Green New Deal – Dominion Mandate – What is Our Christian Response?

With Green New Deal being touted by radical Democrats, saving the planet and the environment has become a popular cry from many different environmental groups.

For years now, evolutionists, atheists, and New Age environmentalists have placed much of the blame for all of the environmental problems on Christians and their biblical Dominion Mandate. They claim that Christians use this to exploit the planet, its resources and the plants and animals for the good of man without any concern about the effects left behind.

New Agers, atheists and evolutionists alike decry the idea that the planet and everything that exists on it, are there for the sole purpose of man. They claim that this arrogance has lead to the wanton destruction and depletion of habitats and resources all over the earth. The very concept of man’s dominion goes against their fundamental belief that man is just one of the many species that inhabits the globe and we have no more right to anything than does a garden slug. Many go so far as to say that the only hope for saving the planet is up to New Age and atheistic environmental groups who are not subverted by such a perverted man-centered view of nature.

Is there any validity to their accusations? Have atheists and New Agers been better stewards of the environment than Christian based systems?

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Over the past 20-40 years, compare the amount of pollution and habitat destruction that has taken place in atheistic communist countries compared to the United States which at the time was still a predominately Christian nation.  The levels of water and air pollution in the industrialized areas of Russia, China and India far exceeded anything found in the U.S. Australian Aborigines have burned off huge forests, leaving behind vast grasslands and altering the ecosystems, and the list goes on and on.

So, what is the Dominion Mandate?

The Dominion Mandate was given by God to Adam in Genesis 1:28 which says: 

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.”

Subdue and dominion.  Do they mean to abuse and crush as so many non-Christian environmentalists say they mean?  What do they mean and what are our roles and responsibilities?

The Hebrew word translated ‘subdue’ is (כבש kabash). Kabash and its derivatives can mean to forcibly put into submission, which seems to support the views of the critics. However, it also means to put under submission in an act of compassion as in Micah 7:19 where:

He will turn again, and have compassion upon us: he will subdue our iniquities, and cast all their sins into the bottom of the sea.

Basically, God is telling us to place the earth and all that fills it, under the submission to man. Man is the governor over the earth. Therefore, yes, the earth and all it contains was placed here for man.

The Hebrew word translated ‘rule’ or ‘dominion’ is (רדה radah). Radah and its derivatives means to have dominion or rule over a subject or subjects.  Interestingly, the usage of radah is only used when speaking of man and not God’s rule or dominion.

Again, the opponents of Christianity can say that the Bible gives man the right to exert his wishes upon the environment without care or concern for the outcome.  However, Leviticus 25:43 warns the same Hebrew word, radah, against being cruel:

You shall not rule over him ruthlessly but shall fear your God.

In 1 Kings 4:24-25, we are told that Solomon’s rule or dominion, radah, resulted in peace and tranquility:

For he had dominion over all the region west of the Euphrates from Tiphsah to Gaza, over all the kings west of the Euphrates. And he had peace on all sides around him.  And Judah and Israel lived in safety, from Dan even to Beersheba, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, all the days of Solomon.

More importantly, God gave Adam this command while all of Creation was still uncorrupted by sin. In a perfect world, without any concept of cruelty or abusiveness or greed, it would have been totally meaningless to Adam if God intended it to mean what the environmentalists and atheists claim it means.

Realize also that when God brought the animals to Adam to name, this was part of the Dominion Mandate. Adam had to have spent a few moments to survey and examine each animal before he named them. Even though he had dominion over the animals, Adam understood that in order to rule over them in the way God intended him to, that he had to know something about the animals. Unlike the tyrannical rule over nature that many presume the Bible bestows, in reality, it is a ruling and subduing based upon understanding and compassion.

It is this understanding and compassion for the Creation that God gave man dominion over that drove many of the early pioneers of scientific inquiry. Men like chemist Louis Pasteur, physicist Michael Faraday, astronomer Johannes Kepler, manned flight pioneers Orville and Wilbur Wright, all around genius Sir Isaac Newton, MRI inventor Raymond Damadian, and so many other great scientists were Bible believing Christians who understood that part of the Mandate involved studying the world around them. From their studies came new fields of science and technology that not only improved our way of living, but also provided new tools to better manage our environment.

Solomon was the wisest man on earth (1Kings 4:29: And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore,). That wisdom included a vast knowledge of nature. God knew that for Solomon to be wise and rule in godly way, that he also had to possess a vast knowledge of people and the world around him. We are given a glimpse of that wisdom in 1Kings 4: 29-33:

And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore, so that Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. For he was wiser than all other men, wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Calcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol, and his fame was in all the surrounding nations. He also spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005. He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of the wall. He spoke also of beasts, and of birds, and of reptiles, and of fish .

Knowing how important it was for not only his people to also understand the world around them, Solomon also taught people from all kingdoms about nature, 1Kings 4:34:

And people of all nations came to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and from all the kings of the earth, who had heard of his wisdom.

The Dominion Mandate does give man authority to rule and subdue all of nature.  Do we have the right to abuse and destroy the land? Absolutely not, for if one destroys what it rules over, they will soon find themselves ruling over nothing and that goes against everything that God has taught us through His Word. Looking to Adam, who first received the Dominion Mandate and then to Solomon, the man to whom God gave wisdom to, as our examples, we are to study our world and learn as much about it as possible. We are to take that knowledge and use it to wisely govern over the earth in such a way to preserve it from being destroyed and to provide it as a legacy to our children and our children’s children, and that does not mean to use the environment to suppress others as those pushing the Green New Deal intend to do. We need to listen and learn from God and nature, not sinful man.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

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R.L. David Jolly holds a B.S. in Wildlife Biology and an M.S. in Biology – Population Genetics. He has worked in a number of fields, giving him a broad perspective on life, business, economics and politics. He is a very conservative Christian, husband, father and grandfather who cares deeply for his Savior, family and the future of our troubled nation.

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