Another observation: Is family planning a sin?
The church and so many church leaders have already portrayed beyond doubt that family planning is sin with a reason that it tries to tamper with God’s will by limiting the gift of children. The Roman Catholic, for example, has for a long time prosecuted young women who practiced family planning. Even Catholic based hospitals have for a long time been refusing to offer these services to people until of recent when they have been convinced of the dangers behind their belief. However, it is a general belief in almost all churches that family planning is a sin. I, myself, grew up with this belief but I now see the light. Without wasting time, let us go straight to the point: Family planning is not a sin.
The bible has no verse pointing exactly that it is a sin to control our child birth. While there are many verses expressing how having children is God’s gift and a sign that God is pleased with someone, this is not an evident that family planning is a sin. Also, the command of God in Genesis of multiplying and filling the world goes along with another one of subduing the world and heading all other creatures which significantly indicates that there is so much to do than just producing children.
First, let’s look at the reasoning of others in relation to our question. I have read too much literature about this so we may have informed kind of reasoning. So many of Roman Catholic websites like catholic planet, other websites like army of God and other theology writers have pointed out that family planning is a sin and they have so many verses behind their perception. There is a point that I want us to mark here. If you go to the bible with a mindset of what you want to hear, you will indeed find it. For example, if I proclaim that killing a person who opposes you is not a sin; the bible will automatically produce those verses to support my argument since my all perception will be guided by my mindset of what I want. This portrays exactly how these people get their verses. I believed the same, and I visited the bible and read other people’s writings with open mind and maybe that’s why I changed by belief about family planning.
Other people have continued saying that family planning is a sin so they don’t lose their face. Yeah, they are big organizations and are ashamed to announce their changes in what they believed. But is this worthy of your continued deception? Deep within you, you know family planning is okay (of course, depending on the intentions behind it) and you keep proclaiming that it is wrong because you don’t want to lose face. Anyway, let’s look at the reasons of these scholars.
The Army of God website quotes many bible verses that proclaim children being a gift of God and God multiplies them, God participating in their growth, and God being the controller of a woman’s womb (Genesis 16:10, 22:17, 41:52, Psalms 127:3-4, Jeremiah 30:19, Ezra 36:10-11; Ruth 4:13, 1Samuel 2:20-21, and Luke 1:21-25; Genesis 20:17-18, 29:31-33, 1Samuel 1:6, Genesis 4:1 respectively).
However, there is a bigger reasoning about these verses on Catholic Planet website which can make you laugh even. “……All children are God’s children. God raises them and cares for them, along with their parents. God offers his children eternal life. And so, God rightly requires every husband and wife allow God to have influence over the procreation of their children. Couples who use contraception are attempting to gain over procreation. They seek control over whether or not they have children at all, over when their children will be conceived, how many children they will have, and when they will stop having children”, writes author Ronald L. Conte Jr of the catholic website.
This is not enough; here is his other assumption while trying to explain Ezekiel 18:5.6.9 that will make you laugh too, “The passage says that a man must not approach a woman in her time of impurity meaning when she is menstruating. This is prohibited because, even in ancient, it was known that a woman would not become pregnant if she had relations during her time of impurity. Thus this passage condemns a contraceptive intention. (However, it is moral for catholic spouses to have marital relations during any time in the woman’s cycle)” If he has realized the omnipotence of God or His sovereignty in child birth, I wonder why he doesn’t realize the same God in other life matters and thus stop his personal interference in such matters like health, education, farming, technology, leadership and others. And if God is all-powerful, how come he assumes He can be limited by family planning? That is exactly undermining God’s power. If man lives by God’s word, then why do we eat? The simple answer could be that food is God’s way of sustaining man and thus God is the ultimate life-provider. Then, why can’t this writer use the same approach and understand that family planning and its knowledge is God’s means of controlling birth?
Okay, if children are God’s gift to man, why do we exercise control over other God’s gift to man? If having sex with a woman during menstruation period was a sin then, why not now? And why can’t the answer to this question be the same for why family planning is no longer a sin? (That is, if it was ever a sin). What about the last sentence in brackets? If sexual relations during menstruation are morally right for a catholic couple, couldn’t it be correct for non-catholic couples too? He just reminds of Jehovah Witness guys who don’t believe in blood transfusion. Let’s look at the reasoning of John Piper, an author and owner of Desiring God website. About children being God’s gift, John asserts that a woman is also a gift from God and wonders if it is a sin to stay single (Proverbs 18:22, 1Cor 7:8).
His thoughts on this subject concur with Wayne Grudem who wrote, “It is okay to place less emphasis on some good activities in order to focus on other good activities”. Yeah, because A is a gift from God doesn’t mean we should exercise the power of wisdom and control on such a gift. Their ideas are the same with got question and compelling truth websites and ultimately the same as mine. A story in Genesis 1:28 is talked of where the command to produce children was given alongside that of subduing the world which explains the need to control the size of family for the proper subduing of the world too. Also, while a man was commanded to cultivate the land, it is up to him to know which size of land he can cultivate and manage.
God entrusted man with wisdom and ability to make choices so that God’s gifts can be well-used. The argument that children are God’s gift and thus shouldn’t be tampered with is very fake. When we exercise control over God’s gift, we are not acting above Him, we are working under him as little commanders over life events but He is the over-all signature for whatever we plan. He is the ENTER button of every program we make. On the idea that family planning tries to oppose God in procreation, John Piper looks at it as wrong too. God doesn’t lose control due to human actions. The assumption that we should trust and let things occur naturally without our interference is very barbaric. Why don’t we let God plant and select food for us naturally? If we are sick, why don’t we let God heal us naturally? If we have hair, why don’t we let God determine the size and cut it off for us? You see, this kind of reasoning is very primitive. Man should consciously participate in procreation just as was given the right in Genesis 1:28 and this includes family planning. People who reason like this make assumption that we should let things happen naturally without our interference if we are to show that we trust God to allow what is best for us but this is wrong.
God knows what is best of us and he works through the abilities and knowledge that He gave us to make this come true. If you don’t agree, then why don’t you let everything happen naturally since He knows the best for you? On the idea of trusting God to provide for whatever children we bear, John Piper disagrees too. According to me, this is the most unreasonable way of approaching the question of family planning in religion. If we don’t trust God to provide for us in other areas of life, why should we when it comes to producing children? Actually, does it mean we don’t trust God when we try to estimate how far we can go with some things? Eh, isn’t planning a God’s teaching? The idea that we should produce whatever number of children and trust God to provide for them is not different from Jesus jumping off the pinnacle of the church trusting that God will protect him. Guys, what kind of reasoning is this? Who told you that God is responsible for the street children, those in prisons, uneducated ones, those on empty stomach and the already dead ones due to inadequate care? Remember, it is man’s responsibility to provide for his family not God’s (1 Timothy 5:8).
Like I said before, the Roman Catholic Church was the leader in this condemnation of family planning but as new theology and better reasoning came in, they were ashamed to change their belief. To an extent, they authorized that natural family planning methods were morally okay compared to artificial methods of family planning. This is barbaric too. Whether you use natural or artificial methods of family planning, you are deliberately trying to control child birth and your sin, if it exists, is the same. Both methods aim at preventing conception and having a child or delaying child birth which is the same. To be open, abortion is not right. It is not morally correct to abort and any means of preventing having a child that involves aborting an already formed child are wrong and that should be the point. However, under some medical positions or situations, abortion may be permitted (this has a lot to debate on).
Some argue that it is very indiscipline to have sexual relations with a woman if procreation is not the purpose. This assumption tries to deny the reason for sex which is PLEASURE. Pleasure in making love is not a new word to God. He made those emotions and feelings and provided man with the means to enjoy them. To argue that we should only make love when making babies is fake too and tries to deny God-provided pleasure in a woman or man. Also, if so, then what is the point of having sex during menstruation or with an infertile woman (this reasoning may encourage divorce based on infertility) or after menopause?
Conclusion: Everything we do can turn out a sin or not depending on different situations and motives or intentions. I know people may not understand all that is involved to make something get qualified as a sin or not and that’s why condemnation remains for only God who can understand all the parameters involved. However, it is simple to say that family planning can be a sin basing on so many factors, reasons for it, the people involved and the method used (for example, abortion) and other factors. But this is far from just calling family planning a sin. I repeat, family planning is not a sin and as it is your responsibility to regulate and plan for your life in other life circumstances, it is still your responsibility to plan and regulate your family.
Remember, your activities will never displace God’s control in your life or matters. Whether you have a good motive or a bad one, God still owns control over everything you do including family planning. And your sin will be yours. NB. I have no personal grudges with anyone or institution that I have referred to, I am just stating the truth. And if you follow my writings, you really understand my approaches. So take care.
God bless you. The Complete You Project