Subdue and Rule!



Competent to Counsel by Jay E. Adams


When God created man he gave him a commission to ‘subdue’ the world and ‘have dominion’ over it (Genesis 1:28). Man alone was created in the image of God. One aspect of that image, as the passage shows, was authority and rule. Man was to reflect God’s rule by a kingly rule over the earth. Of course, man’s was a derived dominion; God’s is natural to him as the Creator of all things. When Adam sinned, man lost that dominion, and to this day he has not fully regained it…”

“Sin brought the reversal of man’s rule over the earth, so that the earth gained dominion over man. The earth began to fight back; it brought forth thorns. Man’s task no longer was to trim and dress the garden, but now, in the sweat of his face, he found it necessary to toil against the earth in order to eke out an existence. Whenever man fails to do so, the impact of the reversal becomes evident. Naturally enough, the problem in [biblical] counseling is that contrary to God’s mandate, clients have allowed the environment to control them (‘Naturally enough,’ because of the sinful orientation of the ‘natural man.”–cf. 1 Corinthians 2). The client who whines, ‘I can’t; I’m helpless’ is simply submitting to the rule of sin in a warped universe set against him. No Christian has a right to act that way. The Christian’s task is to ‘subdue.’ God’s command is till in force; the Christian is called to master his environment. By God’s grace he can. In this way he may once again reflect the image of God by subduing and ruling the world about him (emphasis added). The picture of a man crippled by and in subjection to his environment, cowering before it, crying out that he is helpless under its pressure is, of course, a pitiful distortion of the picture of God’s all-powerful rule. This distortion of God’s image is so gross that it vitiates the very concept of the rule of God. Christians, whose basic orientation has been reversed so that they now seek to glorify God, must learn to take the initiative, subdue and rule. To do nothing is to do something. To fail to bring biblical solutions to bear upon problems is to allow sinful conditions to continue. To accept them and adapt to them is contrary to God’s mandate. The concept of adaptation to sin is non-biblical (emphasis added).” p. 128-129


About Elizabeth

I am a sinner, saved by grace striving to increase in the knowledge of my Savior and His precious Word each day. The reader should know that there are a few presuppositions with which I approach this blog: 1) I believe in the biblical gospel, which basically purports that all mankind is born under the curse of sin (due to the sin of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden). Therefore, man is separated from God and can have no relationship with God because He is perfectly holy, not even able to look upon sin. Unfortunately, God is also perfectly just and must not only separate Himself from sin, but must also punish it. In order to reconcile man to Himself, God, the Father, sent God, the Son, down to earth to live as a man and take our sins upon Himself on the cross. While on the cross, God, the Son, bore the full weight of the wrath of God, the Father, against our sins in order that we who believe in Him might be set free from the curse of our sin. God, the Son, Jesus Christ, died as a propitiation for our sin in order to appease God, the Father's, holy and just character, redeem us from sin, and reconcile those who believe in this gospel to God, the Father. 2) I am primarily writing to those who already believe in this biblical gospel. In other words, this blog is not focused on evangelizing the lost, but edifying believers. 3) I believe that the Christian Bible is the very word of God. Therefore, it is completely inerrant, infallible, sufficient, and authoritative in the life of a believer.
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2 Responses to Subdue and Rule!

  1. Randy says:


    Good post! Jay Adams’ book was really a landmark publication in the counseling world and for good reason…it reaffirmed very solidly the sufficiency of Scripture. That was a sorely needed message when the book came out, and it’s still a message that needs to be proclaimed with boldness.

    Thanks for your good work on the blog!


  2. Elizabeth says:


    I was so encouraged when I came across this book at the Joshua Institute, where Geoff & I stayed last week. I had read this book a couple of years ago, but when I picked it up last week, I immediately became immersed in the content all over again 🙂 .

    However, this particular passage stuck with me throughout the rest of the week, as we encountered situations with some of our campers. We seemed to be continually confronted with kids, who professed Christ but were allowing sinful situations in their lives to overtake their relationship with their Lord. The biblical truths contained in this passage (as well as others) were used to help us cut through the superficial situations & circumstances in their lives and get right to the heart-issues. It was a great blessing to us, so am glad to see it was a blessing to you as well!

    Thanks for the comment!


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