Dominion Enjoyed​

The triune God rules supremely and perfectly as the happy God (cf. 1 Timothy 1:11). During Creation, everything that exists was created by him and now exists by and for his will (Revelation 4:11). All of creation was created and declared good by him (Genesis 1:31; 1 Timothy 4:4).

By his sovereign decree, the creation exists to serve one purpose: to glorify God. Psalm 119:91 says in reference to the sun and the earth, "By your appointment they stand this day, for all things are your servants." Created things exist to serve God, and if God's chief end is, as John Piper says, "to glorify God and to enjoy himself forever" (cf. Isaiah 48:9-11), then all created things exist for God.

Dominion Given

And we, as God's image bearers (Genesis 1:27), reflect the communicable attributes of God, such as exercising rule and dominion over created things. This is the command of God to us as his image bearers in the very next text: "And God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth'" (Genesis 1:28).

Therefore, when we live and walk the earth, created things are to serve us in our serving God. We are to have dominion and rule over all created things under the "128 mandate" – everything that is not an image bearer according to Genesis 1:28. We create, we build, we construct, we design, and we craft in order to display God's dominion and rule. The angels themselves exist to serve God (Matthew 4:11) and are commanded by him to serve his people (Hebrews 1:14).

Dominion Reversed

But in the secret counsel of God, one of those angels, that ancient serpent (Revelation 20:2; Genesis 3:1), was sovereignly permitted to rebel. And in his rebellion, Satan tempted Adam and Eve. The creature usurps the dominion of the image bearers and we, as the image bearers, rebelled against our Creator. Of all the created beings, we are the apple of God's eye (Psalm 17:8) and were given the highest privilege. And we spit in his face and broke his commandments.

And now, we have become subjected to the very created things we were made to subdue. All human beings are enslaved to idols – created things that we elevate to a place of higher adoration, giving them a reputation worthy of more applause, and a position of having more attention than the most blessed God. Romans 1:25 says that our problem is one of a horrendous reversal, an exchange of the most vile: "[we] exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator…"

From worshipping and obeying the Creator, we exchanged the truth about God for a lie, namely the lie in the garden, and now worship the creature. We are enslaved to our sinfulness (John 8:34). Our idols promised freedom, but we willingly enjoy the dastardly plunge (cf. 2 Peter 2:19). iPhones rule us. We are subdued by their pinging and vibrating by heeding its every notification. The bounty of binge-watching options on Netflix cages us into numbing our minds. We are being ruled by creatures rather than the Creator. As Timothy Brindle says, we've gone from being image bearers to being image makers.

Dominion Demonstrated

So, the Creator fills himself into a creature as a hand fills a glove. Jesus Christ, the Creator God-man empties and sits in the seat of sinning and rebellious men. Fully God and fully man, yet without sin, Jesus walks the earth and demonstrates what true dominion looks like: Jesus perfectly enjoys food, drink, sleep, friends, work, rest, emotions, times, and seasons. And more importantly, being fully man, he fully enjoys and obeys the commands of the Father.

This is our new representative on the earth. Jesus perfectly used created things to glorify God in how he thought, acted, spoke, and used his body (Mark 12:30). In all ways with all things, Jesus loved and glorified God. Creation was subjected to him and he was subdued by nothing but the kindness of his Father (John 4:34, 6:38).

He was perfectly obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Jesus Christ was counted as one who was subdued by pornography, one who is enslaved by people pleasing. He was counted as if his enjoyment was found most fully in fantasy baseball, lusts of the flesh, and all idols we sheep have strayed after. And he was crushed for it.

Dominion Renewed

By faith in his death, our idolatry is slain. The created things that cause our eyes to twinkle brighter than our affections for the Son were ruined by the death of the Son. And in his rising, our idols are scorched in his supremacy and there is noting hidden from his heat (Psalm 19:6). Take your idols out to the light and set them aflame!

Now, as new creatures hidden with Christ in God, we have new desires and new eyes to see everything from the eyes of the Garden. We are counted as if we have always obeyed, fellow believer. The 128 mandate has been bought as predestined from the same garden we sold it from (Genesis 3:15). Whatever you do, from eating to drinking, you are not only commanded, but are able to enjoy doing to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31) because you are a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17).

You stand in the mercy and wake of redemption bought by your new representative. And by the great mercy of the Father, he has caused you to be born again (1 Peter 1:3) to subdue creation and not be subdued by it.

This is fight of the Christian life: subduing what once subdued us. And, by God's grace, we will accomplish this task by his word and power. Look to his wrath-absorbing death and his perfect active obedience as your fuel for obedience. My God who began this good work in you will complete it in you, beloved (Philippians 1:6).

The apostle Peter spells it well: "To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen."