‘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)
‘And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.’ (Genesis 2:15)
Two things relevant in these verses 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 by God. In effect, God gave man a lawful title to the earth, so long as he dressed it and kept it. 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 of its definitions.
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, to dress them and keep 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.
A man who finds himself paying property taxes has given up his right to take dominion.
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.’ (Maxim of Law) 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 town-meetings, had gained a new self-reliance. Wrestling with his soul and plow on weekdays, 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 first farmer was the first man, and all historic nobility rests on possession and use of land.’ (Ralph Waldo Emerson) The establishment of the Christian idea of Abolitionism, an ideological framework ordained by the God-man Jesus Christ, the servant-king of freemen, was and is necessary to foster the fundamental sentiments and convictions apparent in a free society as 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 Thornton. 1850)
When man forfeits his responsibilities to ‘dress and keep’ his dominion, he loses it. Man ceases to reflect the Image and Sovereignty exampled by his Godhead in losing the lawful stewardship granted by him. This entails abandoning the responsibilities to ‘dress and keep’ the earth, and personal property, to the false gods of authoritative government. In exchange, man receives a perverted stewardship from those false gods over land and property through legal title, as opposed to the lawful title of God’s stewardship. A legal title is
‘one which is complete and perfect so far as regards the apparent right of ownership and possession, but which carries no beneficial interest in the property, another person being equitably entitled thereto; in either case, the antithesis of ‘equitable title.’ (Black’s Law Dictionary 3rd. p 1734.)
An equitable title is antithetical to a legal title. It is defined as ‘the beneficial interest of one person whom equity regards as the real owner, although the legal title is vested in another.‘ (Ibid.) Man converts the very objects contingent upon his own dominion into the dominion of another. He does this by forfeiting his lawful title, granted to him by God in exchange for a shadow of true possession and rights that merely appear to be real but are no longer. He would have done right to retain his lawful title as characterized by ‘clear‘ and ‘good‘ titles. These are:
‘synonymous; “clear title” meaning that the land is free from incumbrances, “good title” being one free from litigation, palpable defects, and grave doubts, comprising both legal and equitable titles and fairly deducible of record.’ (Ibid.)
So, why does Man discard his real rights to land, property, and power of choice? Why does he invest the beneficial interest of those things to human civil government? He does this in fear and faithlessness to God. He does this in covetousness for his neighbor’s goods. He does this in the sloth of failing increase his equity and provide for his own. He strips his own inherent dignity from himself through sin, in order to pragmatically partake in the deceitful benefits of human civil government, where he can outsource his personal responsibility towards the Dominion Mandate to the capable bureaucracies of human civil government. He sells himself into bondage for a mess of pottage by selling his birthright. To reiterate in more legal terms, ‘Man is a term of nature; person of civil law.’ (Bouvier’s Law Dictionary , “Maxim,” p. 2136.) A Man is made in God’s image. A Person is made in the image of a false god, until he is born again in God’s image.
‘This word ‘person’ and its scope and bearing in the law, involving, as it does, legal fictions and also apparently natural beings, it is difficult to understand; but it is absolutely necessary to grasp, at whatever cost, a true and proper understanding of the word in all the phases of its proper use… The words persona and personae did not have the meaning in the Roman which attaches to homo, the individual, or a man in the English; it had peculiar references to artificial beings, and the condition or status of individuals… A person is here not a physical or individual person, but the status or condition with which he is invested… not an individual or physical person, but the status, condition or character borne by physical persons… The law of persons is the law of status or condition.
A moment’s reflection enables one to see that man and person cannot be synonymous, for there cannot be an artificial man, though there are artificial persons. Thus the conclusion is easily reached that the law itself often creates an entity or a being which is called a person; the law cannot create an artificial man, but it can and frequently does invest him with artificial attributes; this is his personality… that is to say, the man-person; and abstract persons, which are fiction and which have no existence except in law; that is to say, those which are purely legal conceptions or creations.’ (American Law and Procedure; Vol 13 pages 137-62 1910)
The legal name of a person gives a civil authority power over that person, especially through contracts and their signatures. So men do not only give up the rights to their property and labor to be placed into the coffers of bureaucrats, but also the rights to their very identities. ‘Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee:’ (Exodus 34:12) The wantonness of civil citizenship inspires them to reject the God that made them in order to partake of the pragmatic false providence of false gods instead of providing for themselves and each other righteously from the rewards and earnings of their dominion as free souls under the one, true God.
‘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.
‘My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.’ (Hosea 4:6)
‘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.’ (Ibid.)
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 guardianship 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.