Then God blessed Noah and his sons and told them, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth. 2 All the animals of the earth, all the birds of the sky, all the small animals that scurry along the ground, and all the fish in the sea will look on you with fear and terror. I have placed them in your power. 3 I have given them to you for food, just as I have given you grain and vegetables.”—Genesis 9:1-3, NLT
After surviving the flood and disembarking to terra firma, the family of Noah inherited a renewed earth. The animals left the ark to resume their wild and domesticated roles, and men and women returned to the mission for which God created them.
In the exact same words that God used when in the original blessing on human beings in Genesis 1:28, God reiterated the blessing on the family of Noah (and through them, the entire human family). “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth.” We could call these two commands the reproduction mandate and the migration mandate. Furthermore, God gives the family of humanity dominion over the living things of the earth, repeating the dominion mandate that God announced in Genesis 1:28: “Govern [the earth]. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”
These three mandates declare the mission of God for humanity. The reproduction of billions of human children delights the heart of God. Migration guarantees the flourishing of ethnic diversity. Human dominion over the earth sets in motion the formation of homes, cities, and civilizations with their economic, governmental, cultural, and artistic projects.
With the fulfillment of the mission human beings contribute to the realization of the master plan of God revealed in Revelation 7:9—men and women of every nation, people, tongue, and tribe gathered together around the Throne of God, singing about the salvation and victory of God.
Clearly immigrants have a specialized role in the fulfillment of God’s mission. Filling the earth with human beings and the flourishing of human diversity continue to constitute important elements of God’s plan. The establishment of new homes and the struggle for families to glorifies God. That is why immigrants have a special place in God’s heart.
Copyright©2013 by Joseph L. Castleberry.
Dr. Joseph Castleberry is President of Northwest University in Kirkland Washington. He is the author of Your Deepest Dream: Discovering God’s Vision for Your Life and The Kingdom Net: Learning to Network Like Jesus. Follow him on Twitter at @DrCastleberry and at http://www.facebook.com/Joseph.Castleberry.