The first part of God’s three-fold command at creation is to “Be fruitful and multiply.” The command in full, says , “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it.” As we have said, is a three-part command, with multiplication being the first part, and, in my opinion, the most important part, though all three are tied together.
Multiplication is probably the theme of Genesis 1 as a whole. All living things are commanded to multiply upon their creation. The plants were created for the express purpose of reproducing. The plants were created bearing seeds and fruit with seeds in them, to reproduce after their kind. Likewise the fish, the birds of the air, and all the animals that walk on the surface of the earth were commanded to multiply.
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It should not be a surprise, then, that the first people were also given this command.
God’s creation is a life-giving creation. If new life is not being created, God would not be satisfied with his creation. In God’s kingdom, either there is life-multiplying life, or else it isn’t God’s kingdom. As you study the Bible and the sayings of Jesus it becomes obvious that the entire purpose of God’s kingdom is to advance, to spread, and to multiply. Jesus tells us he came so that we would have life, abundant life. “Abundant means “Abounding, which means healthy, growing, and at its core, it means multiplying. If you are extremely healthy and fit, but unable to multiply, then you are not extremely healthy and fit. Jesus says that trees which produce no fruit are unfit, and will be burned. He came so that we would have life, so that our lives would produce more lives. There are no commands in scripture to stop, only commands to advance.
Interestingly, one of the few contributions that Darwinian evolution has in common with the understanding of Genesis is the mutually high regard for reproduction and multiplication. The theory of Darwinian evolution is drastically flawed from a scientific perspective, and is also mostly contrary to scripture. However, the entire dogma of evolution is that species that reproduce the most are the “fittest,” and those which are unable to reproduce as quickly will die off. The phrase “survival of the fittest” is mostly used by Darwinists, but it is also the first command of God, to multiply. I believe multiplication and reproduction are the primary laws of the world that God made, so obvious and simple that even Darwinists and atheists can understand it.
Why does God put such importance on multiplication? I believe he wants us to multiply because we are created in his image, and he himself is a life-giving, live-loving God. Since we are in his image, and since his image is good, then we should desire his image to increase. It could be narrowed to a simple analogy of chocolate. Ask a little kid if they like chocolate. They will say yes. Now ask them if they would prefer one piece of chocolate, or chocolate that continually multiplies? It is very simple. If you love it, you want more of it. God is life, God is love, God loves life, therefore God wants more life, and any form of life that loves what God loves, must also want more of it.
God is good. God is desirable, God is loving, merciful, just, and all-wise. Do you want his image confined to one single place at a time, or multiplied everywhere? If you love God, you love his image, and you love his agenda, and you want more of it. The command to multiply God’s image is a very straightforward and simple command that is instinctively obvious and hardwired into us from the beginning.
In fact, not only is multiplication of God’s image the first command God gives, but it is also the last command Jesus gave on earth. Just before he ascended into heaven, he gathered his disciples to himself, saying “All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me, therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them and teaching them to do and obey all that I have commanded you,” Matthew 28:19.
Do you see what Jesus is doing there? He starts off by reminding us of his power and the creation story, by saying “all authority in heaven and earth is mine.” That is an obvious reference to Genesis 1:1, when it says “God created the heavens and the earth.” Jesus is calling the disciples to remember the creation story. Now, Jesus is condensing the creation story down to the single most important command of the story, the command to multiply and fill the earth.
But now, in the New Testament time, the earth is already multiplied and filled with people in the image of God, but that image is corrupted by sin and death. Death is antithetical to God, which is why he sent Jesus to overcome it. So instead of simply telling the disciples to multiply more, he now tells them to multiply disciples. Go back and make new creations out of these corrupted, sinful images of God. Go back and re-claim them as God’s image, making disciples out of them, new creations who will overcome death.
But of course the command is not simply to convert and overcome death. No, God’s kingdom is always expanding. The command is to multiply disciples. To multiply people who in turn multiply more people, who in turn are multiplying again. We are called to multiply new life into God’s eternal image.
When a person is saved by the blood of Jesus, they are enabled to become the true image of God that he originally designed us to be at creation, before sin. Sin has spread to everyone, and death has spread through sin. Death is the opposite of life, it is the opposite of fruitfulness and the opposite of multiplication. Jesus came so that we could have life, and so that we would multiply that life.
Therefore the first commandment, to multiply, is also the last commandment. Jesus came to earth in order to save the image of God from death. Yes, of course there is biological reproduction, which is part of God’s kingdom as well, but there is also spiritual multiplication. God’s command in Genesis was about physical multiplication of his image over the face of the earth. Jesus’s command is about spiritual multiplication to reclaim his image over the face of the earth.
This is why I contend that the first command is the most important command of God in the entire Bible. It is so important that he sent his son to die in order to ensure it was fulfilled. God wants life so much he was willing to die in order to give life.
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