Genesis 1: 24-28, 31 (NIV)
24 And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning-the sixth day.
God said, “Let us make man in our image … and let them rule … over all the earth …” (Genesis 1: 26 NIV). The ESV translation presents the same verse this way:
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
At creation, humans “rule(d) over all the earth” or “(had) dominion over all the earth” – and it was very good.
When the serpent beguiled Eve into disobeying God: “You will not surely die” (Genesis 3: 4), and when Eve and then Adam allowed the serpent to dominate them – to the extent that they disobeyed God’s clear command to them (Genesis 2: 16-17) – effectively humans surrendered to the serpent, to Satan, the responsibility entrusted to them to rule over all the earth!
Matthew’s Gospel account of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness acknowledges that Satan claimed this (Matthew 4: 8-10):
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”
Jesus recognised this when he referred to Satan as “prince of this world” (John 12: 31-32):
Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.
Christian men and women know too well that we live in a fallen world. But this does not cause us to lose hope and to give up. Rather, we look to the One who draws all people to himself. We look to the one whose victory over Satan on the cross was final and was complete.
We take great heart from Jesus’ promise: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16: 33).