Friday, September 18, 2009

General Revelation and Theology, Continued

I’m back to finish my work on Genesis 1.

I left off by noting that God gave man “dominion” (or rule or sovereignty or power) over the earth. God did not just give man rule over “the animal kingdom,” but over ALL THE EARTH, EVERYTHING that is under the sun!!!

In verse 27, God creates both man and woman in His image; in verse 28, the Lord creates them in His likeness, for He tells the couple,

“Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and SUBDUE IT” (Gen. 1:28a, Holman Christian Standard Bible).

The word for “subdue” in the Septuagint (Greek Old Testament) is “katakurieusate,” which means “be lord over.” The word itself is a compound word, consisting of two Greek words, “kata” and “kurieusate.” “Kurieusate” is a command to “be lord,” for the word “kurieu” comes from “kurios,” which is “lord.” The word “kata” in the Greek can be used as a referent (leading us to something) or as a preposition. For instance, the phrase “kata Ioannen” in the Greek means “according to John.” Here, “kata” is referring the “gospel” to “John” (John’s Gospel was written by John himself). In Genesis, however, this word “kata” means “over.” The Lord tells man to “be lord over” the earth and all creatures on the earth.

Now my question is this: what “lord” in the world, for instance, doesn’t have power?
To take an example, look at the situation of Abraham and Sarah in 1 Peter:

5 For in the past, the holy (J) women who hoped (K) in God also beautified themselves in this way, submitting to their own husbands, 6 just as Sarah (L) obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. You have become her children when you do good and aren't frightened by anything alarming. (1 Peter 3:5-6 Holman Christian Standard Bible)

The context here is wives submitting to their husbands (1 Peter 3:1), so this is why we find Sarah calling Abraham “lord”—because, by so doing, she is “obeying” Abraham.
We see in these verses that Abraham is not called “lord” without reason—he is called “lord” because he has been given authority in the home. This is why Peter writes, “Wives…SUBMIT yourselves to your own husbands…” (1 Peter 3:1, HCSB)

What does it mean to “submit”? Merriam Webster’s Online Dictionary defines it as the following:

1 a : to yield oneself to the authority or will of another : SURRENDER b : to permit oneself to be subjected to something
2 : to defer to or consent to abide by the opinion or authority of another

Definition 1b hits the nail on the head with the meaning of submit—“To permit oneself to be SUBJECTED to something.” When a person submits to something, they willingly place themselves “under” whatever it is. In Sarah’s case, she submitted to Abraham by placing herself “under” his authority in the home. As the “lord” of the home, Abraham had power over his wife.

Last but not least, there is power that “masters” (slaveowners) had over their slaves in Scripture. Even though the Scriptures do not advocate slavery, the Lord still requires slaves to obey their masters:

5 Slaves, obey your human [c] masters (F) with fear and trembling, (G) in the sincerity (H) of your heart, as to Christ. (Ephesians 6:5, HCSB)

The word here for “masters” in the Greek is “kuriois,” which is the plural form of “kurios,” meaning “lord.” Notice, too, that Paul tells the Ephesian slaves that they should obey their masters “as to Christ.” As Christ is Lord (capital “L”), the masters are “lords” (lowercase “l”). They are not Christ in their position, but they are representatives of Christ—and the reason they are not to rule harshly is because Christ’s Sovereign rule is a benevolent one, not a malicious one.

In all these cases, we’ve seen that no one is called “lord” in Scripture without having some power and authority attached to the label itself. Why then, when man is given rule over the earth, would God have made him “lord” without giving him any POWER?

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