(Genesis 1:28 KJV) 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.I like the KJV use of the word “replenish.” The NASB uses “fill.” In one sense this means that God approves of the spread of mankind over the face of the world. When I compared translations available on my computer they seemed to reinforce the idea that this means to have children and subdue the earth. The idea of the glorious primeval wilderness is not of divine origin, even though I enjoy getting away from civilization.
The deeper meaning of “fill” is to complete. It has the idea of bringing something to its intended state. It is often translated “fulfill” with this in mind. The human hand is part of the completeness that God had in mind for the world. Of course that was before the fall.
The difference between the Christian view and the modern environmentalist is that the Christian believes that the world is to be maintained in stewardship so that it will serve man well. Earth will be renewed in the end times and become a special place, but it is always a part of creation. The pagan believes that the earth is to be maintained to make it happy and show that it is loved. To the pagan the earth is a living being, a goddess. You may have heard or seen the name Gaia. It is the name of a pagan deity for the earth.
Man is given a responsibility.
(Genesis 2:15 KJV) And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.The word “keep” is defined as “to keep, guard, observe, give heed.” We are not to be wasteful or destructive. We are to take care of the earth because it is on loan from God, not because it is a god.
The heretical arm of the Emergent Church movement has fallen into the trap of giving the physical earth a place it does not deserve. One book I read was An Emergent Manifesto of Hope. It is a collection of essays by leading thinkers in the Emergent Church movement and is published by what I used to think of as an orthodox publishing house. Each of the following quotes comes from a different author in a different part of the book.
p. 67, “...that we aren’t the center of creation but called to worship it, to give ourselves up for it?”
p. 133, “God’s single mission - restoring Creation.”
p. 204, “As important as both right beliefs and right practices might be, neither was Jesus Christ’s primary mission,...In the incarnation, God became human as a continuation of God’s hope for creation.”Beware of those who want to make protecting the planet the major goal of Jesus. Accept that we are to be stewards of the earth but don’t throw out eternity for the temporal.
Do I have a point?
Pagitt, Doug and Jones, Tony, ed. An Emergent Manifesto of Hope. Grand Rapids: Baker
homo unius libri