So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.” (Genesis 1:27-28a)
What God created in the first six days is remarkable. But what’s equally remarkable is what he did not create.
He created animals, but he didn’t give them names. He created land, but he didn’t build roads. He created stars, but he didn’t invent the telescope.
After working for six days, God left the earth largely undeveloped and uncultivated. He created a blank canvas and then invited us to join him in filling it.
That’s what today’s passage is all about. Before God rested on the seventh day, he put a succession plan in place, calling us to create in his image—to “fill the earth and subdue it.” As pastor Timothy Keller points out, this is a call for “civilization, not just procreation.” It is a call to cultural creation.
We often treat the sixth day as the end of the creation account. But day six is just the beginning! It’s when God passed the baton to us and in essence said, “Go work and create like me. Show me what you can do with this blank canvas I’ve created for you. Fill this world with good things just as I did in the beginning!”
Only once this mandate was delivered for us to work did God say that his creation was “very good” (Genesis 1:31). The implication of this truth is clear: Work was designed to be a very good, God-like, worshipful thing. But as we’ll see tomorrow, sin ensured work wouldn’t stay perfect forever.