Dominion mandate
by Rod Jackson

All verses are quoted from the NASB anything in [square brackets] is added by me for clarity.

When God created people, male and female, He gave a "dominion mandate". God gave people authority over the animals. We can read it here -

"Then God said, `Let Us [the Triune God] make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them [people] rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.' " Genesis 1:26

So what is the problem?

The problem is because non-Christians and Christians have different worldviews, they will understand this differently. We need to understand what God is commanding in light of how God talks of "ruling".

"Jesus called them [12 disciples] together and said, `You know that the rulers of the Gentiles [non-Christians] lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you [Christians]. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave - just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.' " Matthew 20:25-28

Notice that God's view of ruling is what we call "servant leadership". The leader is to serve others, not "lord it over them". So in the Christian worldview when we see that people have dominion over animals, it means that we use that authority over them for good. Dominion does not mean destruction! This is why the bible states -

"A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal, but even the compassion of the wicked is cruel." Proverbs 12:10

Animals are inferior to people, and as such people are more valuable than animals. But people are responsible to God for their actions. There will be a day of judgement where all people will be judged for their actions, whether they are good or bad.

But also the Christian is not to go to the other extreme of "worshipping nature" and violating the 2nd commandment. So Christians are responsible to look after their environment but not to put it above God or man.


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