The subject of rightful ownership is a foundational issue in the practice of business and law and a host of other disciplines. The creator of a product or idea is generally the recognized owner, who then reaps the benefit of exclusive privileges not afforded to anyone else. But when murky circumstances throw true ownership into question, tremendous resources are sometimes consumed to establish exactly who is authorized to reap the rewards. And the rewards, or the loss thereof, can be extraordinary—just ask the original participants in the Facebook phenomenon.

It is significant, then, that God’s revealed Word opens with a declaration of ownership: “In the beginning God created…” (Genesis 1:1). This remarkably simple yet profound statement is the ultimate ownership clause. Then, lest anyone misunderstand, God later wrote it in stone with His own finger! “For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is” (Exodus 20:11). Thus, if God truly did create the world as He claims, He is then the sole and rightful owner of the entire cosmos and everything in it.

God’s ownership via fiat creation is reiterated throughout the entire expanse of Scripture. “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made…For he spake, and it was done” (Psalm 33:6, 9). “The earth is the LORD’s and the fulness thereof,” and the “sea is his, and he made it” (Psalm 24:1; 95:5). The creatures belong to God, for “every beast of the forest is mine… and the wild beasts of the field” (Psalm 50:10-11). Everything that exists and everything that we have comes from God, who “giveth to all life, and breath, and all things” (Acts 17:25). Mankind cannot claim true ownership of anything.

But we are stewards! Humans, created in the image of God and given capacity for far greater purposes than any other creature, were established by God as stewards of His creation (Genesis 1:28). They were commissioned with the dual responsibility to study the earth and its creatures and apply that knowledge for the optimum benefit of mankind for God’s glory. A fundamental part of this stewardship mandate involves the sound investment and application of God’s resources—including those that God has granted to us as individuals. God has temporarily entrusted these into our care to accomplish His work here on earth. And He is just, and right, to expect an accounting one day (1 Corinthians 3:13)….

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