Q: According to Protestant Old Testament Scholars, why did God charge Adam & Eve to multiply during creation week if they didn’t until after the fall?

It would appear that as soon as God made Adam & Eve, He commanded them to multiply and fill the earth, but that doesn’t happen until after the fall? I’m confused with the delay, does that matter? Were Adam and Eve postponing the command to multiply?

“Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”” ‭‭Genesis‬ ‭1:26-28‬

  • Should God not give instructions to people who aren't going to follow them immediately? If that's your perspective then how do you explain any of the law, for God knew they would not obey it. Adam & Eve could not have been deliberately delaying, or else that would have been the original sin. But the Fall is usually thought to have occurred very soon after they were created.
    – curiousdannii
    Jun 13, 2022 at 2:15
  • @curiousdannii Well, God gave them the command to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the command was in effect immediately after given. Maybe assuming Genesis 1 was merely giving the history, yet I find it somewhat confusing exegetically… maybe it’s one of those things from the mind of God that I don’t comprehend, simple as it is.
    – Cork88
    Jun 13, 2022 at 5:08
  • It does sound like Adam and Eve waited a bit to consummate their marriage, didn't they? Jun 13, 2022 at 5:46
  • @OneGodtheFather What makes you think that?
    – curiousdannii
    Jun 13, 2022 at 8:18
  • @curiousdannii It isn't until they're kicked out of the Garden, at Gen 4:1, that Adam then 'knew'-'had relations with' Eve. It's possible they consummated their marriage right away, but it isn't mentioned, and leads one to believe it wasn't until at least a little while later. Jun 13, 2022 at 15:57

1 Answer 1


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. 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. - Genesis 1:28-29

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. - Genesis 2:16-17

The Hebrew underneath blessed and commanded are two different words.

I would argue that these are words of blessing and not words of command. There is no prohibition outlined here and no associated consequence assigned for disobedience. Also, there is no deadline given for procreative activity and it cannot be argued that we have not multiplied and filled the earth, just as God has blessed us to do.

  • 1
    “Also, there is no deadline given for procreative activity…”. Golden phrase right there. +1
    – Cork88
    Jun 13, 2022 at 16:09
  • +1 I like this answer, and have asked a follow up question here hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/76847/… Jun 13, 2022 at 18:20
  • 4
    It was necessary that the first humanity multiply in order to bring into being the individuals who were already chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world to be the sons of God. Thus this procreative activity is according to the purpose of Almighty Deity and cannot be an unrighteous thing. Up-voted +1.
    – Nigel J
    Jun 13, 2022 at 19:29

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