Friday, November 10, 2006

Created to Have Dominion: Filling the Earth

Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:28)
God blessed Adam and Eve with the ability and purpose of filling the earth. In the Bible, we see that the result of filling a thing is that it is influenced and controlled by that with which it is filled. We find this, for example, in the account of Ananias and Sapphira, who tried to deceive the Christian community. Peter said to them, “Why has satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?” (Acts 5:3). Satan had filled their hearts and his influence caused them to lie to God. Paul gives us a positive example of filling in his letter to the Ephesians:
Do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks for all things to God the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God. (Ephesians 5:18-21)
Being filled with the Holy Spirit brings forth the powerful results of uninhibited praise and thanks to God, and the mutual building up of believers.

God created man to fill the earth, but with what? The revelation of God! They were to fill the earth with the image and likeness of God, and the revelation of God’s purpose for the earth. They were to fill the earth with the revelation of God’s glory. The whole earth is already filled with the glory itself (Isaiah 6:3), but what is needed is for the earth to be filled with the knowledge of God’s glory (Habakkuk 2:14).

Man was created to fill the earth with the knowledge — the revelation — of the glory of God! Though that ability was lost in the Fall, it is restored to us in Jesus Christ, so that Paul could declare:
For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6)
As believers in Jesus Christ, we are now bearers of that light. Just as God caused light to shine in the darkness at the creation of the world, He is now shining the light of the knowledge of His glory through the revelation of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the true light of God, who came to shine with the glory of God for the sake of every person in the world (John 1:9).

That is why, before He ascended to His throne in heaven, Jesus commissioned His disciples to go into all the world with the Gospel, to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. That is why He promised them,
You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
They would be filled with the Holy Spirit to present powerful evidences and fill the earth with the revelation of Jesus Christ.

We were created to fill the earth with the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. That same promise, power and purpose which was given to Adam and Eve in the creation, and to the disciples in the redemption, is available also to us.