Genesis 1:27-28 27So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. 28God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground."
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I would say that God's command to humans to subdue the earth (prior to the fall of humanity into sin) went along with the command immediately following it, which spoke of humans ruling over every other living creature. This command gave (and continues to give) humans permission to utilize the resources of earth for their aggregate benefit through activities such as agriculture, mining, construction, geographical research, scientific discovery, and mechanical invention, as well as to alter the face of the earth (through such measures as the clearing of forests, or the building or cities and roads in areas that were formerly wilderness) for their cumulative welfare. At the same time, I would say that this permission also implied (and continues to imply) a responsibility to exercise care and restraint in the implementation of that authority for the benefits of both the current human population, and future generations, as well.
Genesis 1:28 “subdue it, and rule over…” These terms indicate active power or rule involving physical force or effort. Active rule is not destructive, as creation is meant to sustain people. Humanity is instructed to keep creation under control—to keep the chaotic conditions that God subdued at bay. All must function as God originally ordered it to function (compare Gen 2:15). Understand that this is speaking of their taking possession, and making use of it; of their tilling the land, and making it subservient to their use. The general meaning of the verb appears to be “to bring under one’s control for one’s advantage.” In Gen 1:28 one might paraphrase it as follows: “harness its potential and use its resources for your benefit.” In an ancient Israelite context, this would suggest cultivating its fields, mining its mineral riches, using its trees for construction, and domesticating its animals. In ruling, they (Adam and Eve and later we) will serve as God’s vice-regents on earth. They together, the human race collectively, have the responsibility of seeing to the welfare of that which is put under them and the privilege of using it for their benefit. I looked “subdue up in Strong's Concordance and INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH the verb is kabash: "to subdue, bring into bondage" Original Word: כָּבַשׁ Part of Speech: Verb Transliteration: kabash ([כָּבַשׁ] verb "subdue, bring into bondage" (Late Hebrew id., "press, oppress"; Aramaic כְּבַשׁ, "tread down, beat or make a path, subdue"; Arabic press, "squeeze, knead" (body or limb, as in the bath, message)) Brown-Driver-Briggs says it here is Imperative plural suffix כִּבְשֻׁהָ Genesis 1:28. "You all subdue the earth!" Phonetic Spelling: (kaw-bash') Definition: “to subdue, bring into bondage” I love the Hebrew word for "subdue""kabash." Looking ahead to Jesus, Micah sees how God would put the ultimate and final kabash on sin in His Son, Jesus Christ: Micah 7:19 "He will again have compassion on us, And will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins Into the depths of the sea."
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