In Genesis 1:28 we hear God pronounce a blessing on His creation as follows:
“Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”
When God spoke those words of blessing, He wasn’t just commanding Adam and his wife to have babies and populate the earth. In Hebrew “be fruitful and multiply” means to increase and have abundance in every way. “Replenish” means to fill up, to perpetually renew, supply and keep full. When God spoke those words, He endowed mankind with the divine power to increase and excel in everything good. He empowered them to fill the earth with goodness.
Contrary to popular belief, the entire planet earth was not the Garden of Eden. The Garden of Eden was only about the size and in the general location of modern day Iraq. (See Genesis 2:8-15) The Garden of Eden was a massive and exquisite place to live, however, the rest of the earth was not in the same condition. That’s why God gave man the power to subdue and have dominion since the earth needed supervision and direction. It was still yet untamed and unfinished. God couled have done the job himself, but he wanted to watch His sons and daughters become his co-creators and finish out the planet. The Garden of Eden was only a pilot project to get them started. God’s plan was for them to expand it until the earth became the garden spot of the universe and once the earth was completed, they could go to work on the rest of the planets.
I am convinced that’s why there are so many barren, empty planets out there. God made them to be future sites for his family to develop! No wonder human beings dream of exploring the galaxy! No wonder we figured out a way to go to the moon and mars! We were created to take dominion over the universe and fill every square inch of it with the Glory of God!