Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The Dominion Mandate

1) Optimism – we are optimistic about what God is doing in the present age. Jesus is building his church.

2) Long-term – we are also realistic about what God is doing in the present age. We are far from finished.

From a Garden to a City
The Bible begins in a garden (Genesis 1-2) and ends in a city (Revelation 21-22). This is no accident; it is God’s plan. God never intended his creation to remain in a “natural” state.

God intended to transform the garden into a city. The goal of creation is civilization. We see hints of this from the beginning.

“Then God said, ‘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).

This is often called “the Dominion Mandate.” God ordained that mankind play the key role in transforming the earth from a garden to a city. He created man to take dominion, or to rule over all the earth. This could not be accomplished by Adam and Eve alone.

“Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth’” (Genesis 1:28).

God commanded Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply. He wanted them to fill the earth. God wanted the earth covered with his representatives. He commanded them to subdue the earth and gave them dominion, or rule, over all of it.

The Fall
Obviously, Adam and Eve failed to rule perfectly, but God did not change his plan. God had planned for this all along. He set out to redeem creation by transforming mankind and the earth.

We see the “Dominion Mandate” repeated after the flood.

“So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth’” (Genesis 9:1).

God still wants the earth to be filled with his representatives, with godly people. He wants them to rule over the earth, to subdue and transform it.

The Re-Creation
This mandate does not change in the New Testament era. Jesus gave this charge just prior to his ascension.

“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen” (Matthew 28:18-20).

Jesus commanded the apostles to “make disciples of all the nations,” which is often interpreted as “make at least one individual Christian from every nation.”

Actually, the apostles are to “disciple all the nations.” They are to bring entire nations under the rule of Jesus Christ.

Again, we see that God wants the earth covered with godly people. What we call “the Great Commission” is simply an update of “the Dominion Mandate.”


Frontier Forest said...

Great refreshing thoughts! I have never heard of “The Dominion Mandate” but God sure made this clear from the very beginning of time. Great fuel for our next mission to Moldova.

Doug said...


Interesting post. I usually think of the dominion mandate as a biblical arguement for having many children. As your next posts show it is more than that. Would you say that now in the new covenant "be fruitful and multiply" means primarily to make disciples? Does the mandate give us a reason to limit the number of children we have?


Eric Adams said...

Doug, great to hear from you. It's been a while.

"Be fruitful and multiply" is the old-fashioned way of making disciples.

Folken Family said...

The seeds of liberalism are present in this post which raises a lot of red flags for me.

Christians believe that Christ died for the ungodly, not for the nations. Christianity begins with the individual who then is enable to share the love of God with another.

The process though is limited as the number of people coming to Christ will always be smaller than the population growth of the world.

Christianity don't believe that nations are people. As a result, we don't believe that government can love.

The roots of liberalism are present with a call to social justice and the like here. Man is really attempting to return to the garden of Eden or your ideal city-state without Christ. I think we saw this attempted before in the work on Babel.

If you really believe that the call was to move from a garden state to a city state, then how do you deal with Babel which clearly seems to refute your view?

Eric Adams said...

Folken Family, Babel was a godless attempt to build culture. The gospel of Jesus Christ transforms people and, ultimately, cultures. Please read my other posts for a fuller explanation.