Upon creation, to Adam and Eve, who were made in the likeness of God, God commanded them to be fruitful and to multiply and to replenish the earth and subdue it. He gave them dominion over the other creatures – the fish of the sea, the fowl of the air, and every living land animal. (Genesis 1:26, 28).
After the flood, to Noah and his sons, God re-issued his command. God commanded them to be fruitful and to multiply and to replenish the earth, but this time, not only would man have dominion over the other creatures, but he would be deemed dreaded as well, for God told them that every animal (beast of the earth), and every bird (fowl of the air), all land animals (all that move upon the earth), and all the sea animals (fishes of the sea), shall be in fear and dread of him (man). Into man’s hands were all these creatures delivered.
To have dominion is to have the power to rule with authority. The word ‘dominion’ is derived from the stem of the word ‘dominio‘ which in medieval Latin means lordship.
To be dreaded is to be ‘in fear of ‘, according to modern definition, however, the archaic usage of the word ‘dread’ implied ‘reverence and awe’.
Points to ponder:
Man was commanded to lord (rule) over God’s creation, so that they had a reverential fear of him in awe. However, we must be careful to recognize that such dominion and dread is not given to man, so that he can misuse it, as we often see in others and ourselves.
We must also recognize that true dominion and dread belongs to God (Job 25:2). It is only God who is the Lord over all and the ruler of all creation (Psalm 22:28; Psalm 103:19). Only him must we (all creatures) be in fear and reverential awe (Psalm 119:120). Does God have dominion and dread over you and me?
Genesis 1:26-28 (KJV)
26 And 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 fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
Genesis 9:2 (KJV)
2 And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.
Job 25:2 (HCSB)
2 Dominion and dread belong to Him, the One who establishes harmony in the heavens.