Saturday, September 16, 2006

Open Debate On Birth Control

Since my last post, I have been asked what my view on the issue of birth control is. Quite honestly, I have never really given this topic much thought. Sadly, I gave it no consideration at all when I decided to go on it a few months before getting married. It's as if I never even questioned whether or not it falls within God's will. Also to my dismay, I never knew that the pill could serve as an abortifacient. If I have been so blissfully unaware, how many other people out there are just like me? I have begun researching this issue and have come across the following. Both sides are somewhat addressed (one side significantly more than the other). I would like to hear your thoughts on the matter. So comment away.

First, I think we must look at what the Bible says about the issue. No, you will not be able to find 'birth control' in the index, but the Bible does have a lot to say about the matter. As early as Genesis 1:28, God told Adam and Eve, "Be fruitful, and multiply." So already we see that it is God's will for us to procreate. Psalms 127: 3-5a says "Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame..." So, not only do we see that God intends for us to be multiplying, but we also see that children are to be viewed as a reward and that having many of them is a blessing.

A very commonly sited 'anti birth control' passage is Genesis 38:8-10: "Then Judah said to Onan, "Lie with your brother's wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to produce offspring for your brother." But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so whenever he lay with his brother's wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from producing offspring for his brother. What he did was wicked in the LORD's sight; so he put him to death also."

There is much debate as to whether or not Onan was killed for disobeying Judah and breaking the custom of the day or because he in essence was using a form of birth control that we presently refer to as the withdrawal method. I'm up for hearing your opinions on the matter.

One writer's view on the matter is as follows: "While the Onan incident is not the airtight anti-birth-control case that some writers make it out to be, it may well indicate God's hatred of such acts, and it is at least consistent with the rest of Scripture which offers absolutely nothing to encourage the practice of birth control." (A Christian Home)

Next, I think we need to consider God's design for sex. I found this quote to be interesting. "Contraception is wrong because it’s a deliberate violation of the design God built into the human race, often referred to as "natural law." The natural law purpose of sex is procreation. The pleasure that sexual intercourse provides is an additional blessing from God, intended to offer the possibility of new life while strengthening the bond of intimacy, respect, and love between husband and wife. The loving environment this bond creates is the perfect setting for nurturing children. But sexual pleasure within marriage becomes unnatural, and even harmful to the spouses, when it is used in a way that deliberately excludes the basic purpose of sex, which is procreation. God’s gift of the sex act, along with its pleasure and intimacy, must not be abused by deliberately frustrating its natural end—procreation." More from this site can be found at (Catholic Answers)

While that author is clearly adamantly against contraceptives, another author leaves room for the leading of the Holy Spirit in a couple's decision. "We always want to make room for the leading of the Holy Spirit in individual lives, for individual Christians to have a sense of God’s leading through prayer, Bible study, and the counsel of others in the church. Married couples therefore should not feel guilty if they believe they should not have children, or if they believe a certain size family is best for them as God is leading and directing their lives. Nor should they be treated as second-class Christians. Our church has plenty of children for them to love and serve; in fact, many of the couples who have chosen not to have children serve quite diligently in just such a way." More can be found at ( This is the only information I've found giving any leeway to using contraceptives. Consider this 'the other side', despite how minimal it is.

Moving on, so that this post doesn't end up being way too long, (although there is a ton of information on this), I think we need to consider who ultimately is in control. I think this quote, while somewhat lengthy, does a great job of addressing this. Visit A Christian Home for the full article.

"It is part of the arrogant presumption of our age that men and women believe they can control the process of conception and birth. Yet how many have we known who have become pregnant despite efforts to avoid it, or who have "decided" to have children only to find that they cannot conceive? God still opens and closes the womb, and he is still better at family planning than we are.

Who are we to presume that we know when a new human being should be born.... The Bible does not even hint that such a decision belongs in the hands of man; it is God's prerogative alone.

If we doubt that God is going to provide for us and our children then we will be afraid. If we doubt that he will give us the grace necessary to adapt to each new child, then we will panic. If we doubt that he will give us the wisdom we need to raise all the children he sends, then we will fear.

We need to learn to see our lives in God's hands and get over our delusions of self-determination and self-sufficiency. We do not provide for our families—God does. We cannot control the future—God does.

We must identify and confess the unbelief that infects our hearts. Let's just tell God the truth: we are afraid to let go of our "control" of the number of children we have because we do not trust him to give us what we need materially and emotionally. We are afraid that he will not take care of us. Isn't that what it boils down to? We simply need to trust God.

Your loving Father would never give you a child without also giving you what you need to raise that child for him. He sees every bird that falls. He knows the number of the hairs on your head. He will care for you and the children he gives you."

So, one might ask (and I have), what if there are medical reasons for a woman needing to be on birth control? For instance, I have been told that I need to be on birth control to protect my ovaries from cancer since I have PCOS. Other women have been told that having more children could be a potential danger to their lives. I found this quote, also from A Christian Home, regarding the concern:

"God is still in charge, and none of his children will die apart from his will. Doctors have often declared pregnancy life-threatening only to be proven wrong by a normal healthy delivery the next time around. It is not a foolish act to entrust oneself to a loving Father in the face of medical advice to the contrary. (Many physicians consider having more than two or three children foolish and find it easy to recommend avoiding pregnancy.) How much of God's mighty works on our behalf do we never receive because we don't take the "risks" that call forth his special grace?

God does have special grace for women in the process of bearing children. "But women shall be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love with sanctity with self-restraint" (1 Tim. 2:15). The battle for the man and his wife may be in balancing medical counsel and God's promises."

So, to end, I want to leave you with a quote from A Christian Home.

"Christians have been forgetting the most important means of seeing the Great Commission fulfilled: multiplying godly offspring. If a man has six children who each have six, and so forth through the generations, and if he trains them to be disciples of Jesus, that man will be the patriarch of a godly clan of 1,300 great-great grandchildren! If there were only two children per generation, the "clan" would consist of only 32 people. Would you rather confront your enemy with an army of 32 or 1,300?"

Again, I know that some of these views I have presented are controversial. I'm not saying, nor denying, that I embrace these views. It's merely food for thought. With that said, I'm up for hearing your comments, concerns, questions, and yes, even your complaints.

Please Note: I do not necessarily agree with nor do I endorse all views held by the links within this post. Please use your discretion.

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