The Dominion Deception: Part I – The “Garden City” Heresy

Those who are familiar with this blog know that I have written several articles exposing the REWILDING agenda. There are many reasons for this. Foremost is the fact that REWILDING demands that individuals submit to living on reservations under an oppressive government system controlled by a cadre of collectivist elites. I do not wish to be enslaved by such a system.

The REWILDING agenda is driven mostly by radical environmentalists, but there are plenty of other factions who want to impose their will on the rest of us and remake the world in their own image. These factions include Communists, Islamists, Corporatists, Capitalists, and of course, Theosophists… name just a few.  But there is another faction rising up from the abyss seeking to ascend to the earthly throne, one which may ultimately prove far worse than all the others.

Dominionists are people who believe they have been ordered by God to impose a specific set of ideals on the rest of the world. These folks claim to have a divine mandate providing them with the moral obligation and Biblical authority to subjugate the entire earth and everything in it. This work will be accomplished by dictating societal norms and modes of living on a local, national, and international level.

Tyrants claiming to have a “divine mandate” are not really anything new. After all, world history is replete with examples of men ruling over, or trying to rule over, large swaths of the planet and/or attempting to impose their will over as much of humanity as they can. Other men and their minions inevitably come along and take away or destroy the systems and edifices which were previously constructed, erecting new idols and building new civilizations, each faction rising up and fading away in successive waves of ill-fated conquest.  

Dominionists appear upright and moral, feigning concern for the poor, or hiding behind some other mask that doesn’t adequately conceal their underlying sense of spiritual superiority and boundless arrogance. Most claim to be Christians who are merely seeking to obey God’s will. If not extremely careful, conservative Bible believing Christians could be vulnerable to the slick marketing and errant theology of the dominion deception.

The so-called “dominion mandate” from which dominionists claim to derive their authority, is found in the first chapter of Genesis. There we read that shortly after Adam and Eve were created, and while they were still living without a sin nature in the Garden of Eden, “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]

For the purposes of this discussion, let’s just ignore the fact that the authority to rule over the earth and all the creatures in it, was given to mankind before sin polluted human judgment and before mankind was booted out of essentially a perfect environment in the Garden of Eden. Let’s also ignore all the other scriptures that remind us that dominion belongs to the Lord. (Psalm 145:13, Isaiah 26:13, Mat 28:18, 2Chron 20:6, John 17:2, etc.)

Let’s just focus on what the dominonists teach and believe, some of which actually sounds pretty good, even patriotic. But don’t be fooled. If we look at the bigger picture, we must come to the conclusion that if these people are successful in imposing their own narrow and woefully imperfect vision of “godly dominon” on the rest of us, the anticipated result will be no different than if any of the other groups mentioned in my opening paragraph were to gain dominion. In fact, I believe that the result of such a theonomic new world order administered not by God, but by men, would be far worse than any dictatorship the world has ever seen.

Dominionists like E. Calvin Beisner, founder and CEO of the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, generally interpret the “dominon mandate” as requiring two things. The first requirement is a strict adherence to the principles of free market capitalism under some form of COVENANTAL governance. The second pillar of dominionism requires absolute submission to Old Testament law as administered and enforced by sinful men.

Under a dominionist system, individuals would be encouraged to invest their lives in productive work developing the earth’s extensive resources, making life better and easier for all of humanity by creating innovative designs and coming up with technological fixes for any environmental or social problems that might pop up. Citizens of this peaceful kingdom would be expected to make progress by reproducing abundantly in order to expand human civilization to the maximum extent possible, incorporating into their civilized world any currently uninhabited areas.

Dominionists generally believe that by obeying the mandate, mankind will usher in a golden age of peace and prosperity that will receive its final reward and find ultimate fulfillment when Christ returns at the end of the age.   In order for this global vision to become a reality, they must assume the reigns of political and economic power here and now. They see no need to wait for Jesus Christ. In fact, most dominionists believe that Christ will not return to the earth until mankind has fulfilled the dominion mandate.

Beisner has posted what he terms a “Landmark Document” on his website entitled, “The Biblical Perspective of Environmental Stewardship: Subduing and Ruling the Earth to the Glory of God and the Benefit of Our Neighbors”.  Beisner lists 30 points that supposedly demonstrate scriptural support showing how men bring “glory to God” by subduing and ruling over all things under the sun. One of the things Beisner sees men ruling over and subjugating is uninhabited land, or wilderness. The dictionary definition of wilderness is “a large unsettled or uninhabited area”.   Beisner believes that all such areas need to be tamed, brought under cultivation and civilized, put under the heel of man because, as he explains, “wilderness is associated with divine judgment and the curse”.

Let’s look at a couple of specific examples revealing how the dominionists distort scripture to support their viewpoint. Please keep in mind that this little blog post of mine only scratches the surface. Hopefully what is written here will encourage the reader to do more study on his/her own. Click on any of the highlighted text to view source material for further study.

Beisner writes:

“We affirm that the Bible normally associates wilderness or wildness with divine judgment and curse (Exodus 23:29; Leviticus 26:22; Deuteronomy 7:22; 1 Samuel 17:46; Isaiah 5:2–4; 13:19–22; 34:1–17; Jeremiah 50:39; Leviticus 16:21–22).”

“We deny that wilderness is the best state of the Earth.”

However, as with nearly any other dominionist scriptural reference, the Bible verses cited do not actually support Beisner’s assertion unless the reader takes the written words completely out of context and infers his/her own fanciful interpretation.

The Hebrew word for “wilderness” is midbar, which is used over 250 times in the Old Testament. Midbar is normally translated as “pasture” or “uninhabited land”.  It is used in the Bible as a descriptive term to designate a landscape devoid of human settlement. There is absolutely no judgment associated with the word itself.   In our culture, wilderness is given a protected status for the mutual benefit and enjoyment of subsequent generations of people and wildlife. Most of the people I know love going out to wild and unspoiled land to hike, hunt, fish, recreate, and yes, even pray. In the Bible, wilderness is where people were often commanded to go to meet, serve, and fellowship with God. (Exodus 3:18, 5:1, 7:16, 8:27, etc.)

“In the wilderness man learns to have faith in his Creator.” -Finis Mitchell (1901-1995) USFS Photo- Bridger Wilderness, Wind River Range, Wyoming

God’s divine judgment is always associated with the behavior of people and often comes in the form of pestilence, plagues, wars, famines, or droughts. God repeatedly exercises His divine judgment by causing the desolation of the land directly under man’s feet, emptying and making barren the very ground previously under human cultivation, civilization, and/or occupation. The great flood of Noah destroyed a corrupt civilization and returned the world to wilderness. Divine judgment did not befall uninhabited land, it came against inhabited land and corrupt people. While wilderness and mountains are certainly not to be worshipped or used as a weapon as the REWILDING proponents do, neither should they be considered wasted space that must be subdued and subjugated according to someone’s warped interpretation of the dominion mandate.

The Bible confirms time and again that the very presence of God can be most profoundly experienced in wild and remote places. For example, Moses went up to the desolate mountaintop of Sinai to see God and receive the Ten Commandments. Jesus went up to the summit of the Mount of Olives to pray. And John the Baptist lived virtually his entire life in a remote wilderness. For Beisner to claim that wilderness is somehow inherently evil, or is associated with divine judgment, is absurd.

Try and understand the eternal and spirtiual implications of Beisnser’s errant dominionist theology.

Beisner writes:

  1. “We affirm that a comprehensive understanding of the relationship between God’s placing Adam in the Garden to cultivate and guard it (Genesis 2:15) and God’s commanding Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply and fill the Earth and subdue and rule everything in it (Genesis 1:28) entails a growing population that spreads out from the Garden to till the whole Earth and transform it from wilderness to garden and ultimately to garden city (Revelation 21:2; 22:1-3).”

Think about what Beisner is saying in this sentence: “A growing population that spreads out FROM the Garden to till the whole Earth and transform it from wilderness to garden and ultimately to garden city.”  Forget for a moment that mankind was actually kicked out and banned from the original “Garden of Eden”. Beisner asserts that it is mankind’s sacred duty to recreate, through hard work and his own innate ingenuity and technological creativity, conditions similar to the original Garden (of Eden) here on the earth.  He references his vision of creating the ideal “garden city” directly to the “new Jerusalem” of Revelation 21:2 and 22:1-3.

“And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”  [Rev 21:2]

Scripture should always be read in context, but even when we read this single verse by itself, a couple of things stand out. Notice that the “new Jerusalem” is not something man creates or builds himself, but as the scripture says, “comes down from God out of Heaven”.  Obviously, it is God who creates and prepares the New Jerusalem, not man. The scripture declares that God prepares it just as He does the new heaven and the new earth, with the same care that a “bride is adorned for her husband.”

The dominionists believe that the “bride” reference in this particular passage refers to Christian believers who are following the dominon mandate by building a global civilization that must be completed before Christ can return. Yet the scripture cited does not say anything of the sort. In fact, it says quite the opposite. God is preparing a place for us, we are not preparing a place for Him. In confirmation that this is indeed the case, Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” [John 14:2]

Well, I certainly don’t want to bore the reader, but bear with me just a little longer. Let’s look at a one last example where Beisner misuses scripture to support his dominionist views.

Beisner writes:

  1. “We affirm that in response to man’s sin God cursed the ground so that it would not, as before sin, yield easily even to godly dominion/cultivation, let alone to ungodly, abusive domination (Genesis 3:17-19), and indeed subjected the whole cosmos to decay and corruption until He restores it partially in history by obedience to the dominion mandate (Genesis 1:28), whether by the unregenerate through common grace (Matthew 7:11) or by the regenerate through special grace (Romans 8:18-24) , and fully in the New Heavens and New Earth of the eschaton (Revelation 21:1-3, 22-27; 22:1-5), all secured by the redeeming work of Christ (Colossians 1:14-20).”

History is replete with the fall of democracies, dictatorships, and kingdoms. There is no evidence of what Beisner terms a “partial restoration of the earth in history”. There is not one shred of evidence to demonstrate that one group of people can impose their will, assume authority, or exert dominion over another group of people, and by so doing create a just and prosperous society that lasts beyond a moment of time. Eventually the worst attributes inherent in mankind leavens the whole loaf.

According to Beisner, the curse placed on man can be overcome and the world restored, at least partially, by “obedience to the dominion mandate.” I’m sorry, but I just don’t get that from my reading of scripture. Nor can I find the passage of scripture where Jesus tells his disciples to, “Go out and build a kingdom for me so that I may dwell there with you.”  Maybe I’m just not reading the right translation.

My Bible provides countless examples of human beings misusing the power and dominion God has given them. Salvation is all about God providing an atonement for our sin; making a way for humanity to avoid experiencing what would have been the eternal consequences of our own free will.  The only “work” that really matters was accomplished for us on the cross.  So let the dominionists obsess over ruling this world, but don’t be fooled by their false promises or errant theology.

Jesus said, “My kingdom is NOT of this world” [John 18:36].  But the really good news is that in order to gain entrance into His kingdom we are not required to re-create the earth, build great monuments or enduring civilizations.  The only thing God requires is faith, nothing more. [Eph 2:8,9]

In conclusion, let me just say again that wilderness is not something associated with God’s divine judgment.  Anyone who has escaped city life by venturing out into some remote area to enjoy the serenity of a mountain or desert landscape, understands that such uninhabited places reveal the incredible beauty and intricate design of God’s creation.

The entire cosmos is an example of God’s infinite creativity and veiled majesty. Yet if this decaying old world impresses us, imagine how beautiful the new Heaven and the new Earth will be!

“Catching dinner” Calen Busch – Bridger Wilderness

7 thoughts on “The Dominion Deception: Part I – The “Garden City” Heresy

  1. Dennis

    From atom and snowflake to spiral galaxy and super nova, God’s handiwork implies His greatness, and though the work of His finger, the greater work of love was in Jesus Christ whom God sent to be the savior of the world, having worked love-out, as well as justice, on the Cross.

  2. Well, positively, at least this is an improvement on Beisner’s previous assertion that we can “reverse the curse” through the “dominion mandate.” But I see nothing in the Romans passages (8:18-24) suggesting that God will ‘partially restore’ the cosmos through mankind (regenerate or not), as the passage merely states that creation is “liberated from its bondage of decay” (v 21, NIV 1984) through the “glorious freedom” brought forth by God in the redemption of the bodies of the regenerate, which only occurs when Jesus Christ returns.

  3. Ruth

    Steve – You raise important points worth considering. Something I’ve been trying to understand is the degree to which the Creation/Stewardship theological viewpoint of Calvin Beisner/Cornwall Alliance seems to be consistent with the theology of his Reformed Presbyterian denomination of which he is a theologian. I finding many references on Reformed Presbyterian sites to a “Cultural
    Mandate” listed among 4 key Doctrines of Reformed Theology.

    Craig – Maybe with your in depth expertise in the theology of various denominations you could elaborate or whether this info about a Cultural Mandate is accurate. Similar “mandates” are now found across the board in many mainstream Christian denominations. Some take the position that The Great Commission and the Cultural Mandate are to be unified. Steve – this seems to line up with your concern. Beisner’s executive summary for the November 2007 Mount NEBO Paper titled “What Is the Most Important EnvironmentalTask Facing American Christians Today?”
    reads in part:

    “The dominion mandate to Adam and Eve at the creation makes human responsibility
    for creation stewardship inescapable. Neither our fall into sin nor the redeeming work of
    Christ eliminates that responsibility. Rather, the fall complicates it, as the Earth too suffers
    the consequences of human sin. But redemption elevates environmental stewardship,
    making it part of the hope-filled task of the redeemed in spreading the kingdom of Christ.”

    Click to access MtNebo.pdf

    A number of items have me wondering how much of this has been orchestrated. Seems like the UN puts out the call and the religious leaders are the first to follow suit …It would seem that the church is in full cooperation mode-
    Unrelated? Coincidence?


    Click to access fbo_engagement.pdf

    Is the following the norm for reformed Presbyterians? Not being Presbyterian I don’t know whether there is a difference between Reformed Presbyterians and Presbyterian Church USA.? Is stuff like this part of their regular operation or some aberration found within a particular progressive branch? Something if really off .

    • …” endorsing the Earth Charter
    • signing and supporting ecumenical statements on caring for God’s creation, such as “God’s Mandate: Care for Creation” and “God’s Earth is Sacred”

  4. Ruth,

    I confess that I don’t really know much about the various denominations. But, I’ve been reading with interest the various links on PCUSA, primarily regarding the “climate change” issue – though that’s not what we’re discussing here on this particular thread.

    From what I can glean the PCUSA’s “Cultural Mandate” is up to the individual congregation’s (and individual Christian’s) interpretation with regard to emphasis. Reading the first link you provided, it can be construed as entirely Biblical, especially the middle portion:

    …First we are called to be in the world and not to withdraw from it. This sets reformed believers apart from monasticism. Second, we are to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and visit the prisoner. But the chief needs of people are still spiritual, and social work is no adequate substitute for evangelism. In fact, efforts to help people will only be truly effective as their hearts and minds are changed by the gospel. This sets reformed believers apart from, mere humanitarianism…

    The distinction will come in as to how one interprets the “…transformation of the world and its cultures” portion, and this will be dependent on one’s eschatology. Apparently, there’s no set eschatological view within the PC. Those who adhere to postmillennialism may well go as far as Beisner, for example.

    But, it’s those other links you provided that are eye brow-raising. They are blatantly ecumenical, wishing to partner with UN global initiatives. The Earth Care Pledge (page 12 shown below) is alarming, and seemingly in line with Beisner:

    Peace and justice is God’s plan for all creation. The earth and all creation are God’s. God calls us to be careful, humble stewards of this earth, and to protect and restore it for its own sake, and for the future use and enjoyment of the human family. As God offers all people the special gift of peace through Jesus Christ, and through Christ reconciles all to God, we are called to deal justly with one another and the earth.

    1. Our worship and discipleship will celebrate God’s grace and glory in creation and declare that God calls us to cherish, protect and restore this earth.

    2. In education, we will seek learning and teaching opportunities to know and understand the threats to God’s creation and the damage already inflicted. We will encourage and support each other in finding ways of keeping and healing the creation in response to God’s call to earth-keeping, justice and community.

    3. Our facilities will be managed, maintained and upgraded in a manner that respects and cherishes all creation, human and non-human, while meeting equitably the needs of all people. In our buildings and on our grounds we will use energy efficiently, conserve resources, and share what we have in abundance so that God’s holy creation will be sustainable for all life and future generations.

    4. Our outreach will encourage public policy and community involvement that protects and restores the vulnerable and degraded earth as well as oppressed and neglected people. We will be mindful that our personal and collective actions can positively or negatively affect our neighborhood, region, nation and world. We will seek to achieve environmental justice through coalitions and ecumenical partnerships.

    The portion you cite from Beisner’s MT Nebo document can be construed as fine theologically until we get to the last sentence: “But redemption elevates environmental stewardship,making it part of the hope-filled task of the redeemed in spreading the kingdom of Christ.”

    This goes back to Beisner’s attempts to “reverse the curse.” Once again, this is based on his faulty exegesis of Romans 8:18-24, which apparently informs most of his theology and eschatology (or his views of eschatology force him to eisegete the Romans passage). Sorry, Beisner but it’s Jesus Christ’s return which brings about the redemption of creation. Mankind has nothing to do with it. Yes, we can and should steward creation; but, we do not redeem it.

  5. Hey Ruth, thanks for commenting. Craig will probably have more to say regarding your various points and questions, I try to keep things on a simple, basic, easy to understand level. From my understanding “Reformed Theology” in the broadest sense just basically refers to the Protestant Reformation and separation from Catholic doctrine. All protestants hold to some, if not all, aspects of Reformed Theology. There are denominational differences of course, all with their various points of emphasis. Extreme Calvinism is usually considered to be on one end of the spectrum…..not sure what’s on the other end, but here is a pretty good general definition of the term-

    Where Beisner begins to go off the reservation, I believe, is with his post-millennialism views and his preterist, or at least partial preterist, interpretations. The following are obviously biased definitions, but I think they are pretty much spot on-

    In Christianity there is certainly a lot of wiggle room for disagreement, which is obviously why we have denominations in the first place. The issue becomes at what point do such views become heresy? Where do Beisner’s teachings lead? For me, it comes down to a few simple questions- What makes fallen men think that ruling a fallen world is pleasing to Christ? Do we want Beisner and his corporatist techno-crat progress loving ilk to be kings of this world? What would that world look like? Beisner’s confidence in his own scriptural interpretations does not mean he is right, nor does it give him the authority to tell everybody else how to live. It is really that simple.

    Who is Lord? If it is Christ, then we should keep our minds on the things above, for everything here is fading away.

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