"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." (King James Version)
I. What does it mean to "be fruitful?"
The baby plant below is NOT fruitful:
After blooming, mature plants are "fruitful" and can be fertilized; and, after fertilization, they can "multiply" fruit, as photographed below:
Similarly for us, God's purpose for the "fruitful" blessing in our lives unfolds over time as our physical bodies mature and our minds and hearts bloom into individual "perfection;" that is, beings expressing and actualizing, in both words and deeds, God's Spirit image dwelling within us. God who is perfect, desires that we become perfect as well. He endowed each of us with innate programming in our DNA codes to guide the growth of our physical bodies, minds and hearts toward reflecting His image of love from within.
II. Growing up to Perfection
Jesus described perfection in Matthew 5:48 when he said, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." Clearly, Jesus meant that individual "perfection" is the goal for us all. The Message Bible translates the verse as, "In a word, what I'm saying is, Grow up. You're kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you."
Unlike the Amaryllis flower in the video above, which reaches perfection through natural law alone, humans alone have the responsibility, free will, and choice to "grow up" and achieve perfection; which is done by managing give and take between our minds, hearts and bodies in such a way that our:
become "one" centered on the "Spirit of God" within us, as expressed in the diagram below:
III. The Spirit of God within Us
Achieving "being fruitful," the thoughts of our minds and the feelings of our hearts reflect God's thoughts and feelings, and are acted out in our physical deeds. Literally, we each become surrogates or avatars of God's love to each other. In this state, God's love dwells fully in our hearts. As expressed by the apostle Paul in I Corinthians 3:16, "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?"
With God's spirit dwelling in us, by "being fruitful" we inherit His character and blossom into the ideal, on an individual level, of being truly human. "Being Fruitful" allows us to become completely "one" with God in heart, as expressed in John 14:20, "At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you."
In recognizing that love is at the heart of the universe, the New Testament letter of John states in 1 John 4:7-8, "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love."
IV. Fruitful People
When we become "fruitful," we constantly think and live centering around God, achieving deity and becoming the fruit of God's love. Naturally, we share all of God's feelings as our own. By reflecting the mind and heart of God, it would be absolutely impossible for any of us to commit a crime. We would be instantly stopped in our tracks by feeling the grief we would cause God and each other; because, we would all be one in the Spirit of God. Love is such a strong force of joy that we all would strive passionately toward being the perfect objects of God's joy.
Once we fully know the love of God's heart and experience it in our lives, there is no temptation that can lure us away from our relationship with God! Nothing is sweeter, nothing is stronger, nothing is more pleasing than the love of God manifesting in our lives. As expressed in Romans 8:38 - 39, "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God."
V. Non-Fruitful People
Clearly, Adam and Eve did not achieve this level of relationship with God; because, if they had they never would have fallen for the serpent's false temptation. Instead of reflecting the unconditional, selfless love of God, Adam and Eve's original sin caused them to hide from God in an emotional state of guilt and shame, selfishly pointing fingers at each other and multiplying a son that killed his brother.
Yet, even after Adam and Eve's original sin, God is still the parent of all people, whether good or bad. Our accomplishments gladden Him, our errors sadden Him and our struggles stir His heart. The bible records Him as feeling:
- sorry and grieved over Adam and Eve's behavior in Genesis 6:6, "And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart;"
- angry in Exodus 4:14, "And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and he said, Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother?"
- compassionate in Exodus 22:27, "For that is his covering only, it is his raiment for his skin: wherein shall he sleep? and it shall come to pass, when he crieth unto me, that I will hear; for I am gracious."
- weary in Isaiah 1:14, "Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them."
- slow to anger and merciful in Psalms 103:8, "The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy."
- pitying in Psalms 103:13, "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him."
- well-pleased in Matthew 3:17, "And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased;"
- and loving in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Because God is the origin of mind, heart and body qualities in a harmonized relationship, He has a personality that we can communicate with through prayer. If we are sincere in our prayers, our personalities will change and move towards God's image within us. Prayer is two-way communication with God that yields positive inspirations to help shape our personalities. As expressed in the diagram below, personalities have many facets, all the more reasons to pray without ceasing:
VII. The Tree of Life Within Us
Ultimately, "being fruitful" is the process of harmonizing the mind and body qualities, expressed in "pattern #2" below, into oneness centered upon God and His will:
In humans, the harmony of mind and body qualities produces our essence or character - our personality. When the human mind and body unite centered upon God and His will, there is an infinite source of God's pure spirit of consciousness dwelling within us.
The "tree of life" symbolizes such perfection blessed to each of us and represents the individual goal that we all, including Adam and Eve, strive to reach; that is, plugging 100% sin-free into God's spirit within us and allowing His purpose for our life to be expressed and fulfilled.
As stated in Genesis 3:24 after Adam and Eve sinned, "So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life." That is, to keeping the way of perfection or fruitfulness dwelling within each of us. Disney's animal kingdom interpretation of the tree of life is shown below:
Below are several bible verses emphasizing the symbolic nature and meaning of the "Tree of Life:"
Proverbs 3:13 -18 states, "Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her."
Proverbs 11:30 states, "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life."
Proverbs 13:12 states, "Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life."
Proverbs 15:4 states, "A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit."
Revelations 2:7 states, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; to him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God."
Revelations 22:14 states, "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city."
Clearly, the tree of life is a symbol of the individual goal we all seek - perfection of God's image within us; that is, "to be fruitful."