“Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” – Genesis 1:26, New King James Version
I’ve always considered it the height of vanity to think that god made us in its image, and an utter lack of imagination to think that god looks like us. But then, I suppose the essence of all religion is the juxtaposition of hubris and ignorance. Creators of religions make authoritative pronouncements about where we come from, why we are here, and where we’re going based on fable and fictions, and then coerce their followers into venerating their vision as sacred truth.
Thus we wind up with passages like Genesis 1:26, proclaiming man’s dominion over the entire earth. By 2023, this impudence is leading directly to man pretty much destroying the gift we’ve been given, under the pretext that we have a god-given right to dominate this place, even if it destroys us.
Back up a few months to a quotation in The New York Times Morning Newsletter, November 22, 2022 about rejuvenated efforts to take us—once again—to the moon:
“If there is water on the moon, you can split off hydrogen from oxygen and make rocket fuel. Such a prospect would be transformative because the moon could be used as a base for deep-space missions without the cost and burden of lifting heavy rocket fuel off the Earth, which has six times the gravity of the moon. “Scientifically, that’s a cool possibility…and so people started getting interested in the moon again.””
In other words, when we’ve exhausted our capacity to inhabit this planet, we’ll move on to the next, extract what we can, and so on and so on. When does it stop?
The answer, of course, is that it doesn’t stop. And, even as I strive to make the smallest possible footprint upon the planet that nourishes us—not to mention the moons and the planets we’d like to deplete—I realize that it’s virtually impossible to live in balance with nature. The fundamental systems of our existence are based on extraction: taking from mother earth; taking from our fellow man.
And yet, although I strive, I don’t give in to despair. Because when our time is up, and man does himself in on this earth, and we follow the course of the dinosaurs before us, we will have had a good run. Once we’re gone, the earth will be able to repair, new forms of life will emerge. Maybe they’ll be more successful than us because they’ll find a way to live in balance. Unshackled by Genesis’ hollow proclamation of dominance, or even The New York Times promoting unsustainable follies into space.