Monday, September 21, 2009

Relationship of Genesis 1:28 and 2:25 to Culture

How does the contemporary church derive its responsibility to develop all levels of cuture to the glory of God from an ancient command to rule over the animals? There are three ways.

I. Historical development. Man’s stewardship would eventually lead him from his humble agrarian beginnings to develop all the earth’s resources as a means to advance worldwide civilizations. For example, a man needs to harvest his wheat. But to do so he needs a plow. To make a plow he needs other tools that he makes from the earth’s resources. To help him make his tools he needs workers. To care for his workers he must pay them. His ability to pay them is based largely on economic conditions, which leads him to theorize on the relationship of economics with politics, social ethics, and religion. This leads him to form cultural and educational institutions that seek a synthesis of such ideas.

II. Grammatical relationship. In Gen. 2:15 the Hebrew word translated “cultivate” is ‘awbad’, which means “to work or serve.” The English word “cultivate” comes from the Latin root, colere, meaning cultivator or planter. The Latin root, colere is also the root of the word “culture,” which is a general term that describes the ways and customs of a people-group or civilization. Consequently, the work of the dominion mandate is an all-inclusive concept that extends to every sphere of life.

III. Biblical Theology. Although the Cultural Mandate was given to the first man its scope extends through the covenants God made with his people in the Old and New Testaments. This continuity is seen in the language of the covenants (Gen. 9:1-17; Gen. 12:1-3; Gen. 15:1-17; Gen. 17:1-22, Ex. 19:5; 2 Sam. 23:5; 1 Kings 8) in the Old Testament.

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