If you go back to Genesis, you find God telling men to “be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion…” (Genesis 1:28). God wants man to be fruitful. That can mean reproduction in terms of having children, but it also means spiritual reproduction. It means bearing fruit for the Lord, producing love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (see Galatians 5:22-23).
God wants human beings to increase and grow. Artificial limits on growth are not biblical. The concept of zero growth, for example, is not biblical; and the concept of the socialist-type government, which puts arbitrary controls on a man’s ability to make money or create or invent, is not biblical. God wants man to be a fruitful, creative, reproducing individual.
God also wants men to have dominion over Satan. He wants us, as His representatives, to subjugate Satan. Jesus Christ gave us that authority. He wants us to do away with the works of Satan–to take away poverty, to lift the yoke of oppression, and to take away ignorance and lack of faith. He wants us to bring a blessing to people and to liberate them from the forces that would destroy them.
Then, when we have taken dominion over the things that will hurt our fellow man, He wants us to take dominion over the earth. We are to have dominion over the streams and the air, and the fields and the birds, and the animals in our world. We are not supposed to pollute the streams and befoul the air and rip up the minerals in this earth just for personal gain. We are supposed to be intelligent stewards, under God, of all these things. God wants us to manage the world as His sons and daughters. He wants us to bring about righteousness in this world. Our main purpose for being on earth is to be stewards of God’s creation, to grow in God, and to function as God’s sons and daughters.
In the Westminster Shorter Catechism, the Presbyterians say that man’s chief aim is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. The mandate in Genesis to take dominion has no meaning apart from giving glory to God. We are to be subject to Him, to love Him, to walk with Him, and to have fellowship with Him.
The prophet Micah sums it up when he says, “And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8)?