If we believe the Creation account, we would have to conclude that along with the physical things God created, He also created the laws and principles by which our world and the entire universe operate. This would include mathematics, in its simplest forms as well as its most complex. When Albert Einstein was working out his elaborate formulas, including E = mc2, he was using calculations based on what the Lord originally configured eons ago.
But here’s a question: If you were to imagine which of the mathematical functions God favors the most, what would you guess it is? Perhaps I’m going out on a bit of a theological limb, but I think it would be multiplication.
Why do I say that? For starters, in the Bible’s first book, the Lord introduces the concept of multiplication.
In the opening chapter, after imagining and forming the creatures that inhabit the seas and other waters, along with the birds, “And God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth’” (Genesis 1:21-22).
Then, after creating living creatures that would move on the ground, including humankind, “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it…” (Genesis 1:24-28). Sadly, this didn’t proceed without problems, prompting the Lord to take a “do over.”
Following the global flood, in which God spared only Noah, his wife, his sons and their wives, along with representatives of every living creature, the waters subsided and Noah and his family prepared to leave the ark. Among the Lord’s instructions during the “exit interview,” He told them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth…. As for you, be fruitful and multiply; populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it” (Genesis 9:1,7).
God wasn’t talking about learning multiplication tables, like 3 times 3, or 5 times 9. He wanted them to exponentially repopulate the earth, in particular with humans created in His image.
This theme continues throughout the Scriptures. In Jeremiah 23:3, speaking about restoring the people of Israel who had been exiled into other lands, God told the prophet, “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.”
Underscoring the Lord’s faithfulness, never failing to keep His promises with His chosen people, Hebrews 6:14 recalled, “For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, ‘I will surely bless you and I will surely multiply you.’”
Perhaps the most important passage of all on God’s emphasis on multiplication concerns Jesus Christ’s final instructions, which we know as His Great Commission. Just prior to His ascension to heaven, He directed His followers, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching to observe all the things I have commanded you…” (Matthew 28:19-20).
No, this passage does not include the specific word “multiply,” but clearly refers to spiritual multiplication, the making of disciples – followers, learners, reproducers – who will make other disciples, who in turn will make other disciples.
In today’s Church culture, particularly in America, the focus seems primarily directed toward addition – seeing people convert to Christian belief, encouraging them to turn from their former ways of living apart from God. However, to convert – to turn – doesn’t necessarily mean an individual will immediately start moving forward in a new direction. Much like newly born human babies, spiritual babes need to be nurtured, fed, loved, cared for, taught and eventually, disciplined.
Once a “disciplemaker” has helped a new believer toward spiritual maturity, assisting him or her to become a true follower of Jesus, then both the disciplemaker and disciple can start investing in others. The two of them become four, and the process of spiritual multiplication is underway. Four can become eight, then 16, then 32, and so on.
Long term, what does this look like? We find a good description in Isaiah 60:22, which declares, “A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation. I, the Lord, will hasten it in its time.” Imagine, one person, completely sold out to Jesus Christ, whose life is devoted to helping others along in their journey with the Lord. Incredibly, over time, that one can become a thousand, and even more!
God’s desire and goal, not just in the United States but also around the world, is to greatly multiply genuine, devoted, strong and unwavering followers of Christ who will have an eternal impact on family members, friends, their communities, their cities, and their nations.
Many believe the solutions to our world’s problems are through politics, or ideology, or even education. There is value in each of those, but God is affirming that the ultimate answers are found only in Jesus Christ, helping more and more people to know Him, follow Him, and serve as His ambassadors. And the way to bring that about is through a simple mathematical process: multiplication.
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Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly published, ”Marketplace Ambassadors”; “Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace”; “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” A weekly business meditation he edits, “Monday Manna,” is translated into more than 20 languages and sent via email around the world by CBMC International. The address for his blog is www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.