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Amongst the Trees: Hiding from Our Dominion Calling

The man and his wife were hidden amongst the trees—cowering due to their guilt and shame—but surely God knew that. Adam wasn’t just hiding. As far as God was concerned, the original dominion man was no longer standing in the position God had placed him.

Chalcedon Editorial
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Salvation, which is an act of God’s sovereign grace, re-establishes man in terms of his inheritance, the calling to exercise dominion. Dominion is thus the calling of the redeemed man; it is the practical implication of his salvation.[1] ~ R. J. Rushdoony

After his eating of the forbidden tree, Adam heard the voice of God call out to him, “Where art thou?” (Gen. 3:9). The man and his wife were hidden amongst the trees—cowering due to their guilt and shame—but surely God knew that. Adam wasn’t just hiding. As far as God was concerned, the original dominion man was no longer standing in the position God had placed him.

For this, Adam’s work was cursed, because Adam was God’s dominion man, and Adam’s sin was considered in light of God’s calling. “Adam, you disobeyed, hearkened to the woman who was not your authority, and left your post. Therefore, you shall be returned to your post—and the work it involves—but you will be placed outside paradise, and your work will now be frustrating. You’ll work, and then you’ll die.”

Eve would suffer in her body, and the divine order she disregarded would be thrust back upon her with a frustrating desire for her husband, “and he shall rule over thee” (Gen. 3:16). Yet, out of the sorrow of her childbearing salvation would eventually come, and the net effect of “the seed of the woman” would be a restoration of the dominion calling that was lost.

God’s Reward Is Greater Work

We can see that the judgment of God upon man’s original sin was as practical as it was spiritual—cursing his work, geography, body, etc.—so the salvation provided is both spiritual and practical with God re-establishing His redeemed people to godly dominion by way of regeneration and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

How glorious this is, but we did not earn it. It is the act of God’s sovereign grace, which makes the responsibility on our part even greater. God’s grace should lead to doing God’s work, but are Christians thankful for this fact? We know they are grateful for salvation, but do they rejoice in their restoration to godly dominion?

Yet, God rewards us with greater responsibility. But until we acquire a worldview where such an honor is both understood and welcomed, we’ll be left with not much more than millions of Christians happy to be saved, but like Adam, they are hiding amongst the trees.

Hiding or Eating?

We’re not to be hiding amongst the trees! God told Adam, “Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat” (Gen. 2:16), which means that the abundance of the created order was man’s to enjoy, cultivate, and rule over, but instead he hid amongst the order he was intended to rule. This is a fitting symbol for our own time.

Adam hid amongst the trees when he should have been eating from the trees. Those trees would also provide him wood to build shelters and create tools, and the essentials he learned from the trees would eventually lead to the most modern of technologies. In other words, the world was filled with natural, scientific, artistic, philosophical, and technological resources just waiting to be discovered and developed.

The power of multiplication was also given, which meant that families would become the headquarters for godly dominion, and since man himself was derived from the earth, the fruitfulness of God’s order would be seen in history, not eternity:

The earth is the area of his dominion, the place for his fertility to manifest itself, and his treasure to develop into that order which God requires of him.[2]

There’s No Escaping Responsibility

We are saved for a purpose, and that purpose is godly dominion. To forsake that purpose—and focus only upon our spiritual development—is to essentially live in an inverted version of Adam and Eve hiding amongst the trees: we’re redeemed, but in terms of influencing the world, we’re not at our posts.

This doesn’t mean we haven’t expended a great deal of energy trying to do God a service. But much of that effort is spent upon theological debate and church building more so than creating actual solutions to societal ills. For example, setting up a blog and debating on Facebook can easily fool one into thinking they have put God’s Kingdom first, and tithing to a church that pours money into church property and staff gives us megachurches but not mega-dominion.

Our time, our money, our families, our skills, our resources are given to us so that we might utilize them, but it is entirely up to us whether we’ll use them to build the city of man or the city of God. Either way, the calling to dominion stands and ignorance on our part is no excuse.

“While man may fail to meet his responsibilities, he can never escape them.”[3]

[1] R. J. Rushdoony, Salvation and Godly Rule (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1983), p. 40.

[2] R. J. Rushdoony, Revolt Against Maturity (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1977), p. 11.

[3] ibid., p. 12.

Chalcedon Editorial
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