Perhaps one of the most misunderstood, misapplied and consequently messed-up teachings of the first chapter of Genesis comes in God’s command to man to “subdue the earth and have dominion” (Gen. 1:28).
Theologians have often discussed the differences of the Dominion Theology presented in Genesis 1 and the Dependence Theology of chapter 2. The Hebrew word, radah rendered as dominion inescapably has the tone of ruling, or governing over. It’s the same word used for kings to subdue their enemies.
While the word avad found in Gen. 2:15 (“The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden to till it and keep it”) means to serve, to work with. In this second creation account of Genesis chapter 2, men and women are made of dust and breath; the very same substances that the rest of the animals are created with.
Domination theology has…well, dominated our western ideas of humans struggle for survival – highlighting the wrestling match we’ve had with the earth to hand over her resources. The second, dependence or stewardship theology has been more recent and reflects our different sensitivities that the fate of the earth and the fate of humanity are tied together.
Which leads us to the honey bees – 1/3 of all honey bee colonies collapse each year- this means no honey is produced in these hives. This has been a 10 year pattern around the world. The honey bee decline is significant because it’s not just one fixable cause that is behind the decline. Instead the abysmal bee situation is related to a synergistic mix of pesticides, farming habits, decline of wild flowers, etc.
A new study – previewed in the New York Times today, is helpful if you want to learn more.
Perhaps the disappearing bee is just the canary in the mine we need to jog our memory that our domination is one of service and love.
Hum. Reminds you of Jesus doesn’t it? “For even the Son of Man has come not to be served but to serve.” Mark 10:45.