Theology 101

How the ‘Second Adam’ Fulfills the Cultural Mandate

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The Cultural Mandate‘s relationship to the Kingdom of God is no more apparent than in the second chapter of Hebrews. The author of the letter to the Hebrews quotes Psalm 8, which paints a magnificent picture of what man was created to be.

But there is a place where someone has testified: “What is mankind that you are mindful of them, a son of man that you care for him? You made them a little lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honor and put everything under their feet.” In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them. (Hebrews 2:6-8)

Here mankind fully embraces the Cultural Mandate to have dominion over all things. That is the way it was at the creation; that is the way it was supposed to be. Then the writer of Hebrews says, “yet at present we do not see everything subject to them,” being humanity.

The author points to the startling contrast between the way things were and the way things are because of the Fall. The apostle Paul wrote that “sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12). The reign of sin and death caused by the Fall prevented man from fully carrying out the work God created him for in the garden.

Fallen man cannot fulfill the Cultural Mandate. Sin did not abolish the Cultural Mandate, but it made mankind unable to fulfill it.

The author of Hebrews offers hope in one of the most striking lines in the letter,

But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. (Hebrews 2:9)

As the second Adam, Jesus lived the sinless life on earth that the first Adam could not live. Through that perfect life Jesus became the Psalm 8 man, perfectly fulfilling the Cultural Mandate. It is through His life, death, and resurrection that all of those who are in Him stand restored in the place of the first Adam with the ability to once again fulfill the Cultural Mandate.

Theologian John Frame summarizes it this way,

Redemption should be interpreted as God’s reparation of Adam’s failure and fulfillment of his original creation mandate through the Second Adam, Jesus the Messiah. Whereas the first Adam betrayed his heavenly Father and fell into sin by snatching after divinity (Gen. 3:4-6), the Second Adam proved his perfect loyalty by assuming the posture of a servant and humbling himself even unto the death of the cross (Matt. 4:1-11; Phil. 2:5-11). And by his perfect life and spotless sacrifice Jesus became a vicarious atonement for sin and undid the evil that the first Adam initiated. Moreover, the Second Adam is currently fulfilling the original mandate God had given to humanity.

The salvation Christ has offered through His life, death, and resurrection makes it possible for Christians to enter into the Kingdom in this present age and fulfill the Cultural Mandate to the great glory of our King, furthering His Kingdom here on earth.

Until we understand our place in God’s Kingdom, we will never fully understand the importance of the work that He has called us to do in our present lives.

Question: Is it relieving to know that Jesus has made it possible for us to fulfill the Cultural Mandate? Leave a comment here.

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