Dominion versus domination: taking back control of your life in God’s way.
While dominion makes many people uncomfortable, did you know that it was mandated by God? What does it mean to live a life of dominion?
What is living the life of dominion? Often, we tend to have a bad impression of the word dominion because of how it has always been associated with violent conquering and dominating rulership with taking control of life through power and violence. However, what do the Bible and God have to say about dominion? Let’s find out.
In the Bible, Genesis 1:26-28 states:
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
So God created mankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
As we can see from the verse, dominion is commanded by God, but probably not in a way we usually think it to be. According to an explanation by Hugh Welchel, dominion is given to humans as a whole as it was appointed to the first people, Adam and Eve. Their task was to develop the potential of the living beings in the earth by developing what we currently know as “culture.” This could be seen as taking control of life through developing a culture. Through culture, living beings grow and spread the culture through their offspring. It is explained by Welchel as a “cultural mandate” that has been created since Adam and Eve to Noah’s family and even to us today.
Another explanation comes from Ellen F. Davis, a professor at Duke Divinity School. She explains that dominion is often confused with domination. Rather, the Bible, in the same verse given above, demonstrates it refers more to being given a responsibility to all living creatures such as the birds, fish, livestock, wild animals, and all living forms on earth. She also explains that according to Genesis 1:29-30, that plants and other fruits have been given to humans and animals as food.
What exactly does this have to do with dominion? With the responsibility of “culture mandate” given to us, God has also given us the rations to help take care of the nonhuman creatures on earth. Since we have the responsibility of taking care of the nonhuman entities, as he did with Adam and Eve, we have a job to uphold in protecting and bringing out the best in all living creatures of the world.
In that very sense, dominion does not have anything to do with domination, violence, rulership or all the other negative connotations that we’re more familiar with. Dominion is more about taking responsibility to create the world as God has given us, the humans, the power, and resources to do so. This is why it has simply become our duty to protect duly, take care, and nurture all living entities on this earth. In a way, we are not only taking control of our own lives but taking control of life in general.
Dominion can be explained by your life choices taking control of your life and making it matter. By “making it matter,” I mean taking control of your life responsibly. After all, what you do with your life can affect what other people do with theirs. Always remember that.
Shout out loud and say, “This is me taking control of my life!” Doesn’t that feel good? If you are ready to accept what God has prepared for you, then I hope you can find the strength to share what you have been through. I’d love to hear from them. Leave a comment below.
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Welchel, Hugh. 2012. “‘A Biblical View on Dominion: Stewardship. Accessed August 11, 2017.https://tifwe.org/a-biblical-view-of-dominion-stewardship/.
Davis, Ellen. n.d. “‘The Meaning of Dominion. Accessed August 11, 2017.https://www.bibleodyssey.org/en/passages/related-articles/meaning-of-dominion.