Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Conception Control

So after yesterday's post on very large families, it made me think about birth control or more specifically preventing the conception of children.

There is no particular mention of birth control anywhere in the Bible - yet clearly some control was employed. Everyone did not have a large family. Even though families were large all the children did not come from the same woman. Abraham was the father of many nations and he had children from Sarah and Hagar. Jacob had twelve sons but they were from four different women and for a time Rachel could not have any children. She died in childbirth after giving birth to her last child.

In Bible times, to be barren was a source of shame. Hanna prayed for children until God blessed her with Samuel.

In Bible times, carrying on the family line was important. Levirate marriage (Deut: 25:5-6) is a type of marriage in which the brother of a deceased man is obligated to marry his brother's widow, and the widow is obligated to marry her deceased husband's brother. If a brother was not available the next of kin could marry - this is what happened to Ruth.

From the Bible we know that God controls everything including the womb; He blessed Sarah with a child at the age of 90. The same can be said of Elisabeth; Mary the mother of Jesus never knew a man yet gave birth.

From the way our bodies are made we know that there are certain times a month where we can conceive.

We also know that if you're breastfeeding it reduces one's fertility - so if you are constantly pregnant and nursing for any length of time, the chances of a very large family are reduced.

We also know that some women can have children and some can't and today the stigma is not as huge as it was in Biblical times.

We also know that there are medical reasons to limit having children or to not have any - I have a friend that has severe scoliosis and it was considered a miracle that she was able to get pregnant and deliver a baby.

There's a movement known as the Quiverfull movement. Prior to yesterday, I'd never heard of it.

Even though a woman is married she is still responsible for her body; the coming together of husband and wife is by mutual consent. 1 Corinthians 7:4 says - The wife's body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband's body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Each sex here is put on exactly the same footing.

There's a resource out there called Christian Family Planning - I came across it from reading another blog called tolovehonorandvacuum where she queried her readers for their thoughts on birth control. Due to this post I learned of a method called Fertility Awareness Method [FAM]; I think in my time we called this the Rhythm Method.

What to do with all of the above?

God has given us the responsibility for many decisions in life, including how many children to have. Does using birth control imply that we don't trust God? I don't think so. I think it is an area that requires pray and wisdom from God. When we manage our responsibilities it does not mean that we have stopped trusting God.

How did you approach your birth control decisions? Is preventing the conception of children a display of lack of trust in God? Any other thoughts?


  1. We did not approach birth control from a spiritual perspective - we use what works for us and our plans as a family unit.

    I don't think that preventing the conception of children is a display a lack of trust in God any more than is wearing my seat belt when I'm in a vehicle. God has given us common sense to use.

    I believe God wants His children to be happy. We would not be happy with a large slew of children and so we use available means to prevent them. For those who are happy and content with as many children as they can have - great. I don't think either position is "right" or "wrong."

  2. Very interesting......
    I don't think that using birth control shows lack of trust in God. I believe that God gives us choices and we have to make good ones, while continuing to trust in God. Because honestly, birth control is not stronger than God. We trust God that the birth control will work.... ;)


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