There has been a discussion on this in one of the forums I am in. The article caught my attention because the statistics are, for Islamic families, they have 6.8 children per family. But the average American Christian family is 1.8 kids. I think we already know some of the reasons for this. But to have it make more sense as to why it is a problem, we need to know what the Bible says about families and children.
Does the Bible permit birth control? How does God view children? What about the cost of raising a family?
I am not aware of any place in the Bible where birth control is discussed, as far as being permitted. But that doesn't mean that it is wrong. During the days when the Bible was written, there were no scientific inventions on the creation of birth control methods available. The only birth control methods available, were the natural ones. In the Old Testament, we see a man named Judah, who was to be in the ancestral line of the promised Redeemer, and he seemed to have some understanding of this, for he had three sons that are named in the Bible, and they would have carried on the family line, but because they were evil, God put them to death. Judah's daughter in law, Tamar, was married to 2 of Judah's sons. After God killed the first son, Tamar married the second son. The hope was the she would get pregnant and have this baby that was necessary in order to one day make it possible for the promised Redeemer to come. But this second son spilled his semen on the floor after having sexual relations with Tamar. He basically rejected the idea of being a father. Sure, Tamar must have been beautiful, and he enjoyed her, but, there was no intent on his part of being a dad. Judah had a third son, but refused to give him to Tamara, so, this created a problem. How was this promised Redeemer to ever come now? Judah was afraid of losing his last son, as he lost the first two because of their rejection of God.
Over time, Judah's wife died, and Judah went to town one day and saw a prostitute and he decided to enjoy her (not a good idea!). Meanwhile, Tamar had dressed as this prostitute intending to trick Judah into getting her pregnant, so she could preserve the family line that would bring about the promised Redeemer. Maybe Judah just lost interest in God's promise and went on with his life. But, when Tamar was dressed as a prostitute, Judah got her pregnant. When he found out the Tamar was the dressed prostitute, he made an amazing statement. This is what he said, "She is more righteous than I." He realized the he was responsible for bearing children, sons in particular, in order to keep the family line going. But Tamar remembered. And she got herself pregnant in order to end up doing something right! (I'm not condoning prostitution!).
I wrote all that because many make a doctrine against birth control using the passages that describe that scenario. There was a specific reason that birth control was not acceptable for that family, during that time. The family line had to produce the promised Redeemer and a baby son had to come out of that.
But, if you look at the beginning of the Bible, in the book of Genesis, God gave a command. It goes like this: "Be fruitful and multiply." God wanted people and animals to reproduce. I believe this is when the sex drive came into place. It appears that God wants people to be born! When people are born, they can come to know Him and be redeemed. People can have a relationship with God! God can have a people for His own.
There are places in the Bible where children are considered a "reward". Children are a gift of God. God's heart is for children to be in families. God wants healthy families. If society is made up of healthy families, society itself will be healthy. So, why is the issue of having children so hard for us to handle?
I'm not going to go through all of this, but in Genesis 3, Adam and Eve listened to the devil and disobeyed God, and plunged the whole human race into the darkness of sin. Everyone born since then is a sinner. What this looks like, is basically selfishness. We love ourselves and put ourselves before others. We are not interested in God, and we want to be independent of Him. As we live out our lives, we run into many, many difficulties. Almost all of these difficulties have something to do with our selfishness (or someone else's) and how selfishness affects us. One of those expressions of selfishness is our lack of desire to have children. Children take up too much of our time. Children cost us too much money. Having children means that we will have to take care of them and we are responsible for them. That, is the expression of selfishness.
But does this answer the question of how many babies are too many? Nature has a way of taking care of itself, and throughout History, women have birthed many children, but usually not over 20. Some could not bear children at all, and many died in childbirth. And some families did only have 2 or 3 children.
Today though, we have control of how many children we want, for the most part. There are women that can never have children outside of a miracle. Some women use all kinds of birth control and still get pregnant. God really does control whether we have children or not, and that is not a slam on women who can't get pregnant. God loves women who are sterile just as much as He loves those who are fertile and we need to be careful that we don't start categorizing God's love by the fruit of our wombs or the lack of it.
There are women who have lots of children, yet are terrible moms. It's not like God is saying, 'Jane is such a good mom. I will give her 12 children'. There are women who don't have children who would make wonderful mothers. There is also the need for parents to adopt children, as there are many who are abandoned or abused, or the parents simply can't take care of their child.
Here is the heart of the situation though: What are the reasons why we don't want children, or why we don't want a large family? Some reasons make perfect sense, such as when there is a danger for the mom to get pregnant or give birth, or, if it is known that children born to certain women will be defective. But I don't think this is the situation we face in America today, or whatever prosperous country we live in.
We live in a self-serving society. We prize convenience and ease, and even at the expense of others. We don't know what hard work is, and we don't want to know either. This was done to us intentionally. Our school system is not envisioned to teach people to think for themselves, so we grow up aimlessly, thinking we are here just for a good time.
So, some of us enter into marriage, and are surprised to find out how hard it is. Many get out of marriage through divorce. Lots of people just live together now because it is easier (they think). Very few want children in the home. Children violate our selfishness. We can't have babies and get a good night's sleep. Children cost a lot of money and we would rather use that money to spend on nice vacations that we think we deserve. It's not in our thinking to have children, because we would have to become responsible, and that would require too much work. It wouldn't be easy anymore.
The bottom line of why we have small families is due to selfishness. But we aren't looking at the bigger picture. Can't we see what is going on in the world. Islam, for example, has an average of 6 children per family, while the average 'Christian' family has only 1. We also have bought into the lie of the world becoming over populated. Do you think that if overpopulation is a problem, that it is too big for God to handle? The world is not overpopulated at this point, and if you were to look at the earth from an outside view, you would realize that there is way more open, empty land space than there is occupied space. No, the world is not overpopulated, and nature has a way of taking care of that anyway. And if God is sovereign, which He is, then He can work it out.
It's not as if God has said, 'Be fruitful and multiply' until the year 2,000, then you can stop multiplying. God wants to populate the earth with people. God promises to take care of His own. The devil doesn't want people being born. The devil would eradicate the whole human race if he could.
What about child rearing then? What if I don't want to do that? What if I want to have a nice career instead? Well, ask God about that then. The Bible says that a married woman is to be a keeper at home. Proverbs 31 talks about the virtuous woman. Both men and women have responsibilities in child rearing when children are in the home. We can't just have a bunch of babies and let them raise themselves! Yes, women are very competent in the work force. But can she do both a career and mothering at the same time and do them both well? I'm not going to answer that question, but I would propose a thought on it. What does God's word say on this issue? Would God prefer the woman to have a prospering career or would He rather have her raise children, if she is able to bear children, if the situation has to be either the career or the child rearing?
How much of this can we be selfish in? Where do the boundaries of selfishness lie? The Bible talks about dying to ourselves, and crucifying our flesh. Jesus talks about our carrying our own crosses. The Bible talks about forsaking sin, and following God. We must abandon our desires when they interfere with what God desires for us. I heard a phrase one time that goes like this; When my will crosses God's will, my will must die.
If you understand the valuable role of being a mother, and you are trusting in God for help, He will help you in being a mom. If you humble yourself and ask God for help, He promises to help those who ask. He will empower women to carry out their roles as moms. No mom is perfect and most make many mistakes, but we can't let that determine what we believe about motherhood.
Do we realize the privilege we have as mothers as we raise our boys and girls to become men and women of God? The devil would love nothing more than to deceive us into thinking that it would be wise for us to have small families that we can manage easily and still do the things we want to do. But he also knows that people make up the church, and the Gates of Hell will not prevail against the church. So when you raise your son or daughter to know the truths of God's word, Satan is at a disadvantage. But if you choose to not have children, there will be no one to raise. There will be no children to disciple, nor will there be any children to equip to fight the forces of evil when the children are grown up. There would be no one to pass the baton to. But we will have the opportunity to see all the grand movies that came out and all the new gadgets to play with, that we would miss if we have children.
When you stand before God in His presence on that day, are you going to present to Him your career, your list of movies you watched, your beach trips or trips to Disney, or, are you going to present Him with the results of what you have sown into your children's lives? Will you leave a legacy behind for your children to follow? The Muslims will. They have the average 'Christian' way outnumbered. Of course, since there is no truth for them to leave for a legacy, they will give them another type of legacy, the legacy of Islam.
In the future, Islam will grow exponentially. Much of this will be due to the fact that they believe in reproducing. They are having babies. We are not, or not in the same measure they are. So, our few children and grandchildren will be greatly outnumbered by them. Is that what we want to have happen? Do you want your descendants to live in a Muslim populated society? Unless our hearts change, that is what we will be looking at. May we all look at our own hearts and see where God can change them?