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THE CULTURAL MANDATE CONTINUES

Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr. —  May 7, 2012 — 5 Comments

The Cultural Mandate given to Adam and Eve at the beginning of the human race is a foundational feature of postmillennial eschatology. As the saying goes: Eschatology is assumed in Protology.” That is, the end is assumed in the beginning.

In yesterday’s post, I showed how the Cultural Mandate supported the postmillennial scheme. Today I will focus on the objection that the Cultural or Creation Mandate was unique for Adam and is no longer operative because of their fall into sin.

But this cannot be, for Scripture often repeats the Creation Mandate. This assertion bothers amillennial scholar Herman Hanko, who argues:

“Adam did not abandon the cultural mandate; sin and the curse made it impossible for Adam to continue it. This is not a mere quibbling over words; this strikes at the very heart of the [millennial] question. Forgotten is the fact that sin and the curse made it forever impossible for the cultural mandate to be fulfilled in this present world.” [1]

This view overlooks what Scripture actually affirms.

We see the Cultural Mandate in force in both testaments (Ge 9:1ff; Heb 2:5–8). Psalm 8 clearly evidences the Cultural Mandate: “What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet” (Ps 8:4–6).

Postmillennialism’s optimistic expectations comport well with God’s creational purpose. They highlight the divine expectation of the created nature of man qua man. Postmillennialism expects the world as a system (kosmos) to submit to God’s rule by the active, sanctified agency of redeemed man, who is renewed in God’s image (Col 3:10; Eph 4:24). In other words, postmillennial eschatology expects in history (though not perfectly so) what God originally intends for history (man’s ruling the world for God’s glory). It sees God maintaining his plan and moving history toward its original goal, but now on the new basis of his sovereign and gracious redemption. Hanko’s objection to postmillennialism’s employing the Cultural Mandate arises from his deep sense of the genuine fearsome power of sin. The postmillennialist, however, sees God’s continuing the Cultural Mandate on a new principle: the very real and even greater power of redemption in Christ.

Postmillennialism also well answers historic premillennialism’s concern that: “the covenantal unity of the entire Bible demands that the millennial kingdom should be materialized on this earth before the beginning of the new heavens and earth.” [2]

So then postmillennialism does “acknowledge that Genesis 1:26–28 must be taken as an account of the covenant of blessings/promise.” Indeed, in postmillennialism we see that “Adam, as God’s vice-regent, and his progeny were to put ‘the finishing touches’ on the world God created in Genesis 1 by making it a liveable place for humans. . . . God’s ultimate goal in creation was to magnify his glory throughout the earth by means of his faithful image-bearers inhabiting the world in obedience to the divine mandate.”



Footnotes

1. Herman Hanko, “An Exegetical Refutation of Postmillennialism,” 10.

2. Chung in Craig Blomberg and Sung Wook Chung, Historic Premillennialism, 144.

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Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

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Ken is a Presbyterian pastor and the author or co-author of over thirty books, most on eschatology. He has been married since 1971, and has three children and several grandchildren. He is a graduate of Tennessee Temple University (B.A., 1973), Reformed Theological Seminary (M.Div., 1977), and Whitefield Theological Seminary (Th.M., 1986; Th.D., 1988). He currently pastors Living Hope Presbyterian Church (affiliated with the RPCGA) in Greer, SC. Much of his writing is in the field of eschatology, including his 600 page book, He Shall Have Dominion: A Postmillennial Eschatology and his 400 page, Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating the Book of Revelation (his Th.D. dissertation). He contributed chapters to two Zondervan CounterPoints books on eschatological issues: Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond (edited by Darrell L. Bock) and Four Views on the Book of Revelation (edited by C. Marvin Pate). He also debated Thomas D. Ice in Kregel's The Great Tribulation: Past or Future? His books have been published by American Vision, Baker, Zondervan, Kregel, P & R, Greenhaven Press, Nordskog, Wipf & Stock, and several other publishers. He has published scores of articles in such publications as Tabletalk, Westminster Theological Journal, Evangelical Theological Society Journal, Banner of Truth, Christianity Today, Antithesis, Contra Mundum, and others. He has spoken at over 80 conferences in America, the Caribbean, and Australia. He is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and a Church Council Committee member of Coalition on Revival.

5 responses to THE CULTURAL MANDATE CONTINUES

  1. This article has made my day, thanks Dr.Gentry.

  2. Stumblin’ Thru May 8, 2012 at 6:30

    Thanks so much for this website!! Every time I visit I am encouraged, enlightened, and more hopeful!!!

  3. Charles E. Miller, BA, MAR January 1, 2014 at 6:30

    Dear Dr. Gentry
    I have a question and I hope that you are willing to respond. Are Pat Robertson and Regent University postmillennial?

  4. Charles E. Miller, BA, MAR January 11, 2014 at 6:30

    +I know the world is better than it was in the time of the emperors’ of Rome; however, there is one thing that disturbs me about our modern world: tattoos. They are ugly and nasty looking. I wish people would stop getting them. They make people look like savages. They look like people from some uncultured land. Why do people want to ruin their bodies that God made through His Son. In the Torah it is considered a sin. Jews who get them cannot even be buried in a Jewish Cemetary. I miss the days when one seldom saw them.

  5. Charles E. Miller, BA, MAR January 16, 2014 at 6:30

    I believe I can answer my own question to Dr. Gentry. Rev. Robertson was a traditional post-tribulational premillennialist; however, he seems to have accepted a new view with which I can agree. It is called partial preterist historic premillennialism. The view is quite interesting, and I thought about it myself before I learned that theologians were considering it. It is found in the book “Victorious Eschatology: Partial Preterist View.” I find the book well worth reading. Dr. Robertson did not write this book; on the contrary, I was written by Eberle and Trench. It also mentions postmillennialism in this book. I wish to say one thing about Regent University. I believe it is a very fine school. If I were younger, I would work for a Master of Divinity or a Juris Doctor there. I say that even though I am a Moderate-Conservative Democrat!

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