"And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply. . . . And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply . . . have dominion." (Genesis 1:22, 28)
God reveals Himself to us through the words of Scripture. Hence, knowing the definitions of words is critical to knowing God Himself. Fortunately for us, the Bible often defines terms the first time it uses them.
What does "blessing" or "blessed" mean? The first use of this term is in Genesis 1:22 and 1:28, when God blessed the animals and man. "Be fruitful, and multiply" immediately follows both uses of the phrase "God blessed them." Hence, bearing offspring is one way God blesses us, implying that children are a blessing. For mankind, God added "have dominion" to the blessing. He entrusted this dominion only to man, not to the animals. Thus, for humans, blessing includes both childbearing and rule over the earth.
Why did God choose procreation and dominion as the vehicles for blessing? So that we could participate in His nature! From Genesis 1, we see clearly that God is the only Creator of and Ruler over His entire creation. By delegating childbearing to humans and by delegating rule over the animals to mankind, God granted us a measure of participation in His creativity and in His reign over creation.
In Genesis 3:16-19, God frustrated our enjoyment of His blessings by adding pain to childbearing and hard labor to having dominion. Why? The Bible left no room for protest: Adam and Eve's sin (Genesis 3:1-7) earned them (and us) judgment, not blessing. Furthermore, Genesis 1 made it clear that blessings are grace. Adam and Eve did nothing to earn God's blessings; He freely chose to give them. Conversely, He can choose just as freely not to bless. Hence, any blessing we enjoy is a privilege, not a right. NTJ