Eden, the Place of Testing

I have recently found another reference regarding Genesis Chapter 1 and whether or not the world needed restoration. This quote is not in complete agreement with what Pastor Barnhouse has been teaching in The Invisible War but I don’t find any differences that cannot be quickly reconciled.

The article I am taking this quote from appeared in the December 2010 Journal of Dispensational Theology and is titled “Eden, A Place of Testing.” In the quote below the author is discussing the word subdue (kabash) translated as subdue in Genesis 1:28.

28 God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue [kabash] it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth.”

Genesis 1:28

I have read this passage before and I never thought much about it. After reading the following quote I won’t read over so quickly again!

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The overwhelming sense of the word kabash, even when used with eretz, is to subdue, defeat, or subjugate persons. The land is subdued when the persons who control it are defeated. However, in Genesis 1:28 the only persons who were in existence at the time of creation besides the Godhead and the male and female humans were the angels. This suggests that the angels are the source of evil, in control of or attempting to control the earth, and that angels are the “enemies of God” that require subjugation. Lloyd wrote, “ A closer examination of the early chapters of Genesis contradicts the initial impression that all is harmonius and happy before the human Fall. The command to ‘subdue’ the earth suggests opposition, the snake is clearly antipathetic to the commands of God, and Eden is only a garden – not the whole of creation.” Lloyd argued for angelic intervention as one explanation of the Fall.

The third suggested candidate for the event(s) which vitiated the creative process is the Fall of the angels. C. S. Lewis, E. L. Mascall, Dom Illtyd Trethowan, Hans Urs von Balthasar, Alvin Platinga, and Stephan Davis all take seriously the biblical language of angels and demons, and argue that, if there is substance to such language, and if there has been a moral revolt within the spiritual dimension of the created order, then ‘it seems reasonable to suppose that defection and rebellion in the angelic realm will drastically disorder the material world, and that, while its development will not be entirely frustrated, it will be grievously hampered and distorted. Within this view death, disease, division, and predation are seen as symptioms of this distortion, consequences of the angelic Fall rather than part of the good order of creation. Creation is thus already fallen before human being ever evolve – there are already aspects of creation which need to be subdued (Gen. I. 28), there is already created reality (the serpent) which works against the divine purpose, and the apparently harmonious environment into which God places humanity (Eden) is only a garden, not the whole of creation. So when human beings emerge, they are given the task of healing that which is already fallen, of subduing that which is already distorting and disfiguring the goods creation of God. Humanity, however, did not respond to that vocation, but joined in the rebellion and exacerbated the divisions. Thus to blame the angelic fall for the origin of natural evil is not to evade all responsibility for its continuing occurrence. Nor is it to leave all hope in merely human hands. For there has been One who did not join in the rebellion, who accepted the human vocation and who therefore exercised that redemptive dominion over creation to which humanity had always been called. Thus victims of natural evil were healed, death was undone, and nature’s destructiveness defused. So the nature and healing miracles of Christ are both glimpses back and to the forfeited potentialities of faithful humanity in the creation purposes of God, and glimpses forward to the future restoration and renewal of heaven and earth.

Thus possibly Satan was enraged when God decided to give humans dominion over the earth. God’s decision was the critical issue for rebellion, and that angelic rebellion had to be subdued.

Eden, the Place of Testing
G. Robert Graf
Journal of Dispensational Theology
December 2010
Volume 14, Number 43
pp 58-60

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That quote from within my quote is from an essay by Michael Lloyd titled “Are Animals Fallen?” in Animals on the Agenda: Questions about Animals for Theology and Ethics.

Whether you agree or disagree this should still be cause for thought. What do you all think?

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