In the first chapter of Genesis, God tells Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and increase in number” (Genesis 1:28). This first command—which was also a blessing—that God gave people was a command to have children, to procreate. The same command/blessing, “be fruitful and multiply,” is repeated to Noah’s family in Genesis 9:1 and 7 (ESV).
When God gave Adam and Eve the command to procreate, they were the only two people in the world. They had been created “male and female,” their bodies designed for union and child-bearing (Genesis 1:27), and God blessed them with fruitfulness. Procreation was vitally important, as God’s intention was for humans, created in His image, to “fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground” (verse 28). Noah, his wife, and their three sons and their wives were in a similar situation: they were the only people living on the earth. So God gave those eight people a similar command and the blessing of fruitfulness.
Procreation is important today, as well. One reason is obvious—if no one procreates, humanity’s existence on this planet would cease. Also, having children is a gift from God. Numerous Scripture passages point to children as a blessing, including Psalm 127:3–5:
“Children are a heritage from the LORD,
offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.”
Procreation in a Christian family gives the parents the privilege of nurturing their own flesh and blood, with fathers bearing the primary responsibility to “bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). Teaching one’s own children the commandments of Christ is a privilege and a joy.
None of this is to say that procreation is commanded of believers today. If “be fruitful and multiply” is an express command for all couples to bear children, we run into a problem. Unless we are willing to say that infertile couples are directly disobeying God, we cannot say that procreation is a command. Nowhere in Scripture is infertility condemned as a sin or labeled as a curse from God. Biblically, we can please God and bring Him glory whether or not we have children. Marriage is not required (Matthew 19:12), and neither is having children. Jesus, who was not married and had no children, is the perfect example.
Even if we are not physically “fruitful,” we can be spiritually fruitful and multiply the citizens of the kingdom of God when we obey Jesus’ command to “go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).