Are You a Protector or a Ruler?
We have already discussed being created in God’s image to reflect Him.
A man’s self-worth is often tied to what he does.
Moms struggle with feeling worthless when all they did was “nurse, and well, nurse, some more.” A woman can feel like a cow—here to make milk.
It is true, we are created to do something—to have dominion over the creation God made.
[Dominion means to control or have authority, to have power or rule, as in over an area of land that is controlled by a ruler.]
This dominion is regulated by our ultimate purpose for life, that to please God. So as we exercise dominion over God’s creation, we do it with God’s pleasure in mind.
So to some extent, our worth can be altered by how well we succeed in preforming this duty.

There is potential for misuse, after all, we are fallen. We can be selfish and greedy. We saw this in the massive destruction of the bison on our prairies in 1850-1880’s. 

Today, we have equated “having dominion” as being evil and selfish, and “protecting” as the only means to do what is right.

We have become “protectors” of our world.
Rather than have dominion, we have allowed nature to control us.

This reflects the worldview that man is merely part of nature and subject to nature.
We have forgotten God. And must make what we have last. 
Protecting nature allows nature to do its own thing. 
But without proper management of nature, we destroy what we have.

Fires have increased and been more destructive in California because of our “hands off” policy (allowing nature to decide). 
Regulation stopped the logging industry. Logging protected the forests from overcrowding. Without man’s proper dominion, those trees that would have been selectively removed are now left—causing disease, crowding and fuel a literal flame that burns homes and entire towns.
Before, sheep and cattle cleared the underbrush keeping fires from consuming thousands of acres. Now, the underbrush is not cleared, creating a kindling for fires. 
In some areas, laws prohibit homeowners from clearing brush around their houses as a fire break.
When fires raged in Kings Canyon National Park, firefighters were not allowed to fight them until the fire reached the border of the National Park. The Park was protected from human intervention.

Deer overpopulate without proper management: they overgraze, become sickly, and die of starvation. In other areas, overpopulation bring homeowners problems. Most Americans families don’t depend upon what they grow as their sole provision.
But in India, families do depend upon what they grow to survive. Because they have elevated nature over man, they cannot control animals—any cow can eat their garden. 
The result? Families starve. 
In these situations, animal-abuse becomes normal. (This is real abuse, not fictitious limitations that law-makers think a chicken or cow needs.) 

The ultimate result of this laissez-faire attitude toward nature is that abuse increases. And man’s worth is decreased.

Nature is balanced. This story illustrates how dominion when properly used can re-institute that balance.
“In 1995, fourteen wolves were released in Yellowstone National Park. No one expected the miracle that the wolves would bring. It started with the wolves hunting deer. This led to a rapidly decreasing deer population. The wolves’ presence also made the deer avoid parts in the park where they were easy prey. Thanks to the deer’s absence, those parts started to regenerate. Forests of aspen and willow trees started to flourish. That’s when things really started to happen. With the trees and bushes came more berries and bugs. As soon as that happened various bird species started moving in. With the increasing tree population, also another species was attracted. The beaver, previously extinct in the region, moved back, and the dams they built provided habitat for otters, muskrats, and reptiles. The wolves also killed coyotes. As a result of that, the numbers of rabbits and mice grew. Which meant more hawks, red foxes, badgers, and weasels in the park. Even the population of bald eagles and ravens rose. But here’s where it gets really interesting. The wolves changed the behavior of the rivers. With more balance between predator and prey came the possibility for other species to survive. There was less erosion because of increased vegetation and the river banks were stabilized. The channels narrowed. More pools formed and the rivers stayed more fixed in their course. So the wolves did not only transform the great ecosystem of Yellowstone they also changed the park’s physical geography. “

We are held responsible for what we are given—our gifts, talents, and the world.
We must seek God for what we must do.
Without God, we allow nature to control us.
This mindset leads to our need to preserve our resources. 
The foundation of this belief is fear. It says, “God didn’t give us enough. We must not use it so our children will have some.”

The parable of the talents illustrates this belief of fear well.
It also tells what God thinks of that belief.

”For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. …The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents. . .  His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things, enter into the joy of your master.” And so the one given two gained two. “And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, ‘Master,… I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground, see you have what is yours. But his master answered and said to him, “You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. …Therefore take away the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents…. Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness.”Matthew 25:14-29. 
God has given what we need.
We don’t preserve things for tomorrow.

You say, you must plan for tomorrow. And that may be true. But God does not promise us tomorrow. He gives today and tells us, “Trust Him for tomorrow.” That’s doesn’t mean we foolishly waste what we are given. After Christ fed the 5000, He didn’t leave the remnants for the birds. He said, “Gather what remains.”
God has given what we need for today—to use.
We are to use today what we are given. Not wastefully. But in careful consideration of what God wants.

In Chronicles of Narnia, Prince Caspian could summon help by blowing his horn. He hesitated to blow the horn—maybe the need would be greater later.
His counselor wisely advised, "With that thought, he may never blow the horn, and thereby lose his life waiting for the right, last moment to blow the horn." 

We must seek God concerning how we must use what He has given. And He will provide both now and future needs.

Because we no longer exercise dominion over nature, nature has more worth than we do. Nature has become a god.
We don’t eat meat because we pity the poor animal. 
With American’s fortified foods, people can avoid meat without any deficiencies. But others in the world, who eat only vegetables are sorely deficient in B12 and iron (only available through animal products).

Products advertise “no animal was tested.” Is that a good thing?
Without using animals, what do we use? People.
We would rather harm man made in the image of God than harm an animal that has no soul?

I am not proposing cruel and intentional suffering to animals. We must experiment with humane methods, but do not elevate animals over humans.
We must re-evaluate our research in light of what God values. 

We have attributed nature with a soul. Trees do not “feel” pain when they are cut.
Animals do not have a conscience to know good and evil.
Dogs can be trained to please their masters. But they do not know what is wrong based on an internal “knowing” placed there by God.

Whereas, man does know internally we were made for something greater, something eternal.

You may ask, “Will Spot go to heaven?”
In heaven, we will be happy. If it takes Spot’s presence for you to be happy, I think God will make sure Spot will be there.
But God did not send His only Son to die for Spot. Spot does not have a spirit. Nor was he created in God’s image.

God has given us a task to do—exercise dominion over His creation. When we properly do that task, we are praised, “Well done, thy good and faithful servant.”
That re-inforces the worth that we crave from the job that we do. And God is pleased.

Displaying all 3 comments

As a wife of an animal nutritionist, I say, "hear, hear!" It is so important to have a correct dominion mindset toward this Earth God created for us. The results of both extremes on the spectrum are ugly.

Very interesting article, hadn't thought about the subject much, so appreciated your really good points about all of it. I'd read about the wolves before, but enjoyed it again. Amazing what a difference a few wolves can make, just as we can make a difference if we are doing the work God plans for us. Thanks again.

Thank you for this very good article! My husband and I both enjoyed it and found it helpful. The dominion mandate is a great topic and one that seems to be very under-emphasized in Christian circles today. As women, bearing children and raising a family has such a great impact on the dominion/cultural mandate and it is very fulfilling to work in God’s kingdom in this way.

I write about what you---
women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
I write about what's hard, what helps and what heals.
I show you how it's done. And not done.
I hold your hand as you find what matters to the Savior.
And let go of those things that mattered to you, but not to Him.
I write about what Him.
               Sonya Contreras

Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

Receive weekly articles by giving your email address below:

Find more articles about faith here:
What an Amazing God We Serve
Response to Healthy Gaming
How Miserable Are You? Are You Happy?
The Need for Meaning Even in Pain
Reminders of What's Important
God's Unmeasurable Love
A Quarter of a Century Spent for Our Country
What Were You Thinking?
Who Are You Watching?
Boundaries for a Better Life
God's Boundaries
Memories of a Hero Mom
The Ripple Effect
How Do We Think Like Jesus
Litany of a Waiting Woman
Ever Cook a Frog?
New Year's Reminders
They Galled Her Gammy
When God Speaks
A Russian Christmas Story
Be Thankful
Be Grateful
Are You Tired of the Same, Old Thing?
Laughter—Why Laugh?
Are You Disturbed?
Unity of the Brothers
Encouragements To Declutter
Do You Have Too Much Stuff?
Too Much Stress
Getting Past the Noise—The Value of Silence
Are You Scatterbrained?
How Good Are You?
Looking for Something Good To Read?
A Cup of Cold Water
I Will Trust When I Cannot See
Encouragement—What Is It?
Being in God's Presence
"Einstein and the Professor"
When God Is Silent
Do You Crave Beauty?
Using Stories to Discipline
The Danger of the Wrong Story
Using Stories to Teach Lessons
God is in charge of the future
November Dare Joy Challenge
Developing an Attitude of Gratitude
Looking for Jesus
What Do Your Prayers Reflect?
Life's Little Pleasures
Daniel—Greatly Loved by God
Take Every Thought
Jars of Clay
What Do Your Words Reveal about Your Heart?
How Do You Get Strong Faith?
Too Busy for God's Word?
How Do You Think Like Jesus?
Reflections from a Mom
Pain—What's It Good For?
Why Marry?
Consider the Robin
One Life Who Made a Difference
What Day Are You Living In?
Interrupted by God
Is Jesus Really the Answer to Everything?
Are You Beat Up?
What's Your Hurry?
Are You a Manipulator?
Are You Salty?
Are You Condemned?
Trying to Understand?
Do You Expect Answers to Your Prayers?
Do You Eat Your Stress?
Need Focus?
Going through Trouble?
Immanuel—God with Us
Looking for a Relationship?
When God Says, "No!"
What Do You Do with Left-Overs?
How Great Is Your God?
Are You Needy?
How Do You See Sin?
What Do Your Words Mean?
Is Evil Overwhelming You?
Those Aha Moments
Is Your Soul Happy?
Are You Ignored?
Looking for the God Moment
Do You Know Truth from Almost Truth?
I Believe in Jesus—What Now?
Do You Have Your "Son"-Glasses On?
Less Is More
Singing His Praise
Are You Trying To Do It All?
What Do You Do with All These Prayer Requests?
Have a Problem?
Do You Know How to Pray?
Looking for God in Every Moment
Are You Receptive to God's Blessings?
Tell the Senate: Mothers Aren't Birthing People
Is Your Life Complicated?
How Do We Fight Evil?
Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
Giving Up or Taking Away
the Bible is simple
Are You a Dripping Faucet?
What's Your Testimony?
The Final Move
Be Careful What You Wish For!
Are Your Prayers Answered?
I Choose Joy
What Have You Learned from Your Hardship?
Who Are You Trying to Change?
What's Your Five-Year Plan?
The Danger of "Aloneness"
My Colors
Are You a Whiner?
Are Your Works Approved?
Do You Think You're Stressed?
Is Your Soul Feeling Ragged?
God Speaks to the Heart of the King
What about the Details?
Have You Felt the Long-Suffering of God?
How Does God Lead You?
Do You Have Enough?
Don't Carry More than You Need
Cast the Seed
God Is Faithful
Are You Deceived?
Are You Essential?
Are You Safe?
Are You Tired of the Same Old Thing?
Does the World Make Sense?
Have You Seen God's Majesty?
Do You Feel Judged?
If You Only Had One More Day To Live
Are You Understood?
Do You Long for the Word of God?
Slow Down and Smell the Dead Leaves
Are You Hospitable?
Our Heritage Is Bought by Blood
Are You Disturbed?
Are You Depressed?
I Did It My Way
Finding the Simple Life with Meaning
The Simple Life
Do You Have the Right Words?
Did Your Dream Die?
On the Other Side of the Fence
Marijuana, Mental Illness, and Violence
Confessions of a Desperate Mom
Saving for Tomorrow
A Wedding Remembered
Who Will Stand in the Gap?
Are You a Protector or a Ruler?
Who Are You?
Are You an Image Bearer or a Wad of Cells?
Are You a Watchman?
Where Do You Find Meaning?
The Lamb of God as Told by a Scribe
What Love Is This?
Remember: The Symbols of Passover Explained
Tea and Rest
Do You Have Peace?
What Makes a Marriage Work?
When Life Is Awful
Are You Strong Enough?
Be Faithful through Suffering
Do You Know the Word?
Wake Up! Strengthen What Remains
Are You Spit in God's Mouth?
Is Jezebel in Your Midst?
Do You Stand Against Satan Himself?
Are You Tired of Being a Mom?
What in the World Is Happening?
It's Not My Story
How Would Your Faith Compare?
Are You Sinking?
Are You a Rule Follower?
Useful for Him
An Intimate Moment with Mary
The Worldview that Makes the

Thoughts to Ponder
What Does It Take To Know the
    Heart of God?

See the Story in the Stars
Do the Scriptures Burn You?
Being in His Presence
Contentment: It's Not for the Timid
How Secure Are You?
How Do You Respond To Stupid People?
The Earthworm Is My Hero
Heart Issues or Issues of the Heart
Things Aren't Always What They Seem
More faith articles are found here:
under the Table of Contents. Also available in book form.
Or here:
under the Table of Contents. Also available in book form.
Articles on Suffering can be found  here, 
under Table of Contents. Also available in book form.
Special Days
Remember: The Symbols of 
   Passover Explained

Aug 12, 2017 The Heavens Declare the Glory of God
July 4th, Freedom
What Is an American Soldier?
Valentine's Day: A Day of Love?
Memorial Day-A Day To Remember
Veterans' Day-To Honor Our Men
Fall Colors
First Thanksgiving Day

Christmas: Stories behind the Songs
Christmas: Stories behind the Songs, part 2