Can Christians use birth control?

Question: Hey, I did have a question for your blog if it hasn’t been addressed before. The questions is about birth control. I was just wondering if you could make a biblical case for or against (or neither?) Christians using standard birth control pills. Do you have any personal convictions about this?

Answer: Thank you for the question. Some Christians will say that God forbids birth control based on His command to Adam and Eve to “Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28). I think this is a weak argument though. The question that needs to be asked here is does God intend for all human beings to carry out the mandate to “Be fruitful and multiply” or was this a specific mandate to Adam and Eve? It seems to me that it would make sense for God to give this mandate to the parents of humanity since humanity as we know it was just getting started. Given that the earth is already well populated (some would say overpopulated)it makes very little sense for this commandment to be applied across the board today.

Furthermore, if God did in fact intend for all married couples to procreate without end, then what was the Apostle Paul thinking when He wrote, “But this I say brethren, the time is short, so that from now on even those who have wives should be as though they have none” (I Corinthians 7:29)?

Even if you argue that God’s mandate to Adam and Eve extended to the rest of humanity, it still doesn’t follow that birth control is outlawed. God was laying out a general principle here. He never specified how many children a couple should have, and neither does He give a negative command against people limited the number of children they would like to have. Christians make big mistakes when they turn principles into laws. Think about what Jesus said about David eating the show bread in the tabernacle, which wasn’t lawful to eat except for the priests (Mark 2:25-27). Jesus clearly taught that human need takes precedence over the letter of the law. In light of this, I can’t imagine Jesus approving of husbands that put their wives health, and in some cases their lives at risk, because of some legalistic adherence to an ambiguous command.

Having said that, I also think some people go too far the other way, looking down on couples that have too many children, according to what they think is too many. An old high school friend of mine wrote on her face book that some of her co-workers are criticizing her for considering to have another child (I believe she has three children). I think that should be a decision between her and her husband, not her and her co-workers. As a general rule, I think that couples should plan the amount of children based on what they can reasonably provide and care for. That number is different for everybody. When it comes to gray areas in the Bible, I think that Christians would be wise to remember the words of the Apostle Paul, “Who are you to judge another man’s servant?” (Romans 14:4)

I hope this helps!

Posted on February 13, 2010, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. interesting take. thanks for your thoughts on this one. i guess i was just wondering if using drugs to prevent the birth of children was something that God would be okay with. and there are other types of preventative measures, yes. but it's one of those issues that some denominations have taken a clear stance on while other denominations don't really talk about it.

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