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Birth Control

Discussion in 'Bible Answers' started by Chad, Aug 12, 2008.

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  1. Is Birth Control a Sin?

    Classic church doctrine since the time of Saint Augustine and before has condemned contraceptive practices as sinful. Is contraception really a sin, and if not, what types of birth control are acceptable for the Christian? This debate has taken on even greater significance with the recent controversy surrounding the Roman Catholic denunciation of contraceptives in poverty-stricken Africa, which some fear contributes to overpopulation, sexually transmitted disease, and perennially poor families.

    Biblical Verses Used to Prohibit Contraceptives

    By far the most common biblical story used to support the anti-contraceptive stance is account of Onan in the book of Genesis. According to the account:

    “At that time, Judah left his brothers and went down to stay with a man of Adullam named Hirah. There Judah met the daughter of a Canaanite man named Shua. He married her and lay with her; she became pregnant and gave birth to a son, who was named Er. She conceived again and gave birth to a son and named him Onan. She gave birth to still another son and named him Shelah. It was at Kezib that she gave birth to him.

    Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the LORD’s sight; so the LORD put him to death.

    Then Judah said to Onan, “Lie with your brother’s wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to produce offspring for your brother.” But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so whenever he lay with his brother’s wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from producing offspring for his brother. What he did was wicked in the LORD’s sight; so he put him to death also.”
    [Genesis 38:1-10]

    Many seem to consider this a knock-down case for the anti-contraception stance, but does this verse really demonstrate that contraception is sinful? It seems to me almost embarrassingly obvious that, in context, Onan’s sin was deliberately refusing to birth a son for his brother and his brother’s wife. There is no good reason to consider this passage as evidence that God explicitly condones contraceptive practices per se.

    It is important also to realize the cultural context in which this story took place. After all, this story may seem strange to us in modern society, who would be shocked at the implication that we should have sex with our brother’s wife if she was without a child. But in ancient times, maintaining a family line was essential for survival (children took care of their parents in old age) and important to maintain honor. This is why Biblical characters are often disgraced and ashamed of being barren, and rejoice and praise God when He gives them a child (see Luke 1:24-25, Genesis 30: 22-24, and Genesis 21:1-7 for examples). Sons were needed to maintain the family line. This is why Onan had such a duty to fulfill in the first place.

    Thus, it is quite clear that Onan’s sin was refusing to birth a son for his deceased brother. It remains possible that contraceptive practices are sinful, but the story of Onan certainly doesn’t prove such a thing.
    Some will argue that the command to ‘be fruitful and multiply’ found in Genesis 1:28 argues against the use of contraceptives. However, at best this demonstrates that we have an obligation to have children, it does not prove that we should have as many kids as possible or that we should never use contraceptives. This is simply inconclusive.

    Thus, it seems apparent that there are no clear instances where contraceptive practices are condemned in the Bible, and we should therefore be very skeptical of those who want to make the universal claim that birth control is wrong.

    Other Arguments Against Contraceptives

    Some claim that use of birth control is inherently disrespectful to the marriage union, it fails to take into account the fact that children are a blessing from God, and it separates procreation from sex (which is supposedly sinful). In addition to being speculative, these objections fail to show that contraception is always wrong. After all, some may decide to use birth control to stop from having more kids for the time being due to a financial situation or some other factor. Birth control does not necessarily entail that a couple never has kids, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have to stop having kids. Obviously, a couple who use birth control within the confines of marriage are not implicitly demonstrating that they don’t believe children are a blessing from God. They may just not be ready yet, or they may already have ten children and be unable to support more.

    Probably one of the most common arguments against birth control is that the Church has almost unanimously condemned it throughout history. However, this point only holds sway for Catholics who believe that church tradition is authoritative. Without such a prior commitment to church tradition, the unanimity of opposition to contraceptives is no argument against them, though we should take the views of the church’s leaders, and the evidence offered for them, into account.

    There are also a slew of claims that birth control is bad for society. Supposedly, it increases abortion frequency, encourages premarital sex, leads to the spread of STDs, etc. I’m willing to grant all of this, but it clearly has no bearing on whether or not, at the foundational level, birth control is wrong. I am only contending that birth control is acceptable when it does not involve abortion and it is within the confines of a marriage. The fact that contraceptives have been misused outside of this context does not prove that contraceptives are wrong in and of themselves.

    Finally, many claim that we should not use birth control because we should let God decide when we have children. Using contraceptives might interfere with His perfect will for us. Furthermore, it is better for us to trust God, and believe that he will provide for us financially and emotionally to handle as many children as we have naturally.

    This objection makes the mistake of believing that God’s will is only achieved through natural causes, but can be ruined by human choices. In reality, God works through our choices to accomplish His will. Moreover, in most other areas of our life we recognize the need to make responsible choices rather than sitting back and relying on God to take care of us. Nobody waits around at home believing that God will just provide them with the amount of food that they need- they go to work, get a paycheck, and buy enough food to survive. In reality, God gives us the ability to make responsible choices for ourselves.

    Arguments for Contraceptives in the Bible

    Can we adduce any evidence in favor of birth control in the Bible? There are no direct verses in support, but, I believe that the Biblical testimony argues against the claim made by many opponents of birth control that it is inherently sinful to separate sex from procreation.
    For example, Paul wrote;

    “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer.”
    [1 Corinthians 7:3-5]

    This verse clearly demonstrates that the purpose of marriage is not only for procreation. Paul tells us that we should not withhold from our spouses. Thus, it is not merely ok to have sex within marriage for pleasure, it is actually mandatory.

    Moreover, I would argue that the entire book Song of Solomon argues against the idea that procreation is the only purpose of sex. I don’t think one could fairly read the book and conclude that God only gave us the gift of sex so that we can produce children.

    Other Arguments in Favor of Contraceptives

    There is another major problem with claiming that it is sinful to separate procreation from marital sex- what about couples who are infertile, either by old age or by physical limitations? Is it wrong for people who are infertile to have sex? Is it wrong for old people to have sex? Almost everyone has to admit that there is nothing morally wrong with infertile sex; in fact, most would think it morally repulsive to claim that such people should never have sex. Moreover, this would also conflict with Paul’s teaching about fulfilling marital duties.

    Finally, sometimes there are very good moral reasons to use birth control. A couple who wants to limit the number of children they have because they can’t support more, either for financial reasons or because they want to be able to spend enough individual time with each child, should use birth control. Doing otherwise could harm the family as a whole or the current children in particular. This is not to say that all couples should limit themselves to a few children- this must be considered on a case by case basis. I have nothing against large families- in fact, I would probably be perfectly happy having 9 or 10 kids. Obviously, however, this isn’t for everyone, so for those couples who can’t support so many children, contraceptive use may be morally justified and even morally good.

    This point becomes particularly relevant when we consider the case in Africa, where some Catholics discourage use of birth control. Many argue that this has worsened problems like the spread of STDs (especially AIDS) and created families with too many children to be supported with even bare minimal needs. While the specific cases may be debatable, these problems help highlight the possible relevance of the discussion of birth control for alleviating worldwide suffering.


    There are no sound Biblical arguments against the use of birth control, nor are there any convincing extra-Biblical reasons to prohibit their use. The story of Onan, frequently used to demonstrate that birth control is immoral, must be ripped wildly out of context to be thought to have any relevance to the debate. The primary natural reasoning for avoiding birth control- that we should trust God to provide for our needs and decide the number of children we have- is based on the misconception that God cannot work His will through human choices (a point which we recognize in almost all other areas of our lives).

    Since I believe that abortion takes the life of an innocent human being, any birth control methods which involve or have a risk of abortion of any kind is immoral. Yet, there are several responsible forms of birth control that can reasonably be used within the context of marriage. Couples should therefore feel free to decide for themselves whether, and when, use of contraceptives is appropriate and desirable.

    Article: Skeptical Christian
  2. I honestly don't believe it is a sin. I have to use birth control pills because I have problems and it helps me tons with them. Without birth control, I would be suffering.
  3. #3 jari, Oct 4, 2008
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2008
    I removed my message.
  4. So suffer, and be silent like a saint.
    Make the Lord proud.
    Show him you follow his ways.
    A pill will not save you, Jesus Christ will.
    Through prayer and fasting, he will heal you.
    Take natural remedies. Just simply eating healthy helps.
    And if its life threating.. (which i know its not.) Make peace with God and go to heaven were you belong.

    Pharmacia was created to cause more damage then good.
    Its practically poison.

    I love Jesus so deeply, i would give up the world to please him.
    You should too.
  5. Wow

    While there are certain Groups of Christians that believe in nothing but faith Healing, (Notice the news of the dead children.) It is hard to believe that God has not given us the technology for medicine. The Holy Ghost is the author of witty inventions.

    I am what you call Word of Faith, I coughed blood for six months and did not go to the doctor. I stood firm, and did not budge. The last time it happened half filled a sink with blood. My wife was very worried. I laughed out loud and said devil, this does not move me. I can cough blood until I am 120 years old and still be perfectly healthy. That was the last Day I coughed blood.

    I would never recommend that to anyone. Get to the Doctor, we can pray form there.

    what you say has some elements of truth, SOME. Not everyone is at the same faith level, and belief system. We have to go with what we can believe for.

    The word says he gives his beloved Sleep. Some take pills which can be harmful to sleep. Why not just believe the Word? Some do not have the revelation.

    I take aspirin for headache, (Which is hardly ever) Ya, I could go get my bible and get in my scriptures, then believe. But aspirin works just fine.

    stuff. that was kinda creepy......

    God Bless.

    Jesus Is Lord.
  6. #6 Rain, Oct 8, 2008
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2008

    is another possible reason some Christians are anti contraception due to the questionable nature of some forms of contraception. For example the 'morning after pill' - the purpose of which being to cause the womb to reject any possible implantation of a fertilized egg? Even just the regular 'pill' has -not- yet been proven to -not- contain chemicals and chemical combinations which act similarly to abortifacients (substances which induce an abortion).

    I personally have wondered a lot about this, and while I would never condemn someone even if they had a surgical abortion (it is not our place to judge and condemn, only to love - let God sort out the rest) I still could never personally use the morning after pill or the regular pill. My husband and I personally prefer to use barrier and rhythm methods and although I can see the similarlity between semen in a condom and Onan spilling he semen on the ground to prevent Tamar from falling pregnant I do tend to agree with you Chad that it is more about disobeying Judah his father and God his heavenly father...

    Then there are other forms like IUDs and spermicides etcs... Again with the IUDs... from what I understand their purpose is to 'trick' the uterus into thinking a fertilized egg is already implanted... or else to irritate the lining so much that it is almost impossible for a fertilized egg to implant. In either case the fertilized egg, which we must not forget is human life, gets rejected... so again... I don't think IUDs are the way to go, at least for me...

    It's a very difficult question obviously. I'd really love to know what everyone thinks about what I've said.
  7. Actually if I don't take birth control, I could die. Tumors could grow and get cancerous and the birth control helps stop that from happening. I believe that God has given the doctor's the knowledge to help people with the birth control pills and any other pill. What if God doesn't want to heal me? What if I am supposed to be like this? My grandma talked like you did saying "God would heal her", and there was a time not only she but my mother died because they were not taken to the doctor in time. I AM saved and I know that God is all powerful and can do anything.I believe that God can heal people of things wrong in their bodies, but sometimes he doesn't. Other people listen to people like you and they or their family members die. I have heard that sort of thing happening so many times, and it's tragic. Go to a doctor if you have problems that are not going away with prayer. God has given them the knowledge to know what to do to heal us so we can still live and be able to help guide others to Jesus.
  8. #8 Rain, Oct 8, 2008
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2008
    I agree with you amandajayne in terms of God gives us medicine and heals through medicine. And I wouldn't want you to die. =) Sometimes God heals miraculously and sometimes he doesn't but just because you're not healed miraculously doesn't mean you should get your last will and testament in order!

    But I still don't think medical contraception is a clear cut as that...

    Underlined section edited in at 6:06pmon the 8th of the 10th. I made a mistake.
  9. Glory to God.

    Well, getting you last will in order would be putting fear in to operation that your not going to make it. That is not faith.

    I have laid hands on people and they have gotten healed instantly.
    I assume this happens because God has to turn things around for them NOW, not when they get enough word to stand on their own.

    A big misconception people have about healing is that it is instantaneous all the time.

    Mar 16:18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

    Recover, does not mean instant.

    I have to agree with the fact that God gave us medicine. contraceptives are ok, but you need to be Spirit led, and listen to God before doing so. Some contraceptives change hormones in the body which can not always be good for you.

    Jesus Is Lord.
  10. Well i believe in emergence medicine. God bless.
  11. I agree with you Rain. When I read more about how the pill works I decided to stop using it. It is a matter of when life actually starts. I believe it starts the moment the egg is fertilized.
  12. THE PILL
    There are two basic kinds of hormonal birth control pills: (1) the combination pill which is made up of two synthetic hormones (estrogen and progestin) and (2) the progestin-only pill (sometimes called the minipill). The synthetic estrogen in the combination pill works to prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg. If no egg is released, there is nothing to be fertilized by ***** and the woman cannot get pregnant. In addition, the synthetic estrogen works by suppressing the body's normal hormonal pattern (which involves one egg being developed per menstrual cycle and released for possible fertilization).
    The synthetic progestin (present in both types of pills) works to:

    • thicken the cervical mucus, which hinders the movement of *****,
    • inhibit the egg's ability to travel through the fallopian tubes,
    • partially suppress the *****'s ability to unite with (and thereby fertilize) the egg, and
    • alter the uterine lining so (in the event that an egg is released and fertilized) the egg will likely not be able to implant into the uterine wall. (A fertilized egg would then be discharged with the rest of the menstrual blood.)
    because of the last statement i believe that the pill is is created as soon as the egg is fertilized.


    Medroxyprogesterone is a form of progesterone, a female hormone that prevents ovulation (the release of an egg from an ovary). This medication also causes changes in your cervical mucus and uterine lining, making it harder for ***** to reach the uterus and harder for a fertilized egg to attach to the uterus.

    this can also allow an egg to be fertilized...............


    The pregnancy rate during IUD use is very low (less than 1% per year). If pregnancy does occur, the IUD should be removed. Although IUDs are not teratogenic presence of the IUD increases the risk of miscarriage,particularly during the second trimester. It also increases the risk of premature delivery. Although the D.S. IUD was associated with septic abortions (infections associated with miscarriage), other brands of IUD are not. IUDs are also not associated with birth defects or other pregnancy complication

    IUD's can allow pregnancy to occur as well and can then allow miscarriage's if not removed!!


    The hormones in the patch also thicken the cervical mucus (the mucus produced by cells in the cervix). The cervix is the part of the uterus that sits within the ****** and acts as the opening to the uterus. This makes it difficult for ***** to enter the uterus and reach any eggs that may have been released. The hormones in the patch can also sometimes affect the lining of the uterus so that if the egg is fertilized it will have a hard time attaching to the wall of the uterus.

    and again with the patch!!until recently i was blind to these facts..but personally..i will not take' any form of birth control ever again..other than the barrier method.
    in the cases of taking birth control because of health problems that is a different story..of course if my life depended on taking them i would.GBU all!!
  13. Thanks for that info Daizy! Even if there is a 0,1% chance that a fertilized egg might be unnaturally aborted, I won't use it. Except also if I had to use it because of health problems and my life depended on it.
  14. no problem:) i like to make sure that people have all the facts before jumping into something as i did..i used different forms of birth control for over 11 years of my life..and now wonder how many fertilized eggs my body discarded..i only recently learned about what really's shocking actually.
  15. Question here,
    Would using birth control so I won't ever have children count as sin against God?

  16. Good question Mouse.

    If a man goes into the clergy and will therefore never have children,
    how then is it sin, for a woman who goes through life and never has children?

    I think you get my point.

  17. #17 Coconut, Dec 18, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2008
    Considering Scripture (our authority in all matters pertaining to faith - not science books, human reasoning, or common consensus) gives no instruction regarding birth control, this is the only Scripture I would answer your question with:

    Rom 14:22 As for the faith you do have, have it as your own conviction before God. How blessed is the person who has no reason to condemn himself because of what he approves!

  18. Go forth and Multiply

    Actually, we are commanded in Genesis, to "go forth and multiply".
    (Gen 1:28) This isn't just a suggestion or afterthought. While I don't think NOT having children will keep you out of heaven, it is God's will that we do this.
    So many people today put their careers and education or other things before having children. I think this yet another argument against homosexuality.
    It is a sign of the time that more and more "young professionals" choose not to get married or have children. Because...
    "I don't have time for a marriage or children"
    "Children are so much trouble and expensive"
    "Childbirth is painful"

    God does make allowances for those unable to have children (Gal 4:27)

    1Tim 2:15 (God's Word Translation)
    However, she [and all women] will be saved through the birth of the child, if they lead respectable lives in faith, love, and holiness.

  19. More thoughts on marriage and Childbirth

    <HR color=#ddeeff SIZE=1>1Tim 4:1 The Spirit says clearly that in later times some believers will desert the Christian faith. They will follow spirits that deceive, and they will believe the teachings of demons. 2 These people will speak lies disguised as truth. Their consciences have been scarred as if branded by a red-hot iron. 3 They will try to stop others from getting married and from eating certain foods. God created food to be received with prayers of thanks by those who believe and know the truth.

    Romans 1:
    24 Wherefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts unto uncleanness, that their bodies should be dishonored among themselves:
    25 for that they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile passions: for their women changed the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another, men with men working unseemliness, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was due.

    Again, I think part of the reason we were created, was to have children. Not having children is... "going against nature".

  20. Let me ask ya'll a few questions about that. First, are you aware that it is by no means certain that a fertilized egg will implant without any birth control? In light of this, do you consider other things that may cause a fertilized egg not to implant abortion? For example, caffeine, lack of sleep, stress, certain foods, illness, and a slew of over the counter and prescription medications can change hormone balances and cause a similarly tiny increase in the chance of a fertilized egg failing to implant. Would you similarly reject these things as abortifacent?

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