The Responsibility of Royalty: Genesis 1-11 and the Care of the Earth

James Limburg

Article Type: Article

Publication Date: 4/1/1991

Issue: The Environment (Vol. 11, No 2, Spring, 1991)

For those who have followed the discussion about the Bible and the environment since that first Earth Day, it seems indeed that we have heard this song before. The Judeo-Christian pears the perfect rationale for cutting down forests, running roads through every wild place, killing off snail darters.3 tradition continues to be understood as anti-environmental, and the locus classicus for those making this charge continues to be the text about dominion in Gen 1.4 The focus of this essay will be on that “dominion” saying in Gen 1:26-28 in its context in Gen 1-11. What does “have dominion” mean in these chapters? What do they say about the relationship between humankind and the natural environment? And what does this mean for our own time, just past Earth Day II?

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