Men, Women and Dominion
Staying with Genesis 1:26 - 2:3, let's look at verses 26 - 28. "Male and female he created them." In this simple, straightforward sentence there is equality for men and women. Male and female qualities equally reflect the image of God and they are equally valuable before God. This is quite remarkable considering that this was presumably written in the midst of a culture that did not see men and women as equal. Yet they write that God created us equal.
The creation of mankind is in the middle of God granting dominion over "the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground" (vs 26) and "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground" (vs 28). So it is repeated that we are to rule over or have dominion over (as some translations have it) all other living creatures.
What does it mean to have dominion? The role of a (good) king is to see to the protection of his people and making provision for them. A king is to be a leader of his people such that they are able to be fruitful and multiply. So it seems to me that our having dominion over all other living creatures means that we are to help them be all that God created them to be. We must steward these creatures as God stewards creation.
Our question today is from Stephen Binz's Women of the Torah: What is the difference between "dominion" and "domination" in terms of humanity's rights and responsibilities within the created world?
Let us pray. Creator God, you made us in your image and likeness and entrusted us with royal responsibilities. Help us to take seriously this share in your divine role. Let us see it as you see it and carry it out according to your will. For we know that all creation waits for the sons of God to be revealed, to be liberated from its bondage to decay, and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God (Rom 8:19-21).
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I started this website and blog on May 1, 2012. I am a Catholic who has been in ministry for many years. I first developed what I would call a close relationship with Jesus in the early 1970s. Ever since then I have been praying with people for healing and other needs. It is because I have seen so many of these prayers answered that I am so bold as to offer to pray for you individually through this website and phone line.