Research indicates "morning-after" pills are non-abortive

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SharperIron's picture
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Research indicates "morning-after" pills are non-abortive

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“Because they block creation of fertilized eggs, they would not meet abortion opponents’ definition of abortion-inducing drugs. “

Kevin Subra's picture
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That's a Relief

We have to prevent those blessings from happening somehow... (Yes, said very sarcastically).

We as Christians spend so much time trying to talk ourselves out of children, and as much time trying to justify preventing them, all the while making sure we say they are God's gifts, etc. If children are truly a blessing, and they are God's heritage, and "happy is the man that has his quiver full of them," then why the extensive efforts to circumvent all of this? We voice one thing, but pursue the opposite. Either children are a blessing, and are to be received, or they are not, and need to be prevented. You can't really land on both sides of this fence.

Though I don't agree wholly with Al Mohler (I'm even more conservative than he is on this issue), he did a re-post on this yesterday. http://www.albertmohler.com/2012/06/05/can-christians-use-birth-control-4/

[Steps down from soap box. ]

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
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http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

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Quote: Either children are a

Quote:
Either children are a blessing, and are to be received, or they are not, and need to be prevented. You can't really land on both sides of this fence.
Not to enter the birth control debate, but aren't there a lot of blessings that we are not required to pursue fully? What happens if, in the place of "children," we substitute food, wine, air, sunlight, sleep, work, etc.? I think the idea falls apart pretty quickly. The fact that something is a blessing does not mean that it cannot legitimately be limited for various reasons.

So I think you have created a false dichotomy. We can both receive children as a blessing and at the same time not have as many as possible.

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Then there

are those of us who are childless. Not by choice, but by the Providence of God. Are we somehow less blessed?

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

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Why Not Just "As God Gives?"

Larry wrote:
Not to enter the birth control debate, but aren't there a lot of blessings that we are not required to pursue fully? What happens if, in the place of "children," we substitute food, wine, air, sunlight, sleep, work, etc.? I think the idea falls apart pretty quickly. The fact that something is a blessing does not mean that it cannot legitimately be limited for various reasons.

I think you set up a false argument. I'm not talking about being required to "pursue fully" as if we do absolutely everything we can (fertility drugs?) to get as many children as we can. I simply suggest accepting what God chooses to give as opposed to actively seeking to prevent it. With your analogies, we seem to continue eating, breathing, sleeping, and working, and don't seek to cease doing any of those "for various reasons" do we?

Larry wrote:
So I think you have created a false dichotomy. We can both receive children as a blessing and at the same time not have as many as possible.

Again, it's not an argument of "as many as possible." It is an argument of recognizing children as blessings from God (which should then be received) or not blessings from God (curses?). Are children from God? If so, why would we turn them down?

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
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http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

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When It's Our Choice, Not God's Choice

Rob Fall wrote:
are those of us who are childless. Not by choice, but by the Providence of God. Are we somehow less blessed?

I believe you answer your own question, Rob. "by the Providence of God." I believe that this is outside of my point. I'm discussing actively rejecting God's gifts of children.

The Bible does recognize the pain and emptiness of the barren womb...

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

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Quote:With your analogies,

Quote:
With your analogies, we seem to continue eating, breathing, sleeping, and working, and don't seek to cease doing any of those "for various reasons" do we?
Uh, yes. Or at least we should. We should quit eating so we don't sin in gluttony. We should quit sleeping so we don't sin in laziness. We should quit working so we don't sin in overwork, neglect of family, pursuit of materialism, etc. We should pursue fitness and health which will regulate our breathing.

Quote:
So I think you have created a false dichotomy.
I think you created the false dichotomy with your statement that "Either children are a blessing, and are to be received, or they are not, and need to be prevented." The fact is that we can both receive them as a blessing and at times prevent conception for various reasons that are perfectly acceptable.

Quote:
We can both receive children as a blessing and at the same time not have as many as possible.
Exactly my point. But not having as many as possible means taking some sort of steps to "turn them down" (to use your words which I totally reject).

Quote:
It is an argument of recognizing children as blessings from God (which should then be received) or not blessings from God (curses?). Are children from God? If so, why would we turn them down?
I think "turning them down" is a rather strange way to put it. Preventing conception is not the same as "turning them down."

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Still a false dichotomy

Quote:
With your analogies, we seem to continue eating, breathing, sleeping, and working, and don't seek to cease doing any of those "for various reasons" do we?

By that logic, it'd be wrong to eat/drink diet food/drinks so that you can enjoy them without gaining weight.

Limiting/planning the gift is definitionally not the same thing as not treasuring the gift.

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What's Our Starting Point?

If our starting point is to ask, "Does Scripture forbid birth control?" we won't find a direct prohibition in Scripture. We will work hard to find a prohibition in principle.

If our starting point is to ask, "Does God tell us to use birth control?" we won't find a direct endorsement in Scripture. We might, in some cases, find that principles of stewardship or other principles, might support such a decision.

If our starting point is to ask, "What does the entire tone of Scripture tell us about the heart of God on this matter?" we'll be very hesitant to use birth control outside of perhaps medical necessity or very severe financial hardship.

Until the last 40-50 years, Christians were virtually unanimous in opposing birth control. It's hard for me to see that we're really a lot more spiritually discerning now than we were down through the centuries.

Anne Sokol's picture
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erm,

I think people need to be really careful here, about what we accept as truth about hormonal contraceptives. Because, bottom line, you probably can't know if they're causing abortions or not.

So, I had to ask myself, am I willing to risk causing an abortion?

No.

Kevin Subra's picture
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I Eat Every Day...

Larry wrote:
Uh, yes. Or at least we should. We should quit eating so we don't sin in gluttony. We should quit sleeping so we don't sin in laziness. We should quit working so we don't sin in overwork, neglect of family, pursuit of materialism, etc. We should pursue fitness and health which will regulate our breathing.
Larry, we don't quit eating, breathing, etc. We might stop at any given meal, but we eat every day, and breathe all the time. We sleep every night. Babies aren't meals or breaths. You miss the essence of my argument. (We don't quit intimacy, either, I'm guessing...)

Larry wrote:
I think you created the false dichotomy with your statement that "Either children are a blessing, and are to be received, or they are not, and need to be prevented." The fact is that we can both receive them as a blessing and at times prevent conception for various reasons that are perfectly acceptable.
I would be interested in your Scriptural evidence for the "various reasons that are perfectly acceptable," please. When does preventing conception become perfectly acceptable? (And I'm not saying there is never a reason, but such reasons are few and far between, and are mandated by other commands or principles.)

Larry wrote:
But not having as many as possible means taking some sort of steps to "turn them down" (to use your words which I totally reject).
You argue (as many do) that the opposite of conception control is "having as many as possible," which is not my argument and smacks of the other extreme. I argue that, since God gives children, that we should take them as He chooses to give them in the course of life, as the result of intimacy. Also, I'm not sure how else you would put "turn them down," as that is what conception control is - refusing what God would normally give. What would be your description or phrase?

Thanks for the discussion.

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

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Children vs. Diet Coke

jcoleman wrote:
Quote:
With your analogies, we seem to continue eating, breathing, sleeping, and working, and don't seek to cease doing any of those "for various reasons" do we?

By that logic, it'd be wrong to eat/drink diet food/drinks so that you can enjoy them without gaining weight.

Limiting/planning the gift is definitionally not the same thing as not treasuring the gift.

My friend, food and drink are commodities, not eternal souls as children are (!). We do not consume children, we bear them as God's gifts. I do see that we are talking about the same thing when you are thinking pounds vs. souls.

We continue to do all the things I mentioned each and every day with whatever consequences that result (diet or otherwise). Why not the same with intimacy (which we enjoy).

Thanks for the discussion.

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

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Agree

Anne Sokol wrote:
I think people need to be really careful here, about what we accept as truth about hormonal contraceptives. Because, bottom line, you probably can't know if they're causing abortions or not.

So, I had to ask myself, am I willing to risk causing an abortion?

No.

I agree, though the method of conception control / birth control is a huge discussion, I am even talking about the pursuit of not having children, whatever the means.

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

J Ng's picture
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JG wrote: Until the last

JG wrote:
Until the last 40-50 years, Christians were virtually unanimous in opposing birth control. It's hard for me to see that we're really a lot more spiritually discerning now than we were down through the centuries.

I don't know about that. My Christian Ethics professor in college told me quite the opposite, that the classic Protestant position is open to birth control (as opposed to the Romish one).

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Kevin Subra wrote: jcoleman

Kevin Subra wrote:
jcoleman wrote:
Quote:
With your analogies, we seem to continue eating, breathing, sleeping, and working, and don't seek to cease doing any of those "for various reasons" do we?

By that logic, it'd be wrong to eat/drink diet food/drinks so that you can enjoy them without gaining weight.

Limiting/planning the gift is definitionally not the same thing as not treasuring the gift.

My friend, food and drink are commodities, not eternal souls as children are (!). We do not consume children, we bear them as God's gifts. I do see that we are talking about the same thing when you are thinking pounds vs. souls.

We continue to do all the things I mentioned each and every day with whatever consequences that result (diet or otherwise). Why not the same with intimacy (which we enjoy).

Thanks for the discussion.


I think we ought to distinguish between children, who do have eternal souls, and an unfertilized egg and sperm, which do not.
Preventing potential fertilization, which is never guaranteed, is not the same as destroying the fertilized ovum. Taking steps to minimize the likelihood of the egg and sperm ever meeting does not constitute the rejection of a blessed child from God.

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J Ng wrote: JG wrote: Until

J Ng wrote:
JG wrote:
Until the last 40-50 years, Christians were virtually unanimous in opposing birth control. It's hard for me to see that we're really a lot more spiritually discerning now than we were down through the centuries.

I don't know about that. My Christian Ethics professor in college told me quite the opposite, that the classic Protestant position is open to birth control (as opposed to the Romish one).


Did he actually cite any "classic Protestants" who held that view? Calvin, Luther, and Spurgeon, to name three, were unalterably opposed.

Why was it still illegal in at least parts of America, even for married couples, until the mid-twentieth century, if the majority Protestants saw nothing wrong with it? It wasn't just that people spoke against it as a moral failing, it was actually illegal in Connecticut and other places until 1965.

Your professor may have been citing the "standard" Protestant position that most hold today, but it's a major stretch to call it the classic position. Provan claims he could find no one before 1900 that accepted it.

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fertility

i don't know. i think this is such a personal topic that it's hard to write about it. The Catholics have quite extended and thoughtful discussions about it, like in their excellent book by the Kippleys, The Art of Natural Family Planning. They discuss Biblical principles like generosity and prudence in regards to this question.

Kevin Subra wrote:
I simply suggest accepting what God chooses to give as opposed to actively seeking to prevent it.
Well, don't answer this b/c I'm not looking for personal info, but does not having s`x when a wife is fertile and she doesn't desire to get pg at that time (for whatever reasons)--does that count as "actively seeking to prevent" children? . . . . I think it can be a complex question . . . and it probably should be a complex question because we are humans made in God's image and not animals living by instinct, for one thing.

Kevin Subra wrote:
Again, it's not an argument of "as many as possible." It is an argument of recognizing children as blessings from God (which should then be received) or not blessings from God (curses?). Are children from God? If so, why would we turn them down?
Technically, the Bible doesn't ever call children blessings, though they are said to be a heritage from God. . . . . Children are God-given, but so are faith and logic. And when we walk with Him, I think He does influence or control our desires for children.

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Kevin Subra wrote: I argue

Kevin Subra wrote:
I argue that, since God gives children, that we should take them as He chooses to give them in the course of life, as the result of intimacy. Also, I'm not sure how else you would put "turn them down," as that is what conception control is - refusing what God would normally give.
BOLD ADDED
Kevin,

would you make the bolded argument across the board in life? We believe God is sovereign over all things. Do you take the illness that come along without fighting them, since they are sent by God and used by Him (remember Paul's infirmity)? I am on dialysis for kidney failure. Perhaps I turned down God's intentions three years ago when I was diagnosed by seeking treatment to prevent my death at that time.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

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JG wrote: Did he actually

JG wrote:

Did he actually cite any "classic Protestants" who held that view? Calvin, Luther, and Spurgeon, to name three, were unalterably opposed.

Why was it still illegal in at least parts of America, even for married couples, until the mid-twentieth century, if the majority Protestants saw nothing wrong with it? It wasn't just that people spoke against it as a moral failing, it was actually illegal in Connecticut and other places until 1965.

Your professor may have been citing the "standard" Protestant position that most hold today, but it's a major stretch to call it the classic position. Provan claims he could find no one before 1900 that accepted it.

No, as undergrads we weren't in a position to question Biggrin

However, you may be right that the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protestant_views_on_birth_control#Protestan... ] first generation of Reformers didn't differ from the Romish position on this issue; nor did they on Perpetual Virginity and other stuff.

Yet the first generation doth not a classic, historical position make.

I think my prof's argument was that over time, from the 16th century, the Protestant view has diverged from the Romish one on this issue (as it has on several others), which isn't surprising given our different basis of faith and practice.

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catholics

J Ng wrote:
I think my prof's argument was that over time, from the 16th century, the Protestant view has diverged from the Romish one on this issue (as it has on several others), which isn't surprising given our different basis of faith and practice.

Well, if you haven't read their literature, catholics don't actually support the idea of "no family planning." Like their Couple-to-Couple League and stuff. They do a lot to teach natural family planning, so they are not anti-family-planning. They are just careful about what methods they use/promote. We all should be so thoughtful in this area, too.

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side note?

A few weeks ago, my pastor preached/taught an overview message on Song of Solomon. Among his points (supported by commentators) was that one implication of the book's celebration of the physical relationship between man and wife is that relationship may rightly be considered an end in itself and need not always be approached with procreation in view or even as a possibility in any given instance. An inductive conclusion rather than an exegetical one, but interesting (and germane, I hope) nonetheless.

Additionally, since Psalm 127 doesn't tell us when a quiver is full, I think such a conclusion is a wisdom issue to be solemnly decided by husband and wife based on several principals, including stewardship, etc.

Might not "subduing the earth" include managing one's own reproduction?

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I'm Stumped

pvawter wrote:
I think we ought to distinguish between children, who do have eternal souls, and an unfertilized egg and sperm, which do not.
Preventing potential fertilization, which is never guaranteed, is not the same as destroying the fertilized ovum. Taking steps to minimize the likelihood of the egg and sperm ever meeting does not constitute the rejection of a blessed child from God.
I cannot follow your logic. Why would you seek to prevent (reject) the "meeting" of the egg and sperm if not to prevent the conception of a child? What other reason would there be? If God, from the very beginning, makes a male and a female (their distinctions are primarily reproductive), and commands them to be fruitful and multiply via the mechanism (and blessing) of intimacy, why would we work to prevent what God has designed to happen as normal result of this? If it is a good thing ("and God blessed them and said,..."), I still go back to my original post and ask why we are so bent on keeping that from happening?

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

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Elephant in the Room Topic (for Evangelicals)

Anne Sokol wrote:
i don't know. i think this is such a personal topic that it's hard to write about it. The Catholics have quite extended and thoughtful discussions about it, like in their excellent book by the Kippleys, The Art of Natural Family Planning. They discuss Biblical principles like generosity and prudence in regards to this question.
I would have to disagree. The very first chapter of the Bible addresses this (!). It is the "elephant in the room" that everyone ignores. The Bible does indicate that marriage IS primarily for raising families (homos*exual marriage is justified if marriage just for friendship and companionship). The very premise of male/female IS to produce and raise children (as a normal part of life). The whole conception issue is the forgotten doctrine which affects our understanding of marriage, gender, gender roles, and which affects how we "do" church, work, and government.

Anne Sokol wrote:
Kevin Subra wrote:
I simply suggest accepting what God chooses to give as opposed to actively seeking to prevent it.
Well, don't answer this b/c I'm not looking for personal info, but does not having s`x when a wife is fertile and she doesn't desire to get pg at that time (for whatever reasons)--does that count as "actively seeking to prevent" children? . . . . I think it can be a complex question . . . and it probably should be a complex question because we are humans made in God's image and not animals living by instinct, for one thing.
I would say that the Bible does not give "not wanting to be pg" as a reason not to be intimate or a reason not to have children. That's why I believe God's hand in this is the key - we can trust God to make better decisions than we can. I don't think it is a complex question (dictated by our reasons, excuses, circumstances, culture, etc.). I think it is a theological one, and one that the Bible addresses rather clearly and matter-of-factly.

Anne Sokol wrote:
Kevin Subra wrote:
Again, it's not an argument of "as many as possible." It is an argument of recognizing children as blessings from God (which should then be received) or not blessings from God (curses?). Are children from God? If so, why would we turn them down?
Technically, the Bible doesn't ever call children blessings, though they are said to be a heritage from God. . . . .
The ability and responsibility to be fruitful is a blessing (Gen 1:28). The promise of having many children is seen as a blessing in many passages throughout the Bible (Gen 17:16,20; 22:17, for a few examples). The promise of God to people that they would have many children was seen as something good and beneficial (a blessing), not something to prevent and be feared.

As you mention in your reply, many children (in one family) are seen as a good thing (a heritage, which is usually determined by the giver, not the receiver) in Psalm 127. Also, in Psalm 128, the godly man is considered to be blessed if his wife is fruitful with children "all around" his table (Ps 128:3-4). I'm not sure what it takes to identify children as a blessing if these don't, but I think the idea is clear conceptually throughout Scripture nonetheless. (Are you arguing that children are NOT blessings from God?)

God's promise to Abraham in Gen 15:5 assumes God's allowing Abraham's descendents to bear many children, and also assumes God's hand in that (direct involvement) to fulfill such a promise. (By the way, Abraham's faith, the content of God's promise, was directly related to God's promise regarding promised prolific conception.)

Anne Sokol wrote:
Children are God-given, but so are faith and logic. And when we walk with Him, I think He does influence or control our desires for children.
Is not our faith based upon the revelation of God (not our own judgment)? Is not our logic flawed with a deceitful heart (Jer 17:9), and only corrected through the revelation of God (Prov 3:5-6)? I think neither can trump the revelation of God, or bypass it.

The Bible doe not discuss this "faith and logic" view of conception (control), which is interesting. It seems to rest our faith on God's giving, rather than our determining. It does bring up some interesting ideas regarding the involvement of God in conception. Here are a few:

  • Gen 3:1 - 1 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the Lord.”
  • Gen 30:1-2 - Now when Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister, and said to Jacob, “Give me children, or else I die!” And Jacob's anger was aroused against Rachel, and he said, “Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?”
  • Ruth 4:13 - So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife; and when he went in to her, the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son.

I would echo someone else's post here. The Bible's overriding theme regarding children is that they are gifts from God to be expected and received as normal result of marital intimacy as God chooses. There is no theme of preventing for based upon our faith, our logic, or our stewardship.

In the end, my point still remains, that we seek to prevent, rather than receive, God's gifts of children, which is foreign to Scripture, and in contrast to God's creative design.

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

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Conception Is Not a Disease

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:
Kevin Subra wrote:
I argue that, since God gives children, that we should take them as He chooses to give them in the course of life, as the result of intimacy. Also, I'm not sure how else you would put "turn them down," as that is what conception control is - refusing what God would normally give.
BOLD ADDED
Kevin,

would you make the bolded argument across the board in life? We believe God is sovereign over all things. Do you take the illness that come along without fighting them, since they are sent by God and used by Him (remember Paul's infirmity)? I am on dialysis for kidney failure. Perhaps I turned down God's intentions three years ago when I was diagnosed by seeking treatment to prevent my death at that time.

Good question, Chip. This concept of medical treatment comes up often in the discussion of conception, but usually in a hypothetical realm. I first want say that I have first paused and prayed for God's grace, strength, and provision for you in your dialysis. May God continue to grow you close to him.

To respond to your question, I do not think that this is comparing apples to apples. My comments need to be taken in the context in which they are presented. Preventing life and preventing death are two separate issues, and are covered under different commands and principles. Treatment of a disease (or a result of a disease) is not the same as preventing pregnancy (which is NOT a disease). Seeking to prevent what God would give as far as conception goes is not in the same category as seeking medical assistance to heal or repair.

I am glad you are on dialysis. I am glad you are alive. I am glad we can have this discussion.

May God's strength uphold you, Chip.

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

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Warrior's Arrows

DavidO wrote:
A few weeks ago, my pastor preached/taught an overview message on Song of Solomon. Among his points (supported by commentators) was that one implication of the book's celebration of the physical relationship between man and wife is that relationship may rightly be considered an end in itself and need not always be approached with procreation in view or even as a possibility in any given instance. An inductive conclusion rather than an exegetical one, but interesting (and germane, I hope) nonetheless.
I would say that there is no indication in Scripture that the physical relationship requires conception, but equally the physical relationship is designed primarily to be reproductive (Gen 1:28). The purpose of the physical relationship is not replace by the pleasure of the physical relationship. It is simply enhanced by it. Whether the possibility exists (fertility), the purpose and command is to allow it to result in conception, rather than taking steps to prevent it. The latter is foreign to Scripture. (I would argue that our abandonment of the primary purpose in marriage is the reason why the same-s*x marriage issue exists, and the gender confusion is rampant. Reject the blessing of many children in marriage - if God gives them - and this is what results. Cultural confusion, church confusion, etc.)

DavidO wrote:
Additionally, since Psalm 127 doesn't tell us when a quiver is full, I think such a conclusion is a wisdom issue to be solemnly decided by husband and wife based on several principals, including stewardship, etc.
I hear this often. However, the quiver IS presented in the context of a warrior ("as arrows are in the hand of a warrior" NKJV). I doubt of a warrior would be heading to battle with 1 or 2 arrows! I'm not sure about you, but if I'm a warrior with arrows going into war, I'd just as soon pack that quiver full. The more arrows (children), the more impact on the enemies in the gate (Ps 127:4). It does not hint at "stewardship" at all, unless it is having many. :>D

DavidO wrote:
Might not "subduing the earth" include managing one's own reproduction?
I think it requires the opposite. It takes "being fruitful, multiplying, and filling the earth" to have dominion over the earth and to be able to subdue it. "Managing one's own reproduction" is a concept foreign to Scripture.

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

J Ng's picture
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recreational

I guess the arguments boil down somewhat to the question of whether we're permitted to enjoy things that don't fulfill their "primary function," whether it be procreation or nourishment or house raising.

Some among us have no qualms about using their God-given ivories to chew and suck upon calorie-free gum, which gives little if any nourishment to the body.

Yet is it at all possible to enjoy the taste (dare I say, artificially flavoured) per se to the glory of God?

And, for those able to make a further connection, is it possible to enjoy sexual intimacy and/or its physical pleasures per se to the glory of God without its "primary function" of procreation?

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Permitted?

I think that it goes without saying that we can enjoy sexual intimacy without producing children. Most such pleasure doesn't produce children. The question is whether we should seek to enjoy such pleasures rejecting the primary purpose by actively seeking to prevent what God intends to be the designed outcome. How can we glorify God and seek to circumvent His design? It would be akin to sitting in your car without going anywhere. You can enjoy sitting there, but it certainly misses the point. I still look, too, for clear Biblical justification to depart from God's design without undermining marriage and gender altogether (with the logical conclusions which follow such a view).

And there is nothing artificial about God's design, so the analogy doesn't really work. (I won't get into the benefits of chewing gum, etc.)

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

J Ng's picture
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Kevin Subra wrote: I think

Kevin Subra wrote:
I think that it goes without saying that we can enjoy sexual intimacy without producing children. Most such pleasure doesn't produce children. The question is whether we should seek to enjoy such pleasures rejecting the primary purpose by actively seeking to prevent what God intends to be the designed outcome. How can we glorify God and seek to circumvent His design? It would be akin to sitting in your car without going anywhere. You can enjoy sitting there, but it certainly misses the point.

Actually, that's an excellent illustration--I should've thought of it!

There have been summer afternoons when I've enjoyed sitting behind the tinted windows of my minivan to simply chill by myself all quiet and all--going nowhere.

Is it at all possible I might have glorified the Lord while departing from Toyota's design altogether?

I mean, if we change the illustration to something other than the combative issue of contraception, could we get closer to an understanding of Christian liberty?

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Design

J Ng wrote:
Actually, that's an excellent illustration--I should've thought of it!

There have been summer afternoons when I've enjoyed sitting behind the tinted windows of my minivan to simply chill by myself all quiet and all--going nowhere.

Is it at all possible I might have glorified the Lord while departing from Toyota's design altogether?

I mean, if we change the illustration to something other than the combative issue of contraception, could we get closer to an understanding of Christian liberty?


God and the Toyota designer are different. Toyota probably doesn't care how you use their vehicles, as long as you buy them. I would suggest, though, that my the illustration still stands - you can derive pleasure from your car, but you wouldn't buy your car just to stay cool. Your primary purpose is to use it for transportation, and sitting in it doesn't violate or remove that purpose, or reject that purpose. The illustration would probably be more real if you removed the wheels and axles... ;>D

Now if God gave us cars to drive, and we sat in them just to stay cool, you'd hit it on the button.

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

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Is it just me, or does anyone

Is it just me, or does anyone else think--if all of life, including its intimate details, is in some way corporate worship and testimony (Eph. 3)--the question of Regulative vs the Normative Principle comes into play here?

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Kevin Subra wrote: pvawter

Kevin Subra wrote:
pvawter wrote:
I think we ought to distinguish between children, who do have eternal souls, and an unfertilized egg and sperm, which do not.
Preventing potential fertilization, which is never guaranteed, is not the same as destroying the fertilized ovum. Taking steps to minimize the likelihood of the egg and sperm ever meeting does not constitute the rejection of a blessed child from God.
I cannot follow your logic. Why would you seek to prevent (reject) the "meeting" of the egg and sperm if not to prevent the conception of a child? What other reason would there be? If God, from the very beginning, makes a male and a female (their distinctions are primarily reproductive), and commands them to be fruitful and multiply via the mechanism (and blessing) of intimacy, why would we work to prevent what God has designed to happen as normal result of this? If it is a good thing ("and God blessed them and said,..."), I still go back to my original post and ask why we are so bent on keeping that from happening?

You were arguing that there is a fundamental difference between children and diet coke, and that is certainly true. The flaw in your argument is that having sexual intimacy which doesn't lead to conception has nothing to do with rejecting a child from God. If there is no conception there is no child, so the analogy of eating or drinking for pleasure's sake is valid.
The prohibition of birth control on the grounds that it is tantamount to rejecting a gift from God only applies if said birth control actually destroys a child in the womb, i.e. an abortificant.

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Baptist Distinctive #5

The fifth Baptist distinctive is individual soul liberty. I believe this issue falls into that category. My wife comes from a large family (11 children) and we have 4 children (4 and under). Sadly we have seen that the ignorance of individual soul liberty in areas of non-abortive family planning can go both ways. Some people are very judgmental of large families and others are quite judgmental of those who do not have large families. When people are constantly questioning your family size, it is easy to get quite defensive- especially when the outcome is the result of an admirable trust in God.

On the other hand, we must be careful about judging decisions others have made from a stewardship standpoint. For example, my wife's cousin was facing some very serious health problems related to her multiple pregnancies. (she just had twins and they now have 12 children). Please do not misunderstand what I am saying- I am not suggesting that every woman will have health problems because of multiple births- but this mother did. Each couple will have to make a decision before God as to whether it is good stewardship before God to continue to have more children and risk having the children they already have lose their mother or whether to stop having children.

I recently tried to figure out how many arrows a quiver held. There is not one answer. A warrior on foot would typically carry a different amount of arrows than one on horseback. The point is that not all of us have the same size quivers. Let us be careful not to judge someone whose quiver is already full nor discourage someone from continuing to fill their quiver. I have also heard of families who have refilled their quiver (They have more children after the older children have grown), but I would not insist that others had to do it that way.

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Still Have to Disagree

pvawter wrote:
You were arguing that there is a fundamental difference between children and diet coke, and that is certainly true. The flaw in your argument is that having sexual intimacy which doesn't lead to conception has nothing to do with rejecting a child from God. If there is no conception there is no child, so the analogy of eating or drinking for pleasure's sake is valid.
The prohibition of birth control on the grounds that it is tantamount to rejecting a gift from God only applies if said birth control actually destroys a child in the womb, i.e. an abortificant.

I still have to disagree. I have already stated that sexual intimacy does bring pleasure, and it most often does not result in pregancy. However, doing so without allowing God to gift us with children if He would desire is indeed seeking to circumvent the primary reason for gender and sexual intimacy. It goes against what God has revealed about Hiimself, His involvement with conception, and His statements about children. It is not a matter of enjoyment (that's a given). It's a matter of not wanting children that God would otherwise give. It has nothing to do with whether there is conception or not (that's another argument). It's a matter of seeking to prevent what God says is good.

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

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Applying Individual Soul Liberty

JD Miller wrote:
The fifth Baptist distinctive is individual soul liberty. I believe this issue falls into that category.
I understand that we all answer to God, and that ultimately what we are accountable to God for what we believe, and that we will give an answer to Him for every choice. There is no argument from me here.

Where I do find it interesting is what we have come to consider "matters of conscience" as opposed to essential core doctrines. We consider the trinity as one such core, and yet the doctrine of the trinity has to be developed through a collection and construction of passages throughout the Bible. (For the record, I am fully trinitarian.) However, something as clearly stated in Scripture regarding such things as the commands to married couples in the very first chapter of the Bible are considered "gray areas." Who decides what is essential, and who decides what is what is non-essential. I think that the Church has missed the Big Boat on this one, and it has resulted in confusion of marriage, s*xuality, gender identity, and our view of children. That's downright essential to culture, the Church, the family, and every area of life.

I believe that a proper view of marriage and gender are essentials, and they are worthy of discussion. I also believe that we have a tendency to argue with culture, not Scripture, and, as I stated earlier in this interaction, we ignore the Elephant in the Room. The church embraces what culture has taught, and largely ignores teaching on this, and even more so, discussing it.

Individual soul liberty is based upon differing understandings of Scripture in gray areas. I personally don't think this qualifies as a gray area. Individual soul liberty does not give us the right to reject things that we do not want to believe. It gives us the responsiblity to believe once we've studied, understood, and still find ourselves at odds with others.

JD Miller wrote:
My wife comes from a large family (11 children) and we have 4 children (4 and under). Sadly we have seen that the ignorance of individual soul liberty in areas of non-abortive family planning can go both ways. Some people are very judgmental of large families and others are quite judgmental of those who do not have large families. When people are constantly questioning your family size, it is easy to get quite defensive- especially when the outcome is the result of an admirable trust in God.
It is true that people just in both directions. I believe that this is a result of bad teaching (you wouldn't believe what I was taught in Bible college...), and the Church's embracing of the world's views rathering that holding to what the Bible says. It is from both a lack of Biblical teaching and a result of outright erroneous teaching that has brought us to this point.

JD Miller wrote:
On the other hand, we must be careful about judging decisions others have made from a stewardship standpoint. For example, my wife's cousin was facing some very serious health problems related to her multiple pregnancies. (she just had twins and they now have 12 children). Please do not misunderstand what I am saying- I am not suggesting that every woman will have health problems because of multiple births- but this mother did. Each couple will have to make a decision before God as to whether it is good stewardship before God to continue to have more children and risk having the children they already have lose their mother or whether to stop having children.
I find that this argument is often put forth. I don't think it to be part of the larger discussion, but as I've mentioned earlier, it is still a fair issue. First, I don't see the issue of "stewardship" as being the Biblical point here. Stewardship is often used as the excuse for not having children (I'll not present my arguments here for the sake of focus), which I do not find anywhere in Scripture (regarding not having children). If the issue is truly the life of the mother, then I think other principles apply. Most do not face this, and it is a straw man argument used to validate all arguments. (By the way, we've personally been there in that situation, so I'm not arguing from theory only. It has been the faith and understanding that any pregnancy has potential dangers that my wife has researched that has allowed us the privilege of having the children God gave us.) For the most part, people run from God's gifts, and use many arguments to do so.

JD Miller wrote:
I recently tried to figure out how many arrows a quiver held. There is not one answer. A warrior on foot would typically carry a different amount of arrows than one on horseback. The point is that not all of us have the same size quivers. ... Let uss be careful not to judge someone whose quiver is already full nor discourage someone from continuing to fill their quiver. ...
If God is the Giver, who is to say that his/her quiver is full? I hope that is a fair question. I don't think anyone could argue that some will end up with no children, and others will end up with many. The issue is whether we decide or whether God decides. It seems evident that God commands, expects, and privileges us with children throughout Scripture.

If I were to proclaim modalistic view of the trinity, I would be condemned without the privilege of calling you judgmental. However, when I hold to something and express my disdain at the fact that the church avoids most discussion on this, we are quick to call them judgmental. I think this to be inconsistent when considering this topic.

I believe this to be an issue of theology (God's sovereignty in our design and in His involvement in conception). It has huge ramifications which have impacted marriage (roles of men and women), gender (functionally homos*xual marriages where the men and women are the same), our view and rejection of children which God would otherwise give, etc. Even the idea that we, as fallen human beings, can rightly determine of other eternal beings (and their offspring) should come into existence should cause us to evaluate who is God in our view.

Even Lewis takes time to discuss this latter issue:

And as regards contraceptives, there is a paradoxical, negative sense in which all possible future generations are the patients or subjects of a power wielded by those already alive. By contraception simply, they are denied existence; by contraception used as a means of selective breeding, they are, without their concurring voice, made to be what one generation, for its own reasons, may choose to prefer. From this point of view, what we call Man’s power over Nature turns out to be a power exercised by some men over other men with Nature as its instrument. ... And all long-term exercises of power, especially in breeding, must mean the power of earlier generations over later ones. (C.S. Lewis in The Abolition of Man, pp. 68-69)

I believe there is much to talk about - much more than what has been talked about for a long time.

I do appreciate your input and perspective. It does bring to light circumstances in which one command or principle of God may overlap another, possibly causing us to change directions.

I would like to know who wrote the list of essentials, and who threw out the family as one of those essentials.

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

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Kevin Subra wrote:It's a

Kevin Subra wrote:
It's a matter of not wanting children that God would otherwise give. It has nothing to do with whether there is conception or not (that's another argument). It's a matter of seeking to prevent what God says is good.

Hmm, to change the illustration, would it help to think of precipitation as from God, and yet we irrigate fields and dam up rivers and lakes to redirect or withhold the gift of water? God also gives sunlight, clearly, and we put up a shade over our heads. Wouldn't this be "a matter of seeking to prevent what God says is good"? (Okay, those were nonliving things, but the gelding and spaying of animals could be analogous, too.)

It doesn't mean we don't thank Him for it, but would managing His blessings (if I dare say) be an area of liberty? I could redirect the sunlight to my solar panel to drive my airconditioner, or perhaps open a skylight to let in only the light but not the heat. I could create a reservoir and sell the water off to New York State. I could let my pomchi play with the neighbour's.

Could conception be deferred or prevented, similarly, to His glory?

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Kevin Subra wrote: I still

Kevin Subra wrote:

I still have to disagree. I have already stated that sexual intimacy does bring pleasure, and it most often does not result in pregancy. However, doing so without allowing God to gift us with children if He would desire is indeed seeking to circumvent the primary reason for gender and sexual intimacy. It goes against what God has revealed about Hiimself, His involvement with conception, and His statements about children. It is not a matter of enjoyment (that's a given). It's a matter of not wanting children that God would otherwise give. It has nothing to do with whether there is conception or not (that's another argument). It's a matter of seeking to prevent what God says is good.

If you are arguing that God is in control of conception, and he is, and if every conception is then of supernatural origin (in that God is the one who ultimately decides when/how often a couple conceives), then what's the problem with contraception that does not destroy a fertilized egg? God's power to give the gift of a child is not diminished or hindered by modern medical science.
We just had a couple in the church get pregnant after she had her tubes tied. Clearly God was able and willing to overcome that interference, and if medical intervention is wrong in order to prevent pregnancy, then what about medical intervention to prevent death?

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this is a really interesting discussion

I'm listening and learning. I'm not sure I'll change from the idea that it is a personal matter, but I certainly think that we need to think about this issue more than we do and from all different perspectives.

We just had our third baby. He was an unattended birth here in our apartment in Kiev. It was a really neat experience. I just want to gush a little that I love how Vitaliy husbands and fathers Smile

http://birthinukraine.wordpress.com/2012/05/27/the-birth-of-salem-andre-...

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Congrats!

Anne Sokol wrote:
I'm listening and learning. I'm not sure I'll change from the idea that it is a personal matter, but I certainly think that we need to think about this issue more than we do and from all different perspectives.

We just had our third baby. He was an unattended birth here in our apartment in Kiev. It was a really neat experience. I just want to gush a little that I love how Vitaliy husbands and fathers Smile


Congrats, Anne!! Wonderful!

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

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Questions for Kevin Subra

Questions for Kevin Subra

  1. Does your church address the question of birth control in either (or both) the church doctrinal statement or covenant? If so what is the position?
  2. If the answer to 1a is "no", is there an uninscribed (unwritten) view that predominates in your church that would perhaps be something like: "The Pastor's position is that the use of birth-control is wrong and therefore ____________ (excluded from certain areas of service like serving as an adult teacher or deacon, etc.)"
  3. If your church has multiple elders are they unanimous on the no-birthcontrol issue?
  4. Would you officiate a wedding service for a couple who disclose in the prenuptial counselling sessions that they intend to use birth-control?
  5. Would your church prohibit membership for a wedded couple whom you know to use birth-control? (Perhaps they disclose the information to you prior to membership? Eg. they tell you: "we're waiting to have children until [husband ] completes school and has a full time job")
  6. Using the following chart - "Essential vs. Peripheral Doctrine", would you rank your view on birth control an asolute? A conviction? An opinion?
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Good Questions - Here Are My Answers

Thank you for your questions. Here are my brief answers, along with some clarification afterwards:

Jim wrote:
Does your church address the question of birth control in either (or both) the church doctrinal statement or covenant? If so what is the position?
No. It is not addressed. Neither is the make-up of marriage (though many churches are now adding a definition of marriage).
Jim wrote:
If the answer to 1a is "no", is there an uninscribed (unwritten) view that predominates in your church that would perhaps be something like: "The Pastor's position is that the use of birth-control is wrong and therefore ____________ (excluded from certain areas of service like serving as an adult teacher or deacon, etc.)"
No. My teaching, when I have taught on the topic, has been to encourage people to consider what the Bible has to say. There is no requirement, written or unwritten.
Jim wrote:
If your church has multiple elders are they unanimous on the no-birthcontrol issue?
There is no unanimous view on this. I don't believe I've ever had a discussion with our branch ministry leaders (deaf / Spanish).
Jim wrote:
Would you officiate a wedding service for a couple who disclose in the prenuptial counselling sessions that they intend to use birth-control?
I have not made it a stipulation. When I counsel couples, I encourage them to consider Scriptural teachings on the matter. I also warn them, if they choose to use birth control, to avoid any method that would potentially be abortive. I encourage them to consider children as a normal part of marriage, not an optional addition to it.
Jim wrote:
Would your church prohibit membership for a wedded couple whom you know to use birth-control? (Perhaps they disclose the information to you prior to membership? Eg. they tell you: "we're waiting to have children until [husband ] completes school and has a full time job")
No. I would exhort them strongly regarding conception prevention versus life-ending methods, but encourage them to embrace the gifts of children God would give.
Jim wrote:
Using the following chart - "Essential vs. Peripheral Doctrine", would you rank your view on birth control an asolute? A conviction? An opinion?
I do not differentiate an absolute from a conviction (a conviction, as I would understand it, would be something that I am persuaded to be true in Scripture, not an arbitrary choice or functional path, which would be an opinion). I would land on "absolute," because the Bible shares much about this that is hard to ignore or explain away.

To clarify, I would not be for "birth control" by definition (which includes abortion, as well as potential or confirmed abortifacient methods) which I believe to be the wrongly taking of life - murder). I believe that believers are limited to contraceptive methods, IF, upon studying the Bible, they land on the belief that they can claim that right before God. (I personally do not see that taught, or even hinted at, in the Word.) Most, I have found, have either never studied, or they have been told by pastors or professors that the Bible is silent on the matter (!).

To shed a bit more light on my perspective, teaching on this in our extremely anti-child, pro-prevention culture (in and out of church) is like teaching on the origins of the Bible in a KJV-only church. People are so steeped in the worldly perspective (as I would label it), and wrongly taught or ignored (in and out of church, including Bible colleges and seminaries) that you have to get people to begin thinking Biblically, and that takes time and gentleness.

Thank you for your examination and interaction. I truly appreciate it, and look forward to further sharpening.

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

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Thank you Kevin

Kevin, thank you for your last post. Your actual practice on this subject toward fellow Christians is what I was desiring to encourage with my post on individual soul liberty. I hope that people on both sides of the issue would show charity toward those who see things a bit differently than they do. I also appreciate your clarification that you do not view conception prevention on the same level as abortive methods. Just to clarify my own position: if birth control means an abortive method, that is not a grey area. ABORTION IS WRONG! If birth control means "conception control," then I believe this is an area of individual soul liberty.

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Individual Soul Liberty

JD Miller wrote:
Kevin, thank you for your last post. Your actual practice on this subject toward fellow Christians is what I was desiring to encourage with my post on individual soul liberty. I hope that people on both sides of the issue would show charity toward those who see things a bit differently than they do. I also appreciate your clarification that you do not view conception prevention on the same level as abortive methods. Just to clarify my own position: if birth control means an abortive method, that is not a grey area. ABORTION IS WRONG! If birth control means "conception control," then I believe this is an area of individual soul liberty.
Thank you. I do think that we need more serious study on this at all levels, and I think we are too quick to categorize "conception control" as wholly an area of individual liberty while ignoring the many clear things the Bible does say about it, God's involvement in it, God's design for it, etc. I do restate that individual soul liberty is not based on preference or convenience but upon revelation and our understanding of it. ;>D

Thank you for the interaction. Your spirit is refreshing!

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com

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Individual Soal Liberty

Kevin wrote:

Quote:
I do restate that individual soul liberty is not based on preference or convenience but upon revelation and our understanding of it.

I agree with that point as well. I think some are too quick to cry liberty on a variety of subjects without ever having studied to show themselves approved, a workman who needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. I also understand that both Kevin and I have studied this issue and came to slightly different conclusions though we both strongly agree on the importance of children in the family.

Some look at "be fruitful and multiply" as only being a command to Adam and Eve and Noah and his family. Others look at it as being to all, but by the time a couple has 4 children they have multiplied by double. Others look at it as multiplying as many as possible. The point I am making is that these things can be studied and still have different conclusions.

Further some look at Onan's sin as being conception control. Others look at it as selfishly trying to get his brother's inheritance for himself by not raising up seed. Others look at the passage and say that conception control was a common and understood practice in ancient Israel that was not specifically addressed in the law. Again, the point I am making is that these things can be studied and still have different conclusions and that is why we have individual soul liberty, but that is also why we should interact so that iron can sharpen iron.

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One Final Plug for People to Study This Topic More

JD Miller wrote:
Some look at "be fruitful and multiply" as only being a command to Adam and Eve and Noah and his family. Others look at it as being to all, but by the time a couple has 4 children they have multiplied by double. Others look at it as multiplying as many as possible. The point I am making is that these things can be studied and still have different conclusions.
It would be great if there was more discussion on this topic (and even this verse). I would be interested in knowing why people are fine applying the "only once" commands of subduing the earth and having dominion over creation now (we have no other authorization to build, plant, corral, etc. beyond Genesis 1:28) when they would reject the first three as only applying to Adam and Eve. (It would also be very tough for Adam and Eve to "fill the earth.")

I'm not looking to create a new discussion. I am just suggesting that most people come to conclusions based upon what other people have said (offered without serious study), rather than from true study and analysis of the Word. I truly believe most have not studied this in detail. I truly believe we (Christians) have too easily embraced the world's view of children, rather than God's view.

For the Shepherd and His sheep,
Kevin
Grateful husband of a Proverbs 31 wife, and the father of 15 blessings.
http://captive-thinker.blogspot.com