If This Isn't Heaven, I Don't Know What Is

Biblical Reasons Why We Should
And Practical Suggestions on How We Can

Create Heaven on Earth

"The Dominion Mandate"
A Heavenly Commission

Human beings were created in God's Image and placed on the planet earth to create heaven on earth.

Or perhaps we should say "re-create heaven on earth."

Creating is part of God's Nature.

Man is created in the image of God, and creating is part of Man's nature.

Governing is part of God's Nature. Every animal, every thunderstorm, indeed every atom in the universe, moves according to the order and plan of God.

Another word for planning, creating, and governing is work. Many people look forward to heaven as a place where they will never have to work again. This idea of heaven is really an idea of hell, because it strips Man of part of his essential meaning and purpose.

Before Man sinned, God expressed the basic purpose of His Image-Bearer:

26 And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27 So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.
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.
Genesis 1:26-28

And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
Genesis 2:15

What the Bible tells us about heaven is not harps and clouds, but bears a striking resemblance to what the Bible tells us about the Garden of Eden.

Each of these characteristics of the Garden are theological images of Heaven. The Garden was an image of heaven. Man was created in the Image of God and then commanded to re-create heaven on earth.

Each of the tasks given to Man are part of an overall mandate to have all things done on earth as they are in heaven. Man was created to turn earth into a creaturely analogy of heaven. There are many examples of this in the Bible which most people miss (perhaps because they only read John 3:16 and books about the rapture). The Garden of Eden itself was a representation of heaven, with jewels, the water of life, and the tree of life (Rev. 22:2), all in the presence of God, and when God gave Moses a blueprint for the Tabernacle, with its Edenic imagery, it too was an architectural replica of heaven (Heb 8:5; 9:23 - "patterns of things in the heavens"). The scholarly theological studies have been nicely summarized in:

All of Man's tasks were directed to the re-creation of heaven on earth, which can be summed up as "exercising dominion."

The New Testament declares that we have been placed in "a New Creation." "a New Heavens and a New Earth," "the Kingdom of Heaven." Many who long to be "raptured" into "heaven" actually long to escape God's government and our duty.

The Dominion Mandate

Not "Domination"

Man was to be over the creation, under the Lord. He was to use his creative, aesthetic, intellectual, and physical abilities abilities which are unique to Man, distinguishing him from the animals to enhance the beauty of God's creation, and, ultimately, extend the Garden over all of Eden and the Earth. The Shorter Catechism spells it out nicely: "Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him for ever."

A cultivated Garden is normally to be preferred over a wilderness.

Man was given a Great Commission to spread the Garden over all the Earth (Genesis 1:26-28). He was kicked out of the Garden after he rebelled against God (Gen. 3:24). In Christ, however, Man's dominion has been restored (Psalm 8:5-8; Hebrews 2:6-9). The Garden-Mandate would be fulfilled by Christ (Psalm 72:8) through His people. Disobedience brings Man under the dominion of nature and other men (e.g., Leviticus 26:17), but the Spirit indwells the Church so that God's People might be obedient and spread the Gospel over all the earth (Romans 8:4; Matthew 28:-18-20).

The Importance of Dominion

The overwhelming majority of Christians do not take seriously the mandate we have as stewards over the creation. Christians generally relegate their faith to the "private" (internal) sphere, ignoring the world around them, or, when they are involved in the public sphere (economics, agriculture, charity, etc.) they simply follow the orders of the "principalities and powers" of the dominant culture.

There is no neutrality. Every human action must be done to the glory of God, in accord with His Word [sidebar].  This means Christians must consider the implications of the Dominion Mandate, and reclaim every area of life, every aspect of human culture, all human action even "politics" and place them under the Lordship of Christ and God's Commands.
Matthew 12:30; 1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17; Titus 2:7,10; 2 Timothy 2:7; Matthew 6:24; James 4:4; 2;10; 1 John 2:15; Romans 12:1-2; 1 Timothy 3:11; 2 Peter 1:3; Colossians 1:18; Philippians 4:8; 1 Corinthians 15:28; Ephesians 5:20; 4:15; 2 Corinthians 2:9; 1 Corinthians 16:14; 14:26,40; 2:15; Hebrews 11:24-26; Joshua 24:14-15.

Christianity is infected by "neo-platonism," the view that despises the material world. Christians thus infected tend to ignore political and social issues.

The God Who created the world intends to reconstruct it.

In the 20th century, the Dominion aspect of the Great Commission has been ripped from the Gospel. Christian leaders are no longer prophets, priests, and kings under Christ, they are entertainers, and Christian laymen are couch potatoes. Or, Christian leaders are pop-psychologists, and Christians are perpetual clients. The Gospel being spread around the world is not a Gospel of Dominion, Reconstruction and Edenic Salvation, but a gospel of "feel goodism." Warm fuzzies down in your heart. Or even uncontrollable laughter. Useless christians preaching a useless "gospel" have nothing to say to a world which "legally" murders 10,000 human beings every day. Fluff christians have nothing to say to arms dealers, tyrants, drug dealers, and Secular Humanists who plan to kill even more people.

Domination is Not the Same as Dominion

And yet Christians who uphold "Dominion Theology" are said to be the ones seeking to impose tyranny over others.

Domination, which might be defined as "dominion with rigor," is explicitly prohibited. The Hebrew for "dominion" (radah, H7287) is also found in:

Dominion is an attribute of the Messiah:

The Messiah's dominion was pictured by Solomon:

Just as a man is not allowed to beat his wife, so he is not allowed to beat the creation (Proverbs 12:10).

The Dominion Trap

The Scope of Dominion

An example of the range of human dominion which God requires of Man may be seen by looking at the Table of Contents of the massive and seminal work by R. J. Rushdoony, The Institutes of Biblical Law. Under the pattern of the Decalogue, Rushdoony surveys all the case laws, prophetic utterances, and the commands of the Lord and His Apostles. Decades of study are evident in hundreds of footnotes to "secular" sources, to which Biblical Law is applied in detail (over 3000 Biblical citations). It can be seen that no area of life is not addressed by God's Law. Most evangelicals would never think to apply the Bible's authoritative and concrete direction to such problems as these:

III. The Third Commandment
2. Swearing and Revolution
3. The Oath and Society
5. The Oath and Authority
IV. The Fourth Commandment
3. The Sabbath and Work
5. The Sabbath and Law
Appendix: The Economics of Sabbath keeping -- by Gary North
V. The Fifth Commandment
1. The Authority of the Family
3. The Economics of the Family
4. Education and the Family
5. The Family and Delinquency
VI. The Sixth Commandment
2. The Death Penalty
5. Hybridization and Law
6. Abortion
8. Restitution or Restoration
9. Military Laws and Production
10. Taxation
13. Quarantine Laws
14. Dietary Rules
20. Social Inheritance: Landmarks
VII. The Seventh Commandment
1. Marriage
5. Family Law
6. Marriage and Monogamy
7. Incest
9. Sex and Crime
11. Adultery
12. Divorce
14. Homosexuality
17. The Transvestite
18. Bestiality
VIII. The Eighth Commandment
1. Dominion
2. Theft
3. Restitution and Forgiveness
4. Liability of the Bystander
5. Money and Measure
6. Usury
9. Landmarks and Land
10. The Virgin Birth and Property
11. Fraud
12. Eminent Domain
13. Labor Laws
15. Prison
18. The Rights of Strangers, Widows, and Orphans
IX. The Ninth Commandment
5. Corroboration
6. Perjury
8. False Witness
11. Slander Within Marriage
13. Slander as Theft
16. Judges
17. The Responsibility of Judges and Rulers
18. The Court
19. The Procedure of the Court
20. The Judgment of the Court
X. The Tenth Commandment
1. Covetousness
3. Special Privilege
5. The System
XV. Notes on Law in Western Society

It is obvious that The Institutes of Biblical Law is no gushy, "pious" devotional reader. It is a pathbreaking, foundational Reconstruction of Law, Politics, Jurisprudence, and Social Morality. Every Christian Lawyer should read the book from cover to cover (849 pages). Every political scientist should do the same. It is not the last word, but it is the first word in centuries attempting to rigorously apply Biblical laws to the problems of contemporary society from a Bible-believing perspective. Not the details of his application, but the inescapable conclusion that the Bible provides all the Law we need to apply to the facts of our lives -- this is the importance of Rushdoony's Institutes and of the "Theonomic" movement in general.

Here is a list of current topics with links to articles that help discern a position on the issue consistent with Biblical Law.

Another way to see the scope of dominion is to see the scope of human action. Ask your neighbor what he does. That's an area of dominion. Ask someone you meet at the grocery store: "What's your field of expertise?" You'll learn of another field of dominion. Each of these occupations reflects the work of a member of a body.

Click for list of fields of expertise.

Watch for these links:

There is no need for a civil government to carry out the Dominion Mandate.

= shepherding [kittel]
(harmony, reconciliation,
developing Image of God,

failure to experience wholistic salvation brings

Heaven as Model for the earth:


(25) In the Garden of Eden there was no need for reconciliation; man could begin to develop in terms of harmony. Now, healing must precede dominion. The universe is still governed by an ultimate harmony of interests.

Table of Contents

continued click here for next chapter