Genesis 1:26-27 says “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. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” God gave dominion to man (mankind) and the scripture clearly says “male and female created He them”. God gave dominion to them both. They were not meant to dominate one another. God intended that they exercise authority through the release of their God-given potentials. In doing so they would experience fulfilment whilst discovering, developing and deploying their gifts and talents within the context of their relationship with God and with one another. Their creation in Genesis 1 and their formation in Genesis 2 clearly show God’s intention for their relational roles. The woman was made for the man and her body was formed out of the man’s rib. She was made for and from him. God obviously wanted someone like the man, made from the same raw material as he was, to complement the man. He had ‘positional authority’ and she had ‘influence authority’. From the wording of Genesis chapter one, woman was not an afterthought. Chapter two is simply an explanation of God’s creation /formation process. He simply separated the female man from the male man. The woman was made different from the man; for instance, to carry a womb. So she is the womb-man. Purpose is the reason for the design that God made for male and female. The level of oneness God had in mind was so powerful that the two were meant to function together to exercise the dominion mandate God had given them. When God called Abraham and changed his name in Genesis 17, it should be noted that Sarah’s name was also changed. He meant for both to be restored to the pre-fall season for mankind.
Sin brought a great division amongst the sexes as well as amongst the human beings relationally. Sin did so much damage that we are yet to fully know the extent. Sin pollutes process, perverts purpose and destroys destiny. The fall of man brought about the perversion of authority and a perversion of the purpose of correct influence amongst mankind. We see it straight away between Cain and Abel. Envy, jealousy and eventually hatred and murder are all the effects of the fall. The major damage sin did was to inject selfishness into the flesh of humanity. The law of sin was lodged into human flesh. Man’s authority was delegated authority, to be used within the context of God’s plans and purposes for mankind. The woman had used her power of influence to bring the man into disobedience to God. The scripture says the man was not deceived but knowingly disobeyed God. The curse or judgements God released as a result of their sin revealed that God is a just God. The wordings of the utterances show that the man was not designed to rule over the woman, amongst other things. Now Christ bore thorns on his head to show that He bore the curse that fell on the earth for the sake of man.
The price has been fully paid for the redemption of the human race and our growth process will bring about our experiencing the fullness of the redemption that we have in Christ. As long as any one of the sexes is still in bondage, the other can never experience the fullness of our redemption and hence cannot enjoy the fullness of our dominion. In some of the developing nations where women seem underdeveloped and oppressed, the males are not experiencing the fullness of their dominion mandate. It was given to both; not one. We need to see females fully restored to their positions in God. In the European nations where the females have received some degree of equality, some have taken over, ruling over their male counterparts. They have yielded to another spirit and many men have become less than what God ordained the male man to be. Restoration, as God ordained it, cannot be accomplished through any carnal means. We need understanding as well as grace to become all that God intended for us to be. This will bring glory and honour to our God who in wisdom ordained these things to be so. Marriage, as God planned it, has redemptive purposes locked into it. Ephesians 5:19-25 says “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;” We see the centrality of Christ; His love for the church is to be an example for how the man is to love his wife. Jesus demonstrated His love by laying down His life. Man is to lay down his pride for his wife. The wife is to be in submission to her husband as unto the Lord. So, once again, the relationship with Christ is the model for submission as well as a model for love. Jesus’ life and sacrifice for mankind is meant to both free us as well as to show us how to live our lives. He paid the price and showed us the example to follow. We are never forced to be in submission to Him. His love for us has drawn our submission to Him. That is the example the scripture gives us. Christ Jesus was in willing submission to the Father-God and at the same time demonstrated His love for mankind by laying down His life in obedience to the Father. Man is meant to be in submission to Christ as well as love his wife and the woman is supposed to be in submission to Christ as she submits to her husband who carries a delegated authority for the sake of God’s will in the home. Where God’s Spirit has a free reign, they will both be in submission to one another in the fear of the Lord (Ephesians 5:21). Philippians 2:6-8 also shows Jesus in submission to the Father. This picture shows the redemption process going on within marriage. When the husband and wife come into alignment with Christ’s love and sacrifice, the dominion mandate will be fully restored. The woman’s influence will bring a lot of good to the man’s life and the love of the man will minister security to the woman to enhance her and help her to be all God wants her to be. Both of them need to be under the influence of God, where His Word and Spirit have a free course, to bring about their development, through progressive understandings of His plans and purposes for their lives and children’s lives. These release the dominion mandate to be in full force in the earth.
Marriage, like any other institution ordained by God, is not meant to be an end in itself but a means to an end. It was meant to be a demonstration of God’s plans to bring about the maximisation of the potentials locked into the male/female man, as well as procreate other people like themselves and hence fill the earth with God’s glory. His glory here represents His attributes, character, power and presence. All these were put into the experiential designed purposes locked into mankind. An enemy came and through man’s disobedience made the rulers become the slaves, the ones with dominion become dominated and mankind’s spirit lost its place of intimacy and dominion with God. When we understand God’s purpose for giving us instructions on how to function on earth, we will realise that our compliance with His instructions acts as a means of binding the devil from operating in our lives. When our thoughts, words and actions line up with God’s ways of doing things (His Kingdom), we have gone a long way in putting the enemy where he belongs- under our feet.
Our needs as males and females are tied to our unique designs and functions. We have unique purposes and require unique inputs for us to function the way we were meant to function. Understanding these things will enable us to operate together and bring about the restoration of our dominion mandate. As long as one goes it alone, we see the absence of the other hindering the full expression of the dominion mandate of the one going alone. Many men who seem to have accomplished a lot have done it at the expense of their family relationships and some end up in the arms of a strange woman. Why? They were meant to go with the right woman by their sides. Male and female He created them. Many women too have suffered in the hands of the wrong man. They were meant to be side by side accomplishing great things for God, exercising their dominion mandate. In the spiritual realm there is no difference between men and women but in the physical realm there has to be proper relationship of submission. 1 Peter 3:7 says we are heirs together of the gracious gift of life’. In the same verse, the word weaker should be seen as “delicate”. We were made different for the purposes we were meant to fulfill. We all need a close walk with God to fulfill our purposes in God.
Amongst the many differences in the man and the woman let us look at one attribute each. The man is a cultivator and the woman an incubator. If you give a woman a sperm, she will give you a baby, give her a house, she will give you a home, give her groceries, and she will give you a meal. She multiplies what she is given. Though this can work positively or negatively, it simply shows God’s innate ability built into the woman. Give her a wrong environment and she can take in what is around her and multiply it too.
Man as a cultivator was meant to cultivate the Garden of Eden. To cultivate means to make something better, more effective and more fruitful. A man is meant to cultivate his work, talents and skills. He is designed to make everything around him better. A man is meant to cultivate the spiritual and physical lives of his children, his wife and everything around him. He is to cultivate them to be all that God wants them to be. Through the teaching of the Word and good words of encouragement and support, a man should cultivate his wife and children. (There are many other attributes of the man and the woman. However Satan, having taken advantage of our ignorance, has seized our dominion mandate, so this study will continue in the future).
So we see the dominion mandate was lost through sin and through our redemption in Christ, we have it restored. We can begin the process of seeing the restoration of this mandate as we work out our salvation with fear and trembling. As we all grow up to becoming more and more Christ-like, we see our progression in the restoration of the dominion mandate. We are not ignorant of the devices of the evil one, but through Christ our Lord we can begin to walk in the authority invested in the new creation as well as in the name of Jesus and see strongholds coming down and age long bondages being broken so we can walk in the freedom of the sons of God. He who the Son sets free is free indeed. He is our Saviour and pattern for sonship. He is both our model for submission as well for authority. To him all the fullness of the dominion was restored and when we grow up into Him, all the fullness will be restored to us also. Let us press on to lay hold of all God has in store for us.