So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them. And God blessed them [granting them certain authority] and said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subjugate it [putting it under your power]; and rule over (dominate) the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and every living thing that moves upon the earth.Genesis 1:26-29
Another way of rephrasing God’s command to man is to go and bring form and order and have dominion over what God had already created; in brief, to make culture.
Culture is an interesting word. In the mid-15th century French, the meaning was ‘the tilling of land’. From the Latin, ‘a cultivating, agriculture‘. Figuratively the word came to mean ‘tend, guard, cultivate, till.’
So for us, what are we to be tending, guarding, cultivating, and tilling? How do we do it? Why do we do it? Let’s go with the why first. God told us to. This is His mandate to all of us. It came before the fall. Simply, the instruction was to create culture under God. Then came the fall, and we got lost. Man lost sight of where he was going and what he was doing. After a long time, Jesus came to bring the kingdom of God to earth. He showed us God in the flesh (He lived), then He died (taking the punishment for our sins upon Himself), and then He overcame death (He resurrected), and He ascended back to heaven to be with His Father again.
Jesus taught a lot. His final teaching came in Matthew 28:18-20 where He told His disciples, “All authority (all power of absolute rule) in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations [help the people to learn of Me, believe in Me, and obey My words], baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything that I have commanded you’ and lo, I am with you always [remaining with you perpetually–regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the end of the age.” Doesn’t this sound a good bit like what God told Adam and Eve in the garden? Jesus came to bring God’s kingdom to earth–to redeem the earth.
- Our job is to introduce people to God’s kingdom-to help people learn of Jesus, believe in Him, and obey His words.
- Our job is to create the culture of God’s kingdom under God-to live out His love, to have integrity, to honor and respect people, to work well.
- Our job is to maintain the culture of God’s kingdom -by continuing to tell His story to our children and our neighbors.
It is a very hard thing to maintain a culture. The story has to continue to be told, to be lived out. God is faithful. He has preserved His Church. May we be faithful in doing our work well, in Him, until He returns.