The Sixth Day, Part 6
…And God said to them…
Hey, did you notice? God is no longer speaking about His two newest creations, He is speaking to them. God speaks directly to the two humans, those He created in His image. He is giving them instructions.
(28) …And God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth." (29) And God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food."
In verses 28-29, God gives four specific instructions to the first couple on earth.
The first instruction God gave was to populate. When someone says they are concerned about the size of the world’s population, please understand that the Creator of the universe is not the one concerned. He instructed the first couple to "…Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the earth." Some use the ever-growing world population as a reason to condone abortion. Let's be clear. Abortion is murder. To paraphrase the heading of a blog I recently read,1 "We're killing babies. You know it. I know it. As a society, we all know we're killing babies." Folks, that human tissue within the womb of a pregnant woman is an unborn human baby, not merely a fetus. (If we refer to the human tissue as a "fetus," we seem to think it somehow softens the internal conflict we may have about killing an unborn child. After all, it's easier to "destroy a fetus" than "kill a baby.") Many in our society today see no problem with having an abortion. In fact, abortions are performed so routinely in our day that it no longer seems to be an issue to some. [Space does not allow discussion on issues like the health of the mother, or when a baby in the womb actually becomes a baby, or many other valid issues. Beliefs on those kinds of issues can be debated at another time.] Remember though, while in many instances the Creator of the universe allows us to make choices, including decisions about abortion, God's judgment day is coming (Ecclesiastes 11:9). In spite of how things may appear, God still has everything under control, including the population of the planet. God instructed the first man and woman to begin filling (populating) the earth. God’s obvious intention was not for them to do it all by themselves. But, per God's instruction and with His blessing, they were to begin the progression of filling the earth with more humans.
"…Fill the earth and subdue it…" The second instruction God gave was to subjugate or subdue. The word subdue means to take charge of, to care for. God told mankind to care for the earth and all life in it or on it.
God instructed mankind to populate, subjugate… and dominate. The words, "have dominion over" in verse 28 literally mean to govern. As an aside, those words may carry a different connotation today. Some husbands dominate their wives. And with a nod to "equal time," some wives dominate their husbands. In the Bible, husbands and wives are never instructed to dominate one another; rather, they are to respect and honor each other—not to mention that biblical concept called loving one another (Ephesians 5:21-33). The first couple were instructed to govern (have dominion over) "the fish of the sea…the birds of the heavens and…every living thing that moves on the earth" (emphasis added).
Together, the first couple was to populate, subjugate, dominate… and cooperate. Wait, what…? Cooperate…? Look at the next verse. "(29) And God said, Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth…." This is God speaking to the man and the woman. "… And every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food." Did you know that, originally, human beings were not to eat meat? The Bible indicates we were not to eat the animals. That's right, all of mankind were to be vegetarians or vegans., It is now okay (see Acts 10:10-15; Colossians 2) to eat meat. (Of course, it is not a sin to be a vegan, either.) This instruction applied to the animal kingdom as well. Look at verse 30. "And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food. And it was so." God told the first man and the first woman they were to be vegetarians or vegans. God told them that the animals around them, none of which were ferocious yet, are also to be vegetarians or vegans (think: herbivores). So, how does cooperate fit in here, you ask? There was no such thing as a food chain—at least not yet. God’s instruction was that God's creation not eat each other!! God instruction was that mankind and the animals cooperate and not eat each other. Humans and animals could walk around without fear of being devoured by one another. Cooperation! By the way, no mention is made of dietary restrictions for marine life (read verses 29-30 again).
Now notice the last verse of the chapter. "(31) And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day." God sums up the creation week in this verse. God steps back, as it were, and looks at everything He had done in Genesis 1—He sees the big picture! "God saw everything that He had made…"
God saw His light shining.
God saw light (day) had been divided from darkness (night).
God saw the sky was there.
God saw the vapor canopy above the sky and the waters below the sky were there.
God saw the dry land (earth) had appeared; and that the land was surrounded by much water (seas).
God saw plant life flourishing in the rich soil (He had created both).
God saw the earth orbiting the sun.
God saw the moon orbiting the earth.
God saw the earth rotating on its axis.
God saw "the stars also" —right where He had placed them.
God saw marine life swimming in all the waters on the earth.
God saw birds flying in the sky above the earth.
God saw animal life in great numbers as they moved throughout the earth.
God saw human life created in His image, after His likeness.
"…And behold it was very good" (emphasis added). When God finished reviewing all His creation from His divinely perfect panoramic perspective, He said, "It is very good!" The Creator of the universe was pleased with His completed creation. Praise His Name!
I leave you with one final thought before closing this chapter. God created plant life in verse 11. God created marine life in verse 20. God created avian life in verse 20. God created animal life in verse 24. God created human life in verse 27. But nowhere in scripture is there any record of God creating alien life! [mic drop]
1 John Piper, desiringGod.org, January 22, 2013. Accessed 9/29/2017.
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @_nichols_dimes