28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. 29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. 30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
These verses describe the relationship between man and nature with some very impactful language. The Hebrew root for the word “dominion” for example means “to dominate,” “to rule over,” or “to tread under.” I have brought to mind the image of a horse being broken so that it will obey the will of its rider.
And admittedly these are some hard words for me to digest. I’ve always sought to have a more peaceful relationship with animal life. I come from a state where hunting is a regular fall-time activity, one that I have absolutely no interest in taking part of.
I’m sure part of these more mellow feelings is that the animals around me are already domesticated. When I view a kitten curled on my lap for a nap I hardly feel any need to take it down a peg or two! Our relationship with animals is far removed from that of our ancestors who lived in the wild, hunted for their food, and were ever fearful of an apex predator taking their lives!
On the other hand, I do look at a mountain and feel the need to dominate it by climbing its defiant peak. I have that urge to row across a great lake, just because it’s there. I see a stretch of land and I want to break its soil and sow it with crops of my own. That yearning to surmount nature still exists, though we should keep that passion within reason.