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THEOLOGY > Man > Dominion Mandate > Difficulty of the Mandate 


Since the Fall man has exercised his Dominion under the curse of sin, therefore, the Dominion has been conducted with great difficulty. Subsequent to the Fall, man has struggled to practice his Dominion, that is, his sovereignty over the created order has been a challenge. Both man and creation have been impaired in their existence and in their relationship to each other by Adam’s sin in Eden.

Man, in the moment of his rebellion, went from righteous to unrighteous, from noble in thought to debased in his reasoning, from unhindered communion with God to fear and dread of the presence of God. In this transformation man’s ability to exercise proper Dominion was greatly blighted.

Man is still man after the Fall, but the image, even though it has not been destroyed has been defaced (see: Status of the Image). Sin did not replace nor negate the Dominion but made the Dominion difficult. “Sin has come in and man cannot rule as he was intended to do” (Buswell, ST, 235).

A certain disorder characterizes the earth: “thorns and thistles” have materialized; the earth itself is cursed, with its creational harmony being destroyed. No longer does the lamb and the lion play together, for conflict and warfare is constant between the animals, and between man and the animals. The arena of man’s rule, the earth, is against man.

And this burden of sin has impacted the working or functioning of the image: man still thinks, but because of sin, he does not think correctly (the noetic implications of the Fall). Surely, rationality is an integral aspect of the image; and even as a sinner man still has the ability to think. But as a sinner his thinking is flawed; in his present state man’s thoughts are humanistic and not Theistic—he thinks in terms of ego and not in terms of Theos. His worldview is perverted and thus his actions are depraved.

Improper thinking leads to improper living. Man becomes his own worst enemy. No area of man or of the image is exempt; sin is pervasive, extending to all areas of man—this is total depravity. Total depravity means that every aspect of man’s being labors under the curse and burden of sin; it does not mean that man ceases to be man. Even the image is beset by sin and its contagion.

In this resulting state man is wretched: he is weak, feeble, frail, and incapable of knowing and willing the good that he should do. Man is dead in trespasses and sin. Man is still the image of God but it is difficult to recognize the image—man lives like an animal.

Man is a contradiction,
both a wonder and a wretch.

Man still has eyes, but he does not see; man still has ears, but he does not hear; man still has a mind, but he does not think Theistically; man still has a tongue, but he does not praise his Maker. Man rejects what he is, a creature made in the image of God and accountable to God; he seeks meaning in non-theistic reasoning and living. He is content to consider himself be an evolving anthropoid and the universe a chance happening. All aspects of the image are affected, with no part of man functioning properly.

The image labors under the weight of sin and its debilitating effects. This is the tragedy of man. Man has become not what he was made to be; man has become dehumanized even while he is still man.

In this sense the image has not been destroyed,
it has just become darkened.

And the darkened image (see: Darkened Image) makes the work of Dominion difficult.

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