God created people to be fruitful and multiply.
Genesis 1:28 of the text starts with these key words: “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it’.” This text should not be interpreted that every person must get married and must have children in order to fulfill God’s purpose. If this were the case then neither Jesus nor the apostle Paul would have. But it does mean that children are to be viewed as blessings from God. Our children are both one of the greatest blessings and biggest responsibilities God entrusts to us. We should invest in our children and take the time and effort to see each child come to know Christ personally.
But I believe that there is also a spiritual application of this verse. If the assumption is that it is men and women created in the image and likeness of God who are being fruitful and multiplying, then the result is children also created in the image of God. The natural effect of this transference of the image of God is that we all must be involved in the business of subduing the earth, which also means we must all be in the business of evangelism.
The phrase “fill the earth and subdue it” means that we’ve also got to subdue the ruler of the earth, Satan, by rescuing men and women from his domain of darkness and seeing them brought into the light that is Jesus Christ. This responsibility is told in a great song in our SASB #832:
We are witnesses for Jesus
In the haunts of sin and shame,
In the underworld of sorrow
Where men seldom hear his name;
For to bind the brokenhearted
And their liberty proclaim,
We are witnesses for Jesus
In the haunts of sin and shame.
God created man and woman in His image to be fruitful and multiply, and the end result is that they would “fill and subdue” the world.
I want to highlight three lessons from this text:
First, when God created man and woman, it was “very good.” His creation was perfect. Have you ever felt you had limited value? That your life really stinks? I want you to hear these words: God created mankind in His image, which means God created YOU in His image, and then He declared YOU very good!
Second, it is in living out the image in which we are created that we truly glorify God. Does my life bring honor to God? If I were to recall all of my words, my thoughts, my actions of this past week, would it properly reflect the image of God back to Him, or to the world around me?
Third, people cannot fill and subdue the earth unless they live daily under the lordship of Jesus Christ. Do you want to impact your world for Christ? Do you reflect His character at work, or at school, or at home? I’ve got good news for you! You can, but only if you fully submit to Him first.
I want to go to prayer this morning with this thought. Ephesians 4:24 calls us to “put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” The NASB says it this way, “put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”
Are you feeling as though the image has tarnished over the years? The Word tells us that we can “put on the new self…in the likeness of God”
Adapted from “FINDING LIFE…from Eden to Gethsemane”
Lent series by Major Randall Polsley