Series 2: Is it biblical for Christians to use birth control?
As scripture must always be the final authority we turn to in matters of Christian living, we must begin by pointing out that nowhere is this issue directly mentioned or dealt with in the bible. Some people like to point to the drama between Tamar and Onan in Genesis 38:8-10 as a blueprint of God’s views on birth control. 8 Then Judah said to Onan, “Sleep with your brother’s wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to raise up offspring for your brother.” 9 But Onan knew that the child would not be his; so whenever he slept with his brother’s wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from providing offspring for his brother. 10 What he did was wicked in the LORD’s sight; so the LORD put him to death also.
However, on closer inspection, it is difficult to conclude that God’s issue with Onan here was indeed birth control. In studying the context, God’s anger was probably kindled by the breaking of His law as provided in Deuteronomy 25:5, If brothers are living together and one of them dies without a son, his widow must not marry outside the family. Her husband’s brother shall take her and marry her and fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to her. Onan was denying Tamar and directly rebelling against God’s law. This wasn’t an issue of birth control.
However, the bible is explicit in saying that we should not commit murder. Every life is precious to God and He alone reserves the right to end it. That said, is it then sinful to use abortifaecient medications? If a fertilised egg is deliberately being put to death by the effects of one’s medication then is that breaking God’s law or not?
With an increasingly difficult economic climate, it would be foolish to not plan out one’s family size with wisdom. The bible says in 1 Timothy 5:8, ‘Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever’. There is wisdom in family planning but ultimately, we must do so with reverence to God’s sovereignty on the matter.
I guess the onus is on us to research birth control methods and ensure they are within the boundaries that God permits. Romans 14:23b says …everything that does not come from faith is sin. If you are not convinced within yourself that your choice of birth control is pleasing to God then it would be advisable to prayerfully reconsider your options and seek wise counsel on the matter. Please share your views on this matter.
- Why God Killed Onan (tenchaptersaday.wordpress.com)