Fill the Earth and Subdue It

 

27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

In class this week, we are talking about the nature of culture and my professor mentioned a concept I had only heard about in passing; the cultural mandate of Genesis.

Dr. Mouw, the president of my seminary, is a proponent of the concept that when God issues a mandate to humanity (giving us the first command and a purpose in life) to fill the earth that what we are filling the earth with is not just with new people (although that is part of it), but that we are filling the earth with everything we are creating. Whatever we do, we are creating something. Whether that is ideas, stories, or something more concrete and physical we are creating thigns all the time. It’s kind of inevitable, really.

So the question I started sitting and pondering was, what am I filling the earth with? Is it worth anything? Am I filling the earth with something that is really worthwhile and could even be something worthy of God? Or am I filling the earth with so much more noise that really doesn’t add anything to the world itself? How about you? What are you filling the world with?

“God intended from the beginning that human beings would ‘fill the earth’ with the processes, patterns, and products of cultural formation.  And this intention has in no way been canceled by human sin.  God will redeem and transform that which is presently perverted and distorted by human disobedience to his will.”

-Richard Mouw, When the Kings Come Marching In 

 

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