When you have dominion over something, it means that you are in charge. You are responsible for what happens. That is what it means to have dominion.
When God created man on the sixth day of Creation, He had already created everything else prior to that point – the land, the seas, the atmosphere, the heavens, and all the plants and animals that live on planet earth. So, when God created man, He put man in charge of everything that He had created. He gave him dominion over the earth.
Genesis 1:26 says, “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’” Well, man was made in the image of God, which meant that mankind was God’s representative to take care of everything that had been created.
The word “dominion” is a word that means “to rule.” It comes from a word that means “to tread down and subjugate.” Here in Genesis 1, though, it does not have the idea of being oppressive. Rather, it is the idea of reigning over whatever is there – “to hold sway as the primary ruler.”
Well, it becomes obvious that the creation of man was the ultimate objective of God’s creative work. Everything else was created with mankind’s survival and enjoyment in view, and he was told to have dominion over it all. Now, that meant that humans were responsible to take care of the environment – to maintain it and preserve it – not to waste it and abuse it. Even though sin has corrupted everything, we still need to be good managers of our environment.
Now you know the real meaning of the word.
Say – are you careful about your environment? Do you take care of things? God gave mankind dominion over the earth – it is our responsibility before God.