Cultural Mandate

Al Ngu,  1/13/22,   Orlando

The cultural mandate from the Faith and Works class is pretty amazing and new to me. So what’s is the Cultural Mandate? It is found in Genesis 1:27–28 (ESV)

27    So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 And God blessed them. 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.”

God told Adam and Eve to go and be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds…and over everything that moves on the earth. Now the two big words here we need to capture in its essence are:

“Subdue it! And Have dominion over”

Cultural mandate from here is the bold move called subdue the world, and have dominion over it. That’s such a bold move and only God can call it. It won’t be even politically correct to say those words for fear of retaliation. However the fact of the matter is that God wants to make everything new. And that’s part of the dominion over it, as cultural mandate.

You see most Christians think we are really only zoomed in on the Great Commissioning. Matt 28 Matthew 28:18–20 (ESV)

18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

So this is absolutely number one! But the question is: does the Great commission include the cultural renewal? Includes the make everything new? Includes the restoring the image of God? Because in the Garden of Eden, before the fall, man was asked by God to till the garden, and everything was in perfect harmonious order. Remember in the book of Isaiah, even lions and sheep lie together etc., a metaphoric picture of the perfect harmony. Then the redemption of Christ includes the redemption of whole creation?

You see here that : Genesis 3:17 (NASB 2020). 17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; With hard labor you shall eat from it All the days of your life.

Creation has been cursed because the sin of Adam. Adam fell into the judgement of God, and the whole creation of the world did too. The whole ground has been cursed. Because it has been cursed.

Romans 8:20–23 (ESV)

20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

Now that’s why Romans 8 here says the creation is subjected to futility. How? By who? By God! Because Adam sinned against God, as the representative federal head of all creation, the entire creation meaning trees, grass, oceans, mountains, our office people, our governments, schools, universities etc. have all fallen together with Adam. Therefore, Rom 8 says the creation is hoping to be liberated firm its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. You see v 22 says the whole creation has been groaning until now!! Wow, the entire world has been groaning, not only humans. People living in good fortune and good life, don’t even know that they are groaning internally until they hit some problems in life. But the reality is the whole world is groaning.

Groaning! We ourselves, who are the first fruit of the Spirit, also groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons of God, the redemption of our bodies. Our bodies are weak, some are sick, some are weak, and as age, the more problems we face.

All these point to the fact that our bodies are groaning, the entire creation are also in groaning. And not only our bodies are groaning, the entire cosmos, the society we live in, the cities, the civilization are all groaning as we only need to read the news, they happen daily, the brokenness of our society.

Therefore the redemption of God in Christ, will have to include more than the spiritual redemption of souls, i.e. redemption and salvation for those who put their faith in Christ. That means, its more than salvation, but also liberation from the bondage for all creation throughout the world when Christ returns.

But right now, our ministry to the world in Christ Jesus, will have to be the renewal of all creation which means our jobs, offices, every vacation like sanitary workers, dentists, doctors, accountant, teachers, engineers, lawyers, etc. etc. Even though they are not directly in the ministry of redemption of souls, there is also the counterpart called renewal of the image of God in their lives, in the work, in the forests, and whatever to the original image of God. Because in Rev 21, it says that God is making everything new!

Revelation 21:3–5 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among the people, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, 4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”

What would that mean in our church vocation folks? They need to be sent out with such knowledge of God’s calling for renewal of all things, and do the work of cultural renewal, and with that care and love, and that’s fulfilling the cultural renewal, restoring to the image of God. People in the world may question what’s in us that is making such difference in the world.

It’s really what Bavinck says it’s the using the natural achieving the supernatural changes.  When we do the cultural renewal, renewal to the image of God, it’s all part of the Great Commission.

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