Theologians throughout the ages have noted that all major biblical doctrines – the first principles – are to be found in the book of Genesis. From the beginning, we are given shadows and types pointing the way to Jesus.
Although the story of Creation is finished on day six, week one (Genesis 1:31) – creation is still not over in its fullest sense. God’s purpose for man from the very beginning was to move him from a garden to a city.
Adam in Romans 5:1 is “a type of Him who was to come,” the tragic foreshadowing to the Son of God, Jesus, who is called the “last Adam” and “a life giving Spirit” in 1 Corinthians 15:45.
As the Second Man and Last Adam, Jesus takes on this role. And this is the first lesson of dominion. Where Adam failed Jesus succeeds! Even now Jesus is filling the earth and subduing it, building a glorious culture and community through a people that will exercise dominion over all the earth.
And if Adam is a type of Christ, then Eve is a type of the Bride of Christ. In Genesis 2:21,22 the woman is fashioned from her husband’s riven side.
And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man (Genesis 2:21,22).
Genesis 2:21-23 tells us that God put Adam into a deep sleep, during which time God made Eve from Adam’s side. This is an awesome foreshadowing of the New Covenant since a wound in Adam’s side produced a bride!
After the last Adam, Jesus Christ, died upon the cross – suffering death for the sins of the world – His side was pierced by a spear (John 19:34). In His sleep of death, he paid the penalty for mankind’s sins (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Those who repent and put their faith in Him are united with Christ and are likened to that of a bride toward her husband.
Thus a wound in the last Adam’s side also produced a bride – the Church! – “a glorious bride, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing … holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:27).
This mystery isn’t revealed until we read Paul’s revelation of the mystery of the bride of Christ in the last verses of Ephesians 5.
For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:30-33).
Then in 2 Corinthians 11:2 and finally in John’s visions of the Bride of Christ in Revelation chapters 12, 19 and 21, we see that from the beginning God made mankind for a special purpose.
Likewise, the Garden of Eden was a prototype of “heaven on earth,” and the world outside the garden was to be “cultivated,” in a sense “heavenized” to conform to the pattern of the Garden. This is the “Dominion Mandate.” Though it was tarnished by Adam’s sin, it has never been negated or set aside.
The first words God spoke to man after creation were as follows: “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Genesis 1:28).
Adam was thus given the commission to establish dominion over the whole earth. By implication we understand that the world was not created in such a way that Adam’s dominion was achieved automatically, but rather there was a task for him to accomplish.
Along with this Dominion Mandate, God established a covenant with Adam. Adam was given dominion and the responsibility to obey God and particularly to not eat of the fruit of tree of knowledge of good and evil.
After the covenant was broken and the privilege of dominion lost, all mankind came under a curse.
To the woman He said:
“I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception;
In pain you shall bring forth children;
Your desire shall be for your husband,
And he shall rule over you” (Genesis 3:16).
We see in the woman’s desire for her husband, the people of God crying out to be united with a Bridegroom-Savior. In the curse of the fall of man, we see the resulting destruction of the population of the earth through the great Flood. When Noah and his family emerged as the only survivors, God again established a covenant with man never again to destroy the earth by a flood. God again spoke to Noah and gave him the mandate to “be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.”
So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth” (Genesis 9:1).
But let’s look at this more closely. In Genesis 9:1, where this mandate is repeated, there is the obvious omission of two words that were spoken in Genesis 1:28: “subdue” and “rule.”
Man, as a result of the Fall, lost not only the privilege of dominion, but also his ability to take dominion. It was only as Jesus was made head over all rule and authority that He could reissue the Dominion Mandate to the Church in all its fullness. In fact, Jesus’ last words before leaving the planet were to restate and even amplify this Dominion Mandate
“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations – teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you, for lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 18:18-20).
Today many well-meaning, sincere Christians hold to a view that essentially says: “Since Jesus could come back any day, why try to change society?” The Great Commission becomes truncated and the Church’s role becomes that of a lifeboat rescuing as many as possible rather than that of a battleship commissioned to have dominion of the seas.
This “blocked” view is the same error made by mankind when he tried to build the tower of Babel. We, as fallen human beings as a result of original sin, have the tendency to look into the heavens, to take the “short cut” to the restoration of paradise, thus rejecting God’s mandate to have dominion over the earth.
Yet if this is the mandate given to God’s people, then what is our vision to be? God’s Word simply says: Be fruitful, multiply, fill all the earth, rule it, subdue it!
In other words, make disciples of all the nations teaching them to obey everything that the Lord has commanded!
God’s purpose for man after the Fall and throughout the progressive steps in the Old Covenant was to prepare His chosen people as a Bride to rule and reign with the His only begotten Son. In each stage, the purpose is recorded in type. God begins to reestablish the covenant he made with Adam from the beginning.
Through the “seed of woman” God is raising up a warrior race – the New Covenant Bride of Christ – whose job it is to share in mission of Jesus Christ and defeat the “seed of the serpent” by keeping the commandments of God and proclaiming the testimony of Jesus Christ in all the earth.
And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ (Revelation 12:17).
Immediately some will say, “Can it really be done? Is the Church’s job really not only to resist the devil but also to defeat him in time and history? Given the wickedness of this present age and the darkness of men’s hearts, the task seems overwhelming.”
The answer is simple.
All authority has been given to Jesus Christ! He is in us and will be with us until the end of the age!