“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.'” -Genesis 1:26 (ESV)
What does this passage mean? We are given dominion over the Earth. Does this mean we are able to do whatever we please to the earth as long as it is too our advantage and suffer no recourse or feel no sense of obligation to any standard or rule?
I have heard many Christians say that God has given us dominion and so we are allowed to depleat the earth of all it’s resources. We are allowed to use the resources of the earth as we please and feel no responsibility (at least religious responsibility) to take care of the earth in any specific way. I like to think of a Father who fixed up a car for his son and gave it to his son, even so far as to put the title in his son’s name. If the son goes out and totals that car because he was driving recklessly, the Father would be furious with his son. I’m not saying whether or not God is furious with us, I’m simply making the point that I believe God does care what we do to this earth that He created for us. Instead of recklessness we should respond with respect. God created this world and everything in it Himself, but even more important than that, He created it with us in mind. We should be extremely reverent in the presence of the beauty of nature. I’m not arguing that we should worship nature but rather adore the complex beauty of it all and let it show us more about the Creator.