Monday, May 2, 2011

Creation and the Lord’s Prayer

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 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 1:26-28)
God created humankind to be His image and be like Him, to represent Him on the earth, to fill the earth with the image of God, to have dominion over the earth and subdue it. To have dominion means to rule over the earth, to exercise authority over it. To subdue the earth means to subordinate it, that is, bring it into order.

God created a garden on the earth for the man and woman to dwell. The whole earth was not a garden, though, only a portion of it. The man and the woman were to take care of the garden, to watch over and protect it. God blessed them and gave them charge over the garden, but also over the whole earth. The work of creation was now done, but the work of subduing and reigning over it was just beginning.

Man is the dust of the ground and the breath of God, created and authorized to represent heaven on earth. The garden God made was perfect and complete, the design of heaven on earth. Man’s role, then, was to bring the rest of the earth into divine order, into proper alignment with the garden God made.

Of course, man rebelled against God, and the earth itself came under a curse because of it. Even so, God had a plan to restore everything into proper relationship between man and God, between man and creation, between man and himself. The good news of the Gospel is that this plan of redemption and restoration is fulfilled in Jesus the Messiah.

Now, let’s jump from the first book of the Old Testament to the first book of the New, to the sermon Jesus preached on the mount (I call it the Sermon of Heaven on Earth). In the middle of His preaching, Jesus taught His disciples how to pray. We call this the Lord’s Prayer, and it is powerful. In it, Jesus gives us authority to subdue the earth and bring it into line with the design of heaven. He teaches us to pray to our Father in heaven: “Your kingdom, come! Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

The dominion over the earth that was corrupted by Adam through rebellion has been restored in the dominion of King Jesus and He has privileged us to share it with Him. Through this prayer, we exercise His dominion. By this prayer, we subdue the earth. Wherever we find anything out of alignment with the order of heaven, we can pray, “Kingdom of God, come to this place; will of God, be done here as it is in heaven,” and expect that it will be so. Through our prayer and worship, King Jesus changes the world and fulfills the charge God gave the first man and woman.