Nov 19, 2022 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

(Above is a 15th century icon of Adam naming the animals)

A guest post by Rev. Ian Kinney.

God blessed them and said “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion” (Gen 1:28)

This is the blessing of the Lord given to man both in and after Paradise: have dominion (Gen 1:28; Gen 9:1-3; Psalm 8:6). How commonly this is forgotten. How much more common is the rhetoric that man is a plague—a parasite—on nature. Rarely is it referred to as “creation” which implies a Creator and a caretaker. Rather it is referred to as “nature” which implies a cosmic accident that worked out just fine until man evolved enough to muck it up. It is unbiblical to see creation as something of which man is in the way. Instead, it is right to see creation as the very thing given to man to have dominion over. But dominion does not mean self-serving abuse upon God’s creation—that would be tyranny. Dominion, Lordship, is where a man sacrifices himself for others. Tyranny is where a man sacrifices others for himself.

We are called to extend dominion over God’s creation. But to do so without Christ and His Word, that attempt at dominion often ends up as tyranny. It ends up in scorched earth policies, weapons of mass destruction, genocide, and mindsets of man as a parasite. If dominion is extended without Christ and His Word, it will become tyranny.

To exercise dominion over the created order must be done under the influence and tutelage of the Word of God, which teaches that there is One to Whom we must give an account, that there is One who has dominion over us, and to that the reason we have dominion is because we are made in the Image of God.

The Image of God is not some abstract shibboleth but it is in fact the Person of Christ (Col 1:15). It is Christ. It is Christ who exercises dominion over creation. He is not a tyrant but exercises dominion. He doesn’t operate in a self-serving abusive way but He exercises dominion in humble sacrifice so that the Father might send forth the Spirit for the new creation and renew the face of the ground (Psalm 104:30). Christ exercises dominion in such a way.

Now, in Him, we are called to do the same and exercise stewardship of His Word which leads us to exercise selfless dominion over creation. At this mystery even the angels marvel and sing “when I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet” (Psalm 8:4-6). This speaks to us but Saint Paul says that it first speaks of Christ (Heb 2:1-9). It speaks to us whom are given dominion over the works of God’s hands which He has put under our feet. But primarily it speaks of Christ—the GodMan—who by the work of His nail-scared hand sacrificed Himself to put Satan under His feet. In His Image, we follow His example.

Rev. Ian Kinney serves as pastor of four Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod parishes in Northeast Kansas, where he and his family are also beginning to homestead.


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