Should Christians Have Children in Today’s World?
July 19, 2013
Many Christians today are asking the question: in a society that opposes traditional values, how can we know that God still wants us to have children? In a society where homosexuality, drug use, and rampant fornication with gerbils are forced upon us by the media and fast becoming part and parcel of the American way, is there still any justification for bringing new people into this present-day Sodom and Gomorrah? Would it not be better to refrain from grafting some poor soul into the human centipede of desolate godlessness that is the modern world? Here I will argue that sincere Christians ought rightly to be wary of making new people, due to its potentially detrimental effect on the cosmic sin level.
Usually, to understand what God wants, I telepathically communicate with him personally through prayer. But when this doesn’t work, I, like most Christians, look at Biblical evidence. The most common verse people point to regarding procreation is Genesis 1:28:
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
It is important to note here that we are looking at a blessing, not necessarily a command. And it is a command to only two people. In many other cases in the Bible children are referred to as a blessing, but never as a command.
Now, since it is a blessing, there might be times to forego it. For instance, most of us can admit that wealth is a blessing, but does this mean that the mendicant friars of the middle ages were sinful for not seeking this blessing? Of course, because they were Catholics. But was their mendicancy itself sinful? Maybe not. Contemporary Christians rather tend to understand that charity is sometimes more important than enjoying of blessings, which is why you see so many Christians who have given all to the poor. So saying that children are a blessing basically proves nothing.
Furthermore, children are also presented as a curse in scripture. Eve was cursed with the travail of childbirth. Since they were informed that children were a blessing after this curse, and the Bible is actually a really sophisticated dialogue between the divine and man, we can infer that “blessing” in verse 28 actually means “blessing in disguise”. God was just reminding them that, even though it sucked to have children and they didn’t know anything about birth control, they could still derive some benefits from these children, albeit unstated benefits.
The Bible is not silent about what these benefits are. After Cain and Abel happened, some of these benefits became apparent. Psalm 127: 3-5 elaborates that children can be useful in street brawls:
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
Now, if we wish to use this blessing today, we might want to determine what the chances are of getting in street brawls in the first place, which, it appears (at least for some) is relatively low.
Another purpose to have children is to save women from getting uppity:
Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control. (1 Timothy 2:11-15)
The implication here is that childbirth is a blessing in disguise, because the agony keeps women busy. What is important to note here is that Paul seems to be laying out his own method of keeping women in their place. But there’s more than one way to pimp it for Jesus. To each his own. Furthermore, “saved” here cannot possibly mean saved from eternal damnation, since, as well all know, salvation was already achieved by god sacrificing himself to himself, then ascending in zombie form back to the sky.
To return to the evidence: the clear pattern that is emerging is that children exist for their parents. So having children is basically just a blessing in disguise for us, not the children, and God hasn’t commanded us to have children. He has made them a blessing, since, despite the agony of childbirth, we can use them to defend ourselves from nomads, and as ways to keep women occupied.
As I think I’ve shown to the glory of God, the only justification for us having children would now be that we ourselves find these reasons or other reasons to be sufficient reasons, based on our limited human reason. As we’ve seen, street brawls can sometimes be avoided, and women today can be put in their place in other ways. So to determine if there’s a sufficient reason for having children, we’ll have to go a little deeper in probing the divine mysteries.
How can we ultimately determine what is right or wrong? Perhaps we can simply boil all the rules down to one. One might generalize and say that our ultimate purpose as created beings is to praise God, by increasing the cosmic praise level (the CPL). However, since “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”, we might also say that our first and most important purpose is to avoid sin, or decrease the cosmic sin level (CSL).
In the following discussion I will assume that the second provision is the most important one. Since we must under all circumstances not increase the amount of sin, let’s look at what is most likely to produce the optimal amount of sin, in terms of the CSL. Here is a chart showing the different possibilities, as they relate to begetting:
|Is begotten||Is not begotten|
|Gets saved||goes to heaven (increases CPL)||does not go to heaven (no change in CPL)|
|Never gets saved||goes to hell (increases CSL)||does not go to hell (no change in CSL)|
As you can see, there seem to be four possibilities. If a child is begotten, they may go to heaven, and increase the total amount of praise given to God. If they go to hell, however, we can assume that they will not be praising God, for there will be “wailing and gnashing of teeth”. Presumably, they will be engaging in sin, for God will not be with them in hell. On the other hand, if they are never begotten at all, there will be no change in the total amount of praise the Lord receives, for they will neither end up in heaven nor hell. If they do not go to hell, there will be no increase in the total amount of sin either.
So what should we do? Clearly, if we bring a new person into the world who does glorify God, this action is good. But if we bring a child into the world who does not go to heaven, but is eternally damned, can we really say this outcome is also good? It’s very likely they will end up in hell, where the amount of sin will be increased. Presumably, since God will not be with them in hell, but only the king of darkness, their lips will be filled with vile blasphemy for eternity. Another way of looking at the situation is that, in hell, without God, the damned will have to be sinning. They simply have no other choice. Hell will be at least ten times worse than San Francisco. Thus the CSL will be increased. On the other hand, if we don’t bring them into existence at all, there will be no change in the CSL. And since the punishment will go on for all eternity, we can probably assume that the CSL will continue to increase infinitely—not a happy prospect, if you abhor sin as much as I do.
Consequently it seems evident that we have two choices: one (procreating) may lead to an increase in the CPL, or an increase in the CSL, and another which will lead to no change in the CPL or the CSL.
Should we, as Christians, prioritize the CPL or the CSL? Should we take the risk, a risk that may lead to increasing the level of sin overall, merely to increase the CPL? It seems to me that we might want to prioritize not increasing the cosmic sin level. I would suggest that Christians should be especially wary of this possibility when considering childbearing in the modern age. It seems to me that, lacking a dispositive Biblical injunction, we should try to avoid the possibility of creating new sin.
This is easy enough for those of us who are not pregnant. What should Christians do, then, who are already pregnant? They might pray for a miscarriage, but, as tsunamis demonstrate, sometimes prayer doesn’t really do much. The answer, then, is probably to get an abortion. To get an abortion is considered wrong by most of us, as pursuant the rule expressed in Exodus 21: 22-25:
“When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman’s husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.
But, since there is no elaboration on the reason for this rule, we must assume it is related, like all other aspects of childbirth, to the creation of a blessing for the parents. In no way am I suggesting we should actively stop those who wish to enjoy the hidden blessings of childbirth. However, if the parents choose to avoid this blessing in the pursuit of a higher good, there seems to be no reason they couldn’t. The situation would be similar to someone who gave money to the poor. Perhaps, after all, they can still adopt.
If, however, one argues that this prohibition on abortion is derived from the rule against murder, we must face a hard contradiction. If we really want to prevent abortion, there seems no better way to reduce the total number of abortions than by having one abortion, and preventing a line of descendants which may continue for many millions of years and contain many more abortions than one until Christ returns to pour out his wrath. Indeed, it seems this verse can’t possibly be derived from the prohibition on murder, since childbirth will only create the conditions of more and more people and hence more murder. This is clear evidence that the scripture actually prohibits abortion only when it is not elected by the parents, as they choose not to enjoy the blessing in disguise of children.
I hope I have shown how Christians should perhaps reconsider the dangers of childbirth, in relation to the overall cosmic sin level, and prioritize not increasing the cosmic sin level over increasing the cosmic praise level. I also hope to have shown how the Bible does not command, but merely permits the enjoyment of the hidden blessings of childbirth, which include creating personal defense forces. It is possible that Christians who are persuaded of this argument could elect to have an abortion if they wish to not enjoy the blessing in disguise that is children, but rather to save the universe from more sin. Praise Jesus!