God’s Creation of Man to Have Dominion
26 And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of heaven and over the cattle and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.
27 And God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
To Have Man Exercise God’s Dominion
God said, “Let us make man in our image..and let them have dominion…” God created a corporate man to exercise His dominion (Gen. 1:26-28). The word dominion includes more than just authority. Dominion means having authority to rule and to form a kingdom. Dominion means having a kingdom as a sphere in which to exercise authority. If I have authority, but no sphere over which to rule, I have no dominion. God said, “Let man have dominion.” Man was given dominion over all things. Keep the words image and dominion in mind and underline them in your Bible.
Very few Christians pay attention to the word dominion when they read Genesis 1. We need to consider the words image and dominion a little more. An image is an expression. God created man in His image with the intention that man might express Him. The invisible God desires to be expressed. He needs an expression. Dominion means kingdom, authority. Man was made in God’s image to express God and was given authority to represent God and to have dominion. We are God’s expression and we are God’s representative. The young people especially need to lay hold of these two words with these two basic revelations: image and dominion. The purpose of God’s restoration and further creation was twofold: to have a corporate man to express God and to have a corporate man to exercise His dominion.
To Sphere of Man’s Dominion
Man must have dominion over the seas. The seas are the lodging place of the demons (Matt. 8:32; 12:43). Thus, the sphere of God’s dominion must include the seas. Man must have dominion over all things in the air, which is the place where Satan and his angels are (Eph. 2:2; 6:12). There are evil powers in the air with Satan as their head. Ephesians 2:2 describes Satan as the prince of the power of the air. Man must have dominion over all things on the earth, the field of Satan’s activities. Satan is very active on the earth (Luke 4:5-6). So, here in Genesis 1:26 it especially says that man may have the dominion “over all the earth.” The earth has been usurped by Satan. Thus, it needs to be ruled over by man, God’s representative.
When the Lord Jesus was on this earth, He had to deal with Satan, fallen angels, or demons wherever He went. That was why the Lord Jesus rebuked the wind and the waves during a storm. The wind came from the fallen angels in the air and the waves came from the demons in the water. The Lord told the wind, “Stop” and the waves, “Be calm.” Immediately the wind ceased and the waves were calm. The fallen angels and the demons were subdued and overruled by the Lord Jesus. If we know how to read the Bible, we will see in the four Gospels that the Lord Jesus exercised God’s authority over the seas, the air, and the earth. This is the sphere of God’s dominion which He committed to man.
To Deal With God’s Enemy
The first aspect of God’s intention is to deal with His enemy, to deal with Satan typified by the creeping things (Gen. 1:26). In the Bible, the creeping things are demonic, devilish, and Satanic.
In God’s original creation, He had only one purpose—to express Himself. Due to Satan’s rebellion, God now has another purpose—to deal with His enemy. When God created man, He had both of these purposes. Therefore, He created man in His own image that man might express Him and He gave him dominion that man might deal with His enemy. Both of these things must be accomplished. We need the image of God in order to express God and we need the dominion of God in order to subdue the enemy.
We need to express God and to deal with Satan in our home life. Many times the husband comes home and immediately the wife does not express God. She expresses the serpent. The wife’s face has the appearance of a subtle serpent. Many times the husband also expresses the serpent. I have learned this by experience. Sometimes, when I saw Satan expressed in the members of my family, I didn’t say a word. I went to my bedroom, knelt down, and prayed, “Lord, bind the serpent.” A number of times I realized that I myself was expressing the serpent. Again I ran away to pray, “O Lord, forgive me. Bind the serpent.” On many occasions, the divine authority of God is not exercised. The evil power of Satan is expressed instead. Recently, I learned that many young brothers are living in the brothers’ houses. However, I am fearful that even in the brothers’ house there is still the possibility that Satan’s image, not God’s, will be expressed, that the evil power, not God’s authority, will be exercised. We all must realize that today God has this double goal to accomplish—to express Himself and to deal with His enemy. It is not really your husband who loses his temper. It is the serpent. It is not really your wife who says something to provoke your temper. It is the serpent. Don’t deal with the husband and don’t deal with the wife. It is not their fault. We must deal with the serpent that is behind them. Exchanging words can never deal with Satan. The more we argue, the more Satan gains ground. The only way to deal with Satan is to go on our knees, pray, call on the name of Jesus, and ask Him to bind the serpent.
To Recover the Earth
The second aspect of God’s intention in giving man dominion is to recover the earth (Gen. 1:26-28). Man is to have dominion over the earth, to subdue it, and to conquer it. To conquer the earth means that the enemy is there already, that a war is raging. Therefore, we must fight and conquer.
God wants to regain the earth. The earth has become a crucial place, a place that Satan wants to hold and a place that God wants to regain. The battle is over the earth. Whoever gains the earth is the winner. If Satan can keep the earth under his hand, he has the victory. If God can regain the earth, He will have the victory. The Lord Jesus has not returned because the earth is still so much under Satan’s usurping. This is why God needs the church. The church must fight the battle to regain the earth, if not the whole earth, at least some stepping stones, some outpost for the Lord Jesus to put His feet upon. The earth is crucial.
God desires that His kingdom come to this earth and that His will be done on earth (Matt. 6:10). Now we can understand the prayer which the Lord Jesus established. He said, “Let Your name be sanctified; let Your kingdom come.” Certainly this means to come from the heavens to the earth. The prayer continues, “Let Your will be done, as in heaven, so on earth.” God’s will is now being done in heaven. But on the earth there are many frustrations, hindering God’s will from being done. We must pray, “Let Your name be sanctified; let Your kingdom come; let Your will be done, as in heaven, so on earth.” We must fight to recover the earth.
At the time of the millennium, the earth will become the kingdom of God. This is revealed in Revelation 11:15. When the Lord Jesus comes to inaugurate the millennium, the whole earth will become the kingdom of God. Then the earth will be regained by God.
In eternity, God’s habitation will come down from heaven to the new earth (Rev. 21:1-2). Many Christians dream of going to heaven. That is a good dream and, undoubtedly, all of us will be there. However, God desires to come down to earth. We like the heavens, but God likes the earth. We are going up, and He is coming down. Hallelujah! Let me tell you the truth: when we get to heaven, the Lord will say, “Children, let us go down. Let us go down to take over the earth.” In eternity, the heavens will not be God’s habitation. God’s habitation will be the New Jerusalem, and the New Jerusalem will come down from the heavens to the new earth. This proves that God’s desire is to possess the earth.
Satan, the usurping one, will not only be cast out of the air, but also cast out of the earth. According to Revelation 12:9, Satan will first be cast down from the air to the earth. Then Satan will be bound and cast out of the earth into the bottomless pit (Rev. 20:2-3). There will be no more spiritual smog. We will have fresh air, and the earth will be cleansed of all defilement. That will be during the millennium. At the end of the millennium, Satan will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10). After the millennium, we will have eternity in which God’s eternal habitation will be on the new earth. God wants the earth.
To Bring in God’s Authority
The third aspect of God’s intention in giving man dominion is to bring in God’s authority, to exercise God’s authority over the earth. Man must exercise God’s authority in order that the kingdom of God may come to earth, that the will of God may be done on earth, and that the glory of God may be manifested on earth. All of this will be on the earth. God will never be satisfied to have His kingdom only in the heavens. Neither will He be happy to have His will done only in the heavens nor to see His glory expressed only in the heavens. He wants all these things to happen on the earth. This is the responsibility of the church today. In the church we have the kingdom of God. In the church the will of God is done. In the church the glory of God is expressed. Hallelujah! We have a foretaste. Now we can see why God gave man dominion over everything in the seas, in the air, and on the earth. God’s intention is to eliminate the enemy, regain the earth, and manifest His glory.
Life Study of Genesis, Chapter 7, W. Lee
- What two important words in Genesis 1:26 show us the purpose of God’s creation of man?
- How can we practically deal with the enemy in our daily living, especially when Satan is being expressed in us or in those around us?
- How can we see that God’s desire is to gain and recover the whole earth through the Lord’s prayer in Matthew 6?