Tag Archives: dominion

Created For Stewardship – Not Tyranny

Every member of the human race is confronted with the question of their relationship to the other living creatures upon this earth that we commonly inhabit. As for this and all other questions of our ultimate purpose and responsibilities, we find the answer in the Holy Bible, the Word of the Living God.

Genesis Chapter 1 – Creation

In the creation account in Genesis chapter 1, we find the awesome account of the original creation. In verses 20 through 25 we have the account of the creation of the living creatures:
And God said, ‘Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creatures that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. 21 And God create great whales and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, ‘Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. 23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day. 24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. 25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind: and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.”

Creation of Mankind – His Mandate

Next we have the account of the creation of Mankind: “26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. (27) So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them. (28) And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth,” Genesis 1:26-28.
Then we have the statement of God’s will for their food, verses 29-31:
29 “And God said, ‘Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed, to you it shall be for meat. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. 31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”

To Sum It Up

Revelation 4:11 sums it up: “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

And to this I say, “Amen.”

Note two things from this account:
1. We know from this creation story that the animals and all other living creatures are not in the same class as people; neither are people in the same class as animals, for Mankind was created in the image of God. Since God created Mankind in His image and for His pleasure we know that it is His pleasure for us to exercise the dominion for which we were created: we are to be stewards of the creation and shepherds of the beasts.
2. At this point God gave Mankind the herbs bearing seed, and the fruit of trees yielding seed for food. For the beasts, the fowls and the creeping things, He gave the green herbs for food.

Genesis Chapter 2: Creation of Adam – The Breath of Life

Here we have the full account of the creation of the first man, Adam, and his wife, Eve, and the beautiful garden of Eden. God created this Man by forming him from the dust of the earth, then breathing into his nostrils the Breath of Life, making him a living soul. This ‘Breath of Life’ is the Holy Spirit of God, [Hebrew ruah], which gave Man the image of God Who is a Spirit. This clearly places Mankind in a separate class from the animals. He is not brought forth by the earth nor by the sea as was the animals, but was uniquely created by God.

The Garden of Eden And Man’s Free Will

God planted the garden of Eden and made it to grow. Verse 16: “And the Lord God commanded the Man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden thou mayest eat: 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.’” Here we see the origin of Mankind’s prerogative to obey or not to obey God, his free will.

Chapter 2 continues with the account of the creation of Eve and the marriage of Adam and Eve.

Genesis Chapter 3: Temptation, Sin, and Death

This gives the account of the temptation by the serpent and their sin of disobedience by eating of the forbidden tree and the awful consequences of expulsion from the garden. It is this original sin that brought about death, not only of Mankind, but also of the rest of the natural world, the necessity for bringing forth more children to replenish the earth, and hard labor to bring forth food.

Chapters 4 Through 8 – The Consequences of Sin

In Chapters 4 through 8 we read of the awful consequences of Adam’s sin and the death that it brought. Sin and death prevailed even unto the time when the whole earth was filled with such violence that God, Himself, was greatly grieved. He saw that He must destroy the whole family of Mankind, as well as the creatures.

Genesis 6:8: “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” And God directed him to build an ark, so that he and his family could survive the flood that was coming upon the whole earth to destroy it. They also were to take two of every creature into the ark to preserve the lives of the creatures.

Chapter 9: After the flood – Meat Is Permitted

And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth. 2 And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. 3 Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. 4 But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.

In this account, we find that God not only reiterated His commission that Mankind should take dominion over the creatures, but also that now He could use them for food, with the prohibition that they should not eat them with the blood thereof.

The Privileges And Responsibilities of Dominion

How, then, are we to exercise this amazing divine directive to take dominion over all of the living creatures? God is the Great Shepherd, Who sets the example for us. We can best understand our privileges and responsibilities to the creatures by observing how our Father, God, in Whose image we are created, relates to us in body, soul and spirit. It is not a relationship of a tyrant over his slaves and subjects, but the relationship of loving care and companionship.

God is the Father of our Spirits, Hebrews 12:5-11. As a loving Father, He disciplines us for our good, chastening us in order to develop us in the ways of His righteous and peaceful Kingdom. Being in His image, He wills that we should, in turn, discipline, chasten, and teach our children for their good.

He is the Saviour of our bodies, Ephesians 5.23 and I Timothy 4:10. We are to be good stewards also of our own bodies, also training our children to respect and cherish their bodies. After all, our bodies are flesh and must be ruled by our spirit.

He is the Shepherd of our souls. As the Great Shepherd, He teaches us and models the role of how we are to exercise our dominion over the living creatures. It does not allow for neglect or abuse, but rather for nutrition, shelter, and good management. Psalm 23 gives us the perfect picture of the life of the animal under the care of a Good Shepherd; they are ‘pets.’ In this relationship, the shepherd’s fold is a sanctuary.

Jesus describes His own role as the Good Shepherd in John 10:11-18. This is one of the greatest descriptions of the love relationship between a shepherd and his sheep. The Good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep. The Good Shepherd is contrasted with the hireling, one who cares for the animals only for what he can profit from it. The hireling can neglect or abuse the animals, but a good shepherd will risk his own life to save His sheep.

This clearly teaches what our attitude should be to the animals: “A righteous man regardeth the life of a beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel,” Proverbs 12:10.

A Symbiotic Relationship

In the Biblical record, the relationship is symbiotic; that is, it is advantageous and necessary for both the man and the animal. The animal receives good and proper sustenance, protection from predators and weather, treatment for diseases, parasites and injuries, and careful breeding. The man receives food, shelter, clothing and companionship.

The Lord is our Good Shepherd. Let us submit willingly to His tender care and joyfully to our ability to bring blessings and joy to Him.

Made Us Kings and Priests

Revelation 1:6: “And hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father, to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

The RSV translates: “And made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father.”

The Original Idea of Priesthood

In most ancient cultures only the kings and priests were educated and all literature was written by and for this group. But it is notable that now every Christian is a King and Priest, restoring God’s original plan to give Mankind dominion. This is not the distorted view of kingship and priesthood as Man dominating Man, however. God’s original plan was for Man to rule over The Flesh, that is, “everything that creeps upon the earth,” and subdue, not only the animal kingdom in general, but the passions and lusts of his own fleshly nature as well.

Power Lust

Even in his fallen estate, there is a need in Man for power. In its proper order, this need is fulfilled in self-discipline. When a society is made up of self-disciplined men, then there can be freedom, but when self-discipline fails, laws must be enacted and restrictions must be imposed by outside force in an effort to maintain order. The less self-discipline, the less freedom and the more chaotic the society. As the failure of law and order progresses, the power of brute force becomes the dominant force. Ultimately, the failure of self-discipline leads to the law of the jungle, “survival of the fittest,” the rule of tooth and claw and the disintegration of civilization.

Man’s need for power, misused, becomes “power-lust.” Like other lusts, it is insatiable; the more it is fed, the greater its appetite. A taste of power often makes the man ravenous as a wild beast that gets a taste of blood. The history of the world is replete with accounts of men who became maniacal tyrants through their lust for power. Power-lust is manifest in other forms than military and political; popularity, fame, and wealth are some of the variations in its form. It may even be found in religious systems. Indeed, there is no power so strong as the power of superstition.

The Flesh must be ruled; the Spirit must be free.

Only the man who can rule his own flesh can be free from the laws necessary to living in a society. Government, therefore, must not be seen as merely the objective, rational science of politics and law. This is only one of the more conspicuous manifestations of it. The body of laws enacted by legislative bodies is also a manifestation of the governing force but not the essence. Toynbee has wisely noted that codification of laws reaches its peak when the ungovernable forces of the flesh are about to bring down the structure of civilization.

What is Government?

The definition of government as a “social contract” is far too narrow. Indeed, the “social contract” might conceivably be anti-government. At best it can only deal with the limited aspect of Man’s relationship to Man. It leaves out the relationship of Man to himself and the prerequisite relationship of Man to God. I submit that government must be viewed as a closed continuum of Man to himself, Man to Man, and Man to God. I therefore reject the notion that government can be a separate science from religion.

It is commonly said that the family is the smallest unit of government. At the same time we speak of self-control or individual government. If the individual is a unit of government, then he, and not the family, would be the smallest unit. Is the individual a governing unit? The answer to this question determines whether or not democracy is possible, for democracy is self-government. Freedom is not the absence of government, but the ability to govern oneself.

Mastery of ‘The Flesh’

In the earliest records of civilization, writings and drawings depict Man struggling with a Beast. Indeed, this struggle continues its appeal even in modern times. One of the earliest fears of small children is of beasts. There is a deep symbolic significance to this dramatic appeal, for it represents Man’s struggle with his own fleshly passions. This struggle is vital to civilized society, for without it civilization is impossible. No relationship with others can survive unless and until Man comes to terms with himself. There must be a degree of mastery of the Flesh.

Marriage and Family Government

The earliest social contract on record is that of marriage, which began the governing unit of the family. The importance of this unit can not be over-emphasized as it is basic to all further social contracts. It is the most valuable and, if functioning properly, the only essential governing unit; without it, no greater unit can function properly. The concept of the family may be applied to ever widening groups – the community, the nation, the world. The essential relationships of Man to Man are those of the family, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, and children. If family ties are severed or strained, the person can hardly find the larger community compatible.

“Under God”

The source of all successful social interaction is compatibility with God. Government without a source and without a goal can not be. Man must ultimately realize that God is the source of control, of order, of law. It would naturally follow that He is also the goal, the ultimate Judge and Rewarder.

It is no accident that religions which teach symbolically the sacrifice of the passions, often symbolized by the sacrifice of animals, precede, produce and sustain civilizations. When passions are given full reign, civilizations fall.

God is no small concept. Unbelief is often the inability to see beyond the image of God one has fashioned for himself. But God is yet above and beyond as well as before and beneath all human ideas. Yet He has revealed Himself to Man in government. However, His government is not such that the undisciplined Man could perceive. The government which issues from God is not one of force, but one of choice. This is Freedom. The alternative is slavery to the passions. Freedom allows Man to develop his full potential; slavery exploits and dissipates his body, mind and soul.

Separation of Church and State?

There can, therefore, be no dichotomy between spiritual and secular governments. There can only be “separation of Church and State” in theory when these are merely separate manifestations of Man’s lust for power. Neither can have a desirable result unless the Spirit moves upon Man from within himself, effecting the conquering of passions and the desire for social order. The only legitimate source of this power within Man is God. Thus the circle is complete: God moves within Man; Man rises up to conquer passions, form social contracts, and in turn submits to the authority of God. Government in any other form is only, at best, the imposition of the will of the strong.