Monday, December 9, 2013

The Dominion Mandate

On November 24, 2013, Pastor Robert Truelove of Christ Reformed Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia, preached a sermon titled 'A Quiverfull of Confusion Part 2'.  This sermon is part of a series he is preaching on the Quiverfull Movement.  My point in this blog post is not to assess the scriptural merit of the quiverfull mentality, but I would like to focus on Pastor's Truelove exposition of the Dominion Mandate, also know as the Creation Mandate, from Genesis 1:26-28.

In general, the Quiverfull Movement is made up of conservative Christians who promote procreation and eschew all forms of birth control.  They contend that children are a blessing from the Lord and man should not interfere with that process, but the criticism of the Quiverfull Movement comes from their legalistic view that you are to have as many children as you can regardless of financial burden or health risks.

Starting out, Pastor Truelove asks:  "Does the Dominion Mandate preclude family planning in the life of a Christian couple?  He answers:  "No, when we do that we add the commandments of men to the Scripture."  The phrase 'be fruitful' is not a command, but a blessing (see Gen. 9:1, 7; 16:10; 17:2, 20), and we can not thwart God's plan for us to be fruitful and multiply (Psalm 127:3).  Having children is not a legal requirement of man, but a blessing from God at His perfect timing.  Pastor Truelove goes on to point out that the animals in Genesis 8:17 should also be fruitful, multiply, and swarm the earth.  However, we (including the Quiverfull proponents) do control animal population.

It is Pastor Truelove's next correlation that caught my attention and prompted this post.  In Genesis 1:27 God created man in His own image.  He states that man's function or purpose was to bear forth the divine image declaring by his own very life and being the glory of God and His kingship over creation.  Man was to multiply God's image in the Dominion Mandate, but sin came into the world through the Fall and man could not longer fulfill the mandate because the image of God in man was marred by his sin nature.  Therefore, as fallen men, we cannot revitalize Eden through having as many children as possible.

However, as New Testament believers, the Dominion Mandate is now fulfilled in the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20), which commands believers to spread the gospel to all nations and make disciples baptizing them in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Pastor Truelove contends that man bears the image of God after the Fall through Jesus Christ.  Christ is the image of God (2 Cor. 4:4; Col. 1:15), and God predestinated the elect to be conformed to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29).  Therefore, the fulfilling of the Dominion Mandate is not fulfilled simply by having children, but it is fulfilled by the proclamation of the gospel where sinners come to Christ through the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit.  The believer conforms to the image of Jesus, who is the image of God; thereby restoring the image of God in man and making us the image bearers we were created to be.  Apart from Christ, man cannot fulfill his purpose to glorify God by bearing the image of God and declaring His sovereign rule over creation.

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.  And God blessed them, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth," (Gen. 1:26-28).