This is so important that I have copied the following whole from this post genesis
The pertinent aspects for mankind are therefore reproduce, subdue, and have dominion, with the animals developing a “fear of man” as men began to hunt or raise animals for clothing, food, work, or companionship. A few points need to be made to clear up misperceptions that have crept into the interpretations of these terms:
- “Fill the earth” means that mankind has a primary place on the earth: he is not an intruder. Neither does this statement equate to overpopulation. Consider that God first gave this same command to as-yet unfallen man in Genesis 1:28. If the command to mankind was “fill the earth” and this was “very good” by God, as was everything up to that point in Genesis 1:31, then there is no theological reason to automatically equate filling the earth with overpopulation, mass wastage of resources, food shortages, and so on. Besides, it may seem counterintuitive, but Christians who promote biblical concepts such as abstinence before marriage and lifelong devotion to a single spouse are somehow labeled as the ones responsible for overpopulation because we don’t condone abortion. Yet those who promote sexual freedom, promiscuity with multiple partners, and easy divorce are labeled as population-conscious. Which worldview really leads more readily to population explosions?
- “Subdue the earth” was a command given to mankind in his yet unfallen state, so there is no connotation of this being a tyrannical subjugation. Instead, this was to be a benevolent stewardship of the earth and its creatures by mankind. Just as God put man in the Garden of Eden and had them tend it (Genesis 2:15), so this subduing of the earth was to be a stewardship and caretaking of the earth.
- “Dominion” in the pre-Fall world again is a benign caretaker role. Man was to take care of the animals of the land, oceans, and the air, which certainly also implies stewardship of their domains. Wantonly polluting the land, air, and oceans would be the opposite of dominion—it is exploitation.
- The phrase “given into your hand” in Genesis 9:2 does not implicitly allow (or as some claim, demand) animal exploitation. This is a common misrepresentation by those wishing to mock Scripture and Christianity. Although this verse is specifically referring to mankind being given permission in a post-Fall world to eat meat, some Bible critics have tried to paint this as an anti-environment attitude giving Christians license to be cavalier about managing natural resources. One such sarcastic example is from a 2004 article bemoaning the preconceived Christian position: “And why care about converting from oil to solar when the same God who performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes can whip up a few billion barrels of light crude with a Word”?4 The claim is that Christians believe we can do anything we want under the dominion mandate. But this is clearly belied by other passages that curtail human action over nature (e.g., Leviticus 25:5–7; Numbers 20:8, 35:3; and Proverbs 12:10).
God clearly cares for man and beast as a characteristic expression of His righteousness (Psalms 36:6, 104:10–14, 104:27–28, 147:9; Jonah 4:11; Luke 12:6–7, 24). It would be incongruous for Christians to recognize God’s goodness in caring for His creation, to claim to be desirous to follow the will of God and seek the mind of Christ, and yet display a cruel and selfish mindset towards that very creation, knowing that our actions affect other humans and animals. Stewardship then is a correct Christian worldview in understanding our dominion mandate role.
However, the dominion mandate also means that humanity has been placed in charge of the environment and the planet in a stewardship role. This means that mankind is allowed to use God’s natural resources and engage in animal husbandry, farming, and horticulture. Although we are to be wise stewards, we are not required to place animal and plant welfare above human needs. Humans are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27); plants and animals are not. Therefore we are of more value than the sparrows in God’s eyes (Luke 12:7), and environmental decisions and policies should reflect this hierarchy. Knowing this, then, we are responsible for helping meet the needs of all humans—not just ourselves—present and future. That alone should sober our view of conservation and stewardship.
This clearly does not involve a callous disregard for animal life, a wasteful mindset toward natural resources, or an exploitative mindset toward the planet which all of us must share. When one stops to think about it, heedless exploitation is the opposite of stewardship and actually hampers dominion: we cannot wisely rule over something we are wasting. God demands one thing from stewards—that they be found faithful (1 Corinthians 4:2). May we be faithful stewards of this earth that God owns (Psalm 24:1) but has entrusted to us to care for.