Rebecca is posting about environmental issues. Regarding our relationship to the earth, she says:
The earth belongs to the Lord, of course, but he's chosen to give human beings rulership over the plants, the animals, and the rest of the earth's resources. God told Adam and Eve to fill the earth and subdue it (Genesis 1:27), and we inherit that command. The idea of subduing the earth, in context, is that of managing the created order to our advantage, or harnessing it's potential for our continued benefit. We need what the earth has to offer us, and God have given us the authority and the responsibility to use the earth's many gifts as we see fit.
I disagree. In particular, I disagree with this statement: "The idea of subduing the earth, in context, is that of managing the created order to our advantage, or harnessing it's potential for our continued benefit." Basically, I don't think that the subduing the earth is primarily for our advantage or benefit. As Rebecca, rightly points out, "The earth belongs to the Lord". Therefore, our subduing the earth should be primarily for His benefit. We are stewards of His property; we are to manage it for His sake, not ours.
I see our stewardship of the earth the same way I see the stewardship in the Parable of the Talents. The owner will return, and He will expect some Return on Investment. He did not entrust the talents to the servants so they could benefit themselves; Nor was He satisfied with merely getting His talents back. He wanted his talents to multiply.
I fear on the Last Day that God will say to Humanity: "I gave you a billion species to manage, and you only give me back 267!!?!?"
When God gave us dominion over the earth, I think that He wanted us to subdue and tame the wilderness, to cultivate it and bring order to it. We are to guide nature into maturity and make it even better than it was in raw form. We are not meant to use it to our own ends, for our own benefit. We are caretakers, and thus our goal is to nurture the earth, not bend it to our own desires.
The idea that the earth is for us to use as we see fit because we have dominion over it is one that troubles me deeply.