God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue (kbs) it; and have dominion (rdh) over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”
The first thing to note is that this is a blessing, humans ‘can’ subdue the earth and rule over the animals. I see the latter blessing as a blessing that humans can use animals for their purposes. Nothing too objectionable for me there. Animals are still deserving of appropriate care according to Psalm 136:25, and elsewhere.
The word ‘kbs’ means to conquer or subjugate, whenever it is used alongside the noun ‘eretz’ elsewhere it refers to military conquest, for example in 1 Chronicles 22:18. In context I think Genesis 1:28 is similar lttalking about subduing all the animals by force and violence and bringing them into human hands.
I don’t think this means that all animals are to be forcibly brought into human hand/domesticated, because animals are brought into human hands in Genesis 9, however this is so, the command to subdue the earth has already been fulfilled, In 1 Chronicles 22:18 a sign of kbs being fulfilled is when the inhabitants of the land are brought under subjugation.
This doesn’t completely solve the problem for me, but it’s progress at least.
Humans have an impetus to protect animals because:
- God has compassion on all he has created. (Psalm 145:9)
- God’s works reveal the glory of his kingdom. (Psalm 145:11)
- God actively cares for every creature. (Psalm 136:25)