Genesis 9:7 NIV

As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it

Today we struggle with food shortages, problems with clean water, and climate concerns. Is there a Christian denomination who suggests that we should NOT be as fruitful as we can be? If so, does that contradict the Bible and is it acceptable for orthodox Christians?

  • Is there any evidence that Genesis 9:7 applies to anyone but the generation that existed immediately after the flood? It's quite obvious that virtually nobody existed after the flood, hence there was certainly a need for people (i.e., Noah and his family) to "be fruitful and multiply." – user900 May 3 '13 at 19:00
  • @H3br3wHamm3r81 I agree with the rule being created within the context of a brand new world. However, that really doesn't address the question. It isn't "be fruitful and increase in number" until you get to X... or does it? – The Freemason May 3 '13 at 19:28
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    It's a reasonable question, except for your assertion that we struggle with food shortages. There is, and always has been, more than enough food to feed the entire world's population. There's only a problem of food distribution, brought on by political and economic factors. – Flimzy May 4 '13 at 5:17
  • God can make bread out of rocks. – khaverim May 4 '13 at 21:21
  • @Flimzy, it's true that we struggle with food shortages. While it maybe a logistical issue instead of a supply issue, it's still an issue. If there were fewer people, it may not be a problem or if those people who have food supply problems would move to locations where the food is... Either way, if there are food shortages anywhere, maybe they should reconsider being fruitful? – The Freemason May 6 '13 at 13:18

Well, there were the Shakers, who didn't believe in procreation, but they've pretty much all dwindled out by now. Not much of a surprise there.

Whether or not it contradicts the Bible or not to restrict procreation is a matter of interpretation for that particular denomination. The Shakers didn't seem to think it did, but the Catholics would disagree.

That being said, I'd probably argue that the majority of Christendom lies somewhere in the middle of those two extremes. I go to a Southern Baptist church, and there doesn't seem to be any stigma related to basic birth control methods, vasectomies, hysterectomies, etc.

All of those groups would probably consider themselves more or less orthodox (with a lowercase o).

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  • I remember the Shakers (I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio). +1 for bringing them up. – The Freemason May 3 '13 at 17:43
  • Hysterectomies are certainly not meant as a means of birth control. I would also mention that having many children is not a sigma either. – 3961 May 5 '13 at 0:57
  • @fredsbend I think that's a matter of opinion. Some women choose to do that when they're ready to no longer have children or periods. I don't believe a husband should make that particular decision for his wife, though. Also, I never said that having many children is a stigma. I simply stated that in many churches there is no stigma regarding birth control. Sorry if I offended you, but I most certainly did not intend to. – David Morton May 5 '13 at 2:35
  • I was not offended. Just pretty sure hysterectomies are rarely used for birth control. Perhaps you mean when the "tubes are tired". The second sentence was to show that baptists generally don't care if you have one kid or ten. – 3961 May 5 '13 at 12:00

Genesis 9:1 (ASV)

And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.

Several translations put this other "fruitful" command translate the other verb as "replenish" or "fill". I'd take this as "be fruitful so that you can replenish and fill the earth." I do not think it is saying, "always have tons of kids no matter what."

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