Be Strong: Manhood Under the Dominion of Christ
Creation Is Fallen
I was sitting in the woods with my son Tuck after his deer kill earlier this week. We sat in silence and listened to the sounds of the mountains around us. We listened to the sounds of creation and we were part of it. We talked about how many people are afraid of the darkness within creation. Why? It’s because creation is fallen.
What does the fall of creation mean for men?
Because of sin, we are left as men with no clear purpose and no clear joy provided by this world. What once was to be mastered by man, is now feared by man and now masters man.
The result of this is that men reject responsibility. They reject responsibility for their marriages and for their children. They reject responsibility for their actions.
In the place of that is a sense of entitlement and we have created a generation of man-boys who live under the false idea that they deserve whatever their heart desires, only the heart cannot be trusted because it is bound to the flesh. It is bound to Adam.
“But praise the Lord Jesus had no sense of entitlement. In fact, he counted equality with God not something to grasp.”
God Blessed the First Man
God’s blessing is fleshed out in the giving of responsibility to the man. This is a very important point, and it provides the man with joy and purpose.
Responsibility was the blessing- God gave the man the jobs of working and keeping the Garden (Genesis 2:15). It is interesting to study the theology of work, as that is something that is drastically affected by the Fall of man and the first sin. God would tell Adam that the ground from which he was to work would no longer cooperate with him, but would fight back.
The words used are important in understanding that work in and of itself was not the result of the fall, but that God has actually created us to work and take part in the stewardship of all that He has created.
The Hebrew words used here help us understand this principle:
Work—to labor, toil, or even enslave. To work to the point of fatigue.
Keep—To build a hedge or barrier of protection and to defend and protect.
God Has built a man to work, serve, and love.
The responsibility of the man (Genesis 1:28) is to:
- Fill the earth through multiplication
- Have dominion over all animal life
- Cultivate, grow, and eat the food that he grows
God Commands Men to Do Great Things That Are of Eternal Importance
”We get to make babies, and that is a lot of fun. But raising them is really difficult. You have to provide food for them, discipline them, keep them from killing themselves or others and from doing things like blowing up toilets and lighting curtains on fire. It is a hoot. But if we do it right, there is a great reward and gratification in the raising of children.”
The Greatest Responsibility
Our offspring will carry the legacy of the Gospel as the Church to the next generation, reaching more people than we can today. Responsibility was initially given to Adam so that he might continue the expanse of the human race and might maintain the authority of the creation by growing in number.
The Fall Causes Men to Reject This Responsibility
Sex and procreation and child rearing were God’s plan, but while Adam’s rebellion and failure didn’t change the plan, they did change the process. Being a daddy, husband, and provider is much more difficult now and protecting what God has entrusted to us is almost impossible.
Man has struggled to carry out the first order of instruction in this verse ever since our first father failed.
Consider the rate of fatherlessness in our day, or the number of kids that have a dad but not one who raises them in what Paul refers to as the “nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). Consider the sexual struggle of humanity. There is so much that could be addressed here. The industry for trafficking girls and women is catastrophic worldwide, and the amount of child abuse that takes place in our own world is an epidemic. The porn industry is so big it cannot be effectively measured. Back in 2010 Barna research revealed that the porn industry alone was grossing more than all major professional sports in America. This includes the NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, and NASCAR. Imagine this!
“Viewing pornography today is easier than getting up and going to the refrigerator to make a sandwich.” – John Piper
Problem: It’s a Dominion Issue: It is slavery to sin and the flesh
But it DOESN’T SATISFY- not even in the moment: Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes 2:1-11 about this. How many of us could give testimony that yielding to the sexual demands of the flesh leaves emptiness and vanity and no depth of satisfaction? Solomon lived out what so many people would think the ultimate life. Likewise, the pursuits of the material things this world offers to find joy or purpose will leave me empty.
This Causes an Exact Inversion of the Initial, God Ordained Created Order
For example, in Genesis 1:28, it is ordained that the man should have dominion over animal life. However, isn’t it interesting that it was a created animal that reversed the order of worship? Adam didn’t maintain the authority God gave him and also fell to the very creation he was to subdue.
The man submits to God, then leads and stewards marriage, family, and creation. After the fall, man struggles against those he should be leading and struggles to submit to The Lord.
The Serpent Appeals to Man’s Desire for Authority
The root of a man’s problem is a worship problem. Submission to God is an act of worship. If Adam had gotten this right, he would have remained steadfast. If I can get it right, I will remain steadfast.
“God created man and set him up for stewardship and authority. Man failed and only God can bring any hope for our brokenness from the Fall.”
Solution: The Gospel Offers Deliverance
In Genesis 3:15 God promises deliverance from the curse of sin when he curses the serpent. He promises that a man will be born of woman who will crush the very enemy who crushed the spirit and will of man. And Jesus did that!
Stand fast! Don’t lose heart! Yield to King Jesus and live out lives of worship to him and him alone.
Paul tells the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 6:12) that he will not be dominated by anything. I need to ask myself “what it is that most often dominates me?” Is it my thoughts, my desires, or my goals? Then I need to look at what God built me for, all the way back in Genesis, and consider what Christ redeemed me for at Calvary. Because of this we should yield in submission to Jesus so that we might live with sin in subjection under us.