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THEOLOGY > Man > Dominion Mandate > Extent of the Mandate 


Before man was created, God determined the relationship of man to the earth—he was to have Dominion; man was to rule. And the rule was to be total; the Dominion of man extends to all the earth; man is to exercise sovereignty over all the world. The Lord made Adam lord of the earth and everything in it and on it (Gen. 1:26, 28; 2:15-17; 9:1-2; Ps. 8:3-8; 115:16).

The earth belongs to the Lord: “The earth is Yahweh's, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein” (Ps. 24:1; see Ps. 47:2, 7). Man has no claim on the earth; he inhabits and has the benefit of that which is not his and can never be his. Man did not bring the earth into existence and then mold it into its current form. The earth belongs to the Lord; He created it and prepared it to serve His eternal plan. Thus, this planet is fulfilling a Theistic purpose, of which man is a part.

Not only does the earth belong to the Lord, but it is sustained by His power and continuously provided for by His goodness (Ps. 104:10-18, 27-30; see: Preservation); He is Sovereign over His creation (Ps. 47:2, 7; 148:11; Isa. 54:5; Matt. 11:25; see: God is Sovereign). He rules that which He has made, insuring its continuity and well-being and, therefore, its destiny.

That which belongs to the Lord and is governed by Him, He has graciously given to men: “The heaven, even the heavens, are Yahweh’s; but the earth He has given to the children of men” (Ps. 115:16). This does not mean that God has abdicated ownership, but rather that He has established a stewardship. To man has been entrusted the work of God’s hands, not for selfish enjoyment by man but for the completion of God’s plan. Under God’s Dominion man has been given Dominion.

Note: Does the above verse indicate that man does not have rule over the heavens, only the earth? Also does it indicate that man is not given rule over the spirit world, only the earth?

Speaking to Noah God said: “They are given into your hand” (Gen. 9:2); the word, “they,” is referring to the beast, the birds, and the fish of the earth. Earlier the Trinity had communicated among themselves regarding man and woman: “let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” (Gen. 1:26). There can be no doubt that the entire earth has been given to man and was given to him at the very beginning.

This Dominion is over the earth and its resources, not over other men or nations. This is a command to rule the world not the people of the world.

This Dominion grants use of the earth but not abuse of the earth. Man is really a steward of the earth that God has placed him over. In Revelation the twenty-four elders praise God for the time has come that He “should destroy those who destroy the earth” (11:18). Abusers of the earth will be judged.

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