God is fruitful...

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But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand. (Isaiah 53:10)

The whole world prides itself on being in tune with God’s love, but there is an aspect of God’s love that, starting around 1950, the Protestant church rejected and continues to reject today.

God is fruitful and has written fruitfulness into every part of His creation. From birds to apple trees to the marriage bed, the fruitfulness of His creation reflects the fruitfulness of the Godhead.

Try to remember the last time you heard a sermon on fruitfulness? Most of us would have a hard time thinking of a recent blog post, article, or sermon we’ve read or listened to on the fruitfulness at the heart of God’s providence.

Fatherhood begins with fruitfulness and without fruitfulness there is no fatherhood...

The father is a man who has generated a daughter or son; or in the case of my father-in-law and mother-in-law, three sons and seven daughters; and in the case of my own father and mother, six sons and one daughter. God’s blessing of fruitfulness caused my father-in-law to become a father ten times over and my Dad to become a father seven times over. These two couples generated seventeen children, forty-two grandchildren, and (thus far) around eighty great-grandchildren.

How wonderful that God blesses man with the same capacity for fruitful love that is at the heart of His Godhead!

The Trinity

Speaking of the Father’s generation of the Son and the Holy Spirit flowing out of God’s infinite love for Himself, Jonathan Edwards names the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit “the Family of the Three.”[1] This Family of the Three is not the sterile Allah of Islam who sits in heaven alone.

The only true God eternally exists in Three Persons and we see this in Creation where we read that on the sixth day God speaks to Himself in the plural: “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.”[2] From the start here in the first chapter of Genesis, the beauty of God’s love within His Godhead and the fruitfulness of that love shines forth.

God’s self-love bore fruit and the world was created. Edwards puts it:

…God made the world for Himself from love to Himself…[3]

The Trinitarian nature of the Godhead and the Trinitarian creation of the world demonstrate fruitfulness and love cannot be separated. We see this in the plan of redemption. The Church is the fruit of the Father’s love in presenting a bride to His Beloved Son.[4] The fruitfulness of the Son’s love for His Father leads Him to the obedience of death on the cross through which He brings “many sons to glory.”[5] Thus Isaiah prophesies that Jesus’ work presenting Himself a guilt offering on the Cross will be rewarded by His Father in this way: “He will see His offspring.”[6]

Fruitfulness in the Trinity

Orthodox Christian doctrine teaches that the Son of God is eternally begotten of the Father while the Holy Spirit is eternally proceeding from both the Father and the Son. Thus the Westminster Confession:

In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost: the Father is of none, neither begotten, not proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son.[7]

Being self-centered, we tend to consider God’s Fatherhood subjectively, thinking about it less in connection with His Son than with ourselves, so our thoughts of God’s Fatherhood can be quite superficial going no deeper than something like this:

The Apostles’ Creed connects God’s Fatherhood with us when it begins, “I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth.” So we are part of God’s creation and we call God “Father” because He made us.

But to say God is the Father of man doesn’t get to the bottom of God’s Fatherhood. God was Father before creation and there was no beginning to His Fatherhood. Father is Who God is. Father is Who God will always be. Father is Who God has always been. Before time began, Jesus was the Only Begotten of His Father and thus there never was a time when God was not Father. God is the Everlasting Father.

It’s interesting, then, that the only place Scripture speaks of God’s “everlasting” fatherhood, it does not refer to God the Father, but God the Son. Isaiah 9:6 names God the Son “the everlasting Father.”[8] Why does the Holy Spirit use this name for Jesus?

Through this Name we are taught that, just as the human son is given life through his human father, so every believer is given life through Jesus Christ. In His death and resurrection God the Son became the Champion, Captain, or Father of our salvation. Thus Calvin writes:

The name Father is put for Author, because Christ …bestows immortality on the body [of the Church] and on the individual members.[9]

And yet God the Father was the Everlasting Father long before Isaiah gave Jesus this Name and it was by virtue of God the Father’s eternal generation of His Only Begotten Son:

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.[10]

Fatherhood and Sonship have their origin in God:

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they. For to which of the angels did He ever say, “YOU ARE MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU”? And again, “I WILL BE A FATHER TO HIM AND HE SHALL BE A SON TO ME”? (Hebrews 1:1-5)

Sonship and Equality

Now when we speak of the Father begetting His Son, we need to avoid the terrible danger of taking anything away from the Son’s equality with His Father—and thus His divinity. The Son is not any less God because He is not the Father and being the Son of His Father does not relegate our Lord to being His Father’s inferior.

Sadly, this is often the attitude and practice of human fathers toward their sons. Allow me to be blunt and describe the posture of many fathers toward their sons as a pissing contest. For a few years the father’s age and size give him the upper hand, and if the father is a fool he never loses an opportunity to demean his son, rubbing his nose in his inferiority. It’s a dog-eat-dog relationship between father and son when the father refuses to love his son as the equal he is, and such fathers should remember God’s command, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.”[11] The father who is always putting his son “in his place” should repent of his abuse of his son.

The relationship between God the Father and God the Son has never been one of superiority and inferiority. The Christian doctrine of the Trinity is One God and Three Equal Persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and Scripture declares Jesus is equal to God. Jesus’ enemies understood His claim of equality with God:

But (Jesus) answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.” For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.[12]

Then, just before His crucifixion, Jesus made this request of His Father:

Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.[13]

Yet keep in mind that Jesus’ equality with His Father is not all that Scripture says about the relationship of the Father and Son, for we read there that God the Son submits to His Father:

I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.[14]

God the Son doesn’t seek His Own will, but rather the will of His Father. Jesus was “sent” by His Father. This is what fathers do: we send our sons. Israel sent his son, Joseph,[15] and Jesse his son, David.[16] The owner of the vineyard sent his son[17] and God sent His Son.[18]

But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. (Galatians 4:4,5)

 “God sent forth His Son, born of a woman.” In other words, God became incarnate; He took on flesh.

Jesus Was Clothed in a Male Body

Now about this matter of flesh: if we’re going to grow in our understanding of the fruitfulness of a father’s love, it’s time for us to meditate on masculine sexuality—in other words, the male body. The first thing to note is that when our Lord took on flesh, He did not come to us merely a person of undefined “gender.” He was not androgynous or gay. He was not metrosexual nor did He take on the flesh of a woman.

Our Lord took the flesh of a male man and there is no greater proof that biological sexuality has meaning and purpose. God sent His Son to earth clothed with the flesh of a man, and just as Jesus taking on flesh dignifies our flesh, so His taking on sexual identity dignifies our sexual identity and His taking on manhood dignifies our manhood.

One of the reasons the Christian rejects the evolutionist’s myth about how man came to be is that evolutionists view human biology as fluid. As they see it, the biological and physiological reality of man as male and female is merely the product of accidental circumstances over in one infinitesimal corner of the cosmos we know as “earth.” In this view, sexuality is not God’s design but an accident of Nature or Evolution, and thus we are liberated from God’s oppressive law concerning the use and abuse of our sexuality.

You know how unbelievers like to say Creationists are religious idiots who live in fear of offending our angry God, and that our ignorance should not be allowed to corrupt our society’s children in the classroom? If we are going to discuss the motives Christians have for teaching Creation, no one should object to Christians initiating a discussion of Secularists’ motives for teaching Evolution. Like every form of religious idolatry, the Secularist’s myth of Evolution serves its master well. The Evolutionary myth relegates body parts to an incidental status, leaving the idolater free to make his sexuality serve his identity politics, and also free to allow his lust to run riot.

Idolatry and sexual perversion always go hand in hand. As the worship of Baal by the Sons of Israel issued in fornication and adultery, so the worship of Secularism’s Evolutionary god on campuses across our nation issues in the sexual debauchery that is the hallmark of our nation’s students. The faculty and administrations of our nation’s colleges and universities don’t hide their attack on the religion of their students’ parents. They seek to replace the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob with their Secularist god. They supplant the Bible’s historical record of God’s Creation with their own high priests of Scientism and their carefully-crafted myth of Evolution.

Why then would anyone be surprised that the students of these priests and priestesses leave the lecture hall and head for the bar or kegger at their friend’s frat or apartment complex, where they get drunk and copulate with the first person who crosses their line of sight and looks even slightly appealing? Male or female doesn’t matter. On campuses today, who cares about body parts?

So it was in the days of Moses: when the Sons of Israel tired of waiting for Moses at the foot of Mount Sinai, they made themselves an idol, worshipped it, and then ate, drank, and made merry. With the True God dead and gone and their idol standing in His place, they were fearless in their debauchery. After all, that’s the point of idolatry: idolaters craft an image of God that is more approachable, more friendly and tolerant, than the True God Who is a consuming fire. This leaves the idolater free to feast, get drunk, and party.

We see this connection between idolatry and debauchery in the Apostle Paul’s warning to the church in Corinth:

Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, “THE PEOPLE SAT DOWN TO EAT AND DRINK, AND STOOD UP TO PLAY.” Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day. (1Corinthians 10:7, 8)

The names of the idols are not the same in every age, but the connection between debauchery and the refusal to honor the Creator is a clearly defined pattern across history. But where does this pattern come from? Or, to focus the question more precisely, is this pattern chosen by man or is it decreed by God?

We find the answer in the first chapter of Romans in which the Apostle Paul provides an almost perfect description of our own day and culture:

For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.

And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. (Romans 1:25-32)

You see it? Sexual perversion—particularly of the homosexual variety—is not the choice of man, but the judgment of God. “God gave them over to degrading passions.” God “gave them over” to the “unnatural” use of their bodies so they “burned in their desire for” members of their own sex—men for men and women for women. Wickedness of every kind listed above, with sexual perversion singled out for special attention, is the punishment of God for our refusal to acknowledge God, for our exchanging the truth of God for a lie, for our serving the creature rather than the Creator.

Female and male homosexuals think they have chosen their gender identity and are exercising their own free will in giving themselves to lesbianism and sodomy. They are proud of their self-determination in these things, but the Bible reveals their sexual immorality is God’s decree, God’s curse, God’s judgment.

Concerning his sexuality, the earliest and most foundational category of his existence, the Secularist refuses to fear God or submit to the biological station in life given him by His Creator. So, to facilitate his rebellion, the Secularist spins a narrative of the origin of life that is self-evidently foolish. And yet his foolish myth is helpful in his real goal which is not to explain human origins, but to remove his fear of God so he may pursue his lusts without restraint. He refuses to acknowledge that it is God Who has made him; he worships nature and animals and wilderness and logic and knowledge rather than the God Who created all these things; and so God gives him over to every form of wickedness, but particularly the wickedness of androgyny, lesbianism, and sodomy.

Without shame, men tell us their goal in the deconstruction of human sexuality is the liberation of man and woman from manhood and womanhood. They are adamantly opposed to petty notions of masculinity and femininity. Sexism is their enemy as they seek freedom from their body parts. Thus the Secularist’s Evolutionary myth is perfectly pitched to the postmodern man who opposes all distinctions, especially that biological distinction formerly known as “sex,” but now renamed “gender.”

Morphing sex into gender frees up every “human being” or “person” to create his own identity at any one of a million points on the gender continuum. So now, our decadent society rots and decays into countless sexual identities on full display in every Walmart checkout line, classroom, and congregation. God’s gift of sexuality is despised today and much of the world defines themselves by their rebellion against God’s Creation Order.

Yesterday I read of two self-affirming homosexuals who sent the sperm of one of the two over to a woman in Russia they paid to use it to fertilize one of her ova. The terms of this postmodern contract of slavery were that this woman would carry the child in her womb, give birth to him (it turned out to be a boy), and then send him to these United States where he would be forced to leave his mother behind and live as these two men’s son. This is the kind of sex trafficking that no one is opposing, but the bondage of this little boy was, from the first, incalculable, and it went from bad to worse.[19]

Like Africans of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the unborn babies and little boys and girls of the twenty-first century have been reduced to mere commodities in our culture’s pursuit of the destruction of sexuality, the family, marriage, motherhood, fatherhood, and fruitfulness. No longer is sex a biological fact fixed in our flesh by the hand of God at the moment of our conception.

Yet, if we are to learn to love and live the fatherhood revealed in Scripture, we must come to grips with the hard fact that we are not disembodied intellects. Our bodies have been made in the image of God and the parts of our bodies that allow us to fulfill His command to “be fruitful and multiply” bear witness to the love and fruitfulness among the Members of the Trinity.

God’s Son was not born a daughter but a son. The Son. The Eternal Son. Jesus’ sharing our male sexuality is the only testimony we need of the Divine creation and purpose of our own sexuality. Thus the man who tries to obscure or deny his masculinity is denying a part of the Image of God he shares with the Son of God.

Body Parts

Now there is a certain yuck factor here we must overcome. We are thinking about what human sexuality teaches us about God and we find that we’re squeamish and would like to avoid this discussion. Yet the Bible is not prissy, is it? Scripture is blunt in addressing fundamental biological realities such as seed and semen, foreskins, virginity, blood, childbirth, breasts, and milk.

Just as children don’t want to think about their father and mother knowing each other sexually; just as children don’t want to think about being the fruit of the mingling of the seed and blood of their father and mother; so you and I are reluctant to look closely at our Heavenly Father’s design in creating man’s flesh for fruitful love.

Yet what beauty is revealed to us when we come to understand how man’s sexuality bears witness to God’s Own fruitful love within the Trinity! Again, the Triune God is not the god of Islam living in splendid isolation, but One God eternally subsisting in Three Persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Taken together, the Trinity is the Family of the Three. The Father eternally generates His Son and the Holy Spirit eternally proceeds from both the Father and the Son. God is also fruitful in His creation of the Heavens and the Earth, including both angels and man. Scripture says this of the fruitfulness of God through the agency of His Son:

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.[20]

Covenant Fruitfulness

God is also fruitful in betrothing or making covenant with His people. God presents His Son a Bride and from that Bride God brings forth sons and daughters. God purchases their redemption by the precious blood of His Own Son. Those He redeems are called the “sons of Israel,” the “children of Israel,” and the family or “household of faith.”[21]

Five times God commands man to be fruitful and multiply. First, in the state of perfection in the Garden of Eden God gives this command to all men across all history:

Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth…[22]

Then, after the Fall and the Flood, God repeats this command, emphasizing His desire for numerous children:

And you, be ye fruitful and multiply, bring forth abundantly in the earth and multiply therein.[23]

God calls Abraham to become a great nation, and it’s not to be through Ishmael, but rather Isaac. Still, He promises Abraham that his son Ishmael also shall be fruitful and multiply, becoming a great nation. In the vision at Luz, God commands Jacob to be fruitful and multiply. And in the Law of Moses, God tells His people He will make them fruitful, establishing His covenant with them and multiplying them if they heed His instructions and commandments.

The theme of fruitfulness is woven throughout God’s covenants with man. They command fruitfulness, promise fruitfulness, threaten unfruitfulness, and promise that with repentance will come the restoration of fruitfulness. There isn’t a covenant between God and man that does not have fruitfulness at its core.

The covenant Adam transgressed[24] promised life and threatened death; and what are life and death but fruitfulness and unfruitfulness? God’s covenant with Noah was a promise of renewed fruitfulness. God’s covenant with Abraham was for a son and a nation, and through that lineage the blessing of all nations by the end of death. God’s covenant with Israel at Sinai both commanded and promised fruitfulness:

Therefore, you shall keep the commandment and the statutes and the judgments which I am commanding you today, to do them. Then it shall come about, because you listen to these judgments and keep and do them, that the LORD your God will keep with you His covenant and His lovingkindness which He swore to your forefathers. He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock, in the land which He swore to your forefathers to give you.[25]

Such promises concerning the fruitfulness of God’s Covenant People are given throughout the Old Testament:

Then I Myself will gather the remnant of My flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and bring them back to their pasture, and they will be fruitful and multiply.[26]

But far above all God’s promises of the fruitfulness of nature and man is the fruitfulness promised through the New Covenant in Christ’s blood. Here we have God’s ultimate promise of fruitfulness, that through the death of Christ death shall die and the Son of God shall bring many sons to glory. Hallelujah!

Adam’s Fall turned aside the life and fruitfulness God had promised, and thus Adam and his descendants were left slaves of Satan, dead in our trespasses and sins. True, God did not remove every trace of the fruitfulness He had placed in man, but even that minimal fruitfulness He left us after the Fall was terribly corrupted. Giving birth to the fruit of her womb became misery for Eve as the planting and harvest of the fruit of the ground became misery for Adam.

Another way of saying it is that the fruit of Adam’s Fall is death rather than life—and not just death in this life, but the eternal death of judgment and Hell in the life to come.

But God is a Father Who will not be deprived of His children lightly. From the beginning He planned the remedy for Adam’s Fall[27] and this Precious Remedy is Jesus. He is the second Adam Whose death is the death of death, bringing life to all who believe. There was a second covenant of fruitfulness at creation, this one within the Trinity. This covenant, though, was not for the sustaining of creation, but for its reclamation. The Father would not be robbed of His children. Death would not devour His family. He would give second birth to man, this time to a life and fruitfulness that sin can never destroy.

But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.[28]

The Atonement

Now then, what is the Atonement?

The Atonement is God sowing the seed of His Beloved Son to the end that His Son brings many sons to glory. Jesus said this about His Own death on the Cross:

And Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”[29]

We are helped in our understanding of this statement of Jesus concerning His death by looking at His explanation of the parable of the seed and the sower:

When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away. And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.[30]

Jesus is God’s Own Seed that must fall to the ground. He is the Word that is sown. His death is life for the children of God—for every son of God. His shed blood washes the sinner, reclaiming him from death to life. Jesus’ blood, death, and righteousness reclaim children for His Father.

Speaking of the seed sown by the husband in the marriage bed, the Word of God uses the same Greek word ‘sperma’ used by our Lord for the seed sown by the sower. In other words, Jesus is the sperma of His Father that must fall to the ground that He may bear much fruit. From His Own character and being, God has written fatherhood and fruitfulness everywhere.

Fruitfulness Is a Confession of Faith

If you are in the habit of reading the Bible through every year (which I’ve tried, but failed to accomplish for many years, now), may I suggest you keep a pen or pencil nearby to mark the margins of your Bible as you read each day? I use one or two-letter abbreviations for subjects I’m interested in and one of the abbreviations I’ve used for thirty years, now, has been a capital “C.” Originally it stood for “children,” but over the years I’ve expanded it to include the larger category of which children is just a subset: fruitfulness. Thus I don’t just write a “C” in the margin next to passages that say things like “children are a blessing from the Lord,” but also every last place in Scripture that speaks of either fruitfulness or fruitlessness. Just this morning, for instance, I was reading the last few chapters at the end of Leviticus and the first few chapters of Numbers and I put “Cs” next to these passages:

You shall keep My sabbaths and reverence My sanctuary; I am the LORD. If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments so as to carry them out, then I shall give you rains in their season, so that the land will yield its produce and the trees of the field will bear their fruit. Indeed, your threshing will last for you until grape gathering, and grape gathering will last until sowing time. You will thus eat your food to the full and live securely in your land. (Leviticus 26:2-5)

The Lord God is warning Israel to keep His law and covenant, and He promises He will reward their obedience with the blessing of rains so that the land will “yield its produce and the trees of the field will bear their fruit.” But not just the land and its plants and trees; God goes on to promise He will bless their obedience with lots of the fruit of the womb. Hordes of children are the kindness He promises. He will confirm His covenant with them by making them fruitful and multiplying them:

So I will turn toward you and make you fruitful and multiply you, and I will confirm My covenant with you. (Leviticus 26:9)

And if they rebel against His law and break His covenant? Again, God demonstrates the fruitfulness at the center of His character by banishing it from rebels. Thus through Moses He warns of these consequences He will mete out for disobedience:

Your strength will be spent uselessly, for your land will not yield its produce and the trees of the land will not yield their fruit. (Leviticus 26:20)

But beyond the land, it gets worse: they will bury their children:

I will let loose among you the beasts of the field, which will bereave you of your children and destroy your cattle and reduce your number so that your roads lie deserted. (Leviticus 26:22)

And then, a horror almost beyond belief:

Further, you will eat the flesh of your sons and the flesh of your daughters you will eat. (Leviticus 26:29)

When man rebels against the Lord Almighty, Creator of all things, first He causes the womb to be childless, then He causes the children to perish, and then He causes fathers and mothers to eat the flesh of their sons and daughters.

Is this not what is happening across the world today? Fathers and mothers are paying so-called “physicians” to cut their babies to pieces while the little ones are still alive and nestled in their mother’s womb. Abortion is fathers and mothers consuming the flesh of their own sons and daughters and it’s a horror beyond imagination. This is the depth to which God’s curse of our society has taken us.

God blesses man through fruitfulness. God curses man through fruitlessness.

Which is to say zero population growth, one-child policies, gender selective abortion, ECPs, and all the rest of the progressives’ agenda for their so-called “liberated women” are not at all what they’re sold to be. They are not women exercising their own very personal right to private choices, but rather each of these things is one more aspect of God’s curse of fruitlessness carried out against a wicked people.

At the beginning of Numbers, we have the account of Aaron’s two eldest sons disobeying God by refusing to lead worship according to His commands. When they offer “strange fire” before the Lord, God strikes both men dead. Instantly. And awful though that is, the Holy Spirit inspires Moses to add this epigraph concerning another punishment of God’s they suffered: “and they had no children.” In other words, God’s judgment of these men did not end with death, but it continued with His banishment of fruitfulness from them, so they remained childless:

But Nadab and Abihu died before the LORD when they offered strange fire before the LORD in the wilderness of Sinai; and they had no children. (Numbers 3:4a)

Finally, in Numbers 5 I ran across something I’d never noted before. If a husband is jealous of his wife and suspects her of committing adultery, he may take her to the priest and lodge his accusation. The priest then is to test her concerning her guilt. And if the test proves the woman is innocent?

Then the poor humiliated woman will be blessed by the tenderness of God’s mercy as He gives her fruitfulness:

But if the woman has not defiled herself and is clean, she will then be free and conceive children. (Numbers 5:28)

Oh, the kindness and goodness of God that He is so tender to the shamed wife as to cause her to conceive children!

So go ahead, yourself: read through your own Bible and mark every passage that notes God’s blessing of fruitfulness and His cursing of fruitlessness. It’s a never-ending theme of God’s dealings with man. You’ll have “Cs” everywhere in the margins of your Bible! If we allow ourselves to think about it, it is amazing that God the Father allows us to share in His fruitfulness by making love to our wives. Why didn’t He reserve for Himself the honor and joy of creating each man and woman? He created Adam and Eve; why didn’t He continue to create every man down to this very day?

Our Lord Creator could have done it any way He wanted, but He chose to make man male and female and to bless them with fruitfulness, commanding them:

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)

This command is still God’s blessing to us today. He has poured out on us the ability to make fruitful love; to multiply and fill the earth.

Now, you ready for this?

This blessing of fruitfulness is witnessed to by your body parts. When your wife gave birth to your oldest child, did the doctor or nurse-midwife say, “It’s a person?”

Not likely.

We must open our eyes to things we’re squeamish about—specifically, body parts. God has no body. God is not sexual. And yet male physiology teaches us about the nature of God’s Fatherhood.

It couldn’t be more clear.

Will we refuse to meditate on His fruitfulness that He made so very visible through our sex organs? Do you really think it dishonors God to speak of these things and to meditate on them?

Stand naked in front of your mirror and look carefully: fruitfulness is the center of your body.

Yes, of course there is need for sensitivity and timing in preaching and teaching this truth. And yes, in addition to the theology of man’s body, we should also teach the theology of woman’s body, the glory of motherhood and the origin of every man in woman’s fruitfulness.[31] Yet does it really need to be said that the fruitfulness of woman’s body is not going unnoticed today? Have you too bemoaned the growing visibility of women’s breasts everywhere we glance today? And not just women’s breasts; our billboards and magazines and news sites on the web are covered with immodest pics calling attention to every part of the fruitfulness evident in woman’s body.

So then why so much abortion and contraception and shaming of couples with more than two or three children? If our culture is awash in images of the fruitful parts of women’s bodies, why does our culture turn its back on children and childbearing? Why does it reject God’s command to be fruitful, to multiply and fill the earth?

Everyone knows the earth is not close to being filled. It’s hypocrisy to speak otherwise. Back in 1984, Stanford economist Thomas Sowell famously observed[32] that the entire world population (4.4 billion at the time) could live comfortably in the state of Texas:

Every human being on the face of the Earth could be housed in the state of Texas in one-story, single-family homes, each with a front and a back yard. A family of four would thus have 6,800 square feet—about the size of the typical middle-class American home with front and backyards.

In 1998 fifteen years later, the world population had grown to 5.84 billion and calculations were made that the entire population of the world at that time could fit on the small Indonesian island of Bali. Fly over America from shore to shore and what do you see? Look out the window of the airplane and check it out.

You see… Nothing! Just endless land and no sign of people—and we’re not even talking about Wyoming, North Dakota, or Alaska!

God has sculpted the pattern of fruitfulness on the body of every man and woman, commanding us all to be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth. And do we obey our bodies or His command?

No. We give ourselves to the bondage of lust while repudiating manhood and womanhood, heterosexual marriage, the purity of the marriage bed, and the union of lovemaking and babymaking God ordained to be the center of human intimacy.

We give ourselves to immodesty and lust while rejecting the fruitfulness the body parts that are the object of our lust were created for.

God gave man the organ to initiate and woman the organ to receive; man the organ to fertilize the seed and woman the organ to receive and nurture the fertilized seed. These things are no cosmic accident. God made man to inseminate and woman to bear the child, both before and after his birth. Now consider the significance of these simple biological truths.

No one doubts that the children of men are the products of a father’s will and desire. The father must take initiative for a child to be born. And if the father does not want to take initiative, no woman can force him. The same is even more true of God. God’s children do not choose Him and make Him their Father. God chooses us so that having become His sons we will bear fruit:

You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. (John 15:16)

God also appointed marriage that husband and wife would go and bear fruit, that husband and wife would multiply and fill the earth.

And yet, everything about the birth of children is messy. Procreation is filled with the stuff that makes a germophobe squirm: sweat, exertion, fluids, blood, and semen. So it’s not difficult to understand why man longs for sex without fruitfulness. Men today are fine with their sex partners giving birth to bastards. All they ask is that neither the mother nor their child inconvenience them. If the mother wants a child, she can go ahead as long as she deals with the child on her own.

Men today are fine with their sex partners having an abortion. Men today are fine with the practice of Onanism, regardless of whether that practice is under his own control or the control of the woman who is the object of his lust that particular night. Men today want sex without procreation.

Men today want sex that is fruitless and sterile, and thus those twin curses of pornography and masturbation that have rendered the church spiritually and physically impotent these past few decades. Porn is sex without union, sex without intimacy, sex without love, sex without fruitfulness.

Stripping sex of intimacy, porn renders sex fruitless—and that’s the point, isn’t it?

When a man sits alone viewing his idols of lust, and he masturbates and spills his seed on the ground, the man rebels against the fruitfulness of God the Father Almighty Who has called him to be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth. Despite his erection, there is no initiative; despite his ejaculation, there is no receptivity, no mingling of flesh, no seed, no union, and no children.

We must turn away from our icons of lust, our narcissism that rejects true intimacy and love, and our Onanism that renders our sex fruitless whether we are by ourselves or in bed with our wife.

God the Father commands us to be fruitful, telling us at the same time that fruitfulness is His blessing on those who live in covenant with Him. Do you live in covenant with God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?

He has given us the sure test of those who belong to Him and that test is fruit. Our Savior’s rule is “by their fruit ye shall know them.”

Now of course, when the modern man reads that, he doesn’t waste a second, but immediately protests that the fruit Jesus is talking about is spiritual fruit. You know, love, joy, peace, patience, and kindness—that sort of thing. Not the fruit of intimate love in marriage. Not the fruit of lovemaking in marriage beds the husband and wife have kept pure. Not children.

Really? Not children? Children are not spiritual fruit? Children are not the fruit of Christian faith? Children are not the blessing of God on those who love and obey Him?

How blessed is everyone who fears the LORD, Who walks in His ways. When you shall eat of the fruit of your hands, You will be happy and it will be well with you. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine Within your house, Your children like olive plants Around your table. Behold, for thus shall the man be blessed Who fears the LORD. The LORD bless you from Zion, And may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life. Indeed, may you see your children’s children. Peace be upon Israel! (Psalms 128:1-6)

God is fruitful. God blesses the righteous with fruitfulness. God curses the wicked with fruitlessness. Which are you?


[1] Jonathan Edwards, “An Unpublished Essay on the Trinity,” accessed May 7, 2014 at http://www.ccel.org/ccel/edwards/trinity/files/trinity.html: “The Father is the Deity subsisting in the prime, un-originated and most absolute manner, or the Deity in its direct existence. The Son is the Deity generated by God’s understanding, or having an idea of Himself and subsisting in that idea. The Holy Ghost is the Deity subsisting in act, or the Divine essence flowing out and breathed forth in God’s Infinite love to and delight in Himself. (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) are every way equal in the society or family of the three (and) each has His peculiar honor in the society or family.”

[2] Genesis 1:26 (emphases added).

[3] Ibid: “…the creation of the world is to gratify Divine love….”

[4] Ibid: “(T)he creation of the world is …to provide a spouse for Christ. Those creatures which wisdom chooses for the object of Divine love [are] Christ’s elect spouse…

[5] Hebrews 2:10.

[6] Isaiah 53:10; with thanks to Diane Poythress.

[7] Westminster Confession of Faith, II.3.

[8] Isaiah 9:6.

[9] John Calvin, comments on Isaiah 9:6. Similarly Charles Spurgeon: “Jesus is… a Father in the great sense of a Life Giver, That is the main sense of ‘father’ to the common mind. Through our fathers we are called into this world. Now it is by Christ that there is a communication of divine energy to the soul, it is through him, through his teaching, through the Spirit that he hath given, through the blood that he hath shed, that life is given to those who were dead in trespasses and sins.

* * *

We know that through Jesus Christ the divine life is given to us. ...He is that living grain of wheat which was cast into the ground to die, that it might not abide alone, but become a root that brings forth fruit, which fruit we now are, receiving life from him as the stem receives life from the seed from which it sprang. Jesus is our Father in that sense. ...It is in this sense, because that life is everlasting and can never die out, that Jesus Christ is called ‘the everlasting Father.’” (“The everlasting Father,” a sermon on Isaiah 9:6 preached December 9th, 1866.)

[10] John 1:14.

[11] Colossians 3;21.

[12] John 5:17, 18.

[13] John 17:5.

[14] John 5:30.

[15] Genesis 37:12 & ff.

[16] 1Samuel 17:17 & ff.

[17] Luke 20:9 & ff.

[18] John 3:17.

[19] See http://theothermccain.com/2014/05/01/wombs-for-rent-babies-for-sale-tv-promotes-gay-surrogate-business/, accessed on May 3, 2014.

[20] Colossians 1:15, 16.

[21] 1Timothy 3:15; 1Peter 4:17.

[22] Genesis 1:28.

[23] Genesis 9:7.

[24] Hosea 6:7.

[25] Deuteronomy 7:11-13.

[26] Jeremiah 23:3.

[27] Revelation 13:8.

[28] Galatians 4:4-5.

[29] John 12:23, 24.

[30] Matthew 13:19-23.

[31]For as the woman originates from the man, so also the man has his birth through the woman; and all things originate from God (1Corinthians 11:12).”

[32] Thomas Sowell, The Economics and Politics of Race; as quoted in William Raspberry, “Poverty’s True Cause,” Sarasota Herald-Tribune, October 16, 1983. Accessed < http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1755&dat=19831016&id=XeYbAAAAIBAJ&sjid=jGgEAAAAIBAJ&pg=3017,4657291> October 11, 2014.

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and big lots of grandchildren.

Want to get in touch? Send Tim an email!