Answer by John Mackay
The hidden assumption within this question is that animal reproduction is both natural and autonomous: male plus female = offspring. The Biblical picture is quite different. So let us take into consideration what God who made animals, plants and all life says about how creatures multiply and fill the earth.
Let’s start with the reminder that when Adam and Eve first appeared they were commanded to multiply and fill the earth, eat plants and tend the garden in Eden. (Genesis 1:22- 31) Then when they sinned they were ordered to be farmers, now having an increased workload due to the weeds, thorns and thistles. (Genesis 3:17)
Some years later, when Cain killed his brother Abel, we get a first glimpse of how plants actually work in God’s plan. Cain was told the Earth would never yield to him. (Genesis 4:12) This meant Cain could never be a farmer. Even if he planted the best quality seeds and used the highest grade fertilizer, plants would not grow for him! There is a ‘God factor’ in plant growth and multiplication. From then on Cain was doomed to be the first hunter gatherer or trader
God’s power over animal reproduction is also seen the story of Jacob and Laban, where Jacob’s flocks increased in spite of Laban’s efforts to prevent it. Jacob tried to manipulate the animals’ reproduction, but the Creator Lord showed him it was God who gave the increase. (Genesis 31:4-13)
Obviously the commandments God later gave to His people Israel are also full of this implication. He told them that if they obeyed Him and kept His commandments, He would bless and prosper their land and keep the land flowing with milk and honey. (Deuteronomy 28) But if they disobeyed Him, then even the mere fact of His withdrawing the rain, would hinder plant growth. Drought alone would cause a reduction in the number of plants and animals. In the end even the people’s numbers would be reduced by this God control factor. (Amos 4:7)
Later in Psalm 104 we read the ultimate word on this ‘Control Factor’: “when God sends forth his spirit the animals bring forth. When he withdraws his spirit they fall to the ground and die”. (Psalm 104:27-30) It should now be obvious that the God who was the power behind creation and sadly the God whom even many Christians ignore in His role as sustainer of all creation, is also the God who controls multiplication and filling of the Earth by all creatures. It also means that whether sin came onto the planet or not, or even if death never occurred, the actual multiplication rate of animals is controlled by this God factor.
Don’t be surprised therefore, when this same God took on flesh and became the man Jesus Christ, He made the bold statement that not a sparrow falls to the ground without God knowing it. (Matthew 10:29). Obviously this sovereign sustaining God is involved, not only in the birth and survival process, but He is the controlling factor even in death, amongst the animal kingdom.
The fact that God is the ultimate provider for all people wherever and whenever they live was again affirmed by the Apostle Paul to the pagans at Lystra, when he told them the about the true Creator who “did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” (Acts 14:17) God did not just set up the creation and leave it to run automatically. He remains in control of all its workings. In the letter to the Hebrews the believers are reminded that Christ upholds the universe by the word of His power. (Hebrews 1:3)
So now let’s reconsider God’s first command for man to multiply and fill the Earth in the now sadly hypothetical situation if man had never sinned, and death had never entered mankind. The solution is now simple! When God saw His command to fill the earth had been completed, the God controlling factor in the multiplying process would simply be switched off. In such a perfect world, replication would have ceased for animal and man. There would never be a fear of overcrowding of exhaustion of supplies, which are consequence of overpopulation, drought etc. that we see in the world today.
Lastly we can ponder the existence in the new heavens and the new earth, where we Gods saints will live for eternity and there will be no death (Revelation 22). People will neither marry nor will they be given in marriage. The need for having Godly offspring will have ceased, and therefore so will have multiplication. (Matthew 22:30)
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