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Fill 'Er Up

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Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Posts: 1273
Location: Kent (East Hill), WA

PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2007 11:11 am    Post subject: Fill 'Er Up Reply with quote

Have we filled the Earth?

I ask that after reading Bill McKibben's 1998 book Maybe One, an argument for one child per couple.

The end chapter addresses the religious taboos and directives for or against birth control and run through some of the Christian history that led to current opinions within churches such as the Catholic church.

What I had never noticed before and what I noticed again are these two items. Genesis (I quote King James), says

[1:22] And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.

I highlight those words from King James because we often hear "fruitful" used as an argument against birth control -- or maybe abortion -- and even for unfettered consumerism. But rarely is the "fill the waters" part mentioned. Clearly, God is addressing animals (including man) at the beginning of Earth, when the place is empty and saying, go ahead, get at it, and make me some kids. But He also recognizes the limit of the space, in that he says "fill" seeing a brim, or top of the space.

Then there is the directive specifically to Man and Woman:

[28] And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

Here "replenish" hints at an Earth that was recently "rebooted" and now empty. But replenish, as in "replenish means to "fill" and again we have the concept of a container that can be filled -- or overfilled!

And of course, there is "subdue" the message that Man has dominion over everything on Earth (a slight to, or wink at, the enviros who worship the squirrel and spit at man).

So, to me, Genesis does not advise unbridled growth beyond what the Earth can carry, it seems to say, go as fast as you can to "fill" it. But once filled, it doesn't say, go beyond it. This is as powerful an argument for management (subduing, Dominion over) or "mastery of our Domain" :D as one could have.

It also seems to say that we can reach a stasis where our job becomes the farmer, or rancher, that manages the resources. Again, it doesn't mean that Man can pollute at will to satisfy his needs, but it also doesn't mean that he need not wear fur. And as far as human births, we were fruitful, we did multiply and, I say, we've replenished the Earth. Now it's time to take a break, and clean up the rough edges and make the place nicer.
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