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A conversation with Richard Pratt

BENYOLA: In Designed for Dignity, you extensively discuss God’s twofold purpose for His human creation: multiplication and dominion. I enjoyed that book, by the way. It’s basically a systematic presentation of Covenant theology even though it’s not labeled that way. How do we, in our daily lives and in our most sacred moments of service, keep in view our God-ordained purposes, yet also keep God at the center of our worship and our theology?

PRATT: I think one of the most amazing things, to me, about Christians, even well-taught Christians today, is that if you ask them “What do you do?” What would they say?

BENYOLA: “I have dominion over the earth! Are you involved with that?”

PRATT: That’s the last thing in the world that would come to my mind! You know, it would be very rare, to say the least, to find someone, when asked, “What do you do?” to give the answer, “Well, I’m fruitful, I multiply, I fill the earth and subdue it. How’s that going for you?”

BENYOLA: Haha! That’s great.

PRATT: That’s the last thing that comes to mind for most Christians. We would say anything other than that. And so I’m never surprised to find that Evangelical Christians also have a very difficult time believing that they’re fulfilling the purpose that God has given them on this earth. Everyone’s searching for what they’re supposed to do with their lives, and this search is often very intense and troubling, even debilitating.

I’m not suggesting that simply quoting the Bible will fix that, but I am suggesting this: When the instructions of the One who made us, the very first thing He said to us — “Be fruitful, multiply, build the earth, subdue it, have dominion” — is the last thing that comes to mind, it’s no wonder we wander around asking, “What’s my purpose? What’s the goal of my life?” It’s just amazing to me how many Christians struggle with that, and they don’t even have the most fundamental orientation that the Bible gives them.

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