26 Then 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 birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
28 And God blessed them. And God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth." 29 And God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. 30 And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food." And it was so.
When God created man, male and female, that is after He had made woman out of man, He gave them dominion. Man was made in His image and likeness. Man is not God, but he was given a dominion which displays the glory of God.
In this first passage from Genesis we see that man was given dominion only after the circumstances described in Genesis 2:21-25 occurred. (this directly corresponds to Gen 1:27). God has a will and a purpose, and He intentionally planned the chronology of the events.
Man was given dominion only over the animals, be they birds, fish, reptiles, over every living thing. However, man was not given dominion over man, i.e. in this narrative, woman. The reason being that man was made in God’s image and likeness and in order to accurately portray God’s perfection, man who does not rule over God, must not rule over what is made in God’s image.
Only God holds dominion over men. Indeed He holds dominion over all He created, which is proven by the His giving limited dominion to the first man and woman, made in “His image and likeness” .
They were not God. They are part of creation, the creature not the creator. We can never create ad God does, that is calling something into being where nothing has previously existed. We procreate. We work with what we have been given, be it the sexual union to fill the earth, or the work of our minds and hands to subdue it. Because of all these things, subsequent events would have a catastrophic effect on the entirety of creation.
1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?"
2 And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden,
3 but God said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'"
4 But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die.
5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.
7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.
The enticement offered by the serpent was half lie, half truth.
The lie being that they would not know death after consuming the fruit. The truth being that they would be like God, in knowing good and evil. (Gen 2:16-17; 3:22-23)
14 The LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel."
16 To the woman he said, "I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you."
17 And to Adam he said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, 'You shall not eat of it,' cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.
What is evident here is that man never lost the dominion and mandate that God had given prior to the Fall. The serpent never took dominion from man. In fact, the prophetic judgment of God is that enmity would exist between the woman’s offspring and the serpent’s, and that her offspring would crush the serpent’s head, but at a cost.
This of course points to God in man, the incarnate Christ entering creation to live, die, and rise, for all the saints.
The serpent is told that he will crawl on his belly, eat dust, and that a man will rule over him, crush his head. That is hardly taking or being given dominion.
The woman is told that she and her descendants would produce the Messiah, but that the very act of reproduction would come at the cost of pain and travail. Another consequence of her being seduced by the serpent is that her husband would now “rule over her”. Because of the rebellion of Adam and Eve, wives would submit to their husbands. Remember that dominion over each other was not a part of the original mandate.
Later the apostle Paul would write:
11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness.
12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.
13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve;
14 and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.
15 Yet she will be saved through childbearing--if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.
Adam was given rule over his wife, as he had listened to her and ate the fruit. (she had assumed rule over him)
Adam and had been told to subdue the earth, however the earth was now cursed because of his sin, and from that point on would not be co-operative with his efforts. He would be required to sweat to provide for his family, only to return to the cursed ground after death. Adam being made from the earth is cursed as the earth is.
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.
20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope
21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.
23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
Truly creation longs for the “sons of God” to be have Godly dominion once again. This only comes through Christ, the last Adam. He alone accomplishes the work of restoring the original dominion given to man.
His followers will fill the earth, subdue it and reign upon it with Him, after he returns as King, Lord, and Adam, the new creation.
I am not preaching “theonomics” or dominion theology here. This has nothing to do with restoring the Mosaic Law, or taking over the current governments to rule under that Law. Recall that in the original creation man did not have dominion over man. Also recall that the only command given by God was to NOT EAT from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
There was no law, nor system of government until after the fall and predominantly after the dispersion at Babel. It has always been an issue of life vs death. Even Moses knew that the Law will only take us as far as the Jordan Joshua (Yeshua) must take us into the land. Deut 30:9-20; Deut 18:15
25 But Jesus called them to him and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.
26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,
27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave,
28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Unregenerate man is forever cursed to be a god unto himself. The consequences of eating the forbidden fruit is that like God, he knows good and evil, but unlike God, he is part of creation, and is not the creator. Man had attempted to take dominion that was never given to him. So we see the world’s history filled with man’s attempts to rule through, military power, economic enslavement, even through the enforcement of racial. cultural, and religious superiority. Man seeks to ascend to the throne of God. This is Babylon, the kingdom of men. Genesis 11:1-9; Ezekiel 28:2; Isaiah 14:13-14
Again Paul would write:
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.
20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools,
23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Man worships images of himself, and all the creatures over which he was told to have dominion, i.e. birds animals, and creeping things etc. Man is now bondage to the very things over which he was to rule. There is no difference between dictators or environmental terrorists. Neither care about humanity that was once created in God’s image and likeness, nor those who are now re-created in Christ as God’s image and likeness.
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things were created through him and for him.
17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.
19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,
20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,
22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,
23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.
Christ is not only the last Adam, He is God in the flesh. He not only reigns with a ”rod of iron” (Rev 12:5; Rev 19:15) ; He will also give the saints, that is, His body, authority and dominion to rule and reign.
26 The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations,
27 and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father.
28 And I will give him the morning star.
9 And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation,
10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth."
This will not be seen in its’ fullness until He first returns. The restoration of man is
accomplished only through Him.
In my next post I would like to look at how this dominion is restored in Christ at the cross, and the role of Satan in all of this.
Soli Deo Gloria