Since the beginning of our existence, mankind has fought continuously over natural resources. Water, fertile soil, forests, oil, gold, and a great deal of other items have been the centerpiece of death and destruction as greed has driven various cultures at different time periods to attempt to control access to these things. With all of that violence we may have forgotten an important fact, we don’t actually own anything. We can’t own anything. All the world belongs to God, including humanity. If we belong to God, and the world belongs to God, then how can we own anything?
The World Is His
Despite mankind’s predisposition for war, hatred, and violence, we have been successful in flourishing as a population on this planet. We have created methods of food production and distribution that are capable of feeding the entire planet. We have created population centers where we live and work as neighbors while relying on others to produce and distributed food. We have worked to protect delicate ecosystems, wildlife, and even our own kind when necessary. Yet, we still think of the forest, ocean, wildlife, and even the earth itself as our own. Is this a valid position? Do we own the means by which we feed, cloth, and entertain ourselves?
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and every creature that crawls upon the earth.”Genesis 1:28
It is true, God has granted us authority over the earth, however this does not mean that we own it. It is still His creation, we are still His creation. If we belong to Him, all that belongs to us ultimately belongs to Him. We are merely granted the luxury of being stewards of God’s creation, and frankly, not a very large portion of His creation as we have come to understand its vastness.
As we look at the world around us, even if we do not agree that God owns the world, we can agree that humanity cannot own anything. Imagine a rock resting on a piece of soil. This soil, and subsequently the rock, was claimed to be the property of an early settler hundreds of years ago. Prior to that moment, no one had ever claimed to own the rock, and after that moment, the property was sold, foreclosed, inherited, and so on throughout many generations. As people, if we were asked who owns the property, we simply say that whomever holds the title currently owns the property. But what of the rock? If it could speak, whom might it call it’s owner? Perhaps it still holds to the idea that no person owns it, just as it has been for centuries prior. However, if this rock is fortunate enough to remember its creation, it would undoubtedly state that it belongs to the Lord, the God of all things. It was God who created the rock and it was God who had allowed mankind to claim the rock as property. Although different people had felt that the rock belonged to them, the rock itself always knew that it was truly God that it belonged to.
The same is true for us. If we cannot own the rocks or the soil because it belongs to God who created it, how can we claim to own anything? Truly, we do not even own ourselves, for we are in the same situation as the rock. We were created by God, to serve God. We do not own the cattle that we eat, nor the plants that we grow. These things only exist because God allows them to exist, and if it is God that allows them to exist, then it is God that owns them. Shouldn’t the same logic apply to us?
Sacrifice Of Thanksgiving
If God owns all of the animals and vegetables of the earth, what purpose does a sacrifice serve Him? None. God does not need a sacrifice, He does not need us to feed Him. The purpose of the sacrifice was so that we would would remember that all we have is from Him. It belongs to Him. The act of sacrificing an animal is meant to remind us that since all we have is from God, we should not fight over it. We should do as God commands and use what He has given us to support each other, to help each other, to strengthen and raise one another up in His name. We give a portion of what God has given us back to Him as a way to give thanks to God for all that He has given us.