Christian morals

 

 

13. I have read the question on birth control and your answer, and I would like you to consider carefully these things. 1) One thing is what the Bible recommends, and another thing is what it forbids. As far as children are concerned, all the passages you have rightly quoted speak of a blessing for those who hear the Word of God and keep it. 2) I don’t think we should lay burdens on those who cannot bear them. We should face problems with confidence in God’s guidance, but how can we urge them to receive children as blessings, who don’t have enough faith? 3) There are no explicit passages which state that hindering conception is sin except one passage which, however, condemns the violation of a Jewish law about giving an inheritance to a dead brother, and in my opinion this is a very important and delicate subject. 4) The fact that it is written the opposite does not mean that it is implicit, for the Scripture states that we must speak truthfully to our neighbour but it explicitly condemns lying. I hope I have given you some points upon which to ponder.

 

 

I am fully persuaded that the fact that it is not written explicitly that it is not lawful to hinder conception, or rather that those who hinder conception commit a sin, cannot be taken to infer that we can hinder conception. What shall we say then to those who say that the Bible doesn’t say explicitly that we are forbidden to smoke? I am sure you agree that actually the Bible doesn’t say that we must not smoke. Nevertheless the Bible says that our body is the temple of God and it doesn’t belong to us, thus we deduce that since smoking damages the body, the Bible forbids us to smoke. Anyhow, I believe that the following order which God gave to Adam and Eve: “Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28 – NKJV) is still valid for husband and wife, and thus hindering conception is a transgression of the law of God. Even nature itself teaches us this law. Do you agree that nature teaches us various things? Do you remember what Paul said about long hair? “Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering” (1 Corinthians 11:14-15). Please, notice that here Paul doesn’t say it is the Scripture that teaches that long hair is a shame to the man and a glory to the woman, because he states that nature teaches us these things. Obviously, Paul wrote down that nature teaches us these things, and so now we say that this is what is written. But even before he wrote those words, nature taught Paul those things about long hair and – pay attention to what I tell you – nature still teaches us these things. Why don’t you wear long hair as many women do? Is it not because nature teaches that it is shameful for a man to have long hair? So it is also with birth control, nature itself teaches that the best thing to do is to get things to go as God wills, and that to hinder conception in order not to have any children or many children, means to do something contrary to nature. Do you know what strikes me? Animals, which are much less intelligent than us, don’t hinder conception, while men (not all men, of course), who have been made in the image and likeness of God and are intelligent, hinder conception and they often do that just for selfish reasons.

Furthermore, brother, the expression itself ‘to hinder conception’ has a negative meaning, because man hinders something which is not bad at all. Who can say that to beget or to conceive children is a bad thing?

I have something else to tell you. I have learned that even though the Bible doesn’t say that we are not allowed to do certain bad things, when a man does them, his conscience rebukes him. Why? We know that it is God who gave us the conscience, and that it rebukes us only when we do evil things. Why then does the conscience rebuke us in these cases, even though the Bible doesn’t say that we must not do this or that nor does it say that this or that specific thing is a sin? Let us cite smoking as an example: if I began to smoke my conscience would rebuke me, even though I know that God doesn’t say in the Bible that smoking is a sin. Why would my conscience rebuke me? Because smoking is a sin, even though it is not written that it is a sin.

I have to say to you that among Evangelicals almost every time someone speaks of children he never encourages couples to have faith in God and to have all the children God wants to give to them. In one way or another he speaks in favour of hindering conception. On the contrary, as for me I encourage believers to have faith in God; obviously God gives them how many children He wants, I do not set numbers nor times or other things. I just say that God wants to give children and it is a good thing not to try to hinder Him from giving children to couples. From this point of view, therefore, my words are encouraging. However, I have noticed that many pastors and preachers speak about faith to receive eternal life, faith to be baptized with the Holy Spirit, faith to be healed, faith to receive a miracle, faith to receive a wife, a husband, a house, a job, etc., – it is all right, I find nothing to object to – but they hardly ever speak of faith to have many children or above the average (I say it again, however, that it is God who fixes the number of children a couple must have). Why?

We live in a nation which is among the seven most industrialized countries in the world, yet Italians – all the world know this – beget few children, and the governing authorities are concerned about this situation. The government has somehow encouraged couples to have children, yet things are still going bad. In Italy most people don’t want to have many children. Unfortunately even many believers don’t want to have many children. Why? The reasons are various, but I think that one of the main reasons is that many of them want to be comfortably off: they want to lead a good life without too many sacrifices, and since children cost …... However, they don’t lack money, for they have good houses, good cars, good clothing, they go to the seaside to spend their holidays, etc. Do you think this is a right thing? However, many more things should be said about the reasons for which many believers don’t want to have many children.

Let us talk now about Onan, who hindered conception in order not to give any children to his brother. Don’t you think that since Onan displeased the Lord because when he went in to his brother’s wife, he emitted on the ground to hinder conception, lest he should give an heir to his brother - and for this reason God killed him - (Genesis 38:8-11), if a believer hinders conception lest he give an heir to himself, he will displease the Lord, too?

That’s why we must proclaim that God hates to see a man hinder conception. Furthermore, as far as having many children is concerned, I repeat that it is not the couple that fixes the number but God: and since the Word states that those who have many children are happy and God wants us to be happy, it is a good thing not to give up these blessings or these rewards (Psalm 127:3).

The world is full of contradictions, there are many couples who cannot have children and buy them at a high price, while there are many couples who can have children but they give them up: there are poor couples that have many children, while there are very rich couples who have no children or very few children, and I could go on. But God is righteous, brother, and He knows how to make people understand that a certain thing is a sin, even though the Bible does not say explicitly that thing is forbidden.

 

 

 

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