H  O  M  E          
Theological, Doctrinal, and Spiritual Musing - and whatever other else is on my mind when I notice that I haven't posted in a while.
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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
- Marc Heinrich

His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
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[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
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There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
- Carla Rolfe
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Monday, July 17, 2017
Be Fruitful and Multiply - Part I
On the fifth day (c.f. Genesis 1:22) of creation God said to the newly created birds of the air and all that newly swarmed in the seas, to be fruitful and multiply.  There was at least a male and female of every type and species of flying creature, and this text tells us that it was God's intention for all of these to produce offspring of their own kind and fill their respective places upon the earth.

We don't look back at Genesis 1:22 very often, because no one cares that God blessed the birds and fish in saying, "Be fruitful and multiply".  I use the word bless there because that is the word the scriptures use ("God blessed them [i.e. birds/fish], saying, 'be fruitful and multiply...'").

This was a blessing, and not a command in that sense. God established that natural law by and through which these these creatures were blessed - they would be fruitful and they would multiply.  In being fruitful and multiplying, they were not trying be fruitful or multiply in obedience to a command - they were behaving according to the nature they had been blessed to receive from God.

I mention that because a mere 6 verses (and one day) later, comes the verse that is typically pulled up whenever birth control or family planning is discussed amongst Christians.  In that verse, God likewise blesses Adam and Eve with the same blessing, "Be fruitful and multiply..."

I am led by the text to conclude that whatever we should expect from the birds and fish with regards to this blessing, we should likewise expect from mankind - no less, and certainly no more.  Putting it another way, I do not think this blessing is so like a command that it requires our volitional acquiescence - I think of it as the created order.  We are able to beget children after our own kind and all things being equal, we end up doing that quite naturally, and so we have filled the earth - those who have heard of this blessing, and again those who have not.

If this is a command to be obeyed by all, then it is the duty of every person (and especially of Christians) to do whatever it takes to have as many children as humanly possible.  Since it is sinful to have any kind of sex outside of marriage, and God would never command us to do anything that requires sinful behavior - that becomes a command for every one of us to marry, and produce children - as many children as we are able - in our marriage.

That's what you do with one of God's commands - you follow it fully, with your whole heart, and you don't give up on doing what God has commanded you because it is tiring or difficult for you.  You don't do it only if circumstances seem favorable for it - you do it even if you are convinced that all your children than you have will die in childbirth - because God commanded you to do that, and didn't give you a pass because it seems difficult to you or pointless.

But if this passage means that, then someone like the Apostle Paul - or even Jesus, would be a sinner, since neither of these felt compelled by this "command" to pursue the life necessary to keep it.  People who treat Jesus special when it comes to commands, might excuse our Lord because His peculiar status as the Son of God must somehow excuse Him from such expectations - but surely Paul should have been working overtime to get himself a wife, so he could start being fruitful and multiplying as the command stood.

But that isn't what Paul did - in fact he counseled people that it was better to serve the Lord as a single person (rather than a married one) because in remaining free from the responsibilities of marriage, you were more available for the work of ministry.  Paul would have been encouraging people to sin.

I conclude therefore that the text of Genesis 1:28 is not a command in that sense, but the blessing it is laid out as.  It is a blessing that we are able by God's decree to be fruitful and multiply.  "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..." - Psalm 127:4-5a [ESV].  Children are indeed a blessing, and the man who fills his house with children is surely blessed above the man who selfishly (or otherwise) fills his house with treasures that will perish when this life ends.

My next post (Part II) is going to address the consequences of conception.

Part II | Part III | Part IV
posted by Daniel @ 7:39 AM  
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