Cultural mandate

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Gott erschafft den Weltkreis by Rudolf von Ems

The cultural mandate is the divine injunction found in Genesis 1:28, in which God, after having created the world and all in it, ascribes to humankind the tasks of filling, subduing, and ruling over the earth.[1][2] The cultural mandate includes the sentence "Be fruitful and multiply".

The cultural mandate is given to Adam and Eve.[2] In the Christian interpretation, adherents of Christianity should actively work to fulfill the mandate.[2]

The cultural mandate is most elaborately developed in the West by Neo-Calvinism, which explores the implications for modern, pluralistic society, of this Calvinistic assertion. Although this concept is fundamental to theonomy ((the rule of) the law of God), the Theonomy movement is a distinct and minority branch of this Christian approach to the structures of society and moral philosophy. Theonomy is distinctive, for example, in that while it affirms common grace,[3] it denies that biblical principles are compatible with pluralism.[4]

Biblical text[edit]

The text of Genesis 1:28 states:

Version Text
Original Hebrew ויברך אתם אלהים ויאמר להם אלהים פרו ורבו ומלאו את־הארץ וכבשה ורדו בדגת הים ובעוף השמים ובכל־חיה הרמשת על־הארץ
Wayəḇāreḵ ’ōṯām ’ĕlōhîm, wayyō’mer lāhem ’ĕlōhîm, "Pərû, ûrəḇû, ûmilə’û ’eṯ-hā’āreṣ, wəḵiḇəšuhā; ûrəḏû biḏəg̱aṯ hayyām, ûḇə‘ôp̱ haššāmayim, ûḇəḵāl-ḥayyāh hārōmeśeṯ ‘al-hā’āreṣ."
King James Bible And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
New International Version God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground."
New Living Translation Then God blessed them and said, "Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground."

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mare, H.W., 1973. The Cultural Mandate and the New Testament Gospel Imperative. Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, 16, pp. 139-47.
  2. ^ a b c Wagner, C. Peter (1998). Church Growth and the Whole Gospel: A Biblical Mandate. pp. 12–. ISBN 978-1-57910-201-2.
  3. ^ Gary North, Dominion & Common Grace: The Biblical Basis of Progress. Tyler, TX: Dominion Press., 1987
  4. ^ Smith, Gary Scott, ed. God and Politics: Four Views on the Reformation of Civil Government — Theonomy, Principled Pluralism, Christian America, National Confessionalism. Phillipsburg, N.J.: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1989, ISBN 0-87552-448-6