To Till Is to Serve

Kathryn Schifferdecker, assistant professor of Old Testament [at Luther Seminary]... points to the response of the non-human creation, singing the praise and glory of God, that human beings might learn from the rest of creation to praise God, who gives the gift of life.

While in Genesis 1 humans are given the command to subdue the land and have dominion, this is not a statement of war on created things. Instead, Schifferdecker points to this command as a promise, and as a summons to rule as God rules, with self-giving love. The keeping and tilling of the earth (Genesis 2:15) is a blessing; the Hebrew word for "to till" can also mean "to serve."

It is the work of humanity to serve God by serving and keeping creation. In doing so, humanity allows the voice of creation to cry out with joy and praise to its creator.