Scott Anderson: Doug, in some of the things that I’ve read, that you’ve written online and in your books, you lay out some helpful roles — I don’t think you mean them to be binding but they are descriptive and I think helpful in helping us to understand what it means to be a man. And, I’d like you just to maybe comment on just a few of these. Talk about a man being a lord, a husbandmen, a savior, a sage and a glory-bearer. Unpack that a little bit for us.
Doug Wilson: I write on that in Future Men and I’m taking that breakdown from a gentleman named Bill Mowser who developed this in depth and has got some good materials on this, where he’s pursuing that. But, a lord, lords of the earth, think of men as built to explore. When God created Adam and gave him Eve and said, “Multiply,” He had the exploration of continents in mind. There were mountain ranges and places and seas to cross. There was a lot of exploration there that God expected men to go check out and in order for God to expect us to go explore those things, we have to be the kind of people who want to. So what impulse is it that stirs a man up to want to see what’s beyond the next mountain. So, lords of the earth is sort of the exploring motive. Discovery. And I’m talking geographically, but it also applies to scientific exploration, theological exploration, figuring things out.
Scott Anderson: So, a creation mandate, go-take-dominion kind of thing?
Doug Wilson: Yeah, in Proverbs it’s the glory of a king to search out a matter. God has built us for that. So figuring it out, digging all the way down, that’s the lords of the earth. But then, once you’ve discovered this continent, you need to cultivate it. You need to–you can’t just be a free-booting pirate moving from–that’s got no civilizational building power, you can’t build civilizations unless someone finds the territory to build it in. But, you can’t build it unless the husbandmen, the ranchers, the farmers come in and settle and tend and cultivate. So there’s a deep impulse that men have to cultivate.
There’s also the third thing: the savior impulse, the deliverer impulse. Which you can see in little boys. Boys want very much to save their sister. They want to save the damsel. There’s a reason why St. George and the dragon stories resonate. They resonate for a reason. And I would say there’s something important about this, because this, the necessity to be a savior predated the Fall, just like work predated the Fall, the husbandman thing that God wanted us to do — God told Adam to tend the garden. Well, God also by His providence told Adam to defend the Garden and defend his wife, because you had a world with no sin, you had an unfallen world, a perfect world, perfect marriage, perfect everything and yet in that Garden there was a serpent. There was a dragon. So, Adam needed to be a savior. And, he needed to step in, because God had told him not to eat of the fruit. Eve wasn’t created when that prohibition was given, so Adam needed to intervene somehow, he need to drive the serpent off. He needed to fight the serpent so the savior impulse predated the Fall. And, of course, after the Fall, it takes a different, there’s a different complexion to it, given the reality of sin, just as husbandry takes a different complexion after the Fall. But, Adam was to tend the ground before there were weeds and Adam was to tend the ground after there were weeds. Adam was to explore the world before there was sin and Adam was to explore the world after there was sin.
Then, the fourth thing you mentioned was a sage. And this echoes something else we talked about where in Colossians Paul wants every man presented perfect in Christ. Well, our goal is to grow up to maturity in Christ. And I think you can see that clearly in the Garden of Eden prior to the Fall. I don’t think it–had Adam not fallen, I don’t think we’d be able to go visit him in Mesopotamia today and have him still there hoeing a bean patch, standing around living in his little hut. No. He would have — it’s the glory of kings to search out a matter and he would have done so. Sin interferes with that, disrupts it, but doesn’t obliterate it.
And, then, lastly, the Bible is very explicit that men are the glory and image of God. A woman is the glory of man and man is the image and glory of God. And, so man is intended to be a glory bearer. He is, when he seeks glory, a recent book, very helpful book, by Dave Harvey, Rescuing Ambition, is a great book for this. We are glory chasers. And, that’s easily perverted, but it’s a godly and a good impulse, God has built us that way. We’re supposed to reflect God’s glory.
As you think about manhood, what stands out to you? I hope this video encourages you.