So this is going to end up being a collage of various thoughts, but at least I am writing something down instead of skipping so many days as I have in the past:
What matters most? What has God commanded us to do? I think we need to return to the Garden of Eden when God first created man:
26 ¶ And God said, Let aus bmake cman in our dimage, after our elikeness: and let them have fdominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27 So God created man in his own aimage, in the image of God created he him; male and bfemale created he them.
28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be afruitful, and bmultiply, and creplenish the dearth, and subdue it: and have edominion 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 ameat.
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 ameat: and it was so. (Genesis 1)
In verse 28 God said unto Adam and Eve, “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.” Really we should break these up a little:
“Be fruitful”: Check out the footnote on this topic: “TG Children”. So, let’s look up the dictionary definition:
producing good results; beneficial; profitable: fruitful investigations.
abounding in fruit, as trees or other plants; bearing fruit abundantly.
producing an abundant growth, as of fruit: fruitful soil; fruitful rain.
I find it interesting that God used the word fruitful when he has just planted a garden and it about to give a commandment regarding taking care of the garden. He commands Adam and Eve first to “Be fruitful.” Could he have said, “Be like this garden, and multiply yourselves in abundance, then protect and take care of your children as you are commanded to do with this garden and the fruit thereof?”
I also like this “usage” piece at the end of the definition of “fruitful” at dictionary.com:
“Usage: Fertile implies the inherent power of production; fruitful, the act. The prairies of the West are fertile by nature, and are turned by cultivation into fruitful fields. The same distinction prevails when these words are used figuratively. A man of fertile genius has by nature great readiness of invention; one whose mind is fruitful has resources of thought and a readiness of application which enable him to think and act effectively.”
What excites me? “A man of fertile genius” are we men of “fertile genius”? Hopefully we look for opportunities to improve our minds to have fertile genius.
“Multiply”: Much of what will be discussed here is be in English because, well, that is the language that I speak most fluently, and in the English King James Version of the Bible, we see “Be fruitful, (comma) and multiply, (comma). “ So, let’s take a look quickly at multiply:
to make many or manifold; increase the number, quantity, etc., of.
Arithmetic. to find the product of by multiplication.
to breed (animals).
to propagate (plants).
to increase by procreation.
–verb (used without object)
to grow in number, quantity, etc.; increase.
Arithmetic. to perform the process of multiplication.
to increase in number by procreation or natural generation.
Based on the definition above, God is definitely giving a command of procreation. Let’s add a side note that if we are “fruitful” in our minds than we should “make many” our “fertile genius” which means that we should actually think!
BTW the footnote for multiply is: “TG Birth Control. TG Marriage, Fatherhood. TG Marriage, Motherhood.”
“Replenish the earth”: My immediate thought goes along with the footnote which reads: “HEB fill; see same word in v. 22. 1 Ne. 17:36 “Behold, the Lord hath created the earth that it should be inhabited; and he hath created his children that they should possess it.”
Ok, I have two conflicting thoughts on this:
1. Ha! All you environmentalists listen up, the Lord has said that we should “possess” the earth and it should be “inhabited”. Shakespeare said, “The world must be peopled.” Also, D&C 104:17 “For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.”
2. The Lord has asked us to “replenish” which means
a. to make full or complete again, as by supplying what is lacking, used up, etc.: to replenish one's stock of food.
b. to supply (a fire, stove, etc.) with fresh fuel.
c. to fill again or anew.
So, this means that we need to supply the earth with “fresh fuel” or replace that which we have taken. So, we can “use” what we need, but we also need to “make full or complete again” that which we have taken. If we “supply what is lacking” then we must provide water where there is no water, and plants where there are no plants, and animals where we have killed the animals etc. Therefore, I believe that we can build our high rises, and highways, and temples etc. but at the same time, we must plant additional trees, and provide homes for the homeless animals, and water and food for the environments which we have caused damage. I really can’t believe that I just said that, but that is what I am getting out of these passages of scripture.
“and subdue it”: The “it” refers to the “earth”. We must “subdue” the “earth”. Definitely need some help with “subdue”:
to conquer and bring into subjection: Rome subdued Gaul.
to overpower by superior force; overcome.
to bring under mental or emotional control, as by persuasion or intimidation; render submissive.
to repress (feelings, impulses, etc.).
to bring (land) under cultivation: to subdue the wilderness.
to reduce the intensity, force, or vividness of (sound, light, color, etc.); tone down; soften.
to allay (inflammation, infection, etc.).
Ok, this is going to bring out some interesting thoughts:
We are to subdue the earth. Can you even accomplish planting a garden? How about a 6 foot by 6 foot garden? What about a fruit tree? Can you even get a flower to make it through the season? Hmm..Well, it looks like this commandment may be harder than procreation, and definitely doesn’t come with the perks.
“To overpower by superior force.” Wow! We are to “subdue” the earth which brings with it, tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, tropical storms, fires, etc? Hmm… Maybe what was meant by this is “to bring (land) under cultivation: to subdue the wilderness.” I don’t know the answer yet to this question, but it definitely brings into question if you are a purest (translation wise) or if you believe that the word can be used in various ways. That leaves some food for thought. (Speaking of fruit.)
Could we say that the “1st commandment” is really 4 separate and very real commandments?
1. Be fruitful. (Think)
2. Multiply. (Have kids)
3. Replenish the earth. (Garden)
4. Subdue it (the earth). (Overcome the elements and challenges of the earth.)
Well, it is an interesting place to start on a long journey…