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.”

–Devotion–

Being married and having children does not mean you are more faithful to God than others. I say that because I am reading a book from the 1930’s that persists in a functional view of marriage. By “functional view” I mean the thought that 1) being married is just what you do (especially as a Christian) and 2) the only point of being married is to have children. This thought, I think, makes a complete mess of marriage and children let alone the Scriptures.

For Christians marriage is the public confession of their intent to live together in life long monogamous fidelity for the glory and honor of their God and his Church. The point of marriage, then, is the agreement between two faithful single persons to live a faithfully devoted monogamous life together for the glory of God. They make their agreement public; in the middle of the congregation, because the congregation of Christians are the people who hold them accountable to their vows. This brings up the question, should we be held responsible for decisions we made when we did not know what we were doing? Most of us would answer, “No.” Well, that makes marriage impossible. Which of us knew what we were doing when we took vows to live a life long monogamous and faithful life with our spouse? Even more so, it makes having children unthinkable. We never know what to expect with children, none of us knew what we were doing with our first kids let alone our last. But the church is called to hold us accountable for the decisions we made when we did not know what we were doing–marriage and children and many others. But, like I said, being married is not a more or less holy or God-pleasing estate than singleness. Nor is a childless marriage less holy than one with children. That is not how this Genesis passage should be read.

The other hang up with this passage is the word “dominion.” Dominion has become a rather dirty word among us modern people. Mostly, as far as I can tell, because of the abuses that have taken place among humanity with this passage being waved in the air. “We are called to have dominion!” That does not mean the subjugation of indigenous peoples nor slash and burn practices upon this creation, it does not mean the oppression of women or children. This is not a passage that backs up what the King Ferdinand III did to the Africans, nor the Spanish and English to the original Americans. This is not a passage that endorses the destruction of the Amazon for the sake of cheap lemons and limes. In the case of Genesis dominion, I think, simply means the naming and care of creation. Man was created at the top. He was created to name the things of creation and care for them. As far as I can tell that is it. There is perhaps no greater act of dominion than naming things. Thus God gives creation a name by his Word and then hands over that authority to man to name things within creation. This brings us back to the point from the last devotion. Given this reality, how might we be creatures without regret in this day and age?

Pastor Beltz

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