And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Gen 1:28 ESV
While I don’t include offspring (children and grandchildren) in our core areas of spiritual formation (God, personal and spouse), they are the most important of the remaining four areas (offspring, vocation, relationships and stuff). Biblically, you could almost make a case they are the most important as God commanded us to multiply in order to complete our creation mandate. In essence, if married, one of the first steps in spiritual formation is to have children…and apparently lots of them.
Ironically, this goes against much in prevalent American culture where people regard large families as an anomaly. However, as long as the creation remains un-subdued, it seems we have a mandate from God to have more children in order to rule effectively over His creation. Think of it this way: God created mankind to rule over and care for His creation (the purpose of work as we considered yesterday). However, to do this effectively, we need more and more people….people created in God’s image. Be commanding us to procreate, God is commanding us to raise up stewards of His creation: scientists, farmers, artists, builders, astronauts and engineers. Collectively, we explore His creation, and through so doing, come undone before our creator. Only through raising up generations of creation rulers can we begin to explore and fathom the greatness of our God.
In the weeks ahead (every Tuesday actually) we will explore more of the purpose of having children and our role in that purpose. For today’s introduction, just ponder that part of our spiritual formation is having children…children who will help us collectively rule over (profit from and protect) God’s creation. For those of you who don’t have children, consider fostering, adopting, or even teaching, mentoring, or volunteering. Collectively we raise up the next generation of God worshipers, and this will truly form us spiritual…after all, that’s our quest!