When it comes to divine glory, it can be easy to miss one of the primary ways that the Lord has purposed to show His glory in our world. We are speaking, of course, of humanity. God intended from the very beginning to display His glory in and through the work of men and women.
Genesis 1:27–28 gives us the first evidence of this truth. As these verses indicate, our Creator made men and women in His image. Although there has been much discussion over the centuries as to the exact meaning of God’s image, we can at least say that our being made in the Lord’s image means that we are more like Him than the animals and the other things in creation are. Like God, we have minds and wills. We are also able to create tools, art, and so forth. We are able to reflect the Creator to His creation because we are like Him, and in reflecting Him we are to reflect something of His glory.
How do we do this? The same verses give us an indication. Note that in Genesis 1:28, human beings are commanded to “have dominion . . . over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Men and women have been ordained as the Lord’s vice-regents, as rulers who are to take care of creation in submission to God’s ultimate rule as the Maker and Sovereign over all things.
In taking dominion, we show forth the sovereign glory of the Lord to creation. Moreover, dominion manifests itself in various ways. It includes being fruitful and multiplying, creating more images of God through bearing children and raising them to know the Word of God (Gen. 1:28; Deut. 6:4–9). Showing forth God’s glory through dominion involves working and keeping creation (Gen. 2:15), engaging in fruitful labor just as the Lord labors to preserve and sustain all things. This labor consists of our ordinary vocations but also establishes broader disciplines such as science. As Dr. R.C. Sproul often observed in looking at Genesis 2, Adam was the first scientist because in naming the animals, he was the first to engage in taxonomy, the classification of living things that is so important to the study of biology.
Finally, we should not overlook the ways that human beings reflect the glory of God by creating beauty. The very first people in Scripture identified as filled with the Spirit were the craftsmen Bezalel and Oholiab. They were tasked with making the tabernacle and all its elements, which featured vibrant colors and precious metals, all of which pointed to the beauty and glory of God (Ex. 31:1–11).