Charles A. Hickey is the pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church of Northern Kentucky (PCA) in Ludlow, KY.View All Posts
The Capstone of God’s Creation
In the first installment of this series on Biblical Economics, I asserted that “economics” is derived from God’s person as the creator of all things. God is the owner of all that is around us because He created all things. His ownership includes mankind, which He also created.
Mankind is an interesting capstone of God’s creation. According to His revealed word, mankind is made “in the image (likeness) of God”. Genesis 1:26 reads:
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.”
In this verse, several important theological aspects of God and His creation are asserted along with certain “economic” concepts. Briefly, God is identified in the “plural” which is a reference to His Triune being. Second, man was made as an image bearer, or likeness bearer, of God. Third, man was made for exercising dominion over all the other creatures on the earth.
The following two verses in Genesis expands this notion with the inclusion of the woman to procreate with Adam. Additionally, Adam and Eve were to cultivate the earth and subdue it. Genesis 1:27-28 read:
27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 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.”
So, what does all this have to do with “economics”?
Consider the immensity of God’s creation and the command God gave to Adam and Eve. “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it…” In this simple, yet profound command, God delegated to Adam and Eve, as the federal heads of all mankind, the responsibility to increase the bounty of God’s creation. That “increased bounty” included procreation as well as dominion over all other creatures and the terra fermi. God expected of mankind to “produce” from the resources He created a world teaming with mankind as stewards of all He created.
Adam and His progeny were and are to continue multiplying and filling the earth. They were to utilize all the resources of the earth recreating things as image bearers of God. God is a creative being and mankind, made in His likeness, is to recreate with the resources given by the Creator.
Consider the amazing things mankind has done with God’s creation. Rubber trees have been turned into rubber tires for automobiles and trucks. Iron ore is turned into steel to build bridges, buildings, tractors, trains, etc. Common sand on the seashore is turned into silicon chips for computers. Sonic waves are sent through human bodies to create images from within the body to diagnose injuries and diseases. The list is endless of all the applications mankind has recreated from the resources God created.
Likewise, mankind has domesticated all sorts of creatures for food, labor, and companionship. From all the kinds of creatures, i.e. reptiles, insects, birds, fish mammals; mankind has trained and bred these creatures to lead the blind, rescue the trapped, ferry messages (homing pigeons), provide protein to nourish mankind, pollenate plants, warn of dangers, produce wool for clothing. Again, the list is endless and ever expanding.
All this has happened because God created all things and mankind to recreate in His image.
In the first installment of this series I posed the following two questions. Is God a curmudgeon who holds onto His creation in a miserly way? Or, is God gracious and benevolent, sharing His stewardship with His creatures? Given the statements above, God is not a curmudgeon. God is, most assuredly, a gracious and merciful God who benevolently shares His creation with mankind that it might become even more beneficial for mankind.
The next installment in this series will deal with the ethical standards God established with our first parents (Adam and Eve), and the economic consequences of keeping/violating those standards.