And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
In Genesis 1:28 we come to the very first command that God gives the human race. It is a two-fold command. First, be fruitful. And second, have dominion over the earth.
It is noteworthy that both commands express the image of God that was stated in the previous verse. Because we are imagebearers of God we get to share in God’s work of producing human life. And because we are imagebearers of God we get to share in God’s work of ruling over the creation. Both commands, be fruitful and have dominion, express our identity as imagebearers of God.
It is also striking that the very first command given by God involves sex. The point of the command is not sex, but children. Have children, be fruitful, fill the earth! However the command inherently involves sex. When it comes to sex, God is no Scrooge. He created it! Sex is God’s idea, God’s creation, God’s gift. And within the context of marriage, sex is wholly good.
The second command is the charge to rule over the earth and everything in it. This is often referred to as the cultural mandate. We have the privilege of ruling over creation, but our rule is not the rule of an owner, but the rule of a steward. We rule as God’s representatives.
This is our calling as humans: Be fruitful and rule over creation.