“This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.” (Laurence Fishburne as Morpheus, The Matrix, 1999)
“To be red-pilled means to recognise (sic) falsehood when one sees it. A red-pilled individual can discern worldviews and elements within those worldviews.” (Source)
In the futuristic world of The Matrix (1999), the main character, Neo, is confronted by Morpheus, the leader of a band of rebels who see the world as it really is and not what “others” declared it to be. Those “others” are an army of robots who have conquered the earth and subjugated humanity. The robots rule the earth utilizing human beings’ bodies as their energy source. Humans are born, raised, and sustained in countless self-contained, sealed pods on towers in vast bioelectric energy farms. They are kept in a state of virtual reality, thinking they know the “real world” when it is just a virtual-reality simulation.
If Neo takes the red pill Morpheus offers him, he’ll “awaken” and become detached (figuratively and literally) from what he thought was reality into actual reality. If Neo takes the blue pill, he remains mentally embedded in the robot-created virtual world without ever knowing the truth.
The difficulty is that there is no turning back once he makes the “red pill” choice, and he’s in for a mind-blowing adventure! Neo will see the world as it is and that it is far different than he ever imagined. The essence of his discovery would soon be “Who really runs the world?” With the blue pill, Neo would continue believing it is humanity. With the red pill, Neo will see it is the robotic overlords who rule and grasp humanity’s actual place in the world.
For the foreseeable future, I’ll depart from my regular approach to the Frothy Thoughts Blog. I’m going to share my discoveries about our God-given Subdue and Rule Mandate from Genesis 1:28 rather than the variety of stand-alone articles I’ve done before. If you stay with me, what you’ll read will change how you see your world and every relationship you have. Guaranteed!
This insight will be your “red pill” adventure.
I’m going to reveal to you a stunning worldview within our commonly accepted worldview, a reality operating behind the reality most of us accept as “normal.” I’m going to reveal a key component of the Genesis 1:28 command to Adam and Eve to “subdue and rule the earth” that most Bible scholars and scripture students miss.
I want to give you a neo-understanding of the world in which we live, a world created by God for Him and His beloved children, who are infused with a profound and magnificent purpose and take us back to the root of the conflict between human beings and humanity with God.
I first became aware of this concept when I attended a Christian conference sometime around 1999 in Saint Paul, MN. (Amazingly, it was around the release date of The Matrix.) One of the speakers was Rev. David Cartledge, who at the time was the President of Southern Cross College of the Assemblies of God in Sydney, Australia. I cannot remember his main topic, but during his address, he spoke about the “Subdue and Rule Mandate” found in Genesis 1:28.
He pointed out an overlooked aspect of God’s command to Adam and Eve to “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth” (Gen. 1:28). Rev. Cartledge gave a brief exegesis of the two Hebrew words for “subdue” and “rule” and how both are functions of our God-given assignment to exercise dominion over the earth and the creatures that live on it.
By this command, God called Adam and Eve to be the delegated stewards of His creation to bring God’s newly formed earth under control and then manage it.
Rev. Cartledge pointed out that the Subdue and Rule Mandate, God’s command to exercise dominion, was meant to be exercised by human beings over creation and not by human beings over other human beings. Dominion over humanity belongs to God alone as Sovereign of His domain, and humanity’s dominion applies only to the earth and its creatures. Our task was to be carried out in a cooperative and mutually beneficial way, “shoulder to shoulder,” so to speak.
However, after the Fall, human beings began to exert the subdue and rule dominion over one another and, in an ironic attempt, over God Himself, with a will of self-determination. The Subdue and Rule Mandate remained, but its focus was severely altered and began to shape the arc of biblical history.
Human beings were never created to exercise dominion over other human beings. This revelation captivated me, and I’ve been mulling over this idea repeatedly for the past two decades.
I had been “red-pilled.”
I started to see the world around me in a whole new light. I began to see a fundamental principle explaining humanity’s rocky relationship with God and every person’s problems with interpersonal relationships.
When separated from God’s dominion over us, I saw how this built-in drive had driven all human beings into a continual vortex of conflicts, from simple arguments to world-threatening wars and genocides.
I started to read the Bible, watch the news, observe and analyze society, evaluate “church life,” and assess relationships around me with whole new eyes.
So, I set out to research what Bible scholars and theologians had to say about the Subdue and Rule Mandate to see if they had noticed this and what they had to say.
So far, I’ve discovered this key component that human beings were never created to exercise dominion over other human beings seems to have been overlooked or ignored. And yet, this misdirected internal drive to control everything around us has caused (and continues to cause) people to turn this drive upon God and themselves, resulting in the mess we have today.
The more I researched and pondered this missed piece of information, the more I saw how utterly pervasive and foundational the Subdue and Rule Mandate with its dominion drive is.
This “red-pill” revelation made me realize that the “rabbit hole” was much deeper than I had initially thought.
Yes, theologians commonly recognize the Subdue and Rule Mandate, but that’s where the mess begins. Most theologians, pastors, teachers, and students focus on our God-given drive to subdue and rule the world, but then get into the theological weeds about what it means to “subdue and rule the earth.” Is it a command to be stewards of the earth or a command to shape human culture and institutions around us, or both? What happens when people take those two emphases to extremes? Hang in there. We’ll talk about all that, too. Believe me, it’ll explain a lot about the craziness we see today!
My goal is to reveal the implied part of the Subdue and Rule Mandate – that it was never intended to be exercised over other people – and how it creates in us a drive to dominate everything in our personal world.
This overlooked part of the Subdue and Rule Mandate is eye-opening to the Bible and fundamental to understanding aspects of God’s redemptive purpose and plan.
Understanding the Subdue and Rule Mandate will explain:
· Our origins, for Whom and Why we are created.
· What happened when humanity Fell and how the effects of sin shifted and warped our drive for dominion.
· How the Subdue and Rule Mandate weaves through the whole Biblical record.
· Why God uses covenants and why the New Covenant is the epitome of all covenants.
· What Jesus taught about our God-given Subdue and Rule dominion drive and why He butted heads with the authorities of His day.
· What the Apostolic authors taught about it.
· How the Subdue and Rule Mandate plays into the End Times prophecies.
· And how it affects us today and how to make our relationships better with God, marriage, family, business, politics, congregational life, and everything!
Are you ready for your red pill?
Pastor Jay Christianson
The Truth Barista, Frothy Thoughts