“Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth…”” Genesis 1:26 NKJV
The Bible records in Genesis 1:26 that God created man in His image and after His own likeness. Further study of Scripture reveals that God is a spirit, having no physical form, therefore, His person cannot be judged by physical characteristics (Joh.4:24, Col.1:15, 1 Tim.1:17). In the image of God man was created; this means if we were to stand Adam up beside God (spiritually speaking), he would look like a replica of God. Also man was created after God’s likeness; this means that man has intellectual capabilities for reasoning (mind), an ability to choose by one’s own resolve, independent of external stimuli (will), having emotional capabilities, and having a moral capacity.
Another important attribute of being in the likeness of God is that man is able to develop the potential within and release this potential. This is how God created the world; the earth was void and without form, and through His Word, He created the world we live in and everything in it (Joh.1:1-3, Heb.11:3). In stating these, it is essential to add that animals do not possess a moral capacity or an immaterial component (a spirit) or the ability to cultivate and release potential like mankind does, which debunks the idea that humans are simply “smart primates”.
The second part of Genesis 1:26 goes on to state the purpose for the creation of man, “…and let them have dominion…” The word ‘dominion’ as used in the text, construes the idea of being in charge; to rule and have administrative capabilities. At the core of the being of every human, we desire to be in charge. We do not like to be at the mercy of “situations beyond our control”.
Then in Genesis 1:28, we see God giving a command to Adam (representing all humanity) saying, “Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion…” This is the dominion mandate. From this verse, we are able to see how man is expected by God to have dominion in life. First we see that dominion is by the blessing (the bestowal of God’s power upon man to fulfill purpose). Through the blessing, man is to produce fruit, and multiply, and in so doing restore the earth to its former fullness.
Humans were created as God as creatures of image. We generally communicate images, by conveying thoughts, which are typically expressed through words. Take as an example, dog. The first thing that probably came to your mind were not the letters d-o-g, you probably vaguely imagined a four legged furry animal that barks. If the following qualifiers; plush coat, black and tan German shepherd preceded the word dog, then immediately you have a different picture formed in your imagination. In line with this, by nature we produce the images of our heart. This is a major reason why we are instructed to guard our hearts because from the heart (spirit-man) flow the forces of life (Prov.4:23).
When God gave the dominion mandate to mankind, He gave Adam the image of the Garden of Eden. One can say the Garden of Eden was an earthly replica of heaven. It has been and still is God’s desire for the earth to be a colony of heaven. Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “…your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt.6:10). Then in Revelations 21:1-3, we see that there will be a new earth, and a heavenly city that proceeds from heaven, where God will tabernacle with men. Adam was expected to bring forth fruit in multiples, and restore the earth by spreading the image he had been given of God’s garden round the planet. The establishing of heaven upon the earth (the dominion mandate) was first given to him.
Now, how do all these apply? Because the purpose of man’s creation is the dominion mandate, an individual’s life is best fulfilled living in dominion. Dominion is not just meant to be the nature of the one who is in the image and likeness of God, but it is also the person’s destiny. We were not created to dominate other humans, nor created to be controlled or dominated by any circumstance or person. When we are not in control over the circumstances of our lives, we feel frustrated and uncomfortable. Stress comes in, and our body alarms us in various ways mentally and physiologically that something is wrong. Generally we are happy to the degree to which we feel we are in control. You were created for dominion!
Your dominion is best expressed by living in purpose. God commanded Adam, “be fruitful”, the word ‘be’ is an action word. This means we are to be proactive in the fulfillment of our God given purpose. Purpose has been planted by God in the heart of every person. It is a divine seed planted in you that you must cultivate to give the world a taste of heaven.
Many people live life similar to what can be described as a bumper car life. Life seems to be going fine until we are hit by an event that throws us of balance. Locked in the corner for a while, many mope, cry, and wish things were different. Eventually we’re out and back in the game, and almost immediately another event hits. For most people rather than focusing on the game, winning and making progress, they are focused on how they can avoid being hit again or how they can be comfortably handle the unexpected.
The fact of life is that there will be ups and downs, but Jesus in John 16:33 exhorts that we be of good cheer because He overcame the world. In essence, His victory means our victory in life.
As you remain focused on fulfilling your God given purpose, when the events of life take a hit at you, it is your dominion nature that rises from within and puts you over the challenges. A life without purpose is like a bumper car life. In going back to the text, one would observe that dominion as intended by God is predicated on being aligned with God’s image (Adam was created in the image of God to have dominion). We see that Jesus in His conversation with Nicodemus, alludes to this truth. Nicodemus acknowledged that Jesus did miracles. Miracles are an interruption of the natural laws of nature. Jesus defied nature, and brought circumstances of life, and brought them into subjection.
Jesus response to Nicodemus was that a person must be born again. Nicodemus was confused because he thought of being born again in natural terms; Jesus was referring to a spiritual experience. To be born again means to be reborn of God’s nature, by God’s spirit. A spiritual change occurs in the heart of the individual through the work of the Holy Spirit. When a person becomes born again, the driving force of his or her life then becomes the spirit of God (Joh.3:1-9). Because of the fall of man, a person can only be restored in the image and likeness of God by being born again. ‘
The born again experience is not a natural experience but one that is supernatural. Hence, the person may look like every other human on the outside, but the person’s capacity is changed beyond that of the ordinary human. He or she now has a supernatural capacity to do the works of God. When you become born again you should carry a dominion consciousness. This is to have the consciousness that nothing in life is beyond your control, because you have living within you the Greater One (1 Joh.4:4).
To live in dominion, you must exercise yourself in creativity through faith. In Genesis 1:2, God created light out of darkness. This was dominion in demonstration; God was not limited by the seemingly hopeless circumstance. Rather, He demonstrated that in the midst of every adversity, there exists the seed for equal opportunity. As you preoccupy yourself with living in purpose, problems will come, however you recognize that problems exist to be solved. You defy the contrary circumstances you are faced with by your faith.
1 John 5:4 declares as an overcommer the one who lives by faith. Faith is confidence; confidence in God and His Word, and confidence in the God nature within you. You hold steadfastly to the Word of God, and you audaciously declare what it says in the midst of the turmoil you are faced with, while you apply yourself to a solution. To live in dominion is to believe in the capacity of God’s Word to overcome every challenge, knowing that you have the capacity within you to solve any problem. Jesus on crossing the sea to go into the country of Gerasenes calmed the boisterous waves by speaking words of faith (Mark 4:35-41). He was on a journey to fulfill purpose when the windstorm arose, but He dominated.
Finally we see that when God gave Adam the dominion mandate, He spoke to His potential. God is an omnipotent God, meaning the God of all potential. Inside Adam was every invention, solution that the world needed. He carried the potential within him to produce the image of the Garden of Eden that God had shown him. Likewise, there exists within you a seed of potential. It is expected that through your work, you develop the potential within you. Notice that after Adam was placed in the garden, God gave him work; to tend and to keep the garden (Gen.2:15). You cultivate your potential through work. The one who works hard will leave the company of ordinary men and will be found in the presence of the mighty.
To live in dominion is to release potential through work in the area of your purpose. This is what it means to be fruitful. If you have not produced anything of worth, it may be that you have not worked hard enough on it. As you develop yourself to be the best in your vocation, you will rise in dominion. Jesus was not a lazy man. He said in John 5:17 (NKJV), “But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.”” The Bible also records that God worked for seven days in the creation of the world (releasing potential from within) and on the seventh day He rested (Gen.2:2).
Remember, Dominion is not just your nature, but it is also your destiny. The degree to which you live in dominion is first in your alignment with the nature of God. You must be born again to be perfectly in line with God’s nature. With being born again, you carry a consciousness of God’s indwelling presence. Nothing, except by your own permission can dominate you because of your God nature.
Be determined to live life fulfilling your God given purpose. Be creative in your thinking and approach to life. Live by faith, defying the circumstances that you face, confidently believing in God’s Word. Be diligent in the works of your hands, releasing the potential within you. As you do this, you will give the world around you a taste of heaven in your heart. Live in His image, and live in dominion!
Written by Moyo Mamora. Published at the Jesus House Chicago anniversary magazine Visionmag 2012.