Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image. And you, be fruitful and multiply, increase greatly on the earth and multiply in it (Genesis 9:6-7).
God knows that humans are fallen, broken creatures. Even as Noah steps off the Ark into the new, post-Flood world, God is already addressing the issue of homicide. Even as with Adam and Eve, with whom it took only one generation for murder to occur, God knew sin was going to continue even after the Flood had judged the whole world because of sin.
Yet, the same God who had righteously brought the Flood in judgment, and who then gives commandments to restrain murder within the human population — that same God also, in the very next breath, affirms that he wants humanity to flourish. Why? For the same reason that murder is prohibited: because humanity is uniquely created in the image of God.
Humans are broken sinners at heart; yet they are still made uniquely in the image of God.
In this sense, ironically, the Bible gives a much more positive view of humanity than much of Western culture. Radical environmentalism paints humans and population growth as the great scourge of the planet, while strangely also pretending that humans are basically good down deep. Meanwhile God actually says the opposite: humans are broken sinners at heart; yet they are still made uniquely in the image of God, and so therefore still are given dominion over the earth and are to still multiply, fill the earth, and steward the planet on his behalf!
Each and every human life is to be treated as valuable and sacred.
Which view actually honors humanity more? The one that says we are basically good but should not even procreate because we are just planet-polluters? Or the view that says humans, broken as we are, are still made in God’s image, are still to value one another’s lives, and are alone given the privilege of ruling as God’s vice-regents over the rest of the earth? As with all of God’s commands and instructions, God actually has our best — as well as his glory — in mind.
God knows that the best way to honor humanity is to see humans accurately, as shattered but still gloriously bearing the image of God.
Do you and I treat every other human being with the same fundamental respect and honor that God reflects in this passage? Every person — sinful, disagreeable, different as they may be — is created in the image of God, and each and every human life is therefore to be treated as valuable and sacred.