As a Christian, it’s important to understand what the Bible says about birth control. The topic of birth control has been a subject of controversy among Christians for many years, with different opinions and beliefs. While the Bible doesn’t directly address birth control, there are passages that provide insight into the ancient Hebrews’ views on sex and reproduction. Additionally, historical perspectives and contemporary issues surrounding birth control continue to be debated among Christians today.
In this blog post, we’ll explore what the Bible says about birth control, historical perspectives, contemporary issues, and challenges. We’ll examine biblical passages such as Genesis 1:28, Leviticus 15:16-18, Song of Solomon 4:1-16, and 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 to gain a better understanding of what the Bible says about sex and reproduction. We’ll also discuss early Christian views on birth control, the Protestant Reformation, and modern Christian perspectives on birth control.
Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to use birth control should be made in the context of one’s personal beliefs, values, and circumstances. As Christians, it’s important to prayerfully consider our decisions about birth control and seek guidance from God and trusted spiritual advisors. Join us as we delve into this complex and important topic in the context of our faith.
The Bible and Birth Control: What Does it Say?
“Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.'” (NKJV)
The phrase “be fruitful and multiply” is often cited as evidence that birth control is against God’s plan. However, this phrase is not necessarily a command to have as many children as possible. Rather, it is a statement of blessing and a reminder of humanity’s responsibility to care for the earth and all living creatures. As such, the decision to use birth control is a personal one that should be made in consultation with one’s spouse and God.
“If any man has an emission of semen, then he shall wash all his body in water, and be unclean until evening. And any garment and any leather on which there is semen, it shall be washed with water, and be unclean until evening. Also, when a woman lies with a man, and there is an emission of semen, they shall bathe in water, and be unclean until evening.” (NKJV)
This passage describes Old Testament laws on cleanliness after sexual discharge. While these laws are not directly related to birth control, they do provide insight into the ancient Hebrews’ views on sex and reproduction. It’s important to note that the concept of birth control did not exist in biblical times, and so the Bible does not provide explicit guidance on the use of birth control.
Song of Solomon 4:1-16
“How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes behind your veil are doves. Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from the hills of Gilead. Your teeth are like a flock of sheep just shorn, coming up from the washing. Each has its twin; not one of them is alone. Your lips are like a scarlet ribbon; your mouth is lovely. Your temples behind your veil are like the halves of a pomegranate. Your neck is like the tower of David, built with courses of stone; on it hang a thousand shields, all of them shields of warriors.” (NKJV)
The Song of Solomon is a book of the Bible that celebrates the beauty and intimacy of married love. While it doesn’t provide direct guidance on birth control, it does promote a positive view of sex within marriage. This passage, in particular, emphasizes the beauty and desirability of the spouse, which can help foster a healthy and intimate relationship between husband and wife.
1 Corinthians 7:3-5
“Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise, the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” (NKJV)
This passage provides guidance on sexual relations within marriage, emphasizing the importance of mutual respect and consent between spouses. It also stresses the importance of sexual intimacy in marriage and warns against depriving one another of physical affection. While this passage doesn’t explicitly address birth control, it does provide a framework for married couples to discuss their sexual relationship and make decisions about birth control together.
Historical Perspectives on Birth Control
Early Christian views on birth control
Early Christians had mixed views on birth control. Some Church Fathers, such as Clement of Alexandria and Origen, viewed sex within marriage as a means of procreation and discouraged the use of contraception. On the other hand, other Church Fathers, such as Augustine of Hippo, believed that sex within marriage could also serve as a means of intimacy and pleasure and allowed for the use of natural family planning methods.
The Protestant Reformation and birth control
During the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther and John Calvin both held views on birth control that were more permissive than those of the Catholic Church. Luther believed that couples could use contraception if they had a valid reason for doing so, such as preserving the health of the mother or avoiding poverty. Calvin allowed for the use of natural family planning methods but discouraged the use of artificial contraceptives.
Modern Christian perspectives on birth control
Today, different Christian denominations hold different views on birth control. The Catholic Church still maintains its opposition to artificial contraception, while some Protestant denominations, such as the Southern Baptist Convention, discourage the use of artificial contraceptives but allow for natural family planning methods. Other Protestant denominations, such as the United Church of Christ, leave the decision of birth control up to individual couples.
Contemporary Issues and Challenges on Birth Control
Debate on the morality of birth control
The morality of birth control is a contentious issue among Christians. Some argue that the use of artificial contraception goes against God’s plan for procreation and interferes with the natural order of things. Others argue that birth control is a responsible and ethical way to plan one’s family and exercise personal autonomy.
The use of birth control for medical purposes
In addition to its use as a means of family planning, birth control can also be used for medical purposes, such as treating irregular periods or reducing the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer. However, the use of birth control for medical purposes can also raise ethical concerns, particularly for those who view contraception as immoral.
The debate on insurance coverage for birth control
In recent years, there has been a debate over whether insurance should cover the cost of birth control. Some argue that access to birth control is a basic healthcare need and should be covered by insurance, while others argue that it goes against their religious beliefs to provide coverage for contraceptives.
In conclusion, the topic of birth control has been a controversial one among Christians, with varying opinions and beliefs. While the Bible doesn’t directly address birth control, it provides a framework for discussing sexual intimacy within marriage and emphasizes the importance of mutual respect and consent between spouses. Historical perspectives and contemporary issues surrounding birth control continue to be debated among Christians today.
As Christians, it’s important to consider our personal beliefs, values, and circumstances when making decisions about birth control. We must prayerfully seek guidance from God and trusted spiritual advisors to ensure that we are making responsible and ethical decisions. We must also be mindful of the impact of our decisions on our own lives, the lives of our families, and society as a whole.
While there may be disagreements among Christians about the use of birth control, it’s important to remember that our faith is ultimately about love, respect, and responsibility. By keeping these values in mind, we can approach the topic of birth control with sensitivity and compassion, and work towards finding common ground on this important issue.