Be Fruitful and Multiply: A Universal Responsibility

new baby first picGod is Sovereign Over All Things

Like any other human reality, marriage, sex, and childbearing are under the Sovereign rule of God. It’s easy to forget this in our time, given the realities of contraceptive measures and, sadly, the  ever-reaching tentacles of the abortion industry in the US and abroad. Children are seen as a threat to the accomplishment of personal goals, a hindrance, a “punishment” (as one infamous person once characterized it).

A child will ruin your chances at creating your own destiny. That’s the message being rammed down our throats.

But is the message true?

Scripturally, men and women were created by God to be servants. God created Adam to “work the ground” and maintain it (Gen 2:15). He created Eve to assist in the tasks given to Adam (cf. Gen 2:18). God then gave Adam and Eve the following commands:

Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.
– Gen 1:28

In case you were wondering: By commanding our parents to be fruitful and multiply, God wasn’t commanding them to plant fruit trees and find the product of 2 and 2. He is commanding them to have sex and produce children, enough to fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over its sea, air, and land creatures.

These commands aren’t just for Adam and Eve, mind you. Rather, the commands are for all subsequent humans. Adam and Eve are real human persons, but they also stand in our place. Adam and Eve’s roles in the book of Genesis are demonstrative of the roles that all men and women have been created to play, as later didactic passages of Scripture make clear.

This is all to say: No, it isn’t the case that having children keeps one from fulfilling his destiny. In fact, it’s actually the other way around. To willfully not have children is to keep oneself from fulfilling one’s destiny.

[Incidentally, the fact that marriage and sexual reproduction are commanded by God presents an insurmountable problem for the Roman Catholic claims that Mary was simultaneously (a.) a perpetual virgin and (b.) absolutely free from any stain of original sin. For if Mary remained a virgin, then she sinned by not engaging in sexual intercourse with Joseph and bearing children as his helper/helpmeet. She could only remain sinless, therefore, by not remaining a virgin. And she could only remain a virgin by not remaining sinless.]

Children Are A Blessing

Among the many biblical beliefs that I mocked prior to my conversion, the claim that children are blessing was definitely present. I bought the lie that children stood in the way of truly being human, truly exercising one’s natural abilities in a way that best serves oneself and the world.

Yet what does the Scripture say?

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
-Ps 127:3-5

Either these words are true, or they are not true. There is no third option. God himself states that children are a blessing from him, neither a burden nor a punishment nor a curse. A blessing.

For the Old Testament saints, the deliverance of a child and the deliverance of God’s people from slavery to sin, death, and the devil go hand in hand. Hence, the blessing is not merely physical, emotional, psychological, and societal. The blessing is also spiritual.

It was through the deliverance of a child from the womb that God took on human flesh to deliver us from sin. And the birth of every child should serve as a reminder of this fact. God himself became the greatest blessing, the greatest heritage, and the one through whom all who believe shall not be put to shame.

The Takeaway

Christ Jesus was the child who fulfilled Psalm 127:3-5 fully. However, Christians now can understand how much of a blessing our own children are, as they serve to remind us of what God did for us.

Not only this, but listen to the words of our Lord in the great commission.

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit
-Matt 28:19

As Adam and Eve were called to produce children, cultivate the earth, and take dominion over the creatures of the earth, so Christians are called to be fruitful in works of righteousness, preaching the Gospel and making disciples (i.e. multiplying). We are to do this all over the world, destroying every argument and high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of Christ.

Our natural calling as men and women to be fruitful and multiply, then, serves as an analogy, a reminder, of our spiritual calling as children of God who have been born not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible seed, viz. the Word of God.

Some Concluding Remarks

 Given the relationship physical and spiritual fruitfulness and multiplication bear to one another, it is not surprising that the world also tells Christians to tread lightly when preaching the Gospel. The world states that the preaching of the Gospel is not a blessing but a burden. We are told that being a Christian, i.e. living in accordance with God’s commands and preaching the Gospel, hinders us from becoming truly human, or living truly meaningful lives.

But is this so?

Not at all! Adam was a worker in a literal garden. Christians are all workers in the garden of God, i.e. his Church. Adam was commanded to have children. Christians are commanded to have disciples. Adam was told to fill the earth with his seed. Christians are commanded to make disciples all over the world.

We are children of Adam, born to procreate and take care of God’s creation. However, we are also children of God born-again to preach the Gospel and cultivate righteousness and holiness in ourselves and our brethren.

Soli Deo Gloria

-h.

[Btw, I’m having another baby. ;) ]

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5 thoughts on “Be Fruitful and Multiply: A Universal Responsibility

  1. Jamie Carter says:

    There are seven billion people living in the world. Factor in everyone who has ever died – 107 billion. There are fifteen dead people for each and every living one. I think humanity has BF&M covered. God gave that commandment twice – once to Adam and Eve, one again to Noah and his family. In both instances, when the total of the world population was under a dozen. Look, if you want to have a kid (congrats, btw) – just have a kid. Don’t claim that you’re fulfilling some sacred duty – it makes people like my cousin – whose first child’s life lasted a total of eleven hours due to a fatal birth defect – seem unloved by God.

    Like

    • Hiram says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Jamie.

      My intention was only to address the secular perspective that sees children as a blockade to becoming fully human. Because of this, I followed what Scripture teaches: Child-bearing is a sacred duty.

      It isn’t my opinion. It’s the teaching of Scripture. God’s words to Adam and Eve are imperatives: “Be fruitful,” “Multiply,” “Fill the earth,” “Subdue it.” These are commands given to all of us. They are a universal duty we all have in common.

      On a different note, though, the length of the child’s life does not make one’s role as a parent any more or less important. I think you are misunderstanding what I mean. Because of the fall, some married people cannot have children. Because of the fall, some children are stillborn, terminally ill, or die shortly after being born.

      This doesn’t mean that they are somehow less than those of us who can have many children or even one child who is healthy. These people fall under a different category than the selfish and murderous in contemporary society who kill babies in order to achieve some other goal they place above that which God clearly defines for them in Scripture.

      There’s a huge difference.

      But can those who cannot “be fruitful and multiply” physically still be fruitful and multiply in some other way? Yes. They can adopt children. They can teach children. Most importantly, they can preach the Gospel to children in the hopes of seeing them be converted and themselves go into the world and make more disciples of Christ.

      At some point, I may add to this very narrowly focused post, and deal with some of the issues you mention.

      -h.

      Like

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