Sunday, July 14, 2013

Paradise to the ends of the earth

God's grace and goodwill towards the earth were established in the act of creation. If the path he has laid out for us is to follow him and to be like God, then what do we make of paradise?
And God blessed them, and said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and subdue it: have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.
And God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant that bears seed upon the face of all the earth, and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit, for food.
And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to every thing that creeps upon the earth, having the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food" and it was so. (Genesis 1:28-30)

God set up humanity to understand other creatures and care for them. We call the animals by name, just as the Lord calls us by name. (As per the quote above, the book of Genesis says that in paradise, humans may have "ruled over" the animals but were not to eat them.)

Seen in this way, Eden is a template for how we should fill the earth and subdue it. God's establishment of paradise is an action that he calls us to continue, where he intends for us to walk in his footsteps. Later models of "subduing" things were corrupted by sin. But the right kind of rule makes things flourish and prosper, being better than before. The right way to "fill the earth and subdue it" would turn the whole earth into a paradise, keeping to the pattern that God showed.


Martin LaBar said...

Genesis 1:28 has been used, sometimes, as an excuse for strip mining, clear cutting, and wiping out whole species. It should be contrasted, I guess, with Psalm 24:1, Matthew 10:29, and the story of Noah, which indicates God's concern for non-human creatures.

Howard said...

No doubt part of the reason we long for Christ's return - all of creation yearning for that renewal.

Weekend Fisher said...

Hi there

Martin - I think that Genesis 1:28 has been *misused*, being part of the point. The only context that Adam & Eve have for filling the earth -- the only template, the only point of reference -- is Eden. God's act of creation can be seen as bringing a fertile order out of a lifeless chaos. So if they had really ruled over the earth after the pattern they were set, the world would be better for it not worse.

Howard - definitely yearning for renewal. But starting now. :)

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF

Howard said...

Interesting to consider the situation now (Genesis 9:1-16) in contrast to the state in Eden. The goal is a creation in harmony with the original estate, underpinned by Redemption, which we gain a foretaste of in our adoption, but are longing to see fulfilled when, on the day of the resurrection, becomes the home of creation.

Martin LaBar said...

OK. Thanks!