Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 3 (2):102-113 (1990)
The creation story in Genesis speaks of humankind being given dominion over nature. Does this support the view that nature has solely instrumental value, and is of worth only insofar as it serves the necessities and conveniences of the human species? Does dominion amount to unfettered domination here? An interpretation of the story is advanced employing procedures of practical criticism. Three central images are focussed on: Adam's being given dominion over the other creatures, his naming of them, and his being made in God's likeness. It is argued that these images, in their qualification and enrichment of each other, develop the idea that animals are of worth independently of their usefulness to us. Other key parts of the Bible, that at first may seem to promote unfettered domination, are shown to be more properly read as supporting an animal-benign religious ethics.
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