Genesis 1:28 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 1:28, NIV: "God blessed them and said to them, 'Be fruitful and increase in number; 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.'"

Genesis 1:28, ESV: "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.”"

Genesis 1:28, KJV: "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."

Genesis 1:28, NASB: "God blessed them; and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.'"

Genesis 1:28, NLT: "Then God blessed them and said, 'Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.'"

Genesis 1:28, CSB: "God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth.""

What does Genesis 1:28 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

After creating humans as male and female in the previous verse, God pronounces His blessing on these first people who are made in His image. Built into the blessing is the capacity to reproduce new generations of human beings—and the command to do so.

God gives four instructions: Be fruitful (or "bear fruit," have babies). Multiply (as each new generation has more kids and they have more kids). Fill the earth (populate). Have dominion (or authority and management) over all the other creatures.

These commands frame many important aspects of a Christian worldview. One crucial point to note is that the commands to reproduce and multiply came prior to the fall of man in Genesis chapter 3. In blunt terms, this means that God created mankind with the capacity for sex, and sexual reproduction, and intended us to utilize those abilities. Sex, therefore, is not sinful in and of itself. Of course, like all good things, sex has a proper context: marriage. And yet, this simple point—that God created us as intentionally sexual creatures—speaks against the recurring myth that the Bible considers sex itself to be morally wrong.

As explained in Genesis chapter 2, God would directly create only two humans. The rest of us would come from them, one generation after the next. Humankind's first responsibilities would be to fill up the earth with people and to care for the earth as God's representatives.