It is interesting to note that fruitfulness comes before multiplication, and contrary to what many people believe, they are different. I do not think I would be far off the mark if I say that we can only multiply if we have borne fruit. The seed is carried in the fruit. Animals and insects are attracted to a tree by its fruit. When they eat the fruit, they carry the seed away from the tree and deposit it on fresh ground. If the ground is fertile, the seed eventually grows into a fruit bearing tree, just like the one the seed originally came from. Through this means, a single tree can become a forest over many years. But how do we multiply as humans? The natural way is to increasing numerically by giving birth thereby increasing the size of our family.
Though as human beings, the only way to multiply is through childbirth. As believers however, a second avenue is through evangelism. By mediating the conversion of a non-believer into a believer, we increase our numbers. Imagine for a moment if every Christian evangelizes and disciples one individual each year. The church would double in size every year. Now imagine if we grew at the rate the early church grew (Acts 2:38-41). The outcome is totally mind blowing.
Proverbs 11:30 explains the important link between fruitfulness and multiplication: The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise. By bearing fruit, we become what God made us to be and are spared the blade of the axe (Luke 3:9). A fruitful Christian will be an evangelizing Christian and an evangelizing one is wise. Why is the soul winner considered wise? Ezekiel 3:18 states that if God has pronounced judgment upon the wicked and we do not warn him and he dies in his sin, then his blood will be required at our hands. If however, we warn him and he heeds not and dies in his sin, he is lost, but our hands (and conscience) are clean.
At the very beginning, God made only individuals in His image and likeness. They were directed to multiply and fill the earth with more of their kind. This growth in number is essential to achieving God’s purpose in creating us: the restoration of the earth and its inhabitants.
The perfect man, Jesus, came and gathered to Himself twelve trusted disciples whom He taught continuously for three years. These twelve, joined by other disciples, then went all over the known world, teaching that which they had learned and increased so much in numbers that being Christian became the norm in the Roman Empire. For a short time afterwards, righteousness increased and the knowledge of God filled the nations.
To Replenish the Earth
This further explains the reason for multiplying; it is to fill the earth again. I will once again mention here that I do not think we are the first residents of the earth (see the article beginning). The previous occupants were evicted as described earlier in Genesis 1:1-2 (and 2 Peter 2:4) and the earth was therefore given to us. There is a lesson to be learned here: if the blessed do not appreciate what they have and rebel against God, they will be replaced. The unfaithful will lose even the little they appear to have (Luke 19:17-26).
By multiplying and replenishing the earth, we create a place of rest for our King and Maker. As we possess the land and subdue our environment, we possess it for God, and He rules through us.
Back to the beginning of Genesis.