Friday, January 21, 2011

have dominion

My non-Judeo-Christian friend asked:
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 - 1:28
...Can someone who studies the bible give me their take on this??

And I responded:

I love this question of yours, thanks for sharing it!

It is really cool for me when a particular scripture or quote gets stuck in my craw - usually there is a big gift for me in that, but sometimes it takes weeks, months or years until I receive the fullness of that gift. I hope you receive great gifts from this one, in due time.


Here are some of my thoughts about these verses:

From my perspective Jesus spoke directly to these verses in Matthew 18:18 (NAS):
Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.

I notice that Jesus was mind-blowing-ly radical about the kind of authority that we humans have. For example, he said in John 20:21-23 (NAS):
So Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you."
And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit.
"If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained."

In my experience, it is not usual for Christians to see these verses I just quoted as necessarily related to your question, but I do, very much so.

From my perspective, Jesus incessant focus, his main message was The KINGDOM: the Kingdom of Heaven, the Kingdom of God.
I believe the use of this translation ‘kingdom’ diverts us from the truth with which Jesus was so committed to enlightening us.
I believe Young’s Literal Translation gives a much better picture for us about what he is pointing to. Let me give an example:

For Luke 17:20-21, the King James version, and most other translations, say something like this:
And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
But look how Young's Literal Translation translates the same verse:
And having been questioned by the Pharisees, when the reign of God doth come, he answered them, and said, 'The reign of God doth not come with observation; nor shall they say, Lo, here; or lo, there; for lo, the reign of God is within you.'
the reign of God – what does this mean?

See addendum for dictionary definitions of reign, sovereign, sovereignty, and dominion.
I posit that these words are all pointing in the same direction: sovereignty: 'what I say, goes'.

The REIGN of God – this is the sovereignty of Spirit.
Again: the reign of God is everywhere, all realities, all the time – God/Spirit is Sovereign.

Meanwhile, this does not seem to be so on a physical level – what is the deal in earth reality? Many lay the horrors of this world at God's 'feet'. This is known by some as the 'problem of evil'. Some ask: 'why do bad things happen to good people?' This is an issue for many of us, a major stumbling-block for some.

Although I spent most of my life blaming God for the pain and the difficulties in my life, and the ways of the world which I judged as ridiculous and wrong;  I no longer hold God responsible for these things anymore.

I believe this world is given to US. Our time on this planet sometimes feels like a curse, in which we all strut and fret our time upon the stage; it sometimes feels like a challenge as we all fall down and we all get up - over and over and over again. But ultimately this world is a gift beyond all reckoning. Not only do we get to enjoy 'sex and strawberry pie' as my teacher used to say. But, we are also learning to crawl, and to stand, and then to stumblingly walk, and to eventually run. The more we fall on our asses, all the better, because this is how we learn... just as Jesus learned. Paul said of Jesus in Hebrews 5:8-9 (Darby):
though he were Son, he learned obedience from the things which he suffered; and having been perfected, became to all them that obey him, author of eternal salvation;

So...
I believe this world is OUR playing field – all of creation, is the human game. All the parts of creation are our building blocks. This is to what I believe the ultimate meaning of the verses about dominion in Genesis are referring.

Christians call the sovereignty which God gives each of us, free will. In my tradition, we believe this means that the 'world' within me and around my body is mine. In my tradition, we define this as MY SPACE: it is my birthright, given to me by God, and I place for me to practice sovereignty /authority. I like to think of it this way:

We are fortunate to live in a time when we teach our children, and continue to learn ourselves: my body is MY body. My body is mine to do with as I please. I have say about who touches my body: when, where and how. If someone transgresses my physical boundaries, that is not acceptable, and I have the right, power and responsibility to do something about that. I can physically ask for help, and be hopeful to receive it... Of course, things can happen to my body to which I do not consciously consent. This is not optimal, but it does happen. Still, it is very empowering to know what happens to my body is Supposed to be up to me.

In a similar way, what happens within my space: my energy, my thoughts, my feelings, my beliefs, my stuck-ness and my ease, my resisting or my aligning with God, my allowing myself to experience or not experience the presence and communication and blessings of God: This is ALL truly my choice on a spiritual level. No one can take this away from me, although I can give it away... If someone or something transgresses my boundaries in my space, that is not acceptable, and I have the right, power and responsibility to do something about that. I can ask for spiritual help, and be assured of receiving it...

When I allow myself 'what I say, goes' in my own space, my tradition calls this seniority. I have all the say about what happens in my space. This information was a big surprise to me when I first exposed to it, and honestly it has turned my world upside-down. I am still getting my sea-legs around seniority, but I must say, it is very empowering to know what happens in my space is ultimately up to me.

To exercise my free will as a spiritual adult, to allow myself to be senior in my own space, is my greatest challenge and my greatest reward. And when I am senior in my own space, the world inside me becomes a different place, and the world outside me changes as well...

So, in this way, human beings have free will to manifest what we choose. We have been given sovereignty over our inner world, which reaches into our outer world, and effects all of creation.

The question is: what do we do with this authority?

We are made in the image of God, from my perspective we are here on this sandbox-earth to learn and grow and mature in our lives, into spiritual adults. So, we can grow into exercising in our lives, in THIS world / time-space reality, as God is in all the worlds/realities. Today, we can allow ourselves to be monarchs in our own space, as God is Monarch in all space / time-space realities.

AGAIN: what do we do with this authority?

If you look to the right, in the light blue bar: you can see a bunch of scriptures. I believe many of them point in this direction:
We are to be in this world as Jesus was in this world.

Jesus is our role-model for who we can be in this world; Jesus is the first of many.
Paul says in Romans 8:29 (NAS):
For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
We ARE the en-flesh-ment, the embodiment, of the Christ. Paul says it like this:
1 Corinthians 12:27 (NAS)
Now you are Christ's body, and individually members of it.
Therefore:
We are to shine God and be God in this world.
That is the game we get to play, that is the game the world needs us to play.
One would not know it by looking at modern Christianity, but Jesus was clear on this, quoting Psalms, in John 10:34 (NAS):
Jesus answered them, "Has it not been written in your Law, 'I SAID, YOU ARE GODS '?
My tradition teaches: when we heal ourselves, we heal the world.
AGAIN, in different language: when we allow a beneficial dance with God, when we allow God to help us heal and shift and grow into who we really are, those around us can do these same things more easily, and all the world (all of creation) changes…

Paul addressed our dance with the world / creation / this time-space reality, in this way in Romans 8:16-22 (NAS) {I chopped out some parts to focus on my point – you can see the whole thing here if you want}:
The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,
and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ...
For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly
for the revealing of the sons of God.
For the creation was subjected to futility,
not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it,
in hope that the creation itself also will be set free
from its slavery to corruption
into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.

So to re-cap; so far, I am asserting:
Regarding what is called human being’s dominion over creation:

1) I believe this is pointing to the spiritual authority (my tradition calls this seniority) to which we are called, in each of our own lives and in the world around us.

2) I believe we are called to create and to utilize our spiritual power and authority (seniority) in our inner lives and therefore in our reality/world, as God utilizes God’s own creativity, power and authority in all realities.

3) I believe we are to be in this world, as Jesus was in this world.

4) I believe as each of us exercise our spiritual dominion, all of us change, and the world changes.


AND THEN,
when we exercise our spiritual dominion in alignment with God, delightful and miraculous things happen inside us and outside us. This ripples out in all directions. In this way, we all come more into alignment with God and God's bountiful flow of grace and blessings. We each come more into alignment with and in experience of our own individual and unique Wholeness in God; as well as our Oneness in/with God in All things. God's will is done on earth, through our own free will.

And so, Jesus taught us to pray (and I believe to ask God's assistance in us doing this), in Matthew 6:9:10(YLT):
thus therefore pray ye: 'Our Father who art in the heavens! hallowed be Thy name.
'Thy reign come: Thy will come to pass, as in heaven also on the earth.

When we exercise our spiritual dominion in alignment with God: All creation is blessed. The earth is blessed. Every living thing that moveth upon the earth is blessed.  We are blessed. God is blessed.

amen and hallelujah, Wendy


****************

here are American Heritage Dictionary definitions for reign, sovereign, sovereignty, and dominion.:

reign
(rān) n.
1. Exercise of sovereign power, as by a monarch.
2. The period during which a monarch rules.
3. Dominance or widespread influence: the reign of reason.


sov•er•eign
(sŏv'ər-ĭn, sŏv'rĭn)
n.
1. One that exercises supreme, permanent authority, especially in a nation or other governmental unit, as:
1. A king, queen, or other noble person who serves as chief of state; a ruler or monarch.
2. A national governing council or committee.
2. A nation that governs territory outside its borders.
3. A gold coin formerly used in Great Britain.
adj.
1. Self-governing; independent: a sovereign state.
2. Having supreme rank or power: a sovereign prince.
3. Paramount; supreme: Her sovereign virtue is compassion.
4.
1. Of superlative strength or efficacy: a sovereign remedy.
2. Unmitigated: sovereign contempt.


sov•er•eign•ty
(sŏv'ər-ĭn-tē, sŏv'rĭn-)
n., pl., -ties.
1. Supremacy of authority or rule as exercised by a sovereign or sovereign state.
2. Royal rank, authority, or power.
3. Complete independence and self-government.
4. A territory existing as an independent state.


do•min•ion
(də-mĭn'yən)
n.
1. Control or the exercise of control; sovereignty: "The devil . . . has their souls in his possession, and under his dominion" (Jonathan Edwards).
2. A territory or sphere of influence or control; a realm.
3. often Dominion (Abbr. Dom.) One of the self-governing nations within the British Commonwealth.
4. dominions Christianity. See domination (sense 2).

✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨✫*¨*.¸¸.✶*¨.¸¸ . ✶*¨

Lastly, if you want to read more about having dominion, from a more traditionally Christian Point of View, I highly recommend to you Watchman Nee - he was very committed to Christians exercising Dominion in the world.

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