Now the Trouble Begins (Genesis 1.26->)

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 air, and over the cattle, and over all the Earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the Earth.”

So God created man in his own image. In the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

And God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the Earth and subdue it; and 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 yielding seed which is upon the face of all the Earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food.

“And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the Earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.”

And God saw everything that he had made, and behold!–It was very good.

And there was evening and there was morning, a sixth day.


4 responses

  1. I, being a crazy female in love with the general ideal of feminism and goddesses, love the idea of the word “man” being used as a sort of species rather than gender. However, this also is the beginning of my pondering the image of the (possibly plural) creator.

  2. Yes, I understand that's there in the original Hebrew… that the word first used for "Adam", for example, in the later story, is neither quite male nor female, but could well mean both–until he/she is later subdivided (as in Plato's myth of us being once halves of a single being, still trying to reunite!)Notice also… that "multiplying" is not a consequence of "Sin" here.And people are living on fruit & nuts, while the lions are evidently munching veggies.And all of this is "good," although there is good reason to question: "What does She mean by 'dominion' here?" Does this imply we can and should exercise despotic rule over nature? Or something more like a constitutional monarchy, subject to being rescinded for abuse of power? (This seems more in line with how the authors thought of it.)But it has always been a great reassurance to me, this repeated assurance that the Creation is good!!!

  3. In reading and re-reading…regarding the use of the word “dominion”, perhaps it is the omniscience of the creator acknowledging the capacity for affect and influence the created possesses.

  4. If ‘dominion’ ~= ‘lordship’– (?)people might well take this to mean, “These creatures are ours to do with as we please.” But (!)….The overall spirit of the Torah is to treat authority as functional, for the sake of everyone, even–especially, since these are the first to be disregarded– for “the least of you.” Even God gives commands because following them is good for us!So Creation is here for our appreciation and our needs–but those needs are more subtle than our civilization admits, more complex. Sometimes, so far as people are really out of touch, our needs and our wants can be in utter conflict. When we can’t recognize our own savagery, we need Nature to mirror it. And so we have rendered it harsh, stingy, violent… foul, ‘defiled’ and increasingly ill… If that, too, is “dominion” in action, then we need to deeply consider, how long do we want to be rulers of that sort?Yes (if I understand you correctly) we need to have the power to make a difference. I think the trouble, is, we think of this as “power over”. As in “The rulers of the goyim lord it over their subjects.” “Power with” is better: “What do we want to play today?”

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