‘FILL THE EARTH AND SUBDUE IT’ (GN 1:28): DOMINION TO EXPLOIT AND POLLUTE?

David T Williams

Abstract


Genesis 1:28 is used in some circles as divine sanction for both unrestrained population growth and for a capitalist approach to the world as a source of resources to be exploited and as something to the world as a source of resources to be exploited and as something to be conquered for human benefit alone. In the light of a rapidly growing world population and consequent hunger, the growing

Thread of resource depletion and environmental damage due to both pollution and exploitation, these activities must be questioned, and therefore this approach to the texts reconsidered.

The time of origin of the texts was one of an affirmation of God’s sovereignty, but also of a realization of limitation and restraint, Moreover the creation narrative must be looked upon as a unique situation, so that the command was of temporary validity only. Thirdly, the understanding of the theology of creation must itself include an awareness of limitation. The command cannot therefore be seen as one urging unrestrained growth, but rather self-limitation.

Recognition of God’s sovereignty gave a distinctive approach to forces confronting Israel which led to its survival. A correct understanding of dominion and God’s sovereignty will likewise lead to a distinctive approach to a necessary limitation.

Keywords


Genesis 1:28; unrestrained population growth

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7833/44-0-1654

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ISSN 2305-445X (online); ISSN 0254-1807 (print)

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