Adam and Eve were commanded to multiply and replenish the earth.

Genesis 1:28-30

28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

The same commandment was also given later to Noah and his sons.

Genesis 9:1-3

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

2 And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.

3 Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.

In both cases the commandment to multiply and replenish the earth is followed by a commandment to have dominion over the earth (perhaps the two are related, but that's for another discussion). I point that out because surely the commandment to have dominion over the earth is still applicable to us. Does that mean the commandment to multiply and replenish the earth is still applicable? Its pretty significant if having a family is a commandment as opposed to being a suggestion or just optional.

  • I believe if you change the question "is it out of context" it might be reopened?
    – William
    Aug 20, 2016 at 4:06

3 Answers 3


A commandment is in effect until it is fulfilled. God has not told us it is fulfilled, so it is in effect unless we believe it to be fulfilled to His satisfaction.

Personally I don't believe it to be fulfilled. All the "over population" we see is simply a mismanagement of resources. There is plenty of livable earth and resources available. Not that replenishment requires exhaustion of resources, but our level of waste is appalling, and better urban planning could improve the living conditions where population is high.

I believe the commandment to have domion over the earth includes a stewardship to care for it, which clearly we can do better. Perhaps that is why the two commandments were given together. As we do better with our stewardship to care for the earth we can do better to replenish the earth.

Searching around for any Christian statements on the commandment to multiple and replenish in modern times I found the following:

We declare that God's commandment for His children to multiply and replenish the earth remains in force.

-The Family: A Proclamation to the World
The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints September 23, 1995

As well as the Catholic church stance on birth control:

. . . it is always intrinsically wrong to use contraception to prevent new human beings from coming into existence.

Wikipedia summarizes other Christian views on birth control, which go both directions. Of course Birth control isn't exactly what you asked, but they are related.

No doubt someone could find links to contradict me. I guess it comes down to your personal beliefs.

My personal belieft is we are each to have as many children as we can reasonably support and care for. I have four children. My wife an I believe any more and we would not be able raise and care for them effectively (but that may be a failing on our part). I have friends with 6 or even 8 children who do quite well as taking care of them.

As an aside: It continues to be important that we specifically as Christians multiply and replenish the earth, and raise our children as good Christians to be a force of good in the Lord's work. To stop having children because one believes the world to be flawed is to give up hope of improving the world. Children raised up with good Christian values are the greatest hope for a better tomorrow.

  • I see where you're coming from. But in this broken world, we humans will never be able to correctly manage our resources due to the greed and pride endemic in our hearts. Given that that dominant people will always misuse resources, I don't think it would be possible for us to fulfill this command given the premise that the command demands stewardship of the resources.
    – Richard
    Aug 27, 2011 at 20:04
  • 1
    @Richard: We are by nature imperfect, but are still commanded to do our best to follow the commandments. To abandon all commandments we cannot successfully fulfill would be to turn away from Christ completely. Aug 27, 2011 at 20:07
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    I love this: To abandon all commandments we cannot successfully fulfill would be to turn away from Christ completely. That is so true. It's too bad so many have turned so far away. (Particularly and especially the dominant groups throughout the world!)
    – Richard
    Aug 27, 2011 at 20:38
  • The Catholic church does not oppose artificial birth control because it believes we should maximize the number of children. That is why it support natural birth control. Is this a specifically Latterday-saints viewpoint? If it is, could you add a statement to that effect? Nov 14, 2011 at 21:44
  • Clear statements in the New Testament that not getting married (and by implication having no children) is preferable would seem to contradict your viewpoint. Nov 14, 2011 at 21:45

The commandement to multiply and subdue the earth was not given to Adam and Eve. In Genesis 1:28 as you noted this commandment was given before/on the 6th day. This means the commandment was given to spirit beings male and female and not to flesh beings not yet created from dust at that time. What Adam and Eve got was a curse and not a blessing, sweat for male to get food and pain for women at child birth. The further curses was not to eat from the tree of life and that women's desire was for man. They were in no position to receive such a command blessing for what they did did not warrant blessings. You cannot surely bless someone for disobeying you. In Malachi God said take your lame offerings to your gorvernors and see if they will be pleased with you. Therefoe since God does not change He was not pleased in any way with disobedience. For listening and odience please God Job 36:11. As for Noah and Abraham I agree with you.

The other measure to know whether someone is going to heaven or not, will leave in prosperity or poverty or have seen God is whether they completely adapt and adopt equal rights and that no emphasis is put on curses as the Yoke and curse was broken by Christ on the cross. Isiah 10:27 God fulfilled his promise. All spirit male and female was equal at creation without curse. ceteris peri bus at creation before the 7th day.

I will be happy to hear from you

  • 1
    Welcome to Christianity SE! When you get a moment, read the tour pages and what makes us different; we deal in the doctrines of church groups. Can you find a source (and possibly) expand on the first paragraph, where you say the commandment was given to spiritual beings (I had never heard that before)? Thanks
    – Ryan Frame
    Aug 7, 2013 at 12:30

1 Cor 7 says, pretty clearly, that getting married (let alone having a family) is no longer in effect.

1 Cor 7:8-9 (NIV)

8 Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. 9 But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

Obviously, if we want to (need to) get married, we should. However, it's good (or even better) to stay unmarried!

There are many commands given to people back then that are commands for that time. Read Leviticus for examples of that. That was the old covenant. We, as recipients of the salvation of Jesus, are no longer under these old commandments. These old commands no longer are required of us.

This is one such command.

"Further evidence!" I hear you cry. Fine, fine. Here:

Acts 15:28-29 (NLT)

28 “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay no greater burden on you than these few requirements: 29 You must abstain from eating food offered to idols, from consuming blood or the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality. If you do this, you will do well. Farewell.”

Those are the commands we have on us today.

"Not enough" "We want more!" OK, fine. Here.

It's been said that every command that we should follow is found in the New Testament. If it's not in the New Testament, then it's a command that we no longer need to follow.

"That makes no sense!" I hear you say.

The problem with the Old Testament is that these commands were given directly from God to his people so that they will know how to live until the coming of the Messiah.

Well, he's come. In the present time (since the Pentacost after his resurrection), we have his Holy Spirit. This resource is available to all of us. It's because of this that we have so few commands placed on us.

Having said that, if the Holy Spirit is moving you to have a family and multiply--then you better comply!

But don't take Old Testament commands as commands that are currently in effect unless they've been repeated by Jesus or the apostles in the New Testament.

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    Curious what you base your assumption on for the completion of the commandment. Aug 27, 2011 at 18:50
  • I've removed the obvious, common sense, something-everyone-can-understand answer. Here's a more biblical argument.
    – Richard
    Aug 27, 2011 at 20:37
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    Keep in mind that "the Old Testament" wasn't fulfilled by Christ; the Law of Moses was. But the commandment to be fruitful and multiply predates the Law of Moses.
    – Mason Wheeler
    Aug 27, 2011 at 20:59
  • "Having said that, if the Holy Spirit is moving you..." How would one know if the Holy Spirit is moving them to a particular thing? Jun 6, 2014 at 5:46