God first expressed His great love toward mankind in the first chapter of the first book of the Bible. “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). Note that the command was preceded by the Creator’s direct blessing, establishing a pattern seen throughout Scripture. Even on occasions when God says, “You shall not,” He does so to protect and guide those He loves.
This first command—the dominion mandate—was given both as a blessing and a responsibility. Adam and Eve soon discovered that God’s instructions encompassed far more than they could have imagined at the time. Not only were they expected to begin populating the earth, they were also to manage the resources God placed around them. In this way, God would receive glory from His new creation while providing mankind the privilege of sharing in the earth’s magnificent bounty.
This mandate has never been revoked and was even renewed and expanded through Noah soon after the great Flood (Genesis 9:1-7). God will eventually destroy this world and create “new heavens and a new earth” (2 Peter 3:10-13) when His plan of redemption and judgment is complete. But until that time, man is expected to fulfill God’s command to care for and rule over this world.
The military terminology to “subdue” and “have dominion” should not be misunderstood as God’s permission to abuse and destroy. Rather, God clarifies His intention as one of caring stewardship of His creation: “Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it” (Genesis 2:15). Adam was given the responsibility to manage and cultivate God’s creation, indicating a special care and concern for the earth’s resources. But proper “tending” and “keeping” cannot occur without a thorough understanding of the underlying processes. We know this as science in today’s terms, and in the biblical sense God expected humans to undertake scientific study to accomplish this very first commission.
Science lies at the very heart of ICR’s work. Apart from the study of God’s Word, our research is the catalyst that sparks our entire ministry. For over four decades, ICR has championed innovative research that demonstrates evidence for creation as understood in Scripture. And thanks to our supporters, ICR scientists have uncovered a wealth of evidence that confirms the accuracy of the biblical account of origins.
But the world is largely ignorant of the evidence, and so are many Christians. The sad result is the wholescale acceptance of evolutionary explanations that conflict with the truth. We need a place to showcase the evidence for all to see, and the ICR Discovery Center for Science and Earth History will do so in exciting and engaging ways. Won’t you prayerfully consider how you can partner with us to bring this about? Your tax-deductible gifts will make a bigger difference than you may imagine and will be put to good and effective use to communicate the truth of our Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ. Please visit ICR.org for more information on the Discovery Center and how you can be a part of reaching the next generation with God’s creation truth.
* Mr. Morris is Director of Donor Relations at the Institute for Creation Research.