If you ask Christians what our ultimate purpose is, they are most likely to turn to The Great Commission (Mt 28:18-20). They are right. And that passage in turn defines our task as teachers – we are to make disciples. Disciples are students and students are disciples. So what are we to teach them? “All that I have commanded you”.

The word “All” is a big word. Everything. Everything from beginning to end. Everything from Day One onwards. The Bible actually gives us two commissions: the Creation Commission in Genesis 1 and the Great Commission in Matthew 28. The two are linked. Right now the great commission is vital, since Adam’s fall embroiled humanity in sin before the Creation Mandate could be fulfilled. They both seek the same goal: an entire planet filled with people who love God and who live life on earth to his praise and glory as his vice-regents. But the presence of sin necessitates an evangelistic twist to the original “be fruitful and multiply”. People have to respond to the gospel before they can be taught as new creatures how to obey in a new creation.

But having been saved, the “all things” that need to be taught take us back to the first instructions given in Genesis 1 – to subdue and multiply. Man was made to rule, and we do it every minute of the day, whether we think about it or not. You are currently subduing your breakfast: your body is hard at work extracting the energy from it and discarding the rest. You took dominion over the pig from whom the bacon came, and over the forest from which the lumber that became your breakfast table came. We are doing it all the time, and we were made to do so.

Every scientist, every politician, every nurse, every businessman, every janitor, every mechanic is at work right now fulfilling the creation mandate, ruling the small garden of the created order entrusted to their care. The question is not whether we will fulfill the dominion mandate, but how we will fulfill it. Will we do it in God’s presence (as Adam was intended to do), or out of his presence (as Cain did in Genesis 4)? Will we do it in submission to “all he commanded us”, or will we do it in rebellion against his commands? For his glory, or to make a name for ourselves? But one way or another we will do it.

Jesus came to restore us to the place where we can again do it all God’s way. He is the second Adam, giving humanity another opportunity to participate in his plan for his will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. And just as Tubal-Cain taught Cain’s descendants how to develop their industrial arts in pursuit of the kingdom of man, Christian teachers now share in the Great Commission – to train a new generation of Jesus’ disciples to do everything the way he commands. Everything. Yes – how to evangelise, how to pray. But everything – their music, their finances, their literature, their eating habits, their relationships – everything that he has commanded them.

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