Be Fruitful and Multiply

by Robert Andrews

(This is Part Three of a series. Click here to read Part One.)

The rule of King Jesus is not extended by force or by political power. It is not a top-down rule over unwilling subjects. So, electing Christians to public office to dominate a rebellious populace is not the answer. Political leaders reflect the character of the citizens who elected them, so we invariably get what we are. The election of Bill Clinton in 1992 and again in 1996, recognized by the general populace as a liar and an adulterer, was a commentary on the moral state of our land. Only a few years earlier, such recognition torpedoed the presidential campaign of Gary Hart.

Political involvement is a necessary activity for God’s people, and we must learn to participate in the political process. But to place our confidence in it as the primary way to extend God’s kingdom is a serious misunderstanding of spiritual truth. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:3,4). Kingdom extension begins with a lost sinner encountering Jesus Christ and surrendering totally to Him as Lord, so that this new relationship affects every aspect of the sinner’s life. Old friends, family, business associates, and yes, even political cronies, all are touched by his new life so that one-by-one, they begin to fall to the rule of the King. Slowly, gradually, like leaven in a measure of meal (Matthew 13:33), the kingdom spreads, until the general population begins to desire righteous rule, and God’s people are ultimately victorious.

Fortress or field hospital?

Where is this victorious anticipation in the church today? All too often we have a fortress mentality, holed up behind the stained-glass windows of our churches, not only failing to penetrate society with the gospel, but even losing most of our young people to the war that rages all around us. We are not equipped to preserve our posterity for the kingdom of God.

One pastor told me recently that his denomination estimates that they lose 80% of their youth when they reach high school. We have tried to compete with the world for our young people by entertaining them with ping-pong and church socials, and we have lost the competition.

How can we compete with the world in the area of entertainment? Recreation and leisure have become opiates as we have lost our vision, deadening our sense of purpose, and allowing us to endure Monday through Friday. Often our job is nothing more than a means to make money to spend on the weekend, where we sedate ourselves again to endure another week. And so it goes, a vicious circle through life to retirement, working at a job to be able to enjoy leisure time, rather than having leisure time in order to be more productive in God’s calling to the family business. Retirement, to most people, is the ultimate drug trip, a Nirvana of endless days with nothing but leisure time. In God’s plan, the activity may change at 65, but man has a useful, productive role to play in the family business until the end of his life. This is good news, and the solution to feeling useless in old age.

We have failed to give our children the vision of joining the battle to extend God’s kingdom into every area of endeavor. We are “holding hands and sharing precious verses” in our churches to encourage ourselves, which is fine as a preparation for battle in our task of ruling over the earth. But, too often, we are afraid to join the battle. We are simply enjoying the benefits of a man-centered salvation without seeing its God-centered implications.

The world is filled with hurting people, and the church needs to present a gospel that addresses those hurts. The church must be a haven where we can be accepted and loved, a hospital where we can be healed of the wounds inflicted by the world, where God’s physical arms can hug us to Himself. But the church is not a rest home where we retire and wait for the “sweet bye and bye,” enjoying our salvation. The church is a hospital, yes, but a “field hospital,” where we experience the Lord’s healing touch, get rehabilitated, learn to live by faith, get the vision for the family business— ruling over God’s creation—and doing battle with God’s enemies.

To be fruitful and multiply

The third aspect of God’s purpose for man is to fill the earth with descendants, generations of men and women who have been captured by the vision of the task at hand.

Let me ask you, what would you do if you were Satan, and you knew that man had been given the commission and the power to progressively carry out, in time, Jesus Christ’s definitive victory over you on the cross, and thereby render you powerless? What if you knew that the more men and women who understood this truth, and acted upon it, the sooner the task would be completed?

We must understand that Satan has been defeated and bound by Jesus Christ (Matthew 12:29, Revelation 20:2), and that his power is severely limited. However, in the wisdom of God, for our training and His glory, God has left the final mop-up duty to us, His church. As a result, Satan fears those who carry the “name above every name” on their foreheads (Revelation 14:1). We must not be ignorant of Satan’s devices (2 Corinthians 2:11). Therefore, we must realize that his main weapon is deception—to trick the church into believing a lie or not believing the truth. I repeat, if you were Satan, what would you do?

You would deceive man into killing his own offspring! By promoting abortion, you would severely dilute man’s power over you by simply reducing his numbers. We don’t know how many demons are under Satan’s control, but we know that one-third of the angelic host followed him in rebellion against God. By deceit and trickery, this demonic force influences the course of history as it energizes those who either deliberately or ignorantly yield to Satan’s will. Every child who is born is a potential powerful enemy of this demonic force, so abortion has proven to be an effective weapon as we continue to blindly slaughter our unborn. In the United States, almost one in three pregnancies ends in abortion. The womb is a dangerous place to be. One and one-half million abortions occur in our nation every year.

The rationalization necessary philosophically to accept abortion is amazing. We have reached the point that, even if it is a human life in the womb, the mother’s choice (convenience) is more important than the baby’s life. Satan has blinded men’s minds so that they cannot see.

Even if you are against abortion, don’t be too smug. Satan is the father of lies and there is no truth in him (John 8:44). He has repeated some of his lies often enough in the media that many unwitting Christians believe him. For instance, have you fallen for this one? “There is a population problem. We are overcrowded and running out of resources and therefore must limit the size of our families.” This is conventional wisdom in practically all circles today, even many Christian ones. But how accurate are these assumptions? Let me give you some facts about the world’s food supply from economist Dr. Jacqueline Kasun’s book, The War Against Population:

[W]orld food production has increased considerably faster than population in recent decades…For example rice and wheat production in India in 1983 was almost three-and-a-half times as great as in 1950. This was considerably more than twice the percentage increase in the population of India in the same period.

Again, Kasun says;

The massive increases in food production that have occurred in recent decades have barely scratched the surface of the available food-raising resources, according to the best authorities. Farmers use less than half of the earth’s arable land and only a minute part of the water available for irrigation. Indeed, three-fourths of the world’s available cropland requires no irrigation.

How large a population could the world’s agricultural resources support using presently known methods of farming? Colin Clark, former director of the Agricultural Economic Institute at Oxford University, classified world land-types by their food-raising capabilities and found that if all farmers were to use the best methods, enough food could be raised to provide an American-type diet for 35.1 billion people, more than seven times the present population. Since the American diet is a very rich one, Clark found that it would be possible to feed three times as many again, or more than twenty-two times as many as now exist, at a Japanese standard of food intake. Clark’s estimate assumed that nearly half of the earth’s land area would remain in conservation areas, for recreation and the preservation of wildlife.

Kasun quotes David Hopper, a well-known authority on agriculture, in the Scientific American:

The world’s food problem does not arise from any physical limitation on potential output or any danger of unduly stressing the environment. The limitations on abundance are to be found in the social and political structures of nations and in the economic relations among them.

The problem is not a nation’s lack of capacity to produce food, but its political and religious structure. Collectivist governments often seize crops and farm animals for the state, severely hindering the farmer’s motivation to produce. India is an example of a country hampered by its religion, as rats are often worshipped and fed, rather than exterminated, and cows run loose in the streets, eating precious grain rather than being food themselves.

You can see that this dilemma is a result of not understanding the Christian view of man as the apex of God’s creation, with all of creation for his use. If man is nothing more than the material molecules of his body and draws his meaning from an all-powerful state, as is the official view in socialistic countries, or if he is simply a meaningless part of a universe in process as in eastern religions, then he has no significance as God’s image-bearer. This will keep him from developing the technology necessary to continue to increase his food resources. Food shortages generally can be traced to politics and religion. Western plenty is a result of political systems, which spring from Christian principles like individual liberty.

Too crowded?

But aren’t we literally running out of space? Traveling from coast to coast by car in our country, as I have done several times, will quickly put that misconception to rest. Mile after mile of open spaces greet the eye as the western states are crossed, until one wonders if anyone followed Horace Greeley’s admonition to “Go West young man, go West.” Our cities are crowded, but only because people tend to cluster together voluntarily due to the greater opportunity for business and commerce in more densely populated areas.

It has been shown that all the people in the world could be put in the state of Texas to form one giant city with a population density less than many of our existing cities, leaving the rest of the world empty! Each man, woman and child would have 1500 square feet of living space. Also the population of the world would have standing room in one-fourth of the area of Jacksonville, Florida.

An overcrowded earth would lead to scarcity, but did you know that there is very little probability of running out of any of our resources in the foreseeable future? Prices, a good indicator of availability, continue to fall for all commodities, indicating increasing supply, and even the Carter administration’s gloomy Global 2000 report admitted as much. Energy resources continue to increase as well. The conclusions of a group of energy experts in 1984 were that “the prospects of running out of energy is a bogeyman. The availability of energy has been increasing, and the meaningful cost has been decreasing over the entire span of humankind’s history. We expect this benign trend to continue…

The same old lie

We have been had. Overpopulation is a myth, but the siren song of the world has been to emphasize the advisability of small families because it is our solemn duty to do our part to preserve the limited resources on “spaceship earth.” This is not a new lie. When Satan finds a winner he sticks with it. Plato and Aristotle worried about overpopulation half a millennium before Christ, as did Confucius and other Chinese thinkers. Tertullian and Saint Jerome were early church fathers who wrote of the earth being “full”, and, “our numbers . . . burdensome to the world,” and yet we know now that that was a ridiculous misconception.

We will discuss more about having children later, but it is enough to say now that we need to see that our family is for God and His purpose, not primarily for our own pleasure and enjoyment. We certainly will enjoy our family if we build it God’s way, but that is not its main purpose. Filling the earth with “self-conscious kingdom-extenders” who have a relationship by grace through faith alone their loving Heavenly Father is.

The concept of the family indeed originated in the mind of God. It was His idea. One man, one woman, and their offspring, bearing the image of their Father, understanding why they are on the earth, giving themselves to the family business of extending the effective rule of Jesus Christ, and passing the vision on to succeeding generations. In the next chapter we will look at how the very first family began.

“Father, open my eyes as to why I am here on the earth. Help me to live my life in light of that great eternal purpose; to willingly join You in the family business. Amen.”

Recommended further reading:

Robert Andrews: The Family-God’s Weapon for Victory
Michael Green: Thirty Years that Changed the World
Andy Crouch: Culture Making

More articles related to this topic:

  1. The Purpose of Man
  2. God’s Family Business
  3. The Enemy of Control
  4. Following the Job Description
  5. Revolutions in the Home