Gen 1:28 ESV – 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 heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Now God doesn’t just proclaim this as good, he gives mankind a blessing and a mission. The blessing isn’t defined and is its own sentence. It would seem it must be tied to the command, but nothing directly says this.
Blessing: Regardless of anything else, Yahweh blessed mankind. He blessed 2 things clearly in this creation account. Yah blessed sea creatures and birds and blessed them (Gen 1:22), and humankind. We don’t see it for land animals, and in reality birds live on the ground for the most part. Its hard ot tell if something is overlooked here or not.
Regardless, Humans have a direct blessing from Yahweh, before anything occurs. Before behavior, before commands, before anything.
Commandment: To be fruitful, multiply, and maintain order over all the animals created. This is a responsibility as anything else. Many people understand this as an endorsement of position, but I think it misses the point. This directive can just as easily communicate not just a behavior, but an obligation. Yahweh blessed humanity, and then directed them to keep things in order.
Another interesting angle, what if there is already evil in the world, and Humanity was placed there as the agent of restoration? What if this commandment/directive, along with the blessing, makes way for humanity to overcome. What if this commandment inaugurates the right of humanity to enforce things, and the blessing backs it up. As we will see later, the adversary in the form of a serpent is relegated to crawl on the earth. That category so far isn’t blessed, and Mankind is to have dominion over it.
This could lead to at least 3 different ideas:
- The physical created order already existed, and had been destroyed or reformed into this new expression.
- The heavenly realms which are not material were already experiencing the demonic/satanic rebellion, and the physical creation was created with at least 1 element being redemptive.
- God foresees the rebellion and prepares a blessing and directive that will justify and support redemptive action.
In any scenario, mankind is uniquely positioned by Yahweh to put creation (at least the Earth) in order, and subdue it, and reign over it in Yahweh s likeness.Mankind is the only created being in Gods likeness, and given the directive to operate in a similar context to God.