, the psalmist cries out, “Turn, O Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love.” Notice, the psalmist doesn’t claim any reason or value in and of him/herself to be due salvation, rather the psalmist knows that only because God loves him/her enough will the psalmist have a chance of being saved.
So, when God opened his arms and gave us the fruits of His labors, does anyone really think He wanted us to then abuse what He created? Or did He want us to treat what He put under our care the same way He has treated us, taken care of us? Shouldn’t true Christians strive to be good to everything God created and gave us “dominion” over because of the unfailing love we have learned from Christ, just as our only hope of salvation comes from Christ’s unfailing love for us?
Sometimes, when we are caught up in trying to help the poor and hurting among us, we forget about the living things around us that have no voice at all unless we give it to them. The Earth is the greatest gift we’ve been given next to our own salvation. If we each just do our part every day, those small gifts back will add up to a big difference.