Friday, June 22, 2012

Be Fruitful and Multiply

No friends, this is not a pregnancy announcement. This commandment has been something that has caused me angst for most of my adult life. The church typically takes the phrase-

"As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it." 
Genesis 9:7

and thinks something along these lines....

courtesy of
and so that was what I was taught. Until I start popping babies out, I can't completely fulfill this job. 

I would even go as far as to say that last August, a couple at our church was "scolding" us for not having kids yet. The man said to me, "Emily, why don't you want to serve God?" Which then I proceeded to get angry. If he only knew...I was and am serving God. I am making spiritual children. And my heart wrestles with the stereotypes of married women and their job in childrearing. I have seen great friends marry, have their babes and then disappear from the mission field. I believe that some women can do both. I hope to be one of them some day. 

A good friend recommended a book to me. It's called "Half the Church". It can be a little controversial. People say it's about equality between men and women in the church and women leading. So far I've gotten from it is that women serving and stepping out. I just finished a chapter addressing this topic. I want to share a little bit about what the author says. 

"If the command to be fruitful and multiply is only about reproduction, then it can apply only to a short season in a women's life--her window of childbearing years." (I started to sit up a little bit when I was reading...) 

She goes on to say, "Whatever we lost in Eden we find again in Jesus. Whatever God meant by "fruitful and multiply" and "rule and subdue," Jesus fulfills. As God's perfect image bearer, Jesus recaptures God's original vision for us by embodying true image-bearer living. And Jesus didn't do this in the pristine, sin-free garden our first parents inhabited, but in the fallen ruins of the world we occupy..." (I was left speechless at this point. Could have been the HUGE cockroach that I saw in the bathroom of the coffee shop I was in but she was on to something.) Jesus was neither married, nor woman but he did it.

Lastly she talks about the multiplying of God's Image: "We are God's image bearers. And while physical reproduction may suffice for fish and birds, for image bearers multiplication involves far more than simply populating the earth with more people. God calls us to multiply image bearers--a new humanity that embraces the God who made us and whose purpose is for his will to be done on earth as it is in heaven."

There it is folks. The command is for all believers: young and old, single and married, men and women. If we are not multiplying image bearers, we are not following this commandment. No matter what. Lot to chew on huh? 
For me it always goes back to the Great Commission... go and make DISCIPLES. that action.

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

This is a really good thought... thanks for sharing!