5 The Cost of Human Dominion Over Nature

 If we are to look and understand the future it is important to look at what has been.  As you read the blog one finds during creation and the early societies of humans, how technology and culture matured.  Can the Master theologian, Herman Bavinck teach us anything for the 21st century? 

Humanity has indeed dominated nature and we can surely see the scars on God’s image.  Genesis tells us that the creation was ‘good’ but human greed and selfishness has wasted a lot of planet earth.  Even if we never read the Bible, we can still see the horror of human activities on the earth.  How does Herman Bavinck deal with these questions? So, today we are going to look at this final theme and we will look at the theatre in which these horrific actions have taken place.

On Page 162 Reformed Ethics Bavinck begins by saying, “Our dominion over nature has been weakened and robbed of its spiritual character, but it has not been eliminated. Dominion has been impeded, not destroyed. Adam must now labour by the sweat of his brow against thorns and

thistles, but he still wrests his food from the earth” (Gen. 3). 

This is a very short section, but it is enough to prove that as well as animals and everything given over to humanity there has been technical progress.

He mentions Genesis 9. 2 and 9. 3 So all living creatures are in the dominion of mankind.   This has led to advancements in “Science/scholarship” and Art in “the broader sense”, For Herman Bavinck “the spiritual character of culture has been lost through sin. Culture itself has become a power, like science often becomes a fire fanned by Satan and used against God”. From pages 162 -163

In the last paragraph he proves from the scriptures what is going on and we need to listen to the Master theologian.

In Paradise, Adam and Eve were still clothed with animal skins (Gen. 3:21). By the time of Cain and Abel, we read of agriculture and animal husbandry; Cain and Enoch built cities; Lamech developed weaponry and the laws of war; Jabal made tents and led a nomadic life; Jubal created music; Tubal-Cain worked with iron; and Noah produced wine. According to Holy Scripture there is progress in culture.

Animal skins, farming, city building, weapons, laws of war, nomadic living, Music, working with iron, wine.  Herman Bavinck is correct we could continue and since the Bible times we have created advanced methods in medicine, rockets, refined ways of weapons, space flight, quantum computing, AI.  Green house situation, destruction of forests, destruction of habitats. Poisoning ourselves.


Things look really bad, don’t they?  The first Adam has only brought wanton destruction to the world as well as the advances.   Is there a future for the human race?

As an incomplete answer I think Hebrews 1. 1 helps.

God’s Final Word in His Son

1 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. 3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they. Hebrews 1:1-4 NASB

Humans have destroyed a lot but that is not the end of the Story for the real image of God par excellence is the Lord Jesus Christ.  Purification for sins is through the Easter story.  The following is a blog I wrote at my other site going through the book of 1 Corinthians.  This story should come out at the Easter Weekend but I think it ties in well with what it means to be God’s image.

The Lords Supper. A reflection

23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.


27 Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. 28 But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. 30 For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep. 31 But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world.


33 So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. 34 If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, so that you will not come together for judgment. The remaining matters I will arrange when I come. 1 Corinthians 11:23-34 NASB


Holy Communion is a Sacrament in the main line churches, so we shouldn’t come to it with selfish and greedy motives.  The Lord Jesus commanded us to celebrate and remember Him in this meal.  The Old Testament pointed to the great hope of Gods salvation work through the Messiah, Jesus Christ.  From the time of His death and resurrection we look to this moment when God who became a man paid a great price for the whole of mankind, the world, the universe.  Every believer must stop and ‘remember’ what great an act for our salvation was made.  We are brought into a new covenant.  Any covenant one makes is serious.  This covenant is more serious than all the other covenants because we are brought into the divine presence of the Holy Trinity.  If we truly understand what Christ did for us at the cross and the pure unselfish love, he poured out in his love for us.  If we come with gratitude to our Lord Jesus Christ bow down and worship him by the Holy Spirit we are brought into the very presence of God the father and in Christ, The Father could say; ‘You are my beloved children’ or something like that.

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