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Genesis 1:28

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill 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 moves upon the earth.
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
Far be it then from us to believe that the couple that were placed in paradise would have fulfilled through this lust, which shamed them into covering those organs, the words pronounced by God in his blessing: “Increase and multiply and fill the earth.” For it was only after man sinned that his lust arose; it was after man sinned that his natural being, retaining the sense of shame but losing that dominance to which the body was subject in every part, felt and noticed, then blushed at and concealed that lust. The nuptial blessing, however, whereby the pair, joined in marriage, were to increase and multiply and fill the earth, remained in force even when they sinned. Yet it was given before they sinned, for its purpose was to make it clear that the procreation of children is a part of the glory of marriage and not of the punishment of sin. ...

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
If one should ask why it was necessary that a helper be made for man, the answer that seems most probable is that it was for the procreation of children, just as the earth is a helper for the seed in the production of a plant from the union of the two. This purpose was declared in the original creation of the world: “Male and female he made them. And God blessed them and said, ‘Increase and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it.’ ” This reason for creation and union of male and female, as well as this blessing, was not abrogated after the sin and punishment of man. It is by virtue of this blessing that the earth is now filled with human beings who subdue it. Although it was after the expulsion of the man and woman from paradise that they came together in sexual intercourse and begot children, according to Scripture, nevertheless I do not see what could have prohibited them from honorable nuptial union and “the bed undefiled” even in paradise. God could have granted them this if the...

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
One is completely right to ask in what sense we should understand the union of male and female before sin, as well as the blessing that said “Increase and multiply, and generate and fill the earth.” Should we understand it in a physical manner or spiritually? For we are permitted to understand it spiritually and to believe that it was changed into sexual fecundity after sin. For there was first the chaste union of male and female, of the former to rule, of the latter to obey, and there was the spiritual offspring of intelligible and immortal joys filling the earth, that is, giving life to the body and ruling it. That is, man so held [the body] subject that he experienced from it no opposition or trouble. We should believe that it was this way, since they were not yet children of this world before they sinned. For the children of this world generate and are generated, as the Lord says, when he shows that we should relatively disregard this carnal generation in comparison with the future...

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
At times the Manichaeans also ask, “In what sense did man receive power over the fish of the sea and the birds of heaven and all the cattle and wild animals? For we see that men are killed by many wild animals and that many birds harm us when we want to avoid them or to capture them, though we often cannot. In what sense then did we receive power over these?” On this point they should first be told that they make a big mistake when they consider man after sin, when he has been condemned to the mortality of this life and has lost that perfection by which he was made in the image of the God. But even man’s state of condemnation involves such power that he rules many animals. For though he can be killed by many wild animals on account of the fragility of his body, he can be tamed by none, although he tames very many and nearly all of them. . ...

Ephrem The Syrian

AD 373
"And God blessed them and said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds and over every animal that crawls upon the earth.'" [ Gen1:28 ] Because they were blessed on this earth, it is as if this dwelling spot had been prepared for them prior to their sin. For although they had not yet sinned God knew that they were about to sin. "Be fruitful and multiply and fill," not Paradise but "the earth," [ Gen1:28 ] and "have dominion over the fish of the sea and the birds and over all the beasts." [ Gen1:28 ] But how was Adam to rule over the fish of the sea unless he were in proximity to the sea? And how was he to rule over the birds that fly throughout every region unless his descendants were to dwell in every region? And how was Adam to rule over every beast of the earth unless his offspring inhabited the entire earth? Although Adam was created and was blessed to rule over the earth and over everythi...

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
Increase and multiply. This is not a precept, as some protestant controvertists would have it, but a blessing, rendering them fruitful: for God had said the same words to the fishes and birds, (ver. 22.) who were incapable of receiving a precept. (Challoner) Blessed them, not only with fecundity as he had done to other creatures, but also with dominion over them, and much more with innocence and abundance of both natural and supernatural gifts. Increase. The Hebrews understand this literally as a precept binding every man at twenty years of age (Calmet); and some of the Reformers argued hence, that Priests were bound to marry: very prudently they have not determined how soon! But the Fathers in general agree that if this were a precept with respect to Adam, for the purpose of filling the earth, it is no longer so, that end being sufficiently accomplished. Does not St. Paul wish all men to be like himself, unmarried? (1 Corinthians vii. 1, 7, 8.) (Haydock) ...

Gregory of Nyssa

AD 394
As brute life first entered into the world and man … took something of their nature (I mean the mode of generation), he accordingly took at the same time a share of the other attributes contemplated in that nature. For the likeness of man to God is not found in anger, nor is pleasure a mark of the superior nature; cowardice also, and boldness, and the desire of gain, and the dislike of loss, and all the like, are far removed from that stamp which indicates divinity. These attributes, then, human nature took to itself from the side of the brutes. ...

Gregory of Nyssa

AD 394
“You will rule over savage beasts.” How though, you may ask, since I have a beast within? Actually, there are a myriad, a countless number of beasts within you. You should not take offense in these words. Rage is a small beast, yet when it growls in the heart is any dog more savage? Is not the treacherous soul like fresh bait staked in front of a bear’s den? Is not the hypocrite a beast? … [Rule] then over the beasts inside you. Rule your thoughts so that you will become a ruler over all things. So the same one who provides the power to rule over all living things provides power for us to rule over ourselves. . ...

Gregory of Nyssa

AD 394
Let no one think that we depreciate marriage as an institution. We are well aware that it is not a stranger to God’s blessing…. But our view of marriage is this: that while the pursuit of heavenly things should be a man’s first care, yet if he can use the advantages of marriage with sobriety and moderation, he need not despise this way of serving. ...
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Gregory of Nyssa

AD 394
There are two ways to “increase”: in the body and in the soul. The soul increases by education, progressing toward completion; the body increases (by growing) from small to large. He told, therefore, the senseless animals to increase by the development of the body. But to us he said “increase” in the inner person along ways which lead toward God. This was what Paul did, in his stretching out toward what lay ahead and forgetting what lie behind. This is godly increase. . ...
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John Chrysostom

AD 407
So, after saying “male and female he made them” as though to bestow a blessing on each of them, he goes on, “God blessed them in the words, ‘Increase and multiply, fill the earth and gain dominion over it, and have control of the fish of the sea.’ ” Behold the remarkable character of the blessing! I mean, those words, “increase and multiply and fill the earth,” anyone could see are said of the brute beasts and the reptiles alike, whereas “gain dominion and have control” are directed to the man and woman. See the Lord’s loving kindness: even before creating them, he makes them share in this control and bestows on them the blessing. “Have control” the text says, “of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven and all the cattle, the whole earth and all the reptiles creeping on the earth.” Did you notice the definitive character of this authority? Did you notice all created things placed under the control of this particular being? So no longer entertain casual impressions of this rational be...

John of Damascus

AD 749
After the transgression, … to prevent the wearing out and destruction of the race by death, marriage was devised that the race of men may be preserved through the procreation of children. But they will perhaps ask, What then is the meaning of “male and female” and “Be fruitful and multiply”? In answer we shall say that “Be fruitful and multiply” does not altogether refer to the multiplying by the marriage connection. For God had power to multiply the race also in different ways, if they kept the precept unbroken to the end. But God, who knows all things before they have existence, knowing in his foreknowledge that they would fall into transgression in the future and be condemned to death, anticipated this and made “male and female,” and bade them “be fruitful and multiply.” ...

Maximus the Confessor

AD 662
Indeed being in himself the universal union of all, [Christ] has started with our [sexual] division and become the perfect human being, having from us, on our account and in accordance with our nature, everything that we are and lacking nothing, “apart from sin,” and having no need of the natural intercourse of marriage. In this way he showed, I think, that there was perhaps another way, foreknown to God, for human beings to increase, if the first human being had kept the commandment and not cast himself down to an animal state by abusing his own proper powers. Thus Godmademan has done away with the difference and division of nature into male and female, which human nature in no way needed for generation, as some hold, and without which it would perhaps have been possible. ...

Tertullian of Carthage

AD 220
And from that time, ever since the blessing which was pronounced upon man's generation, Genesis 1:28 the flesh and the soul have had a simultaneous birth, without any calculable difference in time; so that the two have been even generated together in the womb, as we have shown in our Treatise on the Soul. Contemporaneous in the womb, they are also temporally identical in their birth. The two are no doubt produced by human parents of two substances, but not at two different periods; rather they are so entirely one, that neither is before the other in point of time. [On the Resurrection of the Flesh 45] Tertullian says this concerning polygamy of the Patriarchs- As I think, moreover, each pronouncement and arrangement is (the act) of one and the same God; who did then indeed, in the beginning, send forth a sowing of the race by an indulgent laxity granted to the reins of connubial alliances, until the world should be replenished, until the material of the new discipline should attain to...

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

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