This paper discusses the concept of the dominion mandate. It examines the key passages of Scripture in which the dominion mandate has found its origin. It explores the observational evidence of man’s interaction with nature and questions if there is any true dominion that can be observed. It then proceeds to examine the Bible for evidence of the original dominion of Adam being extant and offers a rebuttal to the idea of a dominion mandate with a counter position.
Keywords: dominion mandate, moral dominion, dominion of man, subdue the earth, image of God, law of God.
A common position amongst young-earthcreationists, and even the wider evangelicalcommunity, is that mankind has dominion on earth.This means that mankind has been given a specialauthority and rule over the creatures and the Creation.This concept is so widely applied and held that it haseven earned a special doctrinal name, which is thedominion mandate.
From this concept, it has been inferred by manythat a command was given to Adam, and all of hisdescendants, to have dominion and rule over allthe animal kind, and the Creation. Therefore, all ofhumanity are recipients of this perceived Adamicdominion.
The dominion mandate, itself, is not namednor defined in Scripture, and so offering a deeperdefinition, which everyone can agree on, is notpossible. However, it is possible to locate where theidea of the dominion mandate stems from. It is thebiblical passage in Genesis 1:26–28:
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image,according to Our likeness; let them have dominionover the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, andover the cattle, over all the earth and over everycreeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So Godcreated man in His own image; in the image of GodHe created him; male and female He created them.Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Befruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it;have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birdsof the air, and over every living thing that moves onthe earth.”
In very clear language the Bible explains that manwas made in the image of God and was given dominionover the creatures and was given the authority tosubdue the earth.
The Hebrew word for dominion in the biblical textis râdâh. Râdâh means dominion, reign, to prevailagainst, and rule. It can also mean subjugation, totread down upon, and even crumble off (Brown,Driver, and Briggs 2008, p. 921; Strong 1979).
Within the context of the Creation, and then thesubsequent fall, one finds it quite moving at the lexicalrange of râdâh. Adam had dominion and rule overcreation and within this reign and rule he had theability to sustain the good creation through obedience.But equally so, Adam had the power to make the goodcreation crumble and suffer if he was disobedient tothe command to not eat of the tree of the knowledgeof good and evil.
For those who understand the biblical narrative,and what self-imposed trauma soon followed inAdam’s life, the ability to have a dominion, and thento utterly crumble all under his dominion is a soberingreality. It is also a poignant reminder of the positionand power handed to man from the Creator at thevery beginning.
It is from these exalted beginnings in the goodcreation that the dominion mandate has beenfashioned and formed by theologians to demonstratethe importance and place of man. But does the so-calleddominion mandate assume too much?
The Theological Application of the Dominion Mandate
Using the concept of the Dominion Mandate(among other concepts as well), creationists argueagainst the evolutionary assertion that mankindis just an accidental walking sac of bone and waterthat somehow gained consciousness. Creationists,rather, argue mankind has a distinct purpose andplan endowed by the Creator and use the dominionmandate as a doctrinal proof of this assertion.
But the dominion mandate does not stop there. Ithas been given an extraordinary weight of explanationover a wide swath of issues. The dominion mandatehas been used as the reason why aliens cannot existor visit earth (Bates 2010, p. 378). It is used to arguewhy man is morally allowed to clone animals (Sarfati2002), and it is used as a call for good stewardship overthe environment (Wieland and Sarfati 2002). Someextend it to mean that we should exercise dominionover our “personalities and abilities” (Erickson 2009,p. 535) and that we should even be able to predictand control the actions of the Creation due to thisdominion (Erickson 2009, p. 529).
The breadth of its application is a bit overwhelmingand is the first red flag. When some singular idealis used as the proof argument for topics as widelydifferent as these, then one should recognize thatthe ideal must not be precisely defined; for it is beingemployed as a proof argument on topics which are notnecessarily closely related.
More problems arrive when the dominion mandateis treated like a command from God.
One creationist wrote: “This ‘dominion mandate,’as it has been called, is in effect a command to ‘doscience …’” (Morris 2010, p. 4).
Another uses surprisingly strong language andwrote that God, “… [God] ordered mankind to ‘subdue’the earth—also known as the dominion mandate(Genesis 1:28)” (Bates 2010, p. 378).
Overstating the case by saying this dominionmandate is an order or a command has wideconsequences to the biblical narrative. With an orderor command comes an implied obedience to the oneto whom it was given. Therefore, the idea of an orderbeing inserted into that particular passage places anextra burden of obedience on Adam before the Fallbeyond just not eating of the fruit of the tree of theknowledge of good and evil.
Therefore, this additional command leads to thequestion that if Adam failed to subdue the earth,before the Fall, would that have been a sin? If so,what would the consequence be? Would Adam havebeen banished from of the Garden? Would that havebrought condemnation to all mankind?
As one can see, it is not such an easy propositionto casually refer to dominion as a command. It isimperative to understand that there were no othermoral obligations that Adam had other than to refrainfrom eating of the tree of the knowledge of good andevil. For without eating of the tree of the knowledgeof good and evil, there would not have been any sin ormoral failures.
There was no wider, broader law of God that Adamwas under. There was no commandment to keep theSabbath holy or any other command outside of theone, as some have suggested. To assume any partof the Torah, which was given to Moses to governthe nation of Israel, which in turn laid out the pathto redemption because of the original sin, actuallyapplied to Adam before the original sin, is a flawedunderstanding of the entire plan of God and the roadto redemption.
Also notice that this dominion was not described asa command in the biblical text. The biblical languageof ‛âśâh, which many modern translations render“
… Let Us make …” in Genesis 1:26, means to appoint,bestow, have charge of, grant, advance (Brown, Driver,and Briggs 2008; Strong 1979).
Therefore, this passage is best understood to meana right was passed from the Godhead to Adam. Whatwas given to Adam was a position of dominion andit was an endowment, an appointment; somethingbestowed, a position that was granted. It was not anorder that was given.
We see the same usage as this for ‛âśâh in1 Kings 12:31 (English Standard Version translation):“
He also made temples on high places and appointed[‛âśâh] priests from among all the people, who werenot of the Levites.”
This understanding of ‛âśâh, in this context,being a position of appointment enjoys the collectiveagreement by the biblical scholars who worked onimportant biblical translations in history.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, afterour likeness. And let them have dominion over the fishof the sea and over the birds of the heavens and overthe livestock and over all the earth and over everycreeping thing that creeps on the earth” (Genesis 1:26English Standard Version).
And God said, “Let us make man in our image, afterour likeness: and let them have dominion over the fishof the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over thecattle, and over all the earth, and over every creepingthing that creepeth upon the earth” (Genesis 1:26King James Version).
Furthermore God said, Let vs make man in our imageaccording to our lickenes, and let them rule ouer thefish of the sea, and the ouer the foule of the heauen,and ouer the beastes, & ouer all the earth, and ouerthe beastes, & ouer all the earth, and ouer eueriething that crepeth & moueth on the earth (Genesis 1:26The Geneva Bible 1560).
Make we man to oure ymage and liknesse, and be hesoueryn to the fischis of the see, and to the volatilisof heuene, and to vnresonable beestis of erthe, andto ech creature, and to ech crepynge beest, which ismoued in erthe (Genesis 1:26The Wycliffe Bible of 1388).
Then God said, “Let us make humankind accordingto our image and according to our likeness, and letthem rule the fish of the sea and the birds of thesky and the cattle and all the earth and all creepingthings that creep upon the earth (Genesis 1:26New English Translation of the Septuagint).
The key phrase of “
Let us make” (‛âśâh) appliesto the image of man but then again to the dominionof man, which we see rendered, “
let them havedominion, let them rule, and be he sovereign.” It isvery clear that a commanding position was beinggiven to man, which is different from “commandingman to command,” which is how those championing adominion mandate have rendered it in concept.
The burden of proof to reestablish dominion as aforceful demand from God to Adam, which requiredobedience, must lie with proponents of the dominionmandate for it breaks from precedent.In contrast, let us look at how God does issue acommand. Genesis 2:16–17 reads:
And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Ofevery tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of thetree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall noteat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surelydie.”
The Hebrew word in this passage for “commanded”is tsâvâh. This word is absent in Genesis 1:26–28,and notice the difference between Genesis 1:26–28and Genesis 2:16–17. In the latter, the command tonot eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evilwas paired with a consequence if that command wasdisobeyed. Neither this Hebrew word for commandnor a consequence is found in Genesis 1:26–28 whendiscussing the dominion of man.
The idea that dominion was a command to Adamis alien to the biblical text. What is relayed in theJewish Scriptures, which all respected translationsremain true to, is that God, before the Fall, let Adamhave a position of authority in creation.
We also understand that in the beginning, beforethe Fall, Adam lived in an environment that wasmuch different from our environment today. A pre-Fall world would have been fundamentally different,and just because something was applicable before theFall does not mean it is applicable after the Fall (andthe reverse of this is also true.)
Furthermore, we understand that the naturalenvironment itself was different in a pre-Fallformat. In Genesis 3:17 it is explained that theground was cursed after the Fall and it became anobstacle to man. Which, on face value, appears tobe a contradiction to the idea of man maintainingdominion over it.
Therefore, it is prudent to explore the post-Fallworld and see if there is naturalistic evidence of man’sdominion over nature and over the animal kind.
Dominion over Nature
Earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, floods, hail,wild fires, volcanoes, meteor strikes, etc. do notdemonstrate an obedience to man’s reign or will.Natural disasters often put mankind at their mercy.These things demonstrate occurrences that forceman to respond to them as best as man can. In thepresent natural environment, conditions are adverseand man’s ingenuity sometimes overcomes, butsometimes it does not. Man is killed by acts of natureevery year.
However, Yeshua (Jesus) demonstrated that He didhave dominion over nature in the calming of the seas.The Bible records for us that the Last Adam displayedan authority, a dominion, over creation.
In contrast to Yeshua, fallen man has no suchcommand or rule over nature. The disciples of Messiahwere amazed that the sea obeyed the command ofMessiah (Luke 8:24–25). The disciples obviously didnot have dominion over creation, but they witnessedsomeone who did.
In addition to destructive events, there are thorns,thistles, and weeds, which choke out the farmerscrops. These also do not demonstrate an obedience tothe will of the farmer, nor do all the insects whichfeed on the roots of the crops. In fact, in today’s post-Fall environment, growing crops is best likened toengaging in “warfare” in the soil.1
Does the “Dominion Mandate” Imply, and/or isit Achieved through Technological Advances?
It has been suggested to this author, that theAdamic dominion implies the work to subdue theforces of nature like creating air conditioning andinventing polio vaccinations, etc.
Let no one be confused. Dominion is not the attemptor work to try to subdue.
Nowhere is the struggle to overcome actuallylabeled the victory. Likewise, nor should the struggleagainst nature be labeled as the dominion.
One may have air conditioning, but many stillfall to heat stroke. Let us not be too confident inthe technological prowess we achieve. A quick walkthrough a wing at a hospital that treats terminallyill patients will solve our pride in believing we haveachieved dominion over disease because we havecreated a few vaccinations.
Furthermore, the whole idea that a demonstrationof our original Adamic dominion is seen in our creationof polio vaccinations, etc. is untenable. How low,distorted, and impotent our view of true dominion is,when we liken dominion to needing to stab our fleshlybodies with metal needles which introduce foreignentities into our body, precisely because mankind hasbeen made ill or killed by entities that have alreadyinvaded our bodies precisely because they did notrecognize our dominion.
It is poor reasoning to conclude that our responsesto our lack of dominion are the actual demonstrationof our dominion. Many have thought themselves intoconfusion in the hopes of hanging on to a human rule.
Even further evidence of man’s lack of dominion overnature has been seen in catastrophic levels recently.The United States mobilized some of the most robusttools and resources in mankind’s history to contendagainst the effects of Hurricane Sandy. Yet, no onein their right mind would say that those emergencyworkers in the affected areas are exhibiting andachieving dominion over the wrath of Sandy.
In fact, what Hurricane Sandy has shown, is thatman, in one of the most technologically advancedareas the world has ever seen, has zero dominion overhis environment when nature does the unexpected.Hurricane Sandy has, in effect, made a farce of anydominion we think we have.
As a warning, the theological/apologist communityopens itself up to extraordinary attack from thesecular world if key members continue to promotesuch a dominion over nature.
Dominion over Animals
Lions, bears, rhinoceroses, sharks, snakes, stingrays etc. do not demonstrate a subjection to man’s will.As man migrates into more of their territory we seethe instances of animal attacks increase. It is obviousthe animal kingdom does not demonstrate subjectionto man even though Adam was given dominion overthese creatures in Genesis 1:28.
Everyone can observe man’s lack of dominion overlife forms every day if one just pays attention. Everytime a tick is pulled from the skin, a mosquito bites, amouse scurries across the floor, a fish does not bite thebait is a demonstration that these creatures recognizeno dominion or wish of man.
So strong is the case that man was eager to createinsect repellants and other devices (mouse traps, etc.)as a response to the creatures blatant insubordination.We must protect our homes against pests (thinktermites) because they will and do invade our placeseven though our strongest will is that they would not.These creatures do not recognize our domain. Thesecreatures will not heed a rebuke and so we fight backto kill the invaders.
However, often these encounters between man andbeast go beyond a simple annoyance.
An Australian zookeeper was attacked by the veryelephant she was caring for. CNN reported that:
A zookeeper was in stable condition at a Sydneyhospital Saturday, a day after she was crushed bya young male elephant during a training session(Anonymous 2012a).
Some elephants have been successfullydomesticated, but the majority of elephants remain adanger to humans if boundaries are violated. Evenso-called domesticated creatures still remain a viablethreat to humans. This obvious threat challenges thecentral idea that man has an extant dominion overthe animal kind.
Another exhibit of the lack of man’s dominion overthe animal kind is this terrible and terrifying exampleof the pet python who killed a toddler.
Charles Darnell awoke Wednesday morning to findhis girlfriends’ [sic] 2-year-old daughter in the tightclutches of his 12-foot pet Burmese python. The fatalincident occurred around 10 a.m. at Darnell’s residents[sic], 60 miles northwest of Orlando.
The python apparently escaped from the confines ofits cage overnight and strangled the toddler. Darnell,the snake’s owner stabbed the snake in order to freethe girl from the snake’s death grip. Charles was ableto pull the two-year-old free before calling 911.Despite paramedic’s efforts to revive the 2-year-old, shewas pronounced dead at the scene (Roberts 2009).
A power of the biblical faith is that it is an immenselypractical faith, which is able to be confirmed bynaturalistic evidence. This practicality is one reasonwhy the Bible is so successful in providing comfortand understanding when tragedy strikes.
However, there is zero understanding, and zerocomfort that can be given if one is going to counselthe grieving mother by explaining that the child andshe had dominion over that snake. Obviously, thedominion, will, and force of the snake was imposed bythe snake upon the child, regardless of the will, rule,authority, or dominion of any human in that house.To believe in the dominion mandate of Adam, not onlydoesn’t work, but is an attack and an affront to reasonwhen faced with reality.
A leopard seal killed a snorkeling scientist, asreported on August 6, 2003 by National GeographicNews,
The death of a British marine biologist in Antarcticalast month [July 22] is thought to be the first humanfatality caused by a leopard seal (Hydrurga leptonyx).But scientists fear further seal attacks as the numberof people working in the region continues to rise.Kirsty Brown was dragged underwater by the sealwhile snorkeling near Rothera research station onthe Antarctic Peninsula.
Horrified colleagues from the British Antarctic Survey(BAS) scrambled a rescue boat and managed to pullBrown from the water. Despite trying to resuscitateher for an hour, the station doctor was unable to savethe 28-year-old (Owen 2003).
A large problem is that many theologians andbiblical apologists are carefully insulated behind thenon-biting pages of books, and the non-lethal pixels ofcomputer screens. They have become solely documentexplorers. This separation and isolation from truewilderness, and the animals that inhabit it, creates asituation where people have their perceptions hijackedby the conceptual without ever engaging the reality ofthe natural.
Many, who promote the dominion mandate, seemto be naïve to the extraordinary fact, that whenhumanity does encounter creatures in the wild, it canbecome a precarious situation for the humans. Theleopard seal acknowledged no respect for the scientistand the scientist was unable to exert any dominionover the animal. The evidence shows that the humanencroached on the territory of the animal, and theanimal killed the human. This certainly does notdemonstrate that mankind has a dominion over theanimal kingdom. It demonstrates that whoever orwhatever has the upper hand can come out on top.The idea that man kept Adam’s dominion simply doesnot work when the evidence is weighed.
Even man’s best friend can become a dangerousthreat. KFBB of Montana, reported that:
A three year old, bit in the face by a dog, thankfullywill make a full recovery. This isn’t an uncommonsituation. Dogs are animals and while they can be thebest of pets, they can be dangerous (Ousley 2012).
So even the most trusted of all animals can turnon people. This certainly does not demonstrate adominion over the animal kind.
Furthermore, every pet must be trained throughviolence in some degree to recognize the wishesof man. It is not a true dominion. And withoutdemonstrating consequences regularly, any obediencewill dissipate. Any animal expert will also tell you tonever fully trust an animal. But, if one cannot fullytrust a subject, is that entity truly subjected? Theanswer is no.
The Calgary Sun reported that a young girl wasable to survive a cougar attack because the father wasable to rescue her.
A six-year-old girl was walking on a trail in theBarrier Lake day-use area of Bow Valley ProvincialPark Sunday evening about 85 km west of Calgarywith her mother, father and nine-year-old brotherwhen a cougar leaped from the trees on the side ofthe path.
“The girl’s father, who was walking in front of her,heard the commotion and turned around to findthe cat attacking his daughter”, said Glenn Naylor,district conservation officer with Alberta Parks inCanmore.
“He yelled and tried to scare it off by throwing awater bottle.”
The cat — a male less than two years old and weighingabout 36 kg—retreated, leaving the girl with minorcuts and puncture wounds.
“I think they were lucky that she was close by herfather, that he reacted the way he did and that it wasa small cat,” said Naylor, noting many cougar attacksare on children because of their size (McMurray2011).
These attacks are not consistent with the claimthat man has dominion. The evidence suggests thatnature is at odds with man and that animals do notrespect a dominion of man.
An adult man on Vancouver Island had to escapean attack by a hungry cougar according to theHuffington Post:
Fearing for his life, a 38-year-old Vancouver Islandman says he ran from the fangs and claws of a ravenouscougar and scaled a hefty piece of constructionequipment in a desperate bid to escape.
With his pants shredded by the cougar’s jaws and ashoe lost along the way thanks to a swipe from theanimal’s claws, John Frank Jr. said he climbed alocked-up excavator’s boom and called for help on hisradio.
The community of Ahousat, B.C., located north ofTofino, B.C., on the island’s west coast, responded toTuesday’s attack, with some residents arriving onscene in their trucks, scaring the cougar away.
“I was attacked. There’s no two ways about it,”Frank told The Canadian Press in an interview onWednesday. “The cougar wanted to eat me as a meal”(Drews 2012).
Those who have dominion do not usually have toclimb construction equipment to escape those theyhave dominion over. Nor do those who are under thedominion of another try to eat that authority figure.
The Wall Street Journal reported that in Februaryof 2010, a killer whale killed Sea World trainer DawnBrancheau during a live performance. The orcadragged her into the water by her ponytail, whichcaused her to be scalped, and then after a combinationof blunt force trauma’s and drowning, the patronswitnessed that trainer die (Last 2012).
The victim, Brancheau did not have dominionover the orca. Therefore, the dominion of Adam hasfailed.
Some orcas have been domesticated to a point wherethey remain in captivity and can even be used inshows for paying customers. However, there are timeswhen no amount of training can stop an otherwisedomesticated whale from killing its caretaker.
Therefore, the cooperation of the killer whale ishighly conditional, and obviously, mankind has yetto abide by all of those conditions that killer whalesrequire of us. For when the conditions are not present,as determined solely by the orca, people can die. Itis important to note the orca participation must becoerced, man cannot force the participation, andultimately, the conditions are either acceptable to theorca, or not. It is not the other way around, which theAdamic mandate would suggest.
Even non-carnivorous animals that are in apattern of being cared for, and are, to all intentsand purposes, domesticated so that they can serve ause to humanity, can be lethal without warning. AtSelect Sires, one of the premier Bovine facilities in theworld, a young man was crushed to death by a bull.The Columbus Dispatch reported,
A 24-year-old man died yesterday after he wascrushed by a bull at a farm near Plain City in UnionCounty. William “Logan” Krebehenne, of Richwood,was pronounced dead at 3:09 p.m. at Dublin MethodistHospital following the incident, the sheriff’s officeannounced this morning (Ludlow 2012).
The attack was completely unprovoked. It wassimply a case of a large animal inexplicably turningon its caretaker and killing him without warning.
In Nepal, CNN reported that a frightened districthas put up a reward for a leopard that has identifiedhumans as the prey of choice.
A ferocious leopard may have killed 15 people inNepal in a 15-month span, its latest victim a 4-year-oldboy that the creature dragged away into the jungleto eat.
The head of boy was found in the forest a kilometerfrom his home Saturday morning, said KamalPrasad Kharel, the police chief of the Baitadi district,an area about 600 kilometers (373 miles) west ofKathmandu.
The grisly discovery, which came after teams of peoplesearched for the child, marks the 15th victim in thepast 15 months in that remote district in westernNepal (Shrestha 2012).
The theological doctrine of man having dominionover the animal kind is having no impact on theleopard feeding on them who supposedly have thedominion. Man’s world of theology needs to wake upto reality.
A young boy was killed at the Pittsburgh Zoo whenhe fell into an African wild dog exhibit.
A group of African painted dogs killed a boy who fellinto their exhibit today at the Pittsburgh Zoo.
Barbara Baker, the zoo’s president, said the child wasaround 3 years old.
He “fell off an observation deck that’s about 14 feetabove the exhibit,” she said, “and was killed by thedogs.”
“Our emergency teams and our Pittsburgh policeresponded immediately, but there wasn’t anythingthat could be done,” added Baker.
The boy fell into the enclosure at 11:45 a.m., and visitorsquickly alerted staff, the zoo said in a statement.A zookeeper moved seven of the 11 dogs out of theexhibit, and a Veterinarian Department member shotdarts trying to scare away the remaining dogs.
“Unfortunately, the dogs were in pack mentality andnot responding,” the zoo said (Anonymous 2012b).
Even in captivity, when well fed, these dogsrecognized nothing but a meal and did not respondto the humans when they were attacking the victim.It is untenable to think that this boy, or any zooemployee, had dominion over these creatures. This isanother tragic situation where the animal kingdomshowed its violent animosity against mankind. Tothink that mankind has kept the Adamic dominion isan incredulous notion.
It is in the real world, discussing real life and deathsituations, that the doctrine of the dominion mandateappears completely absurd at face value. In fact, theonly way to argue for some sort of dominion over theanimals, is to redefine what rule and authority is,much like old-earth creationists who have redefinedthe meaning of a day.
Fox News reported another notable incident:
A 24-year-old man was mauled to death Sundaymorning while cleaning a grizzly bear enclosure ata wildlife casting agency in southwestern Montana,Gallatin County officials said.
The man was mauled by one or both of the captive-bredgrizzly bears at the Animals of Montana facilitynorth of Bozeman, Sheriff Brian Gootkin said.
The victim’s name wasn’t immediately released, butofficials said he’s originally from Pennsylvania.
Chuck Watson, attorney for Animals of Montana’sowner, Troy Hyde, told the Bozeman Daily Chroniclethe grizzly bear had to be put down in order to recoverthe victim. “It’s obviously a tragic situation, and Idon’t think we’ll ever know exactly what happened,”Watson said (Anonymous 2012c).
The evidence demonstrates that beasts often killman when man enters their domain. The evidencedemonstrates that mankind and the animal kingdomare opponents and the one who gets the upperhand can have control over the situation as long ascircumstances do not abruptly change.
The Washington Post reported that a violent beeattack left one dead and two injured.
A hiker died Monday after he was attacked by aswarm of bees and fell about 150 feet off a cliff ata popular recreation area in Phoenix, authoritiessaid. … Two other hikers were airlifted out after eachwas stung about 300 times. Paramedics said bothmen were hospitalized in serious but stable conditionand expected to recover.
Fire officials said the three men were attacked bybees about 3:45 p.m. on a trail near Ice Box Canyon.The two survivors hid in a small crevice to avoid theswarm until rescuers arrived.
Some of the rescue workers wore white protectivesuits to keep them from also being stung (Anonymous2012d).
An unbiased mind would never come to theconclusion that the dead man at the bottom of thecanyon, and the two men hiding in the crevice, haddominion over the bees attacking them. Neither couldthe unbiased individual think that the rescuers haddominion, for they were wearing protective gearprecisely so they could survive an attack from thebees.
It is a safe assumption that the majority of theunruly bees escaped from being punished by thehumans for their act of insurrection. Then, if thisis true, it would prove that the humans were firstly,powerless to enforce their dominion by evidence thatthey were attacked, and secondly, they are shown tobe hopelessly powerless to punish the offenders afterthe act. If governance is incapable of prevention, andthen is shown to be incapable of punishment, then itis not governance, and no dominion of any kind can beshown. This Adamic dominion mandate is simply notdemonstrable when the naturalistic evidence is takenseriously.
But what does this position of a defunct Adamicdominion do with James 3:7 which states:
For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile andcreature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed bymankind.
Yes, every kind can be. But this does not translateto every one of every kind. Some orcas have been usedsuccessfully in shows at Sea World. Others, as wehave seen, have killed their trainers.
Some tigers have been trained for shows and haveperformed well. Another tiger seized his trainer by thehead and neck and dragged him off stage (Anonymous2003). That tiger opted to exhibit its dominion overthe man.
Painful facts still remain facts, even if theologiansand apologists don’t like them. Mankind must dealwith the fact that things will happen that man, actingin the natural, cannot prevent regardless of theirstrongest will or wish. Nothing about these situationsdemonstrates dominion. What is demonstrated is thatmankind must build up defenses of all kinds for theprecise reason that we do not have dominion. Simplyput, there is no recognition of our dominion by theanimal kingdom and a king without subjects is only aking in their own mind.
Also, one should not confuse having dominion withbeing on top of the food chain, either. Dominion is ruleand reign. Humanity is certainly on top of the foodchain under most circumstances, but in some cases,animals eat man.
Therefore, since nature indicates a lack ofrecognition of man’s dominion both in environmentaloccurrences (floods, hurricanes, earthquakes,volcanoes, tornadoes) and in animals (at odds withcreatures), then how does this observed evidencesquare with Adam being given dominion over naturein Genesis 1?
Was Dominion Relinquished?
A simple question that can be asked is—is there anevent, which occurred that could have taken dominionover creation away from Adam, and subsequently,mankind?
There is a catastrophic event in Genesis 3:6 whenAdam disobeyed the instruction of the Lord and atefrom the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. TheBible instructs that through Adam’s disobedience thatdeath came to all creation, man and nature(Romans 5:12, 8:20–21).
The Bible also instructs the way creatures interactwith man drastically changed, for God put the fear ofhumans within the animals after the Flood (Genesis 9:2).Therefore, any spirit of obedience to man theanimals did have is now altered by God. Therefore,man’s rule of the animal kingdom is fundamentallychanged from what it was in a pre-Fall format andGod is the one who changed it (as a consequence toAdam’s sin).
It should be noted this change is what is seen today.Most animals are afraid of humans, and out of fear wesee fight or flight. Another change in man and animalinteraction from before the Fall is that animals arenow allowed to be used by man for food (Genesis 9:3).Therefore, animals are given into man’s hand as preyto the predator.
It is clearly seen that man’s relationship over thecreatures is not dominion over loyal subjects. Ratheranimals are prey, and they often flee from man whois the predator and fleeing is a telltale sign of notobeying the pursuer. Yet sometimes, as cited in thisarticle, the animals exhibit lethal dominion overman, which flatly contradicts the idea that man hasdominion over animals.
But, as one can see, our observed lack ofdominion over the animal kind is confirming to thebiblical narrative. The Bible gives us a history ofthe relationship between man and animal. In thebeginning, man had dominion and harmony withthe animal kind and all of nature. Neither man noranimal viewed the other as predator or prey andAdam was given the mantle of being ruler over theCreation. Then, the biblical history explains how thatchanged due to Adam’s sin. Ultimately, God, Himself,significantly changed the relationship between manand all of creation.
To deny that man’s dominion was lost, is to denyScripture, the effects of the sinful Fall, and theobserved evidence of man and animal interactiontoday. The only place the Adamic Dominion can findsupport is within the pride of man, for evidence of itbeing extant is absent absolutely everywhere else.
Can the Original Dominion be Redefined?
Some have taken the opportunity to redefine whatthe Adamic dominion implied. As an example: is therenow a moral dominion that man must preside overas one reviewer suggested? This should go withoutstating, but the dominion in Genesis states nothingabout a moral dominion in the context of where theconceptual dominion mandate comes from.
But, if we are free to start inventing dominions, onesupposes we could create a moral dominion for manto reside over. But, how could mankind be trustedwith a moral dominion after the Fall, when Adamwas unable to be trusted with a piece of fruit before itwhile all of his morality was still intact?
Making things up is never the answer to solvingbiblical questions. Sticking to the simple languagein the divinely inspired text is where the answersreside.
And according to Psalm 14:2–3
The Lord looks down from heaven upon the childrenof men, to see if there are any who understand, whoseek God. They have all turned aside, they havetogether become corrupt; there is none who does good,no, not one.
It does not appear the Lord puts any stock inman being able to maintain a moral dominion.Furthermore, the rest of the biblical narrative providesa Savior precisely because mankind is incapable ofhaving a successful moral dominion.
Redefining what the original dominion means maybe acceptable in theological circles, but it should notbe accepted in biblical circles.
According to most Theologians, Man has Dominion(s).
But, does the Bible Actually Teach Something Different?
Does the Bible give us any indication that somethingelse, other than mankind, may have dominion overthe earth?
This is the key to the discussion. Are we willing totake in the whole counsel of the written Word of God,or do we simply stop reading after Genesis chapter 2irrespective of what happens next?
First of all, the Bible clearly teaches that man doesnot have a dominion over creatures on earth after theFall.
The Leviathan was a creature used as a teachingtool to Job, by God, as an instrument to demonstratethat it would not submit to man (Job 41:1–8).Likewise, the behemoth in Job 40:24, God issued thechallenge to try to pierce the nose of the behemoth,with a snare, which is the technique used to try tocontrol big beasts like oxen and such.
Clearly, mankind had no rule over these creatureswho were used as examples by God, Himself, todemonstrate to Job that Job did not have control, right,or might over his environment—all of the things thata dominion would imply. Furthermore, one would findit difficult arguing with Job that he had dominionover anything at all. The appointed Adamic dominionsimply fails to be seen in the post-Fall biblicalenvironment as described in the book of Job.
According to Ephesians 2:1–3, sinful man isfollowing someone else, which implies an obedienceto, or a dominion under another.
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespassesand sins, in which you once walked according to thecourse of this world, according to the prince of thepower of the air, the spirit who now works in thesons of disobedience, among whom also we all onceconducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfillingthe desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were bynature children of wrath, just as the others.
Here we learn unrepentant man is followinganother who is the prince of the power of the air.Revelation 2:13 goes deeper into this prince.
I know your works, and where you dwell, whereSatan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name,and did not deny My faith even in the days in whichAntipas was My faithful martyr, who was killedamong you, where Satan dwells.
This is a fascinating passage because thisis Messiah speaking to John. And Messiah ismentioning the throne of Satan. A throne certainly isconsistent with having some sort of dominion, whichis consistent with Satan being called the prince of thepower of the air in the passage in Ephesians 2:1–3.We also see the throne of Satan is spoken of as if onearth. It then follows that where one has a throne, onehas a measure of dominion and this is consistent withwhat we learn in Job 1:7 that Satan roams around onthe earth.
This idea of Satan having a dominion or an authorityon earth is further developed in other passages. Thereis an enlightening interchange between Messiah andSatan recorded in Matthew 4:8–10:
Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly highmountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of theworld and their glory. And he said to Him, “All thesethings I will give You if You will fall down and worshipme.” Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan!For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord yourGod, and Him only you shall serve.’”
Satan presents himself to Messiah as the authorityof earth, and the one who had authority to give toMessiah the kingdoms of the world. Yeshua did notrebuke that claim by Satan. Rather, He rebuked theclaim that anyone can be worshiped besides God. Itwas by this rebuke in which He did exercise authorityover Satan (therefore Satan has no authority over theLord, but rather over that which has fallen).
Satan having a throne and presenting himselfas one having authority on earth are confirmingaccounts of an implied dominion of Satan. This claimto earthly things by Satan is seen again in the bookof Jude when Satan is disputing with the archangelMichael over the body of Moses (Jude 1:9). Of course,Michael rebuked Satan in the name of the Lord andthat ceased the discourse.
Therefore, we do see God the Father exercisingsupreme authority, but one cannot deny that therewas a claim of authority that Satan believed he hadover the fallen. It was one that even our Messiah didnot directly rebuke at the time (though He rebukedSatan’s request to be worshiped).
This idea of Satan having dominion on earthis seen again when Paul wrote of how man can bedelivered from Satan’s domain via the redemptionoffered through Messiah in Colossians 1:13–14:
He has delivered us from the power of darkness andconveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,in whom we have redemption through His blood, theforgiveness of sins.
So clearly, the dominion, which was active onearth, was one of darkness and one of death by thetime Messiah arrived. And we know that death isthe last enemy to be destroyed (1 Corinthians 15:26),and Messiah came to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8),which is sin and consequently death.
It then follows that earth, which is under thedomain of sin and death was therefore under somekind of domain of Satan. This is consistent with Satanhaving a throne on earth and Satan believing he hadthe authority to offer the kingdoms of the world toMessiah during the period of temptation. However,the Bible is clear that Satan cannot move outside ofthe will of God (Job 1:12).
However, this occurrence still does no good toman’s own claim of a dominion mandate for ourselves.Man’s dominion is noticeably absent in these post-Falldiscussions of dominion, powers, death, and sin.
After the Fall, the battle is between the dominionof darkness and then the dominion of Messiah. Inthe New Covenant Scriptures we clearly see thedeveloped theme of Adam’s dominion being lost to sin,death, and darkness by Adam at the Fall, and thenMessiah (the last Adam) restoring what was lost andestablishing an eternal dominion and kingdom thatcannot fail.
The biblical narrative, from start to finish,certainly develops this concept and we see somethinghappen to the dominion of darkness that was usheredin after the Fall. In the Scriptures, written in thepost-resurrection time, there is a common themethat a dominion of Messiah has been established,for Ephesians 1:22–23 states that all things are putunder the feet of Messiah.
And He put all things under His feet, and gave Himto be head over all things to the church, which is Hisbody, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
This occurred after Messiah was willfully subjectedunder the dominion of darkness and death before hewas resurrected as is explained in Romans 6:9–11:
… knowing that Christ, having been raised from thedead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominionover Him. For the death that He died, He died to sinonce for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeedto sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
So the actual dominion that even Messiah wastemporarily subjected to (via the cross) was sin anddeath. The Bible is also expressively clear that mankindis under this same dominion, but this changes whenone is born again. Romans 6:14 explains:
For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you arenot under law but under grace.
The Bible, with redundancy, reinforces this point ofMessiah having dominion. 1 Peter 4:11 states:
If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God.If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the abilitywhich God supplies, that in all things God may beglorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong theglory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
This passage teaches that it is the way of thebeliever to glorify the Lord with every thought, word,and action. This demonstrates that the born againare in submission to another dominion, for all thebelievers’ acts are done in the service of another not inthe service of self, or in the service of furthering theirown dominion or reign. And according to this passagein 1 Peter, it is Messiah to whom this dominion, inwhich the born again belong.
1 Peter continues in 5:10–11:
But may the God of all grace, who called us to Hiseternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffereda while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.To Him be the glory and the dominion forever andever. Amen.
Messiah has Dominion
It is a difficult notion to successfully argue, atthis point, that man has dominion, when the Biblesays Yeshua, the Messiah has dominion. It would beequally difficult to argue that God is mandating manto take dominion—for are we to wrestle it away fromthe Messiah He sent? Certainly not.
It certainly seems the biblical narrative teachesthat God recognized Adam’s failure to sustain a gooddominion, and He gave it to His Son whom He knowswill successfully do what Adam failed to do.
Furthermore, unsaved man is in enslaved to sin(Romans 6:6). This is to say sin has dominion andauthority over unrepentant man.
The gospel is that Messiah frees the repentantsinner from this bondage and takes the born againout from the dominion of sin and darkness and placesthem in the kingdom and dominion of our Lord.John records that this domain of Messiah is foreverestablished. Revelation 1:5–6 states:
… and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, thefirstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kingsof the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us fromour sins in His own blood, and has made us kings andpriests to His God and Father, to Him be glory anddominion forever and ever. Amen.
Yeshua’s dominion is forever. It will never fail, it isfirmly established and it will never be handed overto darkness and death like Adam’s dominion. Andthose who are born again, have been removed fromthe former dominion of sin and placed into Messiah’sdominion (Romans 6:14).
Therefore, apart from the Savior, it is not man’sdominion which fallen man is under; it is the dominionof sin. Sin and death came from the Curse, which wasthe work of Satan in which Messiah came to destroy(1 John 3:8).
As a point of clarification, this dominion ofMessiah should not be misconstrued as endorsingamillenialism, or a preterist theology. The literal1,000 year reign is still to come.
Old Testament Displays of Power
The Old Testament is a foundational Scriptureupon which all the New Testament is built. It is onethat constructs precept upon precept, covenant uponcovenant and looks forward to the completion andeternal fulfillment of the Torah and the prophetsthrough Messiah’s life, death, and resurrection. Oncethe fall of Adam was complete and man’s greatnesswas lost, Scripture immediately began buildingtoward the greatness of Messiah (Genesis 3:15).
Therefore, the various acts of power of the OldTestament prophets should not be misconstrued asAdam’s dominion being displayed, for that is defunct,but rather miraculous acts are precursors to and forthe coming Messiah and His dominion.
Therefore, the Jewish Messiah was positioned fromGenesis 3:15 forward, to be the Deliverer from thedomain of sin and death (Romans 11:26) which Adamwrought. The plan of God was never aimed to reestablishAdam’s dominion—man’s dominion. Rather, it wasto establish and sustain the preeminence of Messiah(Colossians 1:18) and His dominion forever and ever.
An Opposing View of Dominion
In an article in the Journal of Creation, Andrew S.Kulikovsky argues that the dominion mandate wasestablished by God, and that it was a commandmentwhich is still enforced today.
Please note that Kulikovsky is only engaged herebecause he conveniently presented the exact oppositeposition to what is presented in this paper. Therefore,it is helpful for the reader to see an opposing view andto be able to go read the entire Kulikovsky article fora compare and contrast.
Kulikovsky argues that mankind rules overcreation, and that creation exists for the benefit ofman. He wrote:
As noted in a previous article, human beings aresubject to God, while the rest of the creation issubject to mankind and exists for our benefit. Inother words, God rules over mankind, who rulesover the rest of creation. (cf. Psalm 8) (Kulikovsky2012, p. 46).
But the Kulikovsky answer of man ruling overthe Creation does not line up with the Bible. Hereferences Psalm chapter 8 as a proof text, but hemisunderstands it. Psalm 8:6 states:
You have made him to have dominion over the works ofYour hands; You have put all things under his feet, …
This passage is not about mankind; it is referringto the coming Jewish Messiah. This is confirmed byRabbi Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:27 when he quotesPsalm 8:6 when he is speaking of the Messiah andthe dominion that He has. Paul wrote:
For “He has put all things under His feet. …”
In fact, in the book of Job, God, Himself wentthrough great lengths to point out how man does notrule over creation:
Can you draw out Leviathan with a hook,
Or snare his tongue with a line which you lower?
Can you put a reed through his nose,
Or pierce his jaw with a hook?
Will he make many supplications to you?
Will he speak softly to you?
Will he make a covenant with you?
Will you take him as a servant forever? (Job 41:1–4)
Lay your hand on him;
Remember the battle—
Never do it again! (Job 41:8)
The entire point the Lord made to Job is that manis wholly impotent to rule this creature, even whileusing extreme force. The Lord tells Job, that the verything Kulikovsky is arguing for, is the very thing manis powerless to do. It is evident that sin fundamentallychanged the dominion relationship between man andbeast and man no longer rules over the beast.
Was Creation “Very Good?”
Kulikovsky argues that in the beginning, before theFall of Adam, that there was a rebellious tendency tothe Creation itself. He argues that having dominionover the Creation meant that Adam was commandedby God, to be aggressive and conquer a less thanwilling original creation.
He is pulling this concept from the micro-analysisof both kâbash (subdue) and râdâh (dominion) in theGenesis 1:28 passage which states:
“… Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue(kâbash) it, have dominion (râdâh) over …”
The definitions of kâbash and râdâh do containcoercive, forceful elements. Meaning, the languageimplied that Adam could, by shear force implementhis will on all of his subjects through aggressivedomination. And because Adam had this ability,Kulikovsky concludes that the “very good” Creationmust have been obstinate and uncooperative from thebeginning.
He cites the Theological Wordbook of the OldTestament as the authority to confirm this accusationof the Lord’s work.
Kabas assumes that the party being subdued is hostile tothe subduer [emphasis added], necessitating some sortof coercion if the subduing is to take place … Therefore“subdue” in Genesis 1:28 implies that creation will notdo man’s bidding gladly or easily and that man mustnow bring creation into submission by main strength(Harris, Archer, and Waltke 1980, p. 430).
Kulikovsky clearly indicates, by using thiscommentary as a proof text, that the Creation washardwired, from the beginning, to resist the dominionof Adam. One should note, that if the Creation wasoriginally hostile to Adam, then it would have beendangerous to Adam. For, hostility does not existwithout the threat of danger.
Furthermore, the commentary he stakes hisargument on makes it abundantly clear that thishostility was present in Genesis 1:28, which is beforethe Fall.
Kulikovsky then cites, two other sources of hischoosing, which he believes echo a similar point:Koehler et al. (1994–2000) and VanGemeren (1997).
He then fleshes out this concept of a resistantcreation and what it inherently means. Due to hisbelief that the original creation was hostile to Adam,these scenarios that Kulikovsky lays out would havebeen applicable before the Fall with his view (which isshared by many theologians, may I add).
What is in view here is for humanity to manipulatethe created order so that it better serves our needsand purposes (Kulikovsky 2012, p. 45).
Exercising human dominion would imply workinghard ground by breaking it up, aerating the soil inorder to allow seed germination, and adding fertilizers(Kulikovsky 2012, p. 45).
Therefore, exercising dominion implies that weforce the water to flow to places where it would notnormally flow. This could be achieved by diggingirrigation trenches or using a mechanism to pump thewater though [sic] pipes to the required destination(Kulikovsky 2012, p. 45).
It should be noted that it is a mainstay of the young-earthcreation model, that all such struggle withnature was a result of the Fall. This bizarre stanceof Kulikovsky finds itself an eager bedfellow withHugh Ross’s ideas that the result of sin wasn’t reallythat drastic. Even more alarming is that it placessurvival of the fittest before the Fall, for hostility isnot hostility if it does not end with one will survivingthe opposition of another.
By Kulikovsky positioning creation as beinginitially hostile to Adam, he argues, perhapsunwittingly, that the original very good creation wasactually in need of improvement (digging drainageditches). Such a low view of God’s creation, and itsability to not completely provide for Adam’s needs isalarming. For it lessens the sin of eating from thetree of the knowledge of good and evil, because Adammay have argued he ate out of need, and not out ofselfishness. This could place the fault at God’s handsfor not providing a suitable environment for Adamthat allowed for perfect obedience.
Furthermore, Kulikovsky’s idea that the originaldominion implied the instruction to dig irrigationtrenches, develop mechanisms to pump water ontounproductive, hard soils needing fertilization flies inthe face of what we learn happens in Genesis 3:19,where only then, after sin, did the need to farm by the“sweat of the brow” become a reality.
Therefore, Kulikovsky’s conclusions, no matter howsound he thinks his exegesis of the Hebrew words are,and no matter how many people he gets to confirm hisstarting position, land him in a thorny theologicalplace. For Kulikovsky’s outcomes are disastrous forthe biblical model of a very good God, and very goodcreation.
A quick use of logic would have saved Kulikovskyand his theological brethren from making the poorconclusion that hostility was present before the Fall.
Yes, it is true that the Hebrew words for dominionand subdue give the ability to enforce. However, to begiven a power to rule does not imply that which is tobe ruled to be unruly. To be given the power to controldoes not mean that, which is to be controlled, has apredisposition to be uncontrollable.
As an example, one could give the instruction to anartist to shape an object through force, manipulation,and coercion to the desired outcome of the artist. Theinstruction implies that the artist has every right toforce upon the object any desire the artist so wishes.The artist has the right of both kâbash (subdue) andrâdâh (dominion) over the object in which the artistis shaping.
But the amount and intensity of the force that isnecessary is directly a result of the resistance of theobject. A soft, pliable, pure, supple, moist lump ofclay, which responds to every motion of the potterwould make the force needed minimal, and theeffort to subdue nearly forgettable. Yet, force andcoercion still exist, but the object responds willingly.Therefore, the force used is only one of volition, andnot one of struggle. And the result is a harmonybetween the potter and the clay, and the ruler andthe ruled. This type of harmony is what would havebeen in place between Adam and the Creation beforethe Fall.
Kulikovsky also argues that, in a post-Fall world,that ownership over something must mean controlover something. Again, this is fallacious. One doesnot mean the other. Kulikovsky cites Psalm 115:16that states the Creation was given to man (whichhappened in the pre-Fall Creation). From there heconcludes, without considering any context of the Fall,that man has control over creation.
Again, one does not mean the other. If a donkey isgiven to a man it does not mean the donkey is goingto walk whenever the man tugs the bridle (and if thedonkey kicks its owner it would be the donkey thatforces the owner to move). Just because this creationis the mortal home of man it does not mean that thehome obeys man or that we can subdue it into nothaving tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes,lightning strikes, and the like. It is obvious thatthe original sin of Adam changed man’s control anddominion was forfeited.
The exegetical error that Kulikovsky committedwas focusing on the smallest literary fragment whiledisregarding the pre-eminent context of life beforethe fall. In biblical studies one cannot dissect thesmallest unit, without any regard to the whole, andthen infer judgments on the whole and expect a soundoutcome.
To be preoccupied with the smallest units of literarytradition may have its purposes; but the exercise isultimately of limited value. A totality—things incombination—often possess properties and engendersqualities neither carried by nor necessarily inherentin any of its discrete components (Sarna 1989,p. xvi).
It is useful to offer a competing Hebraic commentaryto the texts Kulikovsky offered. Note how the JPSTorah Commentary involves the context of not onlythe opening lines of Genesis, but understandingwhat the book of Genesis is, on a whole, and howthat helps them understand properly the units. Iteven brings an understanding of the Messiah intothe discussion.
They shall rule The verbs used here and in verse 28express the coercive power of the monarch, consonantwith explanation just given for “the image of God.”This power, however, cannot include the license toexploit nature banefully, for the following reasons: thehuman race is not inherently sovereign, but enjoys itsdominion solely by the grace of God. Furthermore,the model of kingship here presupposed is Israelite,according to which, the monarch does not possessunrestrained power and authority; the limits of hisrule are carefully defined and circumscribed bydivine law, so that the kingship is to be exercisedwith responsibility and is subject to accountability.Moreover, man, the sovereign of nature, is conceivedat this stage to be functioning within the context of a“very good” world in which the interrelationships oforganisms with their environment and with each otherare entirely harmonious and mutually beneficial, anidyllic situation that is clearly illustrated in Isaiah’svision of the ideal future king (Isaiah 11:1–9) (Sarna1989, pp. 12–13).
Note the understanding that dominion and rulewere products solely by the grace of God and one isaccountable for that rule (and with accountabilitycomes consequences). Also note how the very goodCreation is in harmony with Adam, in every way,as opposed to Kulikovsky et al’s assertions that theCreation would “not do man’s bidding gladly” evenbefore the Fall. Traditionally, the young-earth modellines up with this Jewish perspective of a very goodcreation.
Furthermore, The JPS Torah Commentary,though not messianic in a sense that Yeshua was andis the Jewish Messiah, rightly connects the kind ofidyllic dominion granted to Adam to the dominionof Messiah, the last Adam. Isaiah 11:1–9 points tothe redemption of mankind under the last Adam (aphrase revealed in the new covenant Scriptures1 Corinthians 15:45), and foretells of a future authoritythat will have all dominion with an environmentwhere the wolf dwells with the lamb, the leopard liesdown with the young goat, and the calf is next to thelion. It is an environment where a child plays over thehole of a cobra and nothing shall be hostile. It is theenvironment where the child leads the lion and thecalf together. The child exhibits true dominion thatthe creatures obey. That is the picture of what theoriginal dominion, given to Adam would have beenlike. Yet, in today’s world, that lion eats the child andthe calf.
Clearly, without any hesitation, if a mind has notsurrendered to peer pressure, everyone should easilyrecognize that Adam’s dominion has failed and isdefunct.
Ultimately, Kulikovsky’s approach to man’sdominion mirrors the original sin to exalt ourselves.It conveniently forgets that at the entrance of Adam’ssin mankind went from makers of the law to thoseunder a law, and from those who had grace to thosewho need grace. It is quite an incredulous conclusionto believe that those condemned under the law are theones with the dominion.
A Redeemed Dominion
A deeper issue is this: does the dominion of Messiah,in whom those who are born again now belong, allowthe believer to exercise the dominion of Messiah whilestill on earth?
The key is understanding from whom this dominioncame. The original dominion given to Adam hasceased to exist and did not survive the great offenseagainst God. Fallen man has no claim, stake, or powerof dominion, for those condemned are enslaved to thedominion of death and darkness, as every believeronce was.
However, for the born again, for those who havetasted the heavenly gift, and have been redeemedinto the perfection of Messiah, their citizenship isfound in heaven (Philippians 3:20) and have becomeone body in Messiah (1 Corinthians 12:12). The bornagain have been given the birthright of being heirswith Him (Romans 8:17). This is a new dominionperfectly established through Yeshua.
The question can now arise; does this dominiontranslate now to the believer while still finishing therace in this fallen world?
The Bible confirms that it does, but there is aproviso the size of a mustard seed. This conditionis faith, which is exercised within the will of God.Peter could walk on the water, with faith in Yeshua,which is trusting that Yeshua had rule/dominion overeverything (Matthew 14:29–32). It was not by Peter’sown dominion in which he walked upon the water;it was accomplished through Messiah. And whenPeter’s faith in Messiah failed, so did the walking onthe water.
Therefore, Peter could not exercise his owndominion, but through faith, Yeshua could exerciseHis in Peter. This is confirmed in Matthew 17:19–20in the well-known mustard seed comparison wherefaith could even enable dominion over mountains.
This new dominion is recorded in the gospel ofLuke:
Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord,even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” AndHe said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning fromheaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trampleon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power ofthe enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits aresubject to you, but rather rejoice because your namesare written in heaven” (Luke 10:17–20).
Upon the return of the 70, we see astonishmentthat even demons are in subjection to them throughthe name of Yeshua. The Messiah answered themand said He had given them the authority to treaddown upon serpents and scorpions (the natural worldas well). The astonishment from the 70 came becausethe people recognized they had no dominion over thesethings before, but through Messiah’s name, a newdominion, a new authority was given which allowedthem to tread down on the enemy and on things in thenatural that would do harm to them.
Obviously, if the Adamic dominion was still intact,the Messiah would not have needed to give them thepower, through His name, to exercise dominion. If theAdamic dominion was still intact, the 70 would nothave been astonished that the demons were subjectedto them. If the Adamic dominion was still intact,they would not have needed the new power, throughYeshua’s name, to tread down upon serpents andscorpions.
Let us not forget that one of the definitions ofrâdâh, the word for dominion in Genesis, is to treaddown upon nature. It is no mere coincidence that theMessiah, the last Adam, invoked similar languageand it is no mere coincidence that the 70 made itknown that this dominion came only through thename of Yeshua. This is messianic evidence, fromthe mouth of Yeshua, that any dominion of man nowmust be through the name of Messiah, and throughHis dominion.
Was Adam Responsible for a Moral Law of God before the Fall?
Is it possible that Adam had other moralresponsibilities that he was accountable for, like thekeeping of the Sabbath, as it has been suggested to thisauthor? This might seem like a fair question at facevalue, because in Genesis 2:3 we see the Lord blessingthe Sabbath day and making it holy. However, thereis not a responsibility to Adam for the keeping of theSabbath, nor were there any other additional moralinstructions, or law, in which he was responsible.
It is not proper exegesis to retrofit the TenCommandments or the other mitzvot into the firsttwo chapters of Genesis before the Fall. One mustremember what the commandments of God revealed.The Apostle Paul, the Jewish Rabbi in the NewCovenant Scriptures explained that through the lawcomes the knowledge of sin (Romans 3:20).
Yet, Adam and Eve, before Genesis 3:6, had noknowledge of sin, because they had not eaten of thetree of the knowledge of good and evil. Therefore,there could not have been a so called “law of God”that went any further than the singular instructionto not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,because the known existence of a deeper moral lawwould have presupposed a knowledge of sin on Adamand Eve’s part.
We must accept the plain reading of the text andsurmise that the moral responsibility Adam had toGod, in its totality before the Fall, was confined toone instruction: do not eat of the tree of the knowledgeof good and evil (Genesis 2:16). To assume furtherresponsibility would assume a deeper law. To assumea deeper law would cause Adam and Eve to have aknowledge of sin, because Romans 3:20 states that“
… for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Therefore,where there is no sin, there can be no Law.
Even more, if we apply further moral responsibilitiesto Adam, then we must account for penance for theirfailures, and that would have meant sacrifices, for ablood sacrifice is required for the forgiveness of sin(Hebrews 9:22). And a blood sacrifice, occurring beforethe tree of the knowledge of good and evil is eatenfrom, is unthinkable within the biblical landscape.
Dominion and The Image of God
A few have tried to combine the image of Godand man’s dominion into one idea. But, we must becareful not to allow beliefs about the image of God tooverburden our understanding of man’s dominion.
Schleiermacher speaks of the image as humandomination over nature, a view expounded in morerecent days by Hans Wolff and L. Verdium (Elwell2009, p. 733).
Though the image of God and the dominion of manare related in some respects, they are not synonymous.Adam’s dominion was an appointment to a position;whereas the image of God was a condition of man’screation. Therefore, this paper correctly treats thetwo separately and appropriately addresses dominionwithout needing to explain the image.
However, in saying that, if one believes a discussionon man’s dominion cannot be had without a discussionon the image of God, then that person does notunderstand either. Let us not deceive ourselves onthis matter. Many pastors, professors, and teachersspeak of the image of God with a confidence as if theyreally know what it is. But too often that is a falsebravado.
Unfortunately, Scripture never says in so manywords what is meant by the highly intriguing term“the image of God” (Luter 2008, p. 247)
No matter how confident someone sounds whenthey are speaking of the image of God, the truth ismost draw a blank on what really is the image ofGod. This is why Millard Erickson speaks of differingviews and theories on the matter.
There are three general ways of viewing the natureof the image. Some consider the image to consist ofcertain characteristics within the very nature of thehuman, either physical or psychological/spiritual.This view we will call the substantive view of theimage. Others regard the image not as somethinginherently or intrinsically present in humans, but asthe experiencing of a relationship between the humanand God, or between two or more humans. This isthe relational view. Finally, some consider the imageto be, not something a human is or experiences, butsomething a human does. This is the functional view(Erickson 2009, p. 520).
Some respected texts simply state the Bible doesnot teach us what exactly is the Image of God.
Christian thinkers have tried to locate the image ofGod (Imago Dei) in various dimensions of man’s being,including man’s spirit, soul, rationality, will mind,personhood, immortality, and even his physical body.But Scripture is not specific as to exactly what it isabout man that constitutes the image of God (Brand,Draper, Butler, and England 2003, pp. 806–807).
Because the image of God has been a source of suchspeculation, it is not a wise practice to use one’s ownview of the image of God to shape other importantdoctrines. It is best to take what is clear to understandthe vague, rather than to take the vague to confusethe clear.
There is biblical evidence that God fundamentallychanged man’s relationship with the animal kingdomafter the Flood. There is biblical evidence that naturewas changed after the Fall in Genesis 3:17 that madenature an obstacle to man. There is naturalisticevidence that nature is an obstacle to man. There isnaturalistic evidence that the animal kingdom doesnot recognize man’s authority or dominion. There isbiblical evidence that animals do not recognize anydominion of man. There is biblical evidence that sinand death have dominion in the fallen world. Thereis naturalistic evidence that everything in naturedies even when opposed to the wish of man. Thereis biblical evidence that Satan has a throne, claimsauthority, and sin and death are connected to hisworks.
There is biblical evidence that this dominion of deathis ultimately defeated by the dominion of Messiah,which was established by God. There is biblicalevidence that those who become born again are thentransferred from the dominion of sin and death intothe dominion of Messiah, and forego the judgment ofwrath. So inclusion into the dominion of Messiah iswhat relieves all the previous powers, dominions, andjudgments that fallen man was subjected to.
There is biblical evidence that through the name ofMessiah, and through His dominion, both the naturaland the supernatural are in subjection to redeemedman when there is faith. There is biblical evidencethat in the Messianic kingdom to follow that the childshall lead the lion, and a fattened calf, demonstratingthe animal kind recognizing the child’s dominion,through the Messiah. There is naturalistic evidencethat in the current life a child is killed by suchpredators and disobeyed by calves, thereby refutingthe idea of the child having a dominion over theanimal kingdom in this life.
The biblical sequence of dominion then is asfollows:
Adam was given dominion over the animal kindand creation. He then forfeited that dominion to Satan,sin and death, which is also called the dominion ofdarkness. This happened when Adam disobeyedthe command of God to not eat of the tree of theknowledge of good and evil. Due to Adam’s sin, Godchanged man’s relationship with nature and animalsso that neither animals, nor nature, recognize fallenman’s dominion.
Messiah then came and claimed victory over thedominion of death and sin and God placed everythingunder the feet of the Lord the Messiah whodemonstrated dominion over nature and animals.Then, when one is born again, they are transferredfrom the dominion of death, into the dominion ofthe Messiah. The born again is never to establishtheir own dominion, nor can they, but they serve thedominion of Messiah forever and ever.
It is possible, through faith, to operate withinthe dominion of Yeshua for the born again believer.However, the unrepentant sinner has no dominion,rule, or authority of their own, and remains in bondageto the domain of darkness, which controls their livesand destiny.
This understanding of dominion, as laid out inthis paper, rings in perfect harmony with the gospel.For all are lost under the curse of sin. Then, throughMessiah alone, are all redeemed. The preeminence ofMessiah is supreme.
Therefore, the dominion mandate, which statesthat all mankind has a standing command or orderto have dominion over the earth, due to the dominiongranted to Adam, is not a biblically supported idea.
Anonymous. 2003. Roy Horn of “Siegfried and Roy” criticallyhurt in tiger attack. Komo news, October 3, 2003. Retrievedfrom http://www.komonews.com/news/archive/4106516.html.
Anonymous 2012a. Australian zookeeper stable after attackby elephant. CNN, October 20, 2012. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/20/world/asia/australia-elephant-zookeeper/index.html.
Anonymous. 2012b. African painted dogs kill young boy atPittsburgh Zoo. CNN, November 4, 2012. Retrieved fromhttp://news.blogs.cnn.com/2012/11/04/zoo-animals-kill-small-child.
Anonymous. 2012c. Man mauled to death by captivegrizzly in Montana. Fox news, November 5, 2012.Retrieved from http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/11/05/man-mauled-to-death-by-captive-grizzly-in-montana.
Anonymous. 2012d. Man falls off cliff, dies at Phoenix’s EchoCanyon after bee attack; 2 other hikers rescued. Fox news,October 29, 2012. Retrieved from http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/10/29/1-hiker-falls-off-cliff-dies-at-phoenix-echo-canyon-after-bee-attack-2-hikers.
Bates, G. 2010. Alien intrusion. Brisbane, Australia: CreationBook Publishers.
Brand, C., C. W. Draper, T. C. Butler, and A. England.eds. 2003. Image of God. In Holman illustrated Bibledictionary, pp. 806–807. Nashville, Tennessee: HolmanBible Publishers.
Brown, F., S. R. Driver, and C. A. Briggs. 2008. The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English lexicon, 12th printing.Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers.
Drews, K. 2012. Cougar tears man’s pants during attack onwest coast. Huffpost British Columbia, December 9, 2012.Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/09/12/cougar-attack-mans-pants_n_1878928.html.
Elwell, W. 2009. Evangelical dictionary of theology. Ada,Michigan: Baker Book House.
Erickson, M. J. 2009. Christian theology, 2nd ed. Ada,Michigan: Baker Academic.
Harris, R. L., G. L. Archer, Jr., and B. K. Waltke. 1980.Theological wordbook of the Old Testament, vol. 1. Chicago,Illinois: Moody Press.
Koehler, L., W. Baumgartner, M. Richardson, and J. J. Stamm.1994–2000. The Hebrew and Aramaic lexicon of the OldTestament, 5 vols. Leiden, Netherlands: E. J. Brill.
Kulikovsky, A. 2012. Human dominion and reproduction.Journal of Creation 26, no. 1:43–47.
Last, J. V. 2012. How killer whales become killers. The WallStreet Journal, August 2, 2012. Retrieved from http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444873204577536963107904328.html.
Ludlow, R. 2012. Union County man killed by bull. TheColumbus Dispatch, September 7, 2012. Retrieved fromhttp://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2012/09/07/bull-kills-man.html.
Luter, B. 2008. God, image of. In The popular encyclopediaof apologetics, ed. E. Hinson and E. Caner, p. 247. Eugene,Oregon: Harvest House.
McMurray, J. 2011. Young girl survives cougar attack inKananaskis. Calgary Sun, August 2, 2011. Retrievedfrom http://www.calgarysun.com/2011/08/02/young-girl-survives-cougar-attack-in-kananaskis.
Morris, H. M. 2010. Biology and the Bible. Acts and Facts,November 2010.
Ousley, R. 2012. Dog bites three year girl. KFBB.com June12, 2012. Retrieved from http://www.kfbb.com/news/local/Dog-Bites-Three-Year-Girl-158801035.html.
Owen, J. 2003. Leopard seal kills scientist in Antarctica.National Geographic News, August 6, 2003. Retrieved fromhttp://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/08/0806_030806_sealkiller.html.
Roberts, M. 2009. 12-foot python kills toddler. Examiner,July 1, 2009. Retrieved from http://www.examiner.com/article/12-foot-python-kills-toddler.
Sarfati, J. 2002. Will scientists create new life forms—and whatwould it prove? Retrieved from http://creation.com/will-scientists-create-new-life-forms-and-what-would-it-prove.
Sarna, N. M. 1989. The JPS Torah commentary: Genesis.Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: The Jewish PublicationSociety.
Shrestha, M. 2012. Leopard suspected of eating 15 people inNepal. CNN November 3, 2012. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/03/world/asia/nepal-leopard-deaths/index.html.
Strong, J. 1979. Strong’s exhaustive concordance of the Bible.Nashville, Tennessee: Royal Publishers.
VanGemeren, W. A. ed. 1997. New international dictionary ofthe Old Testament theology and exegesis, 5 vols. Zondervan,Grand Rapids: Michigan.
Weiland, C. and J. Sarfati. 2002. Earth day: Is christianityto blame for environment problems. Retrieved fromhttp://creation.com/earth-day-is-christianity-to-blame-for-environment-problems.