Biblical Commandment, Natural Property and Authority: a Quasi-Marxist Environmental Perspective

Nicholas Blake
Biblical commandment includes the injunction for humanity to have dominion over the earth. And prima facie, it is far from clear whether the terms of this commandment are actually consistent with a more 'Green' 1 view of natural dominion (e.g. such as that of stewardship). This paper seeks to understand this apparent tension (and ultimately defend a stewardship view) in the light of (Marxist cited) claims by the Reformation-era German cleric Thomas Müntzer, concerning the free appropriation of
more » ... e appropriation of nature's products on the one hand, and the just distribution of property on the other. It then outlines how the philosopher John Locke proved to be pivotal in how this understanding of property came to be distorted in contemporary capitalist society. Finally, the paper links this © The Limina Editorial Collective distortion with a tendency to treat the concept of authority in a similarly limited way, and ends with a recommendation that we need to (re)broaden what we understand by property and authority accordingly. In biblical myth, humanity is given dominion over the entire planet. From the very beginning, humanity is divinely commanded to: Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves over the earth. (Genesis 1:28). 2