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Denison Journal of Religion

Abstract

Grosse reimagines the relationship between 21st century Christians and nature by doing a close analysis of Genesis 1-3. While these chapters have long been used to prove that humans have dominion over the earth and can use it as they see fit, Grosse argues that a closer look at the language used by the Genesis writers provides a far different picture. In fact, he claims that this analysis results in a challenge issued to those invested in the Genesis story to treat the earth with respect and care.

Grosse's close reading of Genesis 1, the creation of the earth, shows an intimate relationship between God and the earth. While Grosses claims that this chapter is often read as God subduing chaos, he instead sees it as god closely linked to nature. God's presence, for example, is frequently depicted as existing with nature, and God continuously discovers each new step of creation as something inherently "good."

Grosse not only reimagines the relationship between God and nature, but also that between humanity and nature. While people are familiar with the phrase that God gave humanity "dominion over earth," a closer look at this passage reveals that the language is akin to that used about the Israelite monarchy. If humanity is to rule over earth as an ideal Hebraic king would rule over his people, it is not a relationship of abuse. Furthermore, Grosse argues, the consequence of Adam and Eve's eating from the tree of knowledge is their understanding of their nakedness and their shame at that fact.

The shame that they feel separates them from the rest of the animals"their sin, in part, is based on the fact that they separate themselves from the rest of God's creation. Through this new reading of Genesis 1-3, Grosse challenges Christians to rediscover God's challenge to protect and respect the environment.

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