God said, “Let the waters swarm with living things, and let birds fly above the earth up in the dome of the sky.” 21 God created the great sea animals and all the tiny living things that swarm in the waters, each according to its kind, and all the winged birds, each according to its kind. God saw how good it was. 22 Then God blessed them: “Be fertile and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let the birds multiply on the earth.”
23 There was evening and there was morning: the fifth day.
24 God said, “Let the earth produce every kind of living thing: livestock, crawling things, and wildlife.” And that’s what happened. 25 God made every kind of wildlife, every kind of livestock, and every kind of creature that crawls on the ground. God saw how good it was. 26 Then God said, “Let us make humanity in our image to resemble us so that they may take charge of the fish of the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the earth, and all the crawling things on earth.”
27 God created humanity in God’s own image,
in the divine image God created them,
male and female God created them.
28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and master it. Take charge of the fish of the sea, the birds in the sky, and everything crawling on the ground.” 29 Then God said, “I now give to you all the plants on the earth that yield seeds and all the trees whose fruit produces its seeds within it. These will be your food. 30 To all wildlife, to all the birds in the sky, and to everything crawling on the ground—to everything that breathes—I give all the green grasses for food.” And that’s what happened. 31 God saw everything he had made: it was supremely good.
There was evening and there was morning: the sixth day.
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and master it. Take charge of the fish of the sea, the birds in the sky, and everything crawling on the ground.” —Genesis 1:28
To take charge of or have dominion over implies human power over the plants and animals of the earth. While God set apart humans from animals and plants, that did not make animals and plants less valuable to God or to us. Our power can be used to protect or to harm other creatures. But harming the plants and animals by pushing them out of existence or using them solely for personal gain also hurts us in the long run. Thoughtless urban sprawl, pollution of natural environments, destruction of habitats, resources, and species all contribute to our mutual extinction. Because we are formed in God’s image, our duty as humans is to care for God’s creatures as God would.
Questions to Discuss:
What are some ways humans have used power in destructive ways over animals?
How are all habitats (human, animal, and plant) interconnected? Why is that important?
What are some examples of animal abuse you know about?
How can human activity harm animals unintentionally?
What are some ways to prevent unintentional harm?