Thursday, June 11, 2009

8. "Subdue it: and have dominion"

Genesis 1:28 ~

"And God blessed them, and God 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." (King James Version)

INTERPRETATION: God’s desire for mankind is the blessing of dominion over the creation. Clearly, mankind needs the creation in order to live and survive. When perfected (fruitful) individuals have multiplied in their relationship with God, a utopian and joyful world results, called the Kingdom of Heaven, as expressed in the diagram below:

However, due to Adam and Eve’s original sin being multiplied down through the ages, mankind has lived without proper regard for the environment. Instead of replenishment, care and love, our dominion has been one of indifference and waste. Today, we suffer from widespread polluted air and water, ravaged landscapes, extinct and near extinct species of various animals, filthy cities, climate change and global warming. Because God’s image has not matured within us by achieving the blessing “to be fruitful,” we have abused the environment. Only by uniting with God (being fruitful) will we gain the love and understanding necessary to “replenish the earth, and subdue it; and, for proper “dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”

According to the bible, God has been laboring throughout history to help mankind realize this goal. In the Kingdom, black and white, occident and orient, believers of all faiths, saints and scholars, and science and religion will all find reconciliation and harmony through the higher trust and love inherent in these blessings. The Kingdom will be a global family, transcending all generational, racial and cultural differences.

In a God-centered family, parents are in the position of God to their children. Strengthened by their love for each other from God’s perspective inherent in the blessings, parents would have the emotional resources to love their children in the way God intended. Children would find examples in their parents’ love by which they could love. Springing from the family unit, the society, nation and ultimately the world centered on God’s way of life would emerge, illustrated below:

A performing arts interpretation of the above illustration can be enjoyed by clicking on the video below of "We Are The World" by Michael Jackson and friends:

When all people fulfill their purpose of uniting with God, forming God-centered families and exercising a dominion of love over the creation, we will find ourselves dwelling in the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. The Kingdom’s coming on earth is an ancient awareness. The prophets of Israel, for example, foresaw it, as stated in Isaiah 2:4, “And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” Similarly, in Matthew 6:10 Jesus told his disciples to pray, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” Revelation 12:1 speaks of “a new heaven and a new earth.

In the Kingdom of God, each person would be one with God, triumphant in love. The citizen of the Kingdom would love as God loves. In God’s eyes, value is a matter of our relationship with Him and the scope of our relationship with others. A man in the Kingdom lives not just for himself, his family or even his nation, but for the whole world. By living for the greatest good, he serves the needs of his world, his nation, his family and himself as well. When a person reaches this stage, he lives for God. His value thus becomes God’s value, as expressed in the diagram below:
In Matthew 6:31 – 33, Jesus stated, “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘what can we eat?’ ‘What shall we drink?’, ‘What shall we wear?’ For…your Heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the Kingdom of Heaven and its righteousness, and all these things will be yours as well.” We can understand this principle by recognizing that each person has an internal purpose for the whole, or common good, and an external purpose for the individual, as illustrated below:
Fulfilling the purpose of the whole involves serving and helping a larger unit, such as the family, society or nation. Fulfilling the purpose of the individual involves maintaining and developing oneself. By completing both purposes we can find real happiness.

The two purposes are not independent but are interdependent. Our natures are such that each individual can find the greatest happiness by contributing to the well-being of the larger society. Thus, whatever a person’s interest, their individual purpose can best be fulfilled in relation to the common good. Conversely, if a person works for the good of all, they become valuable to the larger society. Since society is made up of individuals, the whole society cannot be prosperous and harmonious until each individual within it is happy.

Throughout history the people we admire and remember the most are those who, in addition to their other qualities, integrated the individual and the whole purpose. Martin Luther King, for example, found his greatest personal fulfillment in serving those around him. In helping to raise african americans to the level of dignity and respect they deserved, he came to be widely trusted and loved, not just by blacks, but by whites as well. The same is true of people like Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Schweitzer, Eleanor Roosevelt, Mother Theresa of Calcutta, and countless others.

The following video reveals the integration of the individual and whole purposes by a man who loves harmonicas: