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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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Monday, July 17, 2017
Be Fruitful and Multiply - Part III (Is Birth Control A Sin?)
Let's begin the discussion where a lot of people do - with the sad history of Onan.

Onan's brother Er was a wicked fellow - so wicked in fact that God Himself put Er to death.  Er was married to Tamar at the time, and under the Mosaic Law, Onan was expected to marry Er's widow Tamar, and raise up children for Onan's brother's inheritance.

The point of this "Levirate" marriage, was for Onan to give children to Tamar, whom she could raise up on and in her husband's (i.e. Er's, not Onan's) inheritance.

Normally, Onan would not have allowed to marry his brother's widow.  Had Tamar been pregnant with with Er's child, Onan would not have been required or even permitted to marry her.  This was a special provision that God made to allow a childless widow to conceive children in her husband's house through the seed of his near relative.

So Onan took Tamar as a man takes a woman - but instead of impregnating her as was his duty (and as was the only reason he was allowed to take her into his bed), he spilled his seed on the ground.  God didn't like that - since it was a perversion of what he had commanded.  This wasn't about Onan providing Tamar with the conjugal rights of a husband - it was about Onan providing Tamar with children - and in sidestepping that obligation while partaking of his brother's wife - Onan sinned, and God put him to death even as he had put Er to death.  It's all there in Genesis 38.

Some conclude from this, that Onan was put to death because God hates birth control in general.  If that is true, this text would agree with it - but it certainly wouldn't prove it.  Onan was put to death for denying his brother the very offspring this Levirate marriage obligated him to produce.

I don't (or I shouldn't) need to explain how and why Onan earned the death he received.  The question before us is whether he would have received the same penalty had he and his wife been practicing withdrawal as a form of birth control (by agreement) in their marriage.

That is really the question: Is it "okay" with God for Christians to thumb their noses at God's blessing (children are an inheritance and blessing from the Lord)?

Some would say that we are commanded in Genesis 1:28 to be fruitful and multiply and say that therefore we ought to answer every opportunity (in marriage) to produce children, until such time that we are no longer able to do so.  But as I believe I have shown in the first post int his series - that passage isn't quite the command it is propped up to be, but is rather a blessing upon mankind spoken by the Lord.

Lacking a definitive go-to verse that compels us to have as many children as possible, one might turn to passages in scripture that imply the will of God in this situation.  I am thinking of Romans 1, where Paul writes about how creation itself teaches us what the will of God is.  In this case we might say that everything about having sex suggests the purpose of sex is two fold: pleasure and procreation.  Paul instructs those who would otherwise burn with passion to marry, in order that they may avoid sinfully quenching their passions outside of marriage.  Obviously marriage is the place where our God intends for us to quench these passions - but what about when we don't want our passions to produce children?

This is the rubber meets the road part of the discussion.  It's a trivially easy matter to condemn Abortion (from a biblical world view) because the scriptures are crystal clear about who is and who is not an image bearer of God - and whether or not it is okay to murder one.  In the same way it is just as clear and straightforward to condemn any abortifacient forms of birth control such as the pill, the patch, injections, day after pills or IUDs.

I believe the use of any abortifacient form of birth control is sinful.  Let me qualify that.  A young, chaste woman who experiences hormone related depression, etc. may well benefit from taking the pill - not as a form of birth control, but as a way of regulating/stabilizing her hormone levels.  Taking the pill to regulate hormone levels is not the same as taking the pill in order to have sex and avoid pregnancy.    I don't believe it is sinful to regulate hormone levels if your levels are out of whack and making you depressed/suicidal.  If you're using the pill to regulate hormone levels you should abstain from sex altogether because even if you use another form of birth control (condoms, withdrawal, etc.), they could fail, and you could possibly become pregnant, and abort the baby.

You might scoff at the notion of abstinence while on the pill as "overkill" - but only if you think that its okay to play the odds with someone else's life.  Sober Christians - honest ones who love God's word - will avoid these kinds of risks like the sin they are.

I think that anyone who is using an abortifacient method of birth control is sinning, whether they end up murdering their children or not.  The fact that they are willing to take that chance speaks volumes about where they are truly at.

But when we get away from those methods, and look into methods that, when they fail, do not destroy what is conceived - what about those methods?  Is it sinful to get your tubes tied, or to get a vasectomy.  What about withdrawal?, the rhythm method? Condoms? etc.  

I hope to answer these questions in the final post, Part IV (How many children should we have?)
Part I | Part II | Part IV
posted by Daniel @ 1:03 PM  
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