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Man's Creation and Dominion

By R. J. Rushdoony
May 01, 2001

What was God's purpose in creating man? David answers this question, but much earlier God, in Genesis 1:26, tell us that it is dominion, and David, in Psalm 8:6ff., restates this saying, "Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands: thou has put all things under his feet." What God and His Word state so emphatically should be basic to the church's ministry, but it is not. In fact, one important observer has said that only Chalcedon holds to and teaches dominion theology. But David sees this dominion calling of man as a basic aspect of being "crowned with glory and honor" (v. 5).

The church in the main has lost its dominion mandate and calling. As a result, instead of being the source of the world's culture, the church is a shallow reflection of humanistic culture, man-centered and not God-centered. As Psalm 8:2 makes clear, our calling and our purpose should be to "still the enemy and the avenger."

God created man to exercise dominion and to subdue the earth under Him (Gen. 1:26). When man fell into sin, God chose a people and commissioned them to this same task (Jos. 1:1ff.). But Israel failed and was replaced by the church, which was commissioned to the same task (Mt. 28:19-20). The church now, instead of wanting victory and dominion in the face of tribulation, wants rather to be raptured out of it. Will not God give rather tribulation than rapture to such a people? Should they not tremble before God and change their ways?

A strong people of God are told that the Lord even ordains strength "out of the mouth of babes and sucklings" which "still the enemy and the avenger" (v. 2). Now the mouths of famous preachers ordain weakness and retreat.

The dominion God promises to His people is total: it applies to every sphere. The mark of God's being is absolute dominion, and this is His promise to His people.

The Lord's Prayer is, in essence, a prayer for dominion: "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven" (Mt. 6:10). For most churchmen, the use of the Lord's Prayer is a "vain repetition" rather than marching orders. Too many churches need to pray, "God have mercy on us, for we have neither prayed nor lived as we should."

We must seek God's dominion over ourselves and our world with all our heart, mind, and being. We must recognize that no church is truly Bible-believing if it rejects God's dominion and our calling in Him to bring all things under His dominion, beginning with ourselves.


Topics: Dominion

R. J. Rushdoony

Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916–2001), was a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical law to society. He started the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965.  His Institutes of Biblical Law (1973) began the contemporary theonomy movement which posits the validity of Biblical law as God’s standard of obedience for all. He therefore saw God’s law as the basis of the modern Christian response to the cultural decline, one he attributed to the church’s false view of God’s law being opposed to His grace. This broad Christian response he described as “Christian Reconstruction.”  He is credited with igniting the modern Christian school and homeschooling movements in the mid to late 20th century. He also traveled extensively lecturing and serving as an expert witness in numerous court cases regarding religious liberty. Many ministry and educational efforts that continue today, took their philosophical and Biblical roots from his lectures and books.

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