As an artist I am well aware of the need to have a plan before one creates. Certainly, our Creator had a plan in mind upon beginning the process that would culminate in the origins of humankind. In fact, it’s specified right there in a passage on the first page of the Book of Genesis.
Some time ago I discussed this passage with a young minister, saying, “In Genesis 1:28 , God shared with humanity His blueprint for building a peaceful world. The plan was the ‘Three Blessings.’ It says:
“ ‘… and God blessed them. 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.’ ”
As if realizing something for the very first time, the minister lit up and, wanting to be sure he’d got the passage right, asked, “What was that again? What were those ‘Three Blessings’? Be fruitful’ — ” and he fumbled, trying to recall the other two.
Actually I wasn’t surprised, remembering that earlier in life I, too, had skipped over the same passage. The first two elements just seemed redundant, so I’d wondered, “Aren’t being fruitful and multiplying the same thing?” Thinking it made the best sense just to move forward, I, too, dismissed Genesis 1:28.
Through my study of the “Divine Principle” later in life, I have come to understand this verse as pivotal to understanding God’s plan for humanity.
As recorded in the Bible, these are the very first words spoken by the Creator to the first human offspring to inhabit His/Her creation (referred to in Genesis as the “Garden of Eden”).
Interestingly, sixteen hundred “biblical years” later, these words are spoken a second time — this time to Noah and his family as they emerge from the Ark in the aftermath of the Great Flood (Genesis 9:1).
These words actually amount to the original formula for the conduct of human life on earth – basic operating instructions direct from the Creator.
Questions to Consider
What do you think God meant by “Be fruitful, multiply, and have dominion over the earth”?
What is your assessment of how successful our ancestors were in carrying out these instructions?
What, if any, is the meaning and relevance of these instructions for us today?
What do you think might be the results of our misunderstanding or overlooking these guidelines in Genesis?
Please share your thoughts below.
Hi Carol, As I mature, what has become most important to me is whether or not I am taking ownership of these Universal Principles/Truths that we have all been given by God and others. By ownership I mean are we actually responding and living what we have been taught or not. From my experience its only by doing this can I truly understand God on deeper levels. I understand the message from the Bible and DP when I live it. It is also when I live it that I can grow and possibly influence others as well. Our actions do speak louder than our words. Like St. Francis said: “Speak the gospel always, and when necessary us words” Like the next guy I love discussing and sharing like this, so thank you for allowing me to be here. I love that Father said we are coming into the age of… Read more »
Carol, I appreciate this topic. Over this past weekend, I was reminded that our movement has been endoctrinated by a theocentric point of view. Whereas many Christian clergy are Christocentric in their beliefs. I have experienced a bit of elevated comprehension over pure Christians in discussions because of our training and education by Father. Your experience, and my similar experience, has placed us in a more parental position when we are in dialogue with Christian pastors or Christians in general. Now, we must be wise.
Yes, I agree Father and Mother Moon have helped us to understand the importance of developing the parental heart of God but, I think it’s equally important to appreciate the filial heart toward God that is demonstrated by Christ. I’m not sure about you but I haven’t mastered either of them very well yet. I do thank you for bringing this up though because I hadn’t really contemplated this point before and it is extremely important.
To become a mature son or daughter of God we must understand filial love, and brotherly or siblings’ love which are expressed through Christianity; while Unificationism emphasises conjugal and parental love.
We are slowly and maybe too late learning these “Operating Instructions”. Life on earth is fragile, and we have already started the Sixth Mass Extinction through our greed and vanity. To answer your 4th question, we misunderstood the phrase “have dominion”. We thought it meant to own, to rule over, to consume. We are slowly realizing that it means to cherish and to protect.
I agree with you Chris. I think because we are so conditioned to look at things from a “me-centered” point of view we tend to “dominate” in our ownership. But when we recognize that everything belongs to, or is owned by, God first I think we are compelled to see the created world as a gift of love instead of simply MINE. That totally changes the feeling of ownership to one of dominance to one of responsibility and care. I am reminded of an experience I had once in a Hindu temple. A ceremony was held where a food offering was made first to God, and then I was made to understand that God accepted the offering and then returned it to us. I realized for the first time that day that prayer is not simply an obligatory thank you to God but really a beautifully orchestrated recognition of the… Read more »
Hi Carol. This is the most wondrous topic – the real core of what the Unification movement stands for. I could go on and on. 🙂 For me, the three blessings are a reminder of our three primary social responsibilities. I, like a young puffin, for the well-being of my community, need to strive to become a wholesome, fruitful individual who can make a positive contribution to community life. Next, as a reasonably mature puffin, I need to ensure that I am there to raise the next generation that I personally bring into this world. And lastly, it’s my job to feed my family and make sure I do not degrade the environment as I do so. and thus puffins have been around for millions of years. If humans fulfill these responsibilities, there is very little left for politicians to do. However, the more citizens who don’t wish to live… Read more »
Thank you Steven for your very colorful and graphic way of supporting my thoughts regarding the Three Blessings. I find your comment about the limits of the State to be important, and it is offset well by your final comment that: (paraphrased) the Three Blessings have the power to create a flourishing nation. However, this power comes from me (rather, from each of us as individuals) and my (our) connection with this vision and the God who created this vision for us. We each must take responsibility to do our part. There is no other way.
In mainstream Christianity, these Bible verses are not given much weight in
the grand scheme of things. They appear as “off the cuff” remarks from God as if to give some suggestions to His children so they would not be bored. In the Divine Principle, the deeper meaning of these verses is explored in much depth. I would suggest that these three directions from God are the essence of defining our purpose here on earth. Knowing our purpose is the key to finding fulfillment and ultimately happiness.
Thank you Mark, Yes the Divine Principle suggests that the Three Blessings or three directives mean: First – To be fruitful – for an individual to mature in the understanding and practice of God’s love. Second – To multiply – for a man and a woman to marry and bear children, that is, to create a loving family, which will subsequently go toward creating a loving community, a loving nation and ultimately a loving world. Third – To subdue the earth – meaning for a loving humanity to responsibly inhabit the earth with God’s infinite love for the creation, including maintenance for the environment by consciously refusing to pollute, contaminate, or spoil the beauty of nature. I personally prefer the explanation given in the philosophical expression of the Unification Principles “Unification Thought” which explains in the Theory of Education that we are meant to: First – to Grow to… Read more »
A few words that have come to me recently that may help expand the meaning of the Biblical message and that of the Divine Principle; mature, productive, and abundant for fruitful, resourceful for multiply and stewardship and leadership for dominion.
Words send clear and direct meaning, but often they limit our understanding. I think adding these and perhaps others could help broaden the understanding of the important, critical and valuable ideas conveyed in the Biblical message.
Rob thanks for your comment. I think it’s important to really flesh out the concept of these “Three Blessings,” if in fact these are the instructions for a good life. Your help to clarify the meaning and to expand our understanding is very much appreciated.
In early childhood, I became very upset and sad at the way human beings treat the Earth. Back in the fifties , in Oklahoma , people used things up and then, discarded them. Oil wells and gravel pits were abandoned, with no efforts to restore the land or clean up the water ways.Things have improved some . As a teenager, I felt a lot of anger at the adults who polluted and destroyed nature and habitat by spreading concrete roads and parking lots everywhere. I learned eventually, that having dominion over the Earth is not a license to exploit and destroy, but a responsibility to sustain, protect and nurture the Earth for the the sake of all creation, not just for ourselves. I think that it saddens God deeply that so much exploitation and destruction continues to this day.
I sincerely agree with you that God must be saddened by such exploitation and destruction. We must take responsibility to care for, to protect and sustain the creation, and additionally to be certain that when we use our creative abilities we do so to express truth, beauty and goodness. I believe we are indeed co-creators with God. Thank you for your comment.