A Pilgrim's Catechism
The Occasional Thoughts of a 21st-Century Roman Catholic on Journey
Towards the Reign of God
Anonymous: Adam Naming the animals, Meteora, 15th century
How does Genesis understand the human role in creation?
In Genesis 1, on the sixth day, God makes human beings in his own image and likeness. To medieval scholastics this meant that, like God, humans would have intellect and will. The Hebrew knew none of this. Genesis describes God as creating and having dominion. Man and woman, made in his image and likeness, are destined to share in creating and having dominion over the world.
This is also made clear in Genesis 2, the second creation story, when God parades all of the animals in front of Adam who then gives them their names. For the Hebrew (and indeed to a certain extent for all of us) to know the name of something, or someone, is to have power over them.
God thus gives to human beings responsibility for the world and all that live in it.