In Genesis, after God created the world he gave man a mandate: to have dominion over the earth, to work the ground and multiply. Today we often refer to this as the “Cultural Mandate”. In many ways, today, as Christians, this mandate effects the way we think about the purpose of our lives.
God indeed desires us to be good stewards of the earth, to be successful in our work and to build families. This was the original God-given mandate for mankind.
Yet often times we ignore the fact that the Cultural Mandate was given to Adam before the fateful events of Genesis 3, the Fall of Mankind. If we are not careful, we may think that this Cultural Mandate still applies to us the same way it applied to Adam before sin entered the world.
After sin entered the world, Adam, was no longer able to enjoy working in God’s presence in Eden. Instead Adam and the generations that would follow found themselves living in an un-redeemed, fallen world. The cultural mandate, therefore, as God originally intended it, could not be fulfilled. This is the situation we still live in today.
So where does the Great Commission come into all of this?
In some ways they are similar. Both call us to have dominion: the Cultural Mandate calls us to have dominion over the earth, while the Great Commission calls us to make disciples of all nations. Both call us to multiply. While one calls us to build physical families, the other calls us to make families of believers.
But if the Fall can be described as an horrific car accident, then the Great Commission can be described as God’s way of fixing the car. There is no point in trying to drive a broken car. Trying to live the cultural mandate in a fallen world is like doing that. What needs to be done is to fix the car first. The Great Commission is like trying to fix that car.
If you’re searching for deep conviction to go on missions today, there is an answer in how the Great Commission relates to the Cultural Mandate. As disciples we have to remember that we live in a fallen world, and in order to restore man’s original purpose, we first must restore his place before God by making God-loving, God-worshipping disciples.