A reflection on the universe:
10. Coming as it does from the hand of God, the cosmos bears the imprint of his goodness. It is a beautiful world, rightly moving us to admiration and delight, but also calling for cultivation and development.
Also gratitude, I would say. Does the day of rest, prayer, and leisure afford us with the opportunity to be thankful?
At the “completion” of God’s work, the world is ready for human activity. “On the seventh day God finished his work which he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done” (Gn 2:2). With this anthropomorphic image of God’s “work”, the Bible not only gives us a glimpse of the mysterious relationship between the Creator and the created world, but also casts light upon the task of human beings in relation to the cosmos. The “work” of God is in some ways an example for (people), called not only to inhabit the cosmos, but also to “build” it and thus become God’s “co-worker”. As I wrote in my Encyclical Laborem Exercens, the first chapters of Genesis constitute in a sense the first “gospel of work”.(no. 25) This is a truth which the Second Vatican Council also stressed: “Created in God’s image, (people were) commissioned to subdue the earth and all it contains, to rule the world in justice and holiness, and, recognizing God as the creator of all things, to refer himself and the totality of things to God so that with everything subject to God, the divine name would be glorified in all the earth”.(Gaudium et Spes 34)
The subduing of the planet, and by extension, the created universe is hopefully not understood in the sense of conquest and whim, but of respect, stewardship, and grateful management.
The exhilarating advance of science, technology and culture in their various forms — an ever more rapid and today even overwhelming development — is the historical consequence of the mission by which God entrusts to man and woman the task and responsibility of filling the earth and subduing it by means of their work, in the observance of God’s Law.