Having seen that God’s first purpose for us is to be fruitful (see Part I) and His second purpose is for us to multiply (see Part II), we can now move onto the third purpose as given to us in Genesis 1:27-28
27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
God’s third purpose for our lives is this: Fill the earth!
If we say that to fill the earth simply means to spread across the face of the earth, we would not be incorrect, but our statement would be incomplete without speaking of the purpose for which God gave the commandment.
Here is what God wants to accomplish through us when we fill the earth.
(I) Make Poverty History
Consider the following passage of scripture:
For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’ – Deuteronomy 15:11 (ESV)
The last three words of the scripture read ‘in your land’. If the children of God do not spread across the earth, then there will be lands that do not qualify as our land. (Note: I say our land for all the things that belong to God belong to us as heirs by birthright). But God wants us to fill the earth so that all land can be said to be ‘our land’ – the place we dwell.
If we follow Genesis 1:27-28 carefully, we see that God gave the command to fill the earth to all those who belong to him, whom he first has blessed, who have become fruitful, and who are engaged in multiplication. Why? It is because these are the people that can fulfil the command to open their hands to their brother, and the poor and needy in the land for they have something to give them.
By this we can say:
- God never asks us to do something without equipping us with the ability to do it.
- God blesses so that we may be a blessing to others
The question is will we actually fulfil His command or will we continue to make all sorts of excuses to justify why we continue to neglect the poor and the needy in our land when we have the ability. This is what I call giving a man a fish.
(II) To Expand the Kingdom
Consider this very famous passage of scripture:
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you [b]always, even to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28: 19-20 (NASB)
It says to make disciples of every nation on earth – not just some nations but every nation. Note though that it says make disciples. It does not say make bondservants, pillage, subjugate, and force people, as some did in the name of following this Great Commission.
So why fill the earth? So that others may come to know God. That they may themselves become fruitful and multiply and obey the commands of God. This is what I call teaching a man how to fish.
If we took this command seriously, I wonder how different our world would look.
(III) To Avoid Unnecessary Strife
Remember what happened to Abraham and Lot when God blessed them and they began to be fruitful and multiply. At some point their shepherds started to argue and contend with each other because the land could not contain both Abraham and Lot’s flocks.
By the way, I consider this a good problem. It would be great for everyone to be so blessed that we have to spread out to fill the earth!
See, when we do not spread out as we get blessed, we find that the following occurs:
- We start to compete for the same resources instead of communing with each other
- We do not increase as much as God would like for we can only grow so much in limited space with limited resources
- We start argue and quarrel about things the rest of the world considers trivial – consider what people in surrounding lands must have thought of Abraham and lot having issues because they were too blessed. This is what we could call First World Problems (see YouTube video).
This is what I call not running out of fish
Consider how our world would be different if we followed the command to fill the earth to fulfill the purpose of putting an end to poverty, expanding the kingdom of God, and avoiding unnecessary strife.
Point to Ponder: By following the command to full the earth, we help ourselves as much as we help others.