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    Dave Armstrong
The Bible vs. Contraception: God Opens the Womb and Blesses Parents with Children

The Bible vs. Contraception: God Opens the Womb and Blesses Parents with Children

We can learn a lot from words: especially if we go back to the Latin roots of many of our English words. All Christians are familiar with the notion of God being the Creator. He made all things from nothing (theologians describe this with the wonderful Latin phrase, creatio ex nihilo).

The word procreate has an obvious linguistic and conceptual connection with creation. Mothers and fathers don’t create their children all by themselves, but rather, are vessels used by God, Who has brought all the wonderful processes of reproduction into being. The parent participates in the unspeakable privilege of the creation of a new child and works together with God, as seen often in Scripture. Yet the child’s soul is a supernatural creation from God and has nothing to do with biology.

The problem today, in our massively contraceptive culture, is that we have forgotten that God is Creator and the primary “participant” and Ultimate Cause in procreation as well: the bearing of children, as a function of His Providence, whereby He has a hand in all things, for His eternal purposes; all things working together for good (Rom 8:28), for those who love Him.

Somehow we fallen human beings too often think it is all our doing: when a child is conceived, and nothing of God’s: as if natural processes were all that is involved in children being conceived and born. We’re trained by our secular culture to think in terms of both individual control and the primacy of nature, over against supernature, or grace (insofar as the latter is acknowledged at all).

The Bible takes a far different view, and the phrase “opened her womb” is used in reference to God with regard to both Leah (Gen 29:31; RSV) and Rachel (Gen 30:22). It’s not just a trite observation on the level, say, of a popular greeting card. It’s a profound truth. Real cause and effect is in play. Other passages teach the same thing:

Joshua 24:3-4 Then I took your father Abraham from beyond the River and led him through all the land of Canaan, and made his offspring many. I gave him Isaac; [4] and to Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. . . .

Ruth 4:13 So Bo’az took Ruth and she became his wife; . . . and the LORD gave her conception, and she bore a son.

Moreover, Scripture describes God as the primary creator throughout the process of conception and childbirth: “Thy hands fashioned and made me” (Job 10:8); “Thou didst clothe me with skin and flesh, and knit me together with bones and sinews” (Job 10:11); “In his hand is the life of every living thing” (Job 12:10); “did not one fashion us in the womb?” (Job 31:15); “. . . the LORD who made you, who formed you from the womb . . .” (Is 44:2; cf. 44:24).

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Granted, the parents and natural processes are also causes. But we mustn’t remove God from the equation, or in effect, “tie His hands” when He would will that a child be born, and we “overrule” Him, so to speak. This is the evil in contraception, or what is known as the “contralife will.” When we are open to life, we freely work together with God, His will, and His providence in our lives, for our good, and that of our children.

It doesn’t follow that every Catholic couple must have a dozen children, or as many as humanly possible. The Church allows spacing of children (by means of NFP; not contraception), and limiting of children in circumstances that warrant it. What is not allowed is the deliberate separation of the procreative function of marriage from the unitive function, so that the latter is sought without the intrinsic connection to the former.

God knew what that separation would bring about in society, and we see the sad, tragic fruit of this dangerous point of view all around us. Our task is not just to consistently live out the Catholic “life” ethic, but also to understand the positive (not merely “negative”) underlying reasons for it, and to share them with others.

The many biblical passages about children being a great blessing suggest procreation as the central purpose of marriage (certainly the very opposite of a “contraceptive outlook”):

Genesis 17:16 . . . I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.

Genesis 33:5 . . . “The children whom God has graciously given your servant.”

1 Chronicles 25:5 All these were the sons of Heman the king’s seer, according to the promise of God to exalt him; for God had given Heman fourteen sons and three daughters.

Psalm 127:3-5 Lo, sons are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. [4] Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons of one’s youth. [5] Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them! . . .

We ignore God’s inspired Word and the godly counsel of Holy Mother Church at our peril. The God Who created us knows what will make us joyful, fulfilled, and at peace, as His disciples. God the Father knows best!

 

Read Part 1 Here: The Bible vs. Contraception: “Be Fruitful and Multiply”

Dave Armstrong Biblical Catholicism

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About Dave Armstrong

Dave Armstrong
A full-time Catholic apologist since 2001, Dave was received into the Church in 1991. Since February 1997, he has blogged over 2,500 times. Dave is happily married to Judy since 1984, and their four children have all been homeschooled. BiblicalCatholicism.com | Meet Dave
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