Genesis 1:26-28 tells us that God created man to exercise dominion over the earth under God. This means to mine the earth for gold, to make money, to buy things, increasing our standard of living. Ultimately it means building the City of God.
- A failure to appreciate the distinction between "dominion" and "domination" results in dangerous political policies:
- Contrary to environmentalists, Godly dominion is not domination.
- Contrary to fascists and neoconservatives, military domination is not dominion.
The Libertarian Party opposes domination of one individual by another, or by any group or institution. Kevin Craig believes that the Biblical concept of "dominion" means that public policies should be evaluated on the basis of their enhancement of the lives of the individual human beings involved. In the clash between "preserving nature untouched" and enhancing the lives of human beings, human beings should prevail.
The Nature and Purpose of Man in the Garden of Eden included the following.
The Dominion Mandate
Man was to be over the creation, under the Lord. He was to use his creative, aesthetic, intellectual, and physical abilities abilities which are unique to man, distinguishing him from the animals to enhance the beauty of God's creation, and, ultimately, extend the Garden over all of Eden and the Earth. The Shorter Catechism spells it out nicely: "Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him for ever."
A cultivated Garden is normally to be preferred over a wilderness.
Man was given a Great Commission to spread the Garden over all the Earth (Genesis 1:26-28). He was kicked out of the Garden after he rebelled against God (Gen. 3:24). In Christ, however, man's dominion has been restored (Psalm 8:5-8; Hebrews 2:6-9). The Garden-Mandate would be fulfilled by Christ (Psalm 72:8) through His people. Disobedience brings man under the dominion of nature and other men (e.g., Leviticus 26:17), but the Spirit indwells the Church so that God's People might be obedient and spread the Gospel over all the earth (Romans 8:4; Matthew 28:-18-20).
The overwhelming majority of Christians do not take seriously the mandate we have as stewards over the creation. Christians generally relegate their faith to the "private" (internal) sphere, ignoring the world around them, or, when they are involved in the public sphere (economics, agriculture, charity, etc.) they simply follow the orders of the "principalities and powers" of the dominant culture.
|There is no neutrality. Every human action must be done to the glory of God, in accord with His Word [sidebar]. This means Christians must consider the implications of the Dominion Mandate, and reclaim every area of life, every aspect of human culture, all human action even "politics" and place them under the Lordship of Christ and God's Commands.
|Matthew 12:30; 1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17; Titus 2:7,10; 2 Timothy 2:7; Matthew 6:24; James 4:4; 2;10; 1 John 2:15; Romans 12:1-2; 1 Timothy 3:11; 2 Peter 1:3; Colossians 1:18; Philippians 4:8; 1 Corinthians 15:28; Ephesians 5:20; 4:15; 2 Corinthians 2:9; 1 Corinthians 16:14; 14:26,40; 2:15; Hebrews 11:24-26; Joshua 24:14-15.
Christianity is infected by "neo-platonism," the view that despises the material world. Christians thus infected tend to ignore political and social issues.
The God Who created the world intends to reconstruct it.
In the 20th century, the Dominion aspect of the Great Commission has been ripped from the Gospel. Christian leaders are no longer prophets, priests, and kings under Christ, they are entertainers, and Christian laymen are couch potatoes. Or, Christian leaders are pop-psychologists, and Christians are perpetual clients. The Gospel being spread around the world is not a Gospel of Dominion, Reconstruction and Edenic Salvation, but a gospel of "feel goodism." Warm fuzzies down in your heart. Or even uncontrollable laughter. Useless christians preaching a useless "gospel" have nothing to say to a world which "legally" murders 10,000 human beings every day. Fluff christians have nothing to say to arms dealers, tyrants, drug dealers, and Secular
Humanists who plan to kill even more people.
Domination is Not the Same as Dominion
And yet Christians who uphold "Dominion Theology" are said to be the ones seeking to impose tyranny over others.
Just as a man is not allowed to beat his wife, so he is not allowed to beat the creation (Proverbs 12:10).
The Dominion Trap
Was Rushdoony a "Dominionist?"
The Scope of Dominion
An example of the range of human dominion which God requires of men may be seen by looking at the Table of Contents of the massive and seminal work by R. J. Rushdoony, The Institutes of Biblical Law. Under the pattern of the Decalogue, Rushdoony surveys all the case laws, prophetic utterances, and the commands of the Lord and His Apostles. Decades of study are evident in hundreds of footnotes to "secular" sources, to which Biblical Law is applied in detail (over 3000 Biblical citations). It can be seen that no area of life is not addressed by God's Law. Most evangelicals would never think to apply the Bible's authoritative and concrete direction to such problems as these:
- III. The Third Commandment
- 2. Swearing and Revolution
- 3. The Oath and Society
- 5. The Oath and Authority
- IV. The Fourth Commandment
- 3. The Sabbath and Work
- 5. The Sabbath and Law
- Appendix: The Economics of Sabbath keeping -- by Gary North
- V. The Fifth Commandment
- 1. The Authority of the Family
- 3. The Economics of the Family
- 4. Education and the Family
- 5. The Family and Delinquency
- VI. The Sixth Commandment
- 2. The Death Penalty
- 5. Hybridization and Law
- 6. Abortion
- 8. Restitution or Restoration
- 9. Military Laws and Production
- 10. Taxation
- 13. Quarantine Laws
- 14. Dietary Rules
- 20. Social Inheritance: Landmarks
- VII. The Seventh Commandment
- 1. Marriage
- 5. Family Law
- 6. Marriage and Monogamy
- 7. Incest
- 9. Sex and Crime
- 11. Adultery
- 12. Divorce
- 14. Homosexuality
- 17. The Transvestite
- 18. Bestiality
- VIII. The Eighth Commandment
- 1. Dominion
- 2. Theft
- 3. Restitution and Forgiveness
- 4. Liability of the Bystander
- 5. Money and Measure
- 6. Usury
- 9. Landmarks and Land
- 10. The Virgin Birth and Property
- 11. Fraud
- 12. Eminent Domain
- 13. Labor Laws
- 15. Prison
- 18. The Rights of Strangers, Widows, and Orphans
- IX. The Ninth Commandment
- 5. Corroboration
- 6. Perjury
- 8. False Witness
- 11. Slander Within Marriage
- 13. Slander as Theft
- 16. Judges
- 17. The Responsibility of Judges and Rulers
- 18. The Court
- 19. The Procedure of the Court
- 20. The Judgment of the Court
- X. The Tenth Commandment
- 1. Covetousness
- 3. Special Privilege
- 5. The System
- XV. Notes on Law in Western Society
It is obvious that The Institutes of Biblical Law is no gushy, "pious" devotional reader. It is a pathbreaking, foundational Reconstruction of Law, Politics, Jurisprudence, and Social Morality. Every Christian Lawyer should read the book from cover to cover (849 pages). Every political scientist should do the same. It is not the last word, but it is the first word in centuries attempting to rigorously apply Biblical laws to the problems of contemporary society from a Bible-believing perspective. Not the details of his application, but the inescapable conclusion that the Bible provides all the Law we need to apply to the facts of our lives -- this is the importance of Rushdoony's Institutes and of the "Theonomic" movement in general.
Watch for these coming links:
There is no need for a civil government to carry out the Dominion Mandate.
= shepherding [kittel]
developing Image of God,
failure to experience wholistic salvation brings
- interpersonal disputes
- causes tension
- fosters hasty, citified responses to problems
- de-personalizes life
- dwarfs personal growth
- ability to make mature decisions
- responses to people
(25) In the Garden of Eden there was no need for reconciliation; man could begin to develop in terms of harmony. Now, healing must precede dominion. The universe is still governed by an ultimate harmony of interests.
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