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Contraception or Birth control or Family planning is of recent origin. Therefore one cannot find a direct teaching in the Bible on this subject. Considering the general principles of parenthood laid down in the Scriptures, we must evolve guidelines for today's context. God told Adam and Eve to be fruitful and to multiply to fill the earth (Gen 1:28). This was a specific command given to the first couple when the earth was empty! But today several countries like India are overcrowded! Christians like other citizens have a moral responsibility to cooperate with the government to restrict population growth and thus solve the related problems. Christ has taught us to count the cost before "building" a tower or "battling" against an enemy (Lk 14:28-31). Should we not count the cost before "bearing" children also? There are atleast three aspects each couple must consider while deciding on the size of their family— ❶ First, health considerations. The husband should be very considerate towards the health of the wife, the weaker vessel (1 Pet 3:7). For him it is a pleasure, but for her each childbirth is an ordeal (Gen 3:16). The health of most women in modern times is permanently impaired if they bear more than two or three children. Medical advice should be respected. ❷ Next is economical considerations. Majority of us belong to middle or lower income groups. Days are very expensive. More the number of children, less the share for each child (2 Cor 12:14b). Bringing forth children beyond one's means, saying "God will somehow provide," is an act of sheer irresponsibility. ❸ Thirdly, the time considerations. Ours is a busy world. To make both ends meet, the husband as the breadwinner and the wife as the jamwinner have to work so many hours each day, outside and inside home (Prov 31:13,24). Unless both father and mother give sufficient and quality time to each child, they are failing in their parental responsibility (1 Tim 3:4,12; Tit 1:6; 2:4). No doubt children are a heritage from the Lord and are like olive plants all around the table! (Psa 127:3; 128:3). But is the man able to find time to sit leisurely with the children each day around the table? If not, let him not quote the above passage, please! Jesus and Paul spoke of those who voluntarily remain unmarried for the sake of the Kingdom (Mt 19:12; 1 Cor 7:32-35). So also there can be those who voluntarily keep the size of their families small so they can give more time, money and energy to the Kingdom. Why not? One of the passages used against family planning is Genesis 38:8,10. God got angry with Onan not because he emitted on the ground but he failed in his duty of a husband's brother (Dt 25:5-10). Onan played a hypocrite and cheated Tamar and Judah. There are those who are against artificial methods of birth control but do practise natural methods. This is also family planning! Notwithstanding, the latter leads to psychological problems. Still others fight tooth and nail against family planning but become wiser after bearing more! When we thus say that there is nothing in the Scripture against family planning, we don't condone abortion. Once the embryo is formed, it is life. Many sincere believers and preachers hold a different view on family planning than what's presented here. I respect it. Disputes don't edify. Each couple must prayerfully decide what's best for them.
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