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THEOLOGY > Man > Dominion Mandate > Benefits of the Mandate  


The Dominion of man over the earth is the basis for the use of the earth by man, and for the use of the earth for the benefit of man; it is the foundation for investigation into the secrets of the planet and for the development and utilization of the earth’s resources for the advantage of the race. Success of scientific and technological research and development is guaranteed by the Mandate.

It is not selfish for man to utilize the resources that he finds on and within the earth; in fact, they were placed there by the Creator for use by the man that He made. God not only expects man to use the earth but He commanded man to use the earth. The fact that the earth exists for man is predicated on the creational purpose of the earth and also on the Mandate God gave to Adam, a Mandate which implies that man does not exist for the earth—the earth was made for man, rather than man being made for the earth.

This is the way it has been from the beginning; man has used and profited from the Mandate. Immediately after creating the first couple God spoke to them: “Be fruitful and multiple; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Gen. 1:28). They were to populate the earth and, at the same time, “subdue” the earth, even ruling over it.

The term “subdue” (kabash) is used of bringing a land and a people into subjection and forcing the people to serve those who bring about the subjection; see Num. 32:22, 29 (see: Form of the Mandate). The point is that the initial couple and future inhabitants of the earth were to investigate and use the earth so that it would benefit them; their rule was to be an active rule. This means that the earth is for man, and that man is not for the earth. In the relationship of man to earth, man has priority.

The growing population would need the resources of the earth, and God commanded their use for the benefit of man. Properly understood all scientific and technological advancements find their basis in the Dominion conferred upon man by the Creator. Whether conscious of the Divine command or not, those who have explored and unlocked the resources and mysteries of the planet have been able to do so and have been remarkably successful because of the initial Mandate given by God. Intellectual, technological, and scientific advancements are reflections of God’s initiative not man’s ability.

The Dominion was instant and continuous. There is no Biblical basis for rejecting man’s right to rule over the earth; it has never been rescinded. That which was the right of Adam is the right of man today. Therefore, all cultural attempts to thwart man’s use of the earth for himself are without merit. It was begun by Adam but not completed by him; it is an ongoing responsibility and privilege of man.

But a word of caution is in order. The use by man of the earth is to be a wise use of its resources, for the right to use is not a license to abuse. Many illustrations could be given of man’s inappropriate use of the earth, using it not for beneficial purposes, but for destructive and harmful purposes, which is a sinful exploitation. Since the Garden the exercise of Dominion has never been righteous, but as with everything associated with man it is contaminated by sin (see: Difficulty of the Mandate).

In Revelation there is an arresting statement where the twenty-four elders praise God for the time has come that He “should destroy those who destroy the earth” (11:18). Man is really a steward of the earth that God has placed under his rule, and there will be a day when God will hold accountable and judge those who have mutilated and defaced the earth.

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