An Original Mandate Before Original Sin


—by Jacob Marshall, Pastor of Visitation and Outreach
Antioch Missionary Baptist Church

     Into a dark, chaotic, and lifeless universe the Word of God came and brought light and life. The opening pages of the Hebrew Bible present a daily outline of the Triune God’s creative acts that culminate in the creation of a humanity made in God’s image and according to God’s likeness (Gen 1:26a). Humanity, both male and female (Gen. 1:27), were made to be God’s ruling and reigning representatives over all the earth, keeping it in order and alignment with God’s will. They were to reflect the perfect and holy character of their creator God in their reign over the earth. God would reign through them. Given this distinct privilege and royal authority, humanity stood unique from all other creations. Further, unlike any previous creation, God blessed humanity and gave them a commission (Gen. 1:28a). Humans were to be fruitful, to multiply, to fill the earth, to subdue it, and to rule over every living thing that moves on the earth (Gen. 1:28b). Humanity must increase! In God’s design, as humanity would multiply through sons and daughters across the earth, they would together reflect and represent their creator God in their role and reign as the whole earth was filled with God’s glory through those conformed perfectly to His image.

Catastrophically though, due to the disobedience of the first man and woman, instead of God’s glorious image filling the earth, the depraved and corrupt image of the Deceiver, Satan, began to fill and reign over the earth. Humanity’s increase only brought more chaos, more darkness, and more evil as we filled the earth with sons and daughters mutated with his monstrous sinful nature and character.

It was to this world though that a second Adam came and with him, a new humanity had begun. What had been lost in the sinful disobedience of Adam was restored through the faithful obedience of the God-Man, Jesus Christ, in His sinless life, death for our sins, and victorious resurrection. An ancient light had dawned again in this dark and chaotic world. It is now Jesus, rather than Adam or ourselves, who must increase in this world. It is the blessed Son of God who will build His church, who will multiply and fill the earth with His sons and daughters by faith, and who will one day return, subdue, and rule over every living thing that moves on the earth.

As we await that day, we depend on Christ’s power to obey His commission for us to go and make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19) and be His witnesses from Jerusalem to the remotest parts of the earth (Acts 1:8), while we ourselves are being transformed and conformed to His likeness by the Holy Spirit. In Jesus Christ, we are to represent our God and fill the earth with His glorious Gospel as we await His return. On that day, God will place all things under His feet and we shall reign with Him through all eternity (Eph. 1:20-22). He must increase…and will.