God’s Work in Creation and Our Practice of Leadership
Updated: Apr 29, 2021
This is part of a series of articles from an upcoming book, Christ Centered Leadership. This article is from a section that explores the connection between the big story of Scripture (metanarrative) and leadership. There are four acts in the big story of Scripture: creation, fall, redemption, and restoration. This article considers the impact of God’s work in creation on our practice of leadership.
“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.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’” Genesis 1:26-28
God is the creator and sustainer of the universe, and His creation is good. The pinnacle of creation is humanity, which God created in His image. Genesis 9:6, 1 Corinthians 11:7, and James 3:9 indicate that some part of God’s image was retained by all humans even after the fall of humanity into sin. Theologians often debate the meaning of the image of God in humanity, but all agree that it at least means: humans have the ability to relate to God in a manner unique from the rest of creation, humans have higher abilities of reason and creativity than the rest of creation, and humans have more responsibility to act justly than any other part of creation.
As God created humans, He gave us a mandate to be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue the earth. Of course, God intended for humans to have children, spread out across the earth, and use the resources He provided. Many rabbis, Bible scholars, and theologians have noticed in this mandate something more:
Be fruitful and multiply: generate growth, create, be productive
Fill the earth: explore, learn, and understand the design of the earth, serve as God’s Kingdom representatives in every place
Subdue the earth: learn to care for and utilize the resources God has provided, find new ways to harness the power of the created world, advance humanity along with the rest of creation
These two ideas—the creation of humans in God’s image and God’s mandate to humans—impact leadership in at least three ways. First, all leaders are created in God’s image with abilities that are unique from the rest of creation. We can reason, relate to God and each other on deep levels, and we are creative problem solvers capable of accomplishing great things for God’s glory. Second, all those we lead are created in God’s image with the same relational needs, capacities, and potential. Third, leadership can be God-honoring in almost any sector of life (home, business, church, politics) because through those sectors, we can lead others to fulfill the mandate given to us by God.
There is much more to say about the impact of creation on leadership, but for the purposes of this article, this discussion must suffice. I encourage all leaders, however, to pursue the beautiful ideas related to leadership recorded for us in the creation story Here are a few of the ideas worth exploring further:
God’s work to bring order to chaos and substance to emptiness
The carefulness, excellence, and intention of God’s work
God’s rest from His finished work,
The presence of Adam’s work before sin came into the world
The addition of Eve as a co-laborer in the work God gave to Adam
What other ways does God’s work in creation impact our practice of leadership? What are some practical ways this works itself out in the day-to-day practices of leaders? How does this change your perspective on leadership, leaders, and leading?