Man's Dominion

The debate over dominion or rule is ancient and may never be settled by human wisdom. Taking a look at what God originally said concerning the dominion of man on the earth is enlightening.

Genesis 1:26-28 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth (the wild animals of the earth; orig.) and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

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.

There is a slight difference in verse 26 and verse 28 but that difference changes everything men have thought they had dominion over. God speaks of giving the man dominion over the fish of the sea and the birds of the heavens and livestock and over all the earth (though the original says the wild animals on the earth) and the creeping things. In verse 28 when the man has been created and God is now facing “them” He leaves out the words, “over all the earth.” All translations are this way. Why?

God never gave the human dominion over the land or dominion over another human. Yet these two things are the causes of countless wars and the deaths of millions. Believing that one can dominate others is one of the oldest evils on earth and assuming ownership of land, especially when the land one lives on doesn’t really belong to him or her anyway, is the other great misrepresentation of these scriptures. The fact that God said something different when facing and blessing humans has significance.

Would it have been wiser to have never mentioned the land at all when telling Moses about how the world began? Or was this the wisest way to make a point of what the human was truly given to “manage,” which is the original word used and not dominion.

Another small point with a large consequence is God saying to the man and woman, “be fruitful and multiply. They did not multiply until after the fall of Adam. Interesting.

Christine Potter