Genesis 1:28. And God blessed them. 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.”
Francis Schaeffer once said that he thought Genesis 1-3 were the three most important chapters in the Bible. What makes the beginning of the Bible so important for us today? I mean, isn’t it just an ancient book that is outdated and even regressive?
No. The book of Genesis actually explains to us the meaning and purpose of all of life. As we learned in yesterday’s reading, the life that God gave to us is a life of imaging. We are made in the “image and likeness” of the Trinity. If we were made in the image of a God who was just a monad (singular) then to image him would primarily be about getting things done. Completing tasks. Using creation (including each other) to gain power. Simply subduing the earth and having dominion.
But we image a Trinity. A loving community that lives face to face with each other. Our God is relational. Our God is love. Which is why subduing the earth and having dominion comes AFTER be fruitful and multiply.
There’s no doubt that to image God is to make an impact. It is to fill the earth with good things. Inventions, buildings, art, music, literature, manufacturing, education. It is to subdue and rule the earth through things like mining, farming, chemistry, biology, medicine, and math.
But all of these things lose value if they are not done from love and for the good of others. We live in a world of subduing and dominating without love. Ruling without relationship. And let’s be honest, it’s a disaster. We have filled the earth, not with God’s image of love, but with our own image of selfishness, and conquest, and power. Sure we’ve built our towers to heaven, but at what cost to our own souls? We have our accomplishments and possessions, our houses and cars, and promotions, and projects. But at what cost to our relationships? Our families and friendships?
God says to us that before there can be impact, there must be relational intimacy. Everything of real lasting value in this life comes from the fruitfulness of relational love. God wants us to first learn to love before we can learn to subdue and have dominion. This is why God didn’t just build a person factory in Eden. He made a man and woman and placed life inside of them so that their love would produce more people. Their intimacy would bring the impact of a growing human race.
Why? Because love is what actually impacts the world.
Adam and Eve could be fruitful and multiply because God had lovingly placed his seed of life in them. But now the fruit of their sin and rebellion is just more sin and rebellion. More and more impact with less and less intimacy. But Christ came as the seed of God. A seed that is placed into our lives by faith in him.
“To live is Christ” is to have the fruitfulness of Christ’s life of love. A life that meets every longing we have for intimacy, and in so doing empowers us to have the greatest impact we could ever hope to have. The impact of loving another person. The impact of filling the earth with the image of God’s love through faith in the indwelling life of Christ.
Where in your life might you be trying to have impact without intimacy?
You in Christ
How can you rest in God’s love for you today BEFORE you leave the house to go make an impact?
Christ in you
How can you be fruitful today by impacting someone with God’s love?
Playlist: Have Dominion
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