“Government can only exist when people accept that they are slaves, and allow a master to rule over them. Without this voluntary acceptance of rule, no government could ever stand. No individual or group of individuals, has any right whatsoever to rule another, and this has only been possible due to the insane mindset that is collectivism of the masses. This so-called ‘philosophy’ that is ‘collectivism,’ sets the stage for where we are today; living as slaves in a society of fools, dependent on a master’s permission to live and breathe. No freedom will ever be present, so long as any government (State) exists. This is a reality that cannot be questioned.” (Gary D. Barnett)
“Free election of masters does not abolish the masters or the slaves.” (Herbert Marcuse)
“No one has any legitimate right to give authority, or assign any power of one over another, by calling it government.” (Gary D. Barnett)
Yes, we’re going to get into politics. Well, the institution we call government specifically. The question is, “How do government and politics relate to our Subdue and Rule Mandate?”
What is governing?
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the verb govern as “To exercise continuous sovereign authority over.” Since the One True God is the One who exercises continuous sovereign authority over His seen and unseen creation, that qualifies Him as Supreme Governor.
Merriam-Webster defines government as “the body of persons that constitutes the governing authority of a political unit or organization.” As the Three-In-One Godhead, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit comprise the body of persons constituting creation’s primary governing authority.
Therefore, the idea of governing and government was present at the start concerning creation. God existed and was sovereign long before that, but that’s a different theological bunny trail.
The biblical origin of government
It’s clear from Genesis 1-2 that we were never meant to subdue and rule each other. The above quotes by Gary Barnett and Herbert Marcuse capture the essence of our original status before God as individuals over which no one else but God has the right to rule. The Subdue and Rule Mandate was for us to subdue and rule creation only, to bring God’s untamed world and its creatures under our control and manage it for Him under His “continuous sovereign authority.” Our job dominion job description for Eden was “to work it and to watch over it” (Genesis 2:15), which means “to care for our world and protect it from harm.”
According to God, that’s the essence of governing – to work for the good of what is under our care and to protect it from harm – and the only way to do that is according to His ways (His commanded guidelines and boundaries) as defined by His nature and will. So here’s a thought. Since we’re God’s reflection, what we were to do must have been what God was already doing for us from the start – caring for humanity and protecting His people from harm. He then assigned us to do the same for His creation as His delegated image on Earth. Like Father, like sons (and daughters).
But Adam and Eve blew it.
They turned from God and threw off His governance over them, represented by the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Those with no capacity, experience, or maturity to discern right from wrong chose to decide for themselves. We continue to do so, usually according to whatever passion inflames or whim tickles us. Our rebellious self-determination merged with our drive to dominate and caused us to become a lawless bunch seeking to Conquer and Dominate all. Sadly, repudiating God’s governance also meant refusing His care and protection.
As humanity applied Subdue and Rule to each other under the new paradigm, our governmental assignment “to work and watch” continued. As our job, subdue and rule, continued, so did our job description, care and protect. Just as Adam and Eve were to use their Subdue and Rule Mandate to care for and protect Eden, their refocused Mandate extended that same “care and protect” assignment toward each other. We see this in God’s declaration to Eve about her adjusted relationship with Adam. “Your desire will be for your husband, yet he will rule over you” (Genesis 3:16). Yes, God made Adam Eve’s governor. Before jumping to modern-day feminists’ outraged conclusions, pause and think. God’s decree meant that Adam, as Eve’s governor, was assigned to care for Eve and protect her from harm as they carried out their world dominion mission together. (Yeah, totally unreasonable, oppressive, and sexist, I know.)
At the same time, Eve would desire to return to her original cooperative state alongside Adam as her designated teammate. Since Eve was half of Adam, she also carried his duty to care for and protect Him. But as we all know, being governed while one governs can be very frustrating, especially when desires, intentions, plans, and everything else clash. And clash they did because Conquer and Dominate took hold.
Is government a good or bad thing? Is it even necessary?
All philosophical musings aside, human government at its biblical root has two purposes – to care for other people and protect them from harm as we live and work together on our official living space, Earth. What makes government morally good in this present age is when governing is exercised for these two purposes according to God’s moral law. But we all know what happens when fallen human beings turn governing into a tool to Conquer and Dominate fellow humans contrary to God’s moral law. Yup, hell on Earth.
Government is morally good when instituted and run according to God’s will. Government becomes immoral when it drifts to the dark side and exercises its authority and power in opposition to God’s will. Government is morally good when it cares for and protects the people it serves. Government becomes morally evil when it becomes a tool of those bent on Conquering and Dominating other citizens and when domination-driven officials use their authority and power for self-serving purposes. The current weaponization of our federal government (the DOJ, FBI, CIA, IRS, DHS, and other agencies) is a vivid and painful illustration. So government can be good or evil, but it depends on its moral orientation.
But this got me thinking. Would government even be necessary if human nature was uncorrupted and not prone to harm others as it is when inflamed by Conquer and Dominate? Would we only require some form of governmental coordination to ensure we performed our governing duties over creation well? Had evil not entered the human condition, would governments be needed? According to Gary D. Barnett, writer, and self-proclaimed peaceful anarchist who believes in natural law without restriction by the state, no. “No one has any legitimate right to give authority, or assign any power of one over another, by calling it government” (Barnett). In light of the Subdue and Rule Mandate’s original intent, Mr. Barnett is correct, albeit altruistic. Since God’s original dominion mandate for humans only applied to the creation and not other people, no human government was needed other than God’s direct governance in the beginning.
But here we are.
In Mr. Barnett’s article, he states, “The bottom line as I see it, is that there is no such thing as good government, benevolent government, necessary government, or protective government; there is only evil government.” But is government fundamentally evil? Before Messiah returns, government is not necessarily evil in this current age. Instead, it is necessitated by evil. God institutes governments to restrain and control humanity’s rampant and uncontrolled drive to Conquer and Dominate (Romans 12:3-4). However, any government tends to become evil precisely because fallen people run the government apparatus.
Because people are fallen creatures by nature and prone to evil, government is needed to keep the citizenry’s Conquer and Dominate drive in check. Government does this through the threat and use of force as a control measure or punishment. Without evil in the world, governments wouldn’t be needed to control people’s passions toward good and away from evil. The weakness of government is that it can only address outward actions. Only God’s governance within us through the New Covenant can fix and set controls over what’s inside of us.
A friend was once scolded by his mother for playing the drums in church. (Yes, this was an issue in some churches long ago.) He replied, “It all depends on Who you’re playing them for.” The same is true about government. Government is a tool or a weapon depending on whose behalf one governs and why. Is it to Subdue and Rule people for care and protection or Conquer and Dominate people through neglect and exploitation?
God, self-government, and self-control
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary also defines govern as “To control, direct, or strongly influence the actions and conduct of; to hold in check: restrain.”
I find the government/governing definitions above interesting because they’re from a post-Fall perspective. Before the Fall, any person had no need or desire to exercise “sovereign authority over” anyone else. To do so would have violated the scope of God’s Sudue and Rule Mandate for humanity. Only after the Fall do we see people desiring to “control, direct, or strongly influence the actions and conduct of” others (See Cain and Abel, and Lamech, Genesis 4:8, 23-24). If people today truly cooperated in their societal and individual domains, no one would need to control, direct, or strongly influence (force) anyone’s actions or conduct. We wouldn’t need government because we would all govern ourselves God’s way, and there would be no conflicts.
But the first thing Adam and Eve threw out the window was self-control, and they stepped out of Eden as autonomous persons yearning for the freedom to choose their way. That’s bad if the chosen method is counter to God’s way. Self-determination is good, but only when it aligns with God’s way.
The idea that “individuals should be free from coercion in their personal lives and consciences” (Britannica.com) was one of the foundational ideas during the parallel Age of Revolution (about A.D. 1688-1789) and the Enlightenment (late 17th and the 18th centuries). The United States Founders were geniuses. They fused the biblical truths of God’s sovereignty with the Enlightenment principle of self-rule to define and create proper government to care for and protect the individual they recognized as accountable to God alone.
The Founders affirmed and declared that all people “are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” However, they also recognized the Conquer and Dominate tendency within all people that invariably infringes and encroaches upon, and usurps other people’s domains, specifically their God-given unalienable (“impossible to take away or give up”) rights, in their drive for dominance and control.
Therefore, a godly government was needed to care for its citizens and protect them to preserve and safeguard their “unalienable Rights,” primarily the Big Three Rights. Conquer and Dominate tyrants always seek to subjugate others, even if it means removing life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and all other God-given rights. See? There’s that “You shall be as God” thing again!
Governments governing God’s way ensure the care and protection of their citizens. Godly government works for the individual’s benefit and protects them from another person’s intrusion into their domain of life. On the contrary, a government governing man’s corrupt Conquer and Dominate way dooms its citizen to inevitable neglect and harm. Ungodly government exploits the individual for the State’s benefit and denies them protection, exposing them to intrusion by the State and any fellow citizen.
The Founder’s remedy was to create a government inspired by God’s biblical principles, a government that recognized its position under God and aligned with His purposes to care for and protect all its citizens. As the Founders wrote, “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men.” Because Conquer and Dominate is inherent in every person, future U.S. citizens would need an official body with the authority and power to protect the individual’s rights from usurpation or cancelation. After all, people or governments do not grant fundamental human rights. God does, and they are impossible to take away or surrender. However, tyrants always try to override those rights to establish dominance. As the U.S. government was designed, any person or group attempting to do so would have to face the authority and power of the State standing in front of their target, protecting their unalienable rights.
The beauty of the Founder’s vision of government was that they also recognized proper governments derived “their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Conquer and Dominate drives people to seek power and control over whomever they can coerce or force into submission. History is replete with naturally-gifted leaders who rose to power, even claiming divine authority to exercise their power, usually for their benefit. The idea of the “divine right to rule” is a convenient human construct to justify Conquering and Dominating other human beings and perpetuating power.
Surprise! The Founders disagreed and affirmed that all people are the repository of God’s authority and power, just as Genesis shows us. For mutual care and protection, our nation’s citizenry agreed to delegate authority and power to those who needed it to carry out their “care and protect” duties on behalf of the citizenry.
This idea was the Founders’ refutation of the “divine right to rule” principle. From the Bible’s perspective, the divine right to rule was never invested in one person but in everyone. Self-government under God’s government is the goal most closely aligned with God’s original design and purposes, and self-control is the keystone.
Self-control is the Holy Spirit’s fruit, demonstrating God’s government working within each born-again person. Therefore, self-government by people controlling themselves according to God’s morality is the best form of government. But the fact that every person on Earth is not born-again, submitted to God’s governing authority, and empowered by the Holy Spirit perfectly, global self-government is an impossibility until Jesus’ return.
However, the vision is intriguing. If we could self-rule under God’s rule, external laws should only be minimal. But since people are divorced from God’s rule and lack self-control, that necessitates a continual increase in external laws to restrain out-of-control behavior. This explains the ever-expanding law code, and increased lawlessness requires increased laws to provide care and protection for the citizenry via external controls.
That brings us to a fundamental difference between Conservatives and the Left. According to columnist and radio host Dennis Prager, the problem lies with how each side views human nature. Conservatives believe people are inherently evil (the biblical view) and need to be changed inside, “each person doing battle with his or her own weaknesses and flaws” (Prager). Therefore, external controls are necessary to restrain evil actions.
On the other hand, the Left views people as basically good. As Wallbuilders puts it, “In short, under Progressivism, if man does something bad, there was some outside cause for it, for man is inherently good” (Wallbuilders, italics author). “The Left…believes that the way to a better society is almost always through doing battle with society’s moral failings” (Prager, italics author). Therefore, society (external) must be changed, not the person (internal). For example, the gun was the cause of the crime, not the person who pulled the trigger. Therefore, in their drive to bring forth their vision of Utopia, the political Left must use government power to change all aspects of society and to force all people into thinking, speaking, and acting according to their standard of goodness (not precisely lined up with God’s standard, mind you).
The Left’s view rejects self-control while they promote totalitarian control over the whole of society. The Conservative’s view promotes self-control as a virtue to minimize the need for external controls. “In the words of Benjamin Franklin: ‘Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.’Why is that? Because freedom requires self-control. The freer the society, the more self-control is necessary. If the majority of people don’t control themselves, the state -- meaning an ever more powerful government -- will have to control them” (source unknown).
Therefore, a Conservative government seeks to increase freedom (Subdue and Rule, emphasis on self-control), and a Leftist government aims to minimize freedom, often through legislative or actual force (Conquer and Dominate, emphasis on external controls).
Couple the Leftist-controlled Democratic Party’s drive for control with the Washington ruling class’s self-appointed “divine right to rule” conviction, and we have the Swamp with the Democratic Party believing any party ruling other than theirs is illegitimate government or an illegitimate President. Sound familiar?
The Founders created the U.S. Constitution to counter governmental Conquer and Dominate. The Bill of Rights was instituted to ensure all rights were protected and people cared for with fairness. Amendments were added to correct shortfalls as our nation matured. Slavery, for example. The 13th Amendment was instituted to free anyone from Conquer and Dominate slavery.
“‘Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.’ With the adoption of the 13th Amendment, the United States found a final constitutional solution to the issue of slavery. The 13th Amendment, along with the 14th and 15th, is one of the trio of Civil War amendments that greatly expanded the civil rights of Americans” (archives.gov, italics author).
But as we’ve seen over the United States’ nearly 250+ year history, Conquer and Dominate stains everything and erupts from every governmental leader’s weak point. Our form of government only works if the citizenry and government officials follow the original principles based on the Bible and God’s ways. When biblical foundations are removed, the U.S. States government becomes beastly, just like humanity did when they rebelled against God in Eden.
Our government reflects the citizenry’s character and moral fiber. For this reason, President John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” And since the Left is set on having its way and the Constitution stands between them and absolute power to Conquer and Dominate, are we surprised at the Left’s repetitious clarion call to change or eliminate the Constitution and its protections?
Separation of powers – a governor on the government’s Conquer and Dominate drive
Another protection that the Founders instituted to safeguard their fellow citizens against governmental Conquer and Dominate was the separation of powers into the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches. Once again, the Founders based these three branches on principles derived from the Bible; “For the Lord is our Judge (judicial), the Lord is our Lawgiver (legislative), The Lord is our King (executive)” (Isaiah 33:22). President John Adams gave the reason for the separation of powers as the safeguard against humanity’s sinful, totally depraved heart based on Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is more deceitful than anything else, and incurable—who can understand it?”
The Founders knew all too well what Lord Acton wrote to Bishop Mandell Creighton in a letter (1887), “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”
President George Washington knew that the separation of governmental power was crucial because rulers, under the influence of Conquer and Dominate, tended toward consolidation of power. “It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution in those entrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism. A just estimate of that love of power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human heart, is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position. The necessity of reciprocal checks in the exercise of political power, by dividing and distributing it into different depositaries, and constituting each the guardian of the public weal against invasions by the others, has been evinced by experiments ancient and modern; some of them in our country and under our own eyes. To preserve them must be as necessary as to institute them” (Washington’s Farewell Address, italics author).
Sadly, over the last 60 years, the Democratic Party has sought to gain and consolidate power whenever and wherever it could. No matter which branch they control, the Democratic Party seeks to Conquer and Dominate the branches they do not. The more Left the Democratic party moves, the more intense, strident, and irrational their attacks become.
Two recent examples are the now debunked Russia Collusion Hoax cooked up and promoted for seven years (2016-2023) to stage a coup to bring down the opposition party President and their ongoing call to “pack the Supreme Court” to use the Supreme Court’s power to bludgeon their agenda into law and to negate the opposition’s work. Both attempts reveal the Leftist Democratic party’s stunning, brazen attempts to seize power at any cost and establish total dominance over the United States citizenry. Their drive is solely for the Democratic party’s politicians and their sycophants’ benefit, even though it brings untold harm to the nation.
The Democratic party’s drive to gain and hold Congress is intended to gain and entrench their power via laws and regulations in defiance of the executive and judicial branches. The Democratic party’s current hold on the Presidency and Administration has repeatedly been used to rule by executive order to end-run around the legislative and judicial branches. And the Democratic party’s maneuvering to alter the number of sitting SCOTUS justices is to preserve and enforce their power by overriding the legislative or executive branches.
As our Founders pointed out, for our government to function as they intended, we must work not on a governmental level but on a personal level. When individuals sour spiritually, society becomes corrupt, and the government becomes corrupt as corrupt citizens vote for those like themselves. We need leaders and government workers who seek to care for and protect all citizens rather than use government to their own Conquer and Dominate ends.
Sadly, I’ve observed terrible societal corruption erupt and spread since the 1960s. This isn’t to say there weren’t other times in U.S. history when moral decay occurred. But in the last sixty years, we’ve not only seen individual and societal rot on par with the worst empires and kingdoms before they fell into the dustbin of history, but our three branches of government have also embraced and enshrined our corruption into law.
There are three primary sins God says defiles the land – Idolatry (Ezekiel 36:18), Immorality (sexual, Leviticus 18:6-20, 22-30), and Innocent bloodshed (Leviticus 18:21; Numbers 35:33). All byproducts of our Conquer and Dominate nature. Through our ungodly and corrupted government, many government officials of all parties have embraced those three sins and ensconced in law, even at the Supreme Court level.
So what should we expect when our governmental leaders turn their backs on God, and our citizenry keeps them in office, granting them authority and power to exercise their corrupt wills? A Conquer and Dominate government that seeks to neglect and harm its people.
It’s all too evident today how ungodly officials have exploited citizens for the State’s benefit and denied protections, exposing many to the intrusion by the State and opportunistic fellow citizens seeking to Conquer and Dominate all. Sadly, too many federal, state, and local governments have little desire to care for or protect all citizens, just those who align with the ruling authority’s agenda.
Is government evil? No, not unless the people who govern are evil. Is government necessary? Yes, because people are inherently evil and need a radical inward transformation by the Holy Spirit to act morally good. Until that happens to everyone, godly governmental safeguards must be put in place to protect people from those with an unrestrained drive to Conquer and Dominate.
Whatever form a government takes – direct democracy, representative democracy, monarchy, socialist, communist, oligarchy, or autocracy, to name a few – it’s all theme and variations on “the body of persons that constitutes the governing authority of a political unit or organization” that exercises “continuous sovereign authority over” others. Yup, governments gonna govern.
In the next part, I’ll compare a Subdue and Rule government with a Conquer and Dominate government.
Declaration of Independence, archives.gov/founding-docs/declaration-transcript
Barnett, Gary D., Government and Rule: The Bane of Humanity, May 12, 2023, garydbarnett.com/government-and-rule-the-bane-of-humanity
Marcuse, Herbert, One-Dimensional Man: Studies in the Ideology of Advanced Industrial Society
Three Branches of Government, history.com/topics/us-government-and-politics/three-branches-of-government
John Adams, A Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America
Prager, Dennis, Left And Right Differences: How Do We Make Society Better? assets.ctfassets.net/qnesrjodfi80/1vy1DKyAUISUKyS2Cwo8U0/cf1154b15f0a7789fe3458a5b43bcc5c/prager-how_do_we_make_society_better-transcript.pdf
Washington’s Farewell Address, presidency.ucsb.edu/documents/farewell-address
What were the most important ideas of the Enlightenment? britannica.com/event/Enlightenment-European-history
13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Abolition of Slavery (1865), archives.gov/milestone-documents/13th-amendment
Pastor Jay Christianson
The Truth Barista, Frothy Thoughts