Question re. Subdue and Rule over in Genesis 1:28
Picking and choosing chapters to read in a recent book by Ben Stanhope called “(Mis)Interpreting Genesis: How the Creation Museum Misunderstands the Ancient Near Eastern Context of the Bible” and came across a chapter on animal death before the fall.
He argues on the basis of the Hebrew verbs kavash and radah that animal death is likely before the fall, both from the humans, and also from the animals themselves.
God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
וַיְבָ֣רֶךְ אֹתָם֮ אֱלֹהִים֒ וַיֹּ֨אמֶר לָהֶ֜ם אֱלֹהִ֗ים פְּר֥וּ וּרְב֛וּ וּמִלְא֥וּ אֶת־הָאָ֖רֶץ וְכִבְשֻׁ֑הָ וּרְד֞וּ בִּדְגַ֤ת הַיָּם֙ וּבְעֹ֣וף הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם וּבְכָל־חַיָּ֖ה הָֽרֹמֶ֥שֶׂת עַל־הָאָֽרֶץ׃
καὶ ηὐλόγησεν αὐτοὺς ὁ θεὸς λέγων Αὐξάνεσθε καὶ πληθύνεσθε καὶ πληρώσατε τὴν γῆν καὶ κατακυριεύσατε αὐτῆς καὶ ἄρχετε τῶν ἰχθύων τῆς θαλάσσης καὶ τῶν πετεινῶν τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καὶ πάντων τῶν κτηνῶν καὶ πάσης τῆς γῆς καὶ πάντων τῶν ἑρπετῶν τῶν ἑρπόντων ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς.
Stanhope says re. Kavash
The first verb translated “subdue” here, kavash, occurs thirteen other times in the Bible. Surveying its usage comprehensively, in six of these cases, it refers to military conquest of hostile lands. Five other instances use it to speak of forcing people into slavery. Among the remaining two, Mic 7:19 uses it of God aggressively trampling sin underfoot, and Esther 7:8 uses it to speak of sexual assault. War, enslavement, trampling, and assault! It’s no wonder Christians and Jews concerned… The takeaway: Humanity was commanded to conquer and take rulership over the animals with language similar to Israel’s mandate to conquer Canaan through military combat.
And concerning radah
Radah occurs at least twenty-six other times in the Bible and seems to derive from an etymology either of “descending upon” or of “treading” (as in a winepress). It “is used to communicate a highly coercive form of control. The verb by itself can be used to communicate harshness or injustice…. The focus is on having power over someone and not on executing administrative or bureaucratic functions.”
The military terminology of the creation mandate permits use of human force and violence against the animal world. Consequently, it seems most reasonable to also conclude violence existed between animals before the Fall.
Any thoughts on the validity of this argument?
1: on the basis of the meaning of the verbs in their wider contexts for humans causing death to animals before the fall
2: the step that he takes to assume animals causing death to animals before the fall.
The lxx Greek verbs don’t bear the same violent notions that he sees in the Hebrew