Observe that the two accounts agree in the following fundamental teachings: (1) One supreme God is the Creator; (2) man is closely akin to God; (3) all else is created for man’s best and noblest development.
Is the primary aim of these accounts to present scientific facts or to teach religious truths? Paul says in Timothy that “Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness.” Is their religious value, even as in the parables of the New Testament, entirely independent of their historical or scientific accuracy? Is there any contradiction between the distinctive teachings of the Bible and modern science? Do not the Bible and science deal with two different but supplemental fields of life: the one with religion and morals, the other with the physical world?
MAN’S CONQUEST AND RULERSHIP OF THE WORLD.
In the story of Genesis 1 man is commanded to subdue the earth and to have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that creeps upon the earth. How far has man already subdued the animals and made them serve him? How far has he conquered the so-called natural forces and learned to utilize them? Is the latter day conquest of the air but a step in this progress? Are all inventions and developments of science in keeping with the purpose expressed in Genesis 1? Does the command imply the immediate or the gradual conquest of nature? Why? Do science and the Bible differ or agree in their answers to these questions?
MAN’S RESPONSIBILITY AS THE RULER OF THE WORLD.
Consider the different ways in which the Biblical accounts of creation state that man is akin to God. In the one account man was created in the image of God; in the other Jehovah formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils his own life-giving breath. In what sense is man God-like? Are all men “made in the image of God”? Does this story imply that every man has the right and capacity to become God-like?
A high official of China, whose power of authority extends to questions of life and death, is called “the father and mother of his people.” If he fails in the responsibility which his authority imposes upon him, and the people in consequence create a disturbance, he is severely punished, sometimes by death. Does authority always imply responsibility? Of what value to man is the conquest of the forces of nature? President Roosevelt said that he considered the conservation of the natural resources of the United States the most important question before the American people. Is this political question also a religious question?
Why did God give man authority over the animal world? Does the responsibility that comes from this authority rest upon every man? One of the laws of the Boy Scouts reads: