One of the most foundational beliefs that a person should have is that God is the Creator and Sustainer of all things. He is the Creator and Sustainer of the heavens and the earth. He is the Creator and Sustainer of plant life and animals. He is the Creator and Sustainer of the land and the sea and everything in them. He is also the Creator and Sustainer of mankind.
“It is He that has made us and not we ourselves.” One of the reasons that people sometimes balk at this truth is that it implies accountability. If it is true that God made us then it is also true that we are accountable to Him for how we live the life He has given us.
Genesis 1 tells us that one of the first responsibilities God gave to the man He created was to take dominion over creation. Notice carefully that He did not say to take domination but to take dominion. They are very different things. Domination is basically to exert authority over another, often in a violent way. Dominion on the other hand has to do with discovering and developing and using in a beneficial way. In other words, it is to cause something to flourish. To be more precise, since this is a command of God to mankind, to take dominion is to make all things flourish to the glory of God.
Enter George Washington Carver. Carver had a difficult life from the beginning. He was born to a slave woman on a plantation owned by Moses and Susan Carver in Missouri near the end of the Civil War. He and his mother were kidnapped by raiders and taken to Arkansas. Moses Carver joined up with a former Union scout and they were able to find the infant George abandoned in a cabin. His mother was never seen again. Mr. Carver adopted George and cared for him and his wife Susan educated him. It was from Mr. Carver that George Washington Carver took his name.
Even as a child, Carver showed that he was a very intelligent young man. Though he was free, he was not allowed to attend the same schools that the white children attended. But he persisted and he ultimately became the first black student at Iowa State Agricultural College in the 1890’s. Carver established a reputation as a brilliant botanist and his accomplishments became legendary.
He discovered over 300 uses for peanuts including clothing dyes, paint, and even fuel for cars. He also discovered hundreds of uses for sweet potatoes, soy beans, and pecans. In other words, George Washington Carver took dominion over peanuts, sweet potatoes, soy beans, and pecans. And it is important to note that Carver understood how integral his Christian faith was to all of these things. He rightly understood that there was no conflict between his faith and his occupation as a scientist. A young friend spoke to him of the gospel and he put his faith in Christ at ten years of age. He was known as a devout Christian all of his life. It was obvious to him that the glory of God was evident in all of creation—including peanuts. He said,
“I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.”
A great example to all of us to work, by God’s grace, to make all things flourish to the glory of God.