‘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. 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)
Two things in this passage are exclusive to human beings compared to all other created organisms: That they possess the imago Dei, which is so beholden by abolitionist ideology, and that they have been given the Dominion Mandate to steward the rest of creation. Because this concept of dominion is so closely related to and contingent upon the privilege of being made in God’s image, it is necessary to look at a few definitions of Dominion.
Courtesy of the Blue Letter Bible:
Strong’s H7287 – רָדָה – radah – dominion
to rule, have dominion, dominate, tread down
(Qal) to have dominion, rule, subjugate
(Hiphil) to cause to dominate
to scrape out
(Qal) to scrape, scrape out
Courtesy of Black’s Law 5th edition:
Dominion. Generally accepted definition of “dominion” is perfect control in right of ownership. The word implies both title and possession and appears to require a complete retention of control over disposition. Eastex Aviation, Inc. v. Sperry & Hutchinson Co., C.A.Tex., 522 F.2d 1299, 1307.
Title to an article of property which arises from the power of disposition and the right of claiming it.
Sovereignty; as the dominion of the seas or over a territory.
In addition to defining Dominion, Black gives us further insight:
Dominium. In the civil and old English law, ownership; property in the largest sense, including both the right of property and the right of possession or use.
Sovereignty or dominion.
The image of God is inherent to human beings. It gives them their specialized worth, their rights to be respected and protected, and the responsibility to live as free souls under God. These rights, however, are met with obligations to retain them and nurture them. The divine gift of dominion enjoyed by freemen is an inheritance that lasts from generation to generation. One of the first-fruits of dominion is allodium as defined by Black’s Law Dictionary, Fifth Edition:
Allodium. Land held absolutely in one’s own right, and not of any lord or superior; land not subject to feudal duties or burdens. An estate held by absolute ownership, without recognizing any superior to whom any duty is due on account thereof.
Our rights are the essence of ourselves. Man enjoys the land and the beasts created for him by God and the fruit of his own hands and labor, then passes those benefits on to his progeny and posterity. An heir is another self, and a son is a part of the father. All of these benefits and rights and property come from God and man has an obligation to be good stewards of them, to invest in them and to give the yield of his labor to posterity and to his fellow man in charitable welfare as he loves his neighbor as himself. The pure concept of Dominion, foreign to modern man, was in common practice in early colonial America for those seeking to flee the fruits of human civil government.
‘The ordinary citizen, living on his farm, owned in fee-simple, untroubled by any relics of Feudalism, untaxed save by himself, saying his say to all the world in townmeetings, had gained a new self-reliance. Wrestling with his soul and plow on week days, and the innumerable points of the minister’s sermon on Sundays and meeting days, he was becoming a tough nut for any imperial system to crack.’ (History of the U.S. Vol.1 James Truslow Adams, p. 176.)
The establishment of Christianity/Abolitionism, an ideological framework ordained by the God-man Jesus Christ, the servant-king of freemen, was and is necessary to foster the kinds of sentiments and convictions apparent in a society characterized by the Dominion of the Imago Dei.
‘The churches in New England were so many nurseries of freemen, training them in the principles of self-government and accustoming them to the feeling of independence. In these petty organizations were developed, in practice, the principles of individual and national freedom. Each church was a republic in embryo. The fiction became a fact, the abstraction a reality…’ (Lives of Issac Heath and John Bowles, Elders of the Church and of John Eliot, Jr., preacher in the mid 1600’, written by J, Wingate Thorton. 1850)
When man forfeits his responsibilities to maintain his dominion, he loses it. The offspring follow the condition of the mother. This is the law in the case of slaves and animals; but with regard to freemen, children follow the condition of the father. Man ceases to reflect the Image and Sovereignty exampled by his Godhead in losing the stewardship granted by him. He does this in fear and faithlessness to God. He does this in covetousness for his neighbor’s goods. He does this in sloth to increase his equity and provide for his own.
‘But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.’ (2 Peter 2:10)
The word for government in this english translation comes from the Greek word kuriotes which is more often (and accurately) translated elsewhere as dominion. When man grants his rights and responsibilities (dominion) first granted to him by God, to other magistrates in exchange for benefits and gratuities, protection and subjection, and contracted privileges and obligations under Feudal rulership, man no longer enjoys the equity owed to him as a creation bearing the image of God. This is most commonly done in pursuing the comforts of the flesh.
‘And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint:
And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom.
And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright.
And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?
And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.
Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.’ (Genesis 25:29-34)
Giving up all the things that make being made in the image of God meaningful, man in his disobedience is reduced to bearing the image of some false god, as a surety for debt. Having given up his birthright of dominion, he sells himself into bondage, under the dominion of human rulers who desire to play Benefactors and protectors, distributing their own providence for their subject citizens. Professing christians do this every day, generation after generation, completely unaware that the early Christians were killed for refusing to ‘go under the power of any‘ as the Apostle Paul exemplified.
God gives man dignity. He is not an untamed brute in the wilderness or a beast of burden in the fields. This dignity is most notably expressed in God’s mandate for him to have dominion. In his obedience to the dominion mandate, the one creature that is excluded from Man’s equity is his fellow man. And it is the purpose of the ideology of Abolitionism to liberate man from the dominion of man if any find themselves subject to manmade institutions. These institutions and their gods act as sovereigns over the property you use, giving you their own version of stewardship to maintain. And not just your property, but your children. You give them the equitable rights to the fruits of your work, your property and your children through certificates, contracts, covenants, and constitutions. They allow you to have a mere legal title in the exchange that can be taken away at any time for any reason and given to another just as arbitrarily. They retain allodium, dominium, and dominion and lease them to you through legal titles and legal custody.
‘He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.’ (1 John 3:8)
The Gospel of God removes the evils of civil society by first removing the evils of men’s hearts. It restores every man to his family and property. Most of what is called civil oppression happens by consent, both implicit through sloth and explicit through the covetousness of contract. But for those who endeavor to repent and seek the Kingdom of God, they can become free souls under God as God made them: upright and under his dominion.
The imago Dei is one of two theological propositions that necessitate the restoration of mankind to liberty under God. Read about the other theological proposition here.