Treasures from Heaven
by Paul deParrie
If wives were bearing gold nuggets, would any Christian be practicing birth control?
No, most Christians have no problem receiving those things God calls blessings.
Look at the blessings in just a single verse, Deuteronomy 28:11: "And the LORD shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers to give thee." (KJV)
I donít know even one Christian who would have difficulty receiving the following from that list:
However, they suddenly turn pale at the mention of "fruit of the body" (read: children), but this blessing is not limited to this scripture. Letís look at another verse:
Psalms 127:3: "Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward." (KJV)
Why is it that out of all these, there is only one blessing that todayís Christian seems to be willing to limit or forgo? When was the last time you heard of someone asking God not to give him more goods or money or lands?
Doesnít that signal something to you?
Perhaps there is an Enemy who has convinced Christians that they donít want children. When God planned to bring Moses on the scene, there arose a spiritual attempt to stop him before he started. (Exodus 1) When Jesus was born, again there was a demonic attempt to stop Him. (Matthew 2)
When I first got saved and ran up against these verses, I said, "Well, if children are a blessing and a reward from God, then I want as many of those as I can get!" While I had formerly liked the idea of a large family, these words sealed it. I could not (and cannot) image anyone in their right mind saying "no" to Godís blessings and rewards.
"Thou shalt . . ."
The ancient Jewish rabbis used to call it the First Mishna (commandment).
Genesis 1:27-28: "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply . . ." (KJV)
The very first commandment given by God was to be fruitful and multiply and "fill" the earth. The command is never withdrawn.
Certainly the average American Christian couple with their 1.7 children havenít even come close to filling their own houses, much less filling the earth.
The command is repeated to Noah (Genesis 8: 17) after the flood Ė and thus to all his descendants.
I believe that the fact that everything God touched "teemed" with life and was commanded to be fruitful and multiply, that we get a good look at Godís mindset about how much "life" Ė especially life in His image Ė He wants around.
The Purpose of Sex
Hang on to your hats, because some of you are not going to like this. While this subject could use a complete treatment of its own, it has specific applicability here.
As with the First Mishna, I derive a lot of my understanding of Godís thinking by looking at how it was "in the beginning." I got this idea from the way that Jesus handled the issue of divorce. (Mark 10: 5-9)
Reading the entirety of the account of the creation of Eve, there are only two things God focuses on Ė unity (become one flesh) and procreation (be fruitful and multiply). Both of these references involve sexual intercourse. In the New Testament, Paul states that one who would have sex with a harlot has "become one" with her. (1 Corintians 6: 16)
These indicate Godís purpose for sex. "Pleasure" is not even mentioned.
At this point, I fear I must digress because someone is bound to think that I am opposed to sex being pleasurable. Far from it. I only state that nowhere in Scripture can it be seen that pleasure is a purpose of sex. I often say, tongue in cheek, that mankind is so corrupt and lazy that if God had not made sex pleasurable, humanity would have been extinguished in two generations.
The best illustration of what I mean when I say that pleasure is not a purpose is food. The purpose of food is life-giving nourishment. That purpose could easily be filled by some kind of enriched porridge. In fact, if God was as anti-pleasure as some make Him out to be, He would have made all food taste the same. However, our great God has provided us with nearly infinite possibilities of wonderful tastes.
What would you say, though, to someone who ate only for the taste, then purged himself afterwards? What would you say to someone who insisted on eating things that did not nourish the body (perhaps, plastic) and nothing else?
This person would be a pervert as much as a homosexual who abuses his sexuality for improper pleasures.
Deliberately barren sex is the same kind of violation of the nature of the sex act. While no one says that sex is limited to procreation, when one seeks to limit procreation during sex, an integral part is left out.
The same would be true if you left out the unity of the sex act. This would be true of forcing your spouse to have sex. This also is perversion.
It would seem to me that any sex should not only be between one husband and his one wife (as it was in the beginning), it should also reflect the two apparent purposes of God in sex Ė unity and procreation. That is, no completed sex act between husband and wife should deliberately limit or exclude either purpose.
Psalms 127:4-5: "As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate."(KJV)
Consider that God likened children to arrows used as weapons of war. Why?
In biblical times, a soldier with a sword was charged with holding the ground on which he stood. A sword is not a good weapon to use to advance on the battlefield. The usual method was for the swordsman to hold the ground and for the archers, standing behind the lines, to let loose a flurry of arrows ahead of the line making it possible for the swordsman then to advance.
We are in a war. We, with the Word of God, are able to stand our ground, but what of the future? Will our gains be for naught when we die off? Not if we raise up arrows in the nurture and admonition of the Lord and launch them into that future to carry on the work and advance the Kingdom.
Does this sound like something that Satan would like to stop? Wouldnít he prefer that we are "conformed to this world" in our belief that children are a burden? I would venture to say so. While Satanís children openly kill their babies, Christians, under the same reasoning either kill them unawares through abortifacient birth control or "limit" their families Ė thus limiting their ability to continue the war against Satan.
If there is one common refrain I hear from Christians when I tell them about the biblical evidence against birth control, it is summed up in the word "stewardship." The basic argument is this: "We have a duty to exercise proper stewardship over our households so that we can properly raise the children we have balanced with all our needs, our ministries, and the resources God has given to us."
Let us examine the central "stewardship" teaching of the Bible Ė Matt 25: 14-30. Here we see the lord distributing to the servants those talents that they are to administer.
The most glaring error that this story shows in the traditional "stewardship" argument is that it is the Lord, not the steward, Who decides what is placed into the servantís hands. There is no complaint from the first steward that he might not be able to handle five talents and would prefer only three. Such an admission would likely get him tossed.
Then we see the servant with one talent. Maybe he thought the one talent was too much. The way he treated it, he may well as not had it in the first place.
You see, we are in a relationship with a great King. He alone decides what capabilities we have. He alone knows the future. He alone knows whether it is important to His plan that you have one child or ten. He alone knows whether you can "afford" them.
So what if you have five kids whom you cannot afford to send through college? Is college so necessary to His plan for them? What soothsayer revealed this future knowledge to you?
Is your doctor saying your pregnancy is risky? Are they saying another pregnancy could kill you? It is your Lord, Whom you trust, Who knows. Was He surprised when Rachel died in bearing Benjamin? Was not Benjamin crucial to Godís plan?
What about a pregnancy that could cause some deformity in your child? Does this prospect daunt God? Does He have no plan for a child who is handicapped? As to "protecting" the child from possible injury, which injury is greater, living with a handicap and being able to serve God or being "protected" out of existence? This is like the pro-aborts who say that having an abortion was "what was best for the child."
No amount of human reasoning or wisdom can replace His omniscience. Godís plans are inscrutable to the human mind. They encompass more than the blip of time we inhabit.
No. We have no competence in being stewards over who is and is not born. If we did, then we could decide which abortions were warranted. Life and death are in Godís hands alone.
We are not competent to know the future.
My intention here is not to condemn people for sinning in using birth control. My hope is that Christians will revisit the matter. The whole Church (all denominations) opposed all birth control up until 1930. They had good reasons. Do we know them? Have we considered them Ė or have we just surrendered blindly to the cultural myopia of the Whig Theory of History?
I can only hope that some of what I have written will get the ball rolling.
Should you come to the conclusion that birth control is sin, that may be dealt with by confession and repentance. (1 John 1: 9)