Blessings of breast and womb

Unless the LORD  builds the house,
its builders labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the watchmen stand guard in vain.
In vain you rise early
and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat–
for he grants sleep to those he loves.

Sons are a heritage from the LORD,
children a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are sons born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their enemies in the gate.
–Psalm 127 (NIV)

Blessed are all who fear the LORD,
who walk in his ways.
You will eat the fruit of your labor;
blessings and prosperity will be yours.
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
within your house;
your sons will be like olive shoots
around your table.
Thus is the man blessed
who fears the LORD.

May the LORD bless you from Zion
all the days of your life;
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem,
and may you live to see your children’s children.

Peace be upon Israel.
–Psalm 128 (NIV)

I’m really having trouble seeing the biblical basis for intentionally limiting your family size. All the way from Genesis 1 where God commands that Adam and Eve be fruitful and multiply, I see God teaching of children as a blessing from the Lord.

Contents

1. God’s Metaphor
1.1. Implications
2. Objections
3. Scripture
3.1. Human fruitfulness mentioned with other blessings of fruitfulness
3.2. New Testament
4. More Objections
5. The Goodness of God

1. God’s Metaphor

Isn’t the very act of sex the husband planting his seeds in his wife’s body?

Well, it’s pleasure, and intimacy, an exclusive kind of communion between husband and wife too…

In the context of the husband planting his seeds in his wife’s body.

Sometimes God makes a seed grow, and a new son or daughter is born into the family.

Is this design meaningful or instructive to us? Yes, it is part of the general revelation: in the same way God shows us through man’s and woman’s complementary bodies that a man and a woman belong together, so he shows us by making seed-planting an integral part of sex that fruitfulness is a natural part of the sexual union between a man and his wife.

Do we deny this, that fruitfulness is a natural part of the sexual union between a man and his wife?

1.1. Implications

What then does it mean for a husband to catch his seeds — to make sure that they are not planted in his wife’s body — and then throw them away?

Or, what does it mean for a wife to make sure that no seed can grow in her body?

Or, what does it mean for a couple to agree that the husband will only plant at a time of the month when no seed is likely to grow?

Strange farmers we are, trying to avoid a crop!

But you say, it’s not that we don’t want a crop at all… we just want to limit the size.  Besides, sowing is the wrong metaphor.

Is it?

2. Objections

But you say, if you have more children and don’t provide for them, you’ve denied the faith and you’re worse than an unbeliever!

I say, that’s absolutely true. But doesn’t this drive us as fathers to be diligent to provide for our families?  Where is our reasoning coming from, that the solution is fewer children.

But you say, having a lot of kids is oppressive for the woman.

But I say, look at how the woman is portrayed in Psalm 128 — a fruitful vine with her olive shoots around her. Is that not a position of high honor and blessing? Where do we get the idea that it is oppressive?

But you say, not everyone who has a lot of kids has faith.  Having lots of kids doesn’t guarantee anything!
I say, that’s true.  Many good things are futile without faith.  But doesn’t this drive us to pursue faith?

But you say, what about world overpopulation?
I believe this idea is a lie from the devil. The very day that God said, “Be fruitful and multiply,” Adam could have said, “But Lord, that will never work. The exponential explosion…”

Look everywhere in the world that there are starving children and tell me where the fathers are. They’re gone, brothers and sisters. Don’t point to fatherless Africa — where there are whole nations full of men running from fatherhood — and tell me that the answer is that we must limit our family size for conscience’s sake.

But you say, why do you keep talking about Scripture? This is a private matter between a husband and wife.

But look at some of the kinds of things Scripture says:

3. Scripture

The Hebrew children in Egypt were oppressed as a direct result of their great fruitfulness (Exodus 1).  Is Scripture teaching that their fruitfulness was a private decision they all made, to have large families? Is there a lesson here, that they would have been wiser not to endanger their families so?  No, we say (we do say no, don’t we?)  But if their fruitfulness was the blessing of God, leading to persecution and then a great deliverance, how is it that it has now become merely a private choice?

God blessed Hannah (who had been barren) and gave her and Elkanah five sons and daughters since she had dedicated Samuel to the Lord.

Then there’s Job

The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. And he also had seven sons and three daughters.
–Job 42:12-13 (NIV)

God had blessed Job with seven sons and three daughters before his trials, and he blessed him with an additional seven sons and three daughters afterward…

3.1. Human fruitfulness mentioned with other blessings of fruitfulness

The Holy Spirit often places mention of the blessing of the fruit of the womb in among blessings of other kinds of fruitfulness — fruitful produce of the ground and fruitful multiplication of flocks and herds.  For example:

“He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock, in the land which He swore to your forefathers to give you. You shall be blessed above all peoples; there will be no male or female barren among you or among your cattle.”
–Deut 7:13-14

(See also Deut. 8:1; 28:4,11,18,62,63; 30:9,15,16; and Lev. 26)

The parallels between human fruitfulness and the fruitfulness of the land and of flocks and herds are not an accident.  God has has given us these pictures to teach us, and we are responsible for learning.  We see an example of this responsibility in 1. Cor. 15:

But someone will say, “How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?” You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies; and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own.
–1 Cor. 15:35-38

The Holy Spirit through Paul rebukes the man sharply — calling him a fool! — who does not see the obvious parallel between the sown seed that dies and is raised different than it was, and man who dies and will be raised different than he was.

Does it make any sense that God’s bountiful blessing on the produce of the land or on the flocks and herds would be expressed in moderate yields?  On what basis then do we place human fruitfulness in a different category from other blessings of fruitfulness?  Especially in light of other passages…

“May he also be to you a restorer of life and a sustainer of your old age; for your daughter-in-law, who loves you and is better to you than seven sons, has given birth to him.”
–Ruth 4:15

Then Elkanah her husband said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep and why do you not eat and why is your heart sad? Am I not better to you than ten sons?”
–1 Sam. 1:8

Seven sons?  Ten sons?  What a burden, we wouldn’t want that!  But how is it that we call burden what God calls blessing?

3.2. New Testament

Does God teach us something different in the New Testament?  Is there a continuity in this, or is this one of the things that has passed away in the New Covenant?

Well, bringing up children is listed as a good deed (1 Tim. 5:10); Paul counsels younger widows to marry and have children (1 Tim. 5:14);  in other places children seem to be assumed (1 Tim 3:4,12; Titus 1:6; 2:3-4)… I suppose you could point to 1 Corinthians 7:29 (“What I mean, brothers, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none”) and say that extends to not having a (large) family.   (I would say though, look at all of 1 Cor. chapter 7 — is Paul arguing for getting married but not having (very many) children?)

I do not see any change in children’s status as blessings from the Old Testament to the New.  Is it there?  Am I not seeing it?

4. More Objections

But you say, many children were a blessing in the agricultural days — not so much now.

But I say, Scripture doesn’t speak of children being a blessing to help with the farm work, but it does speak of them contending with their enemies in the gate.  Is there a shortage of enemies these days?

But you say, you sound like a Catholic or one of those quiver full people!

But I say, are we living to please God, or to do the opposite of Catholics and quiver full people?

But you say, it’s a bad world out there!

I say, yes — that’s exactly why we need to be faithful to bear and raise these arrows for our King’s glory.  (It is good to keep in mind on this point that we’re raising arrows, not rabbits.)

But you say, our children are wild already. We must avoid utter chaos!

But I say, why are the children wild?  Does the the Bible present a model of the family where as there are more children, the family gets closer and closer to breaking down? Far from it!  The ability to maintain order in the family is even one of the qualifications for being an elder in the church (1 Tim. 3:4-5).  If our children are wild, we should question why this is.  Do you need to reach out to a mature brother and sister in the Lord for counsel in ordering your home?  (I speak earnestly; doing so can be a great help!)

But you say, I don’t want to have a bunch of kids, because my friends will laugh at me.
Hmm.

Besides, you ask (angrily) — are you saying that purposely limiting your family size is a sin?

I’m not ready to say that (though my study of the Word on this matter does make me wonder). I’m just saying, I don’t see how we get to that type of choice if we start from the Bible.

But why are you angry? Am I misrepresenting the words of a holy God, and you’re jealous for his glory?

Or could it be that I have challenged beliefs that you hold more dear than the Word of God?

5. The Goodness of God

Dear brothers and sisters, we do not believe in the goodness of God in giving us children.

Our behavior makes it clear that we do not see our children as arrows who will go out and contend with their enemies in the gate.  Instead, we see our children as shackles, and we ask ourselves,  “How many shackles can we in good conscience clamp on to our family before our Christian witness is extinguished?”

We need to repent of our unbelief and our lack of faith, and study the doctrine of children revealed in the Word of God.

I ask you: is this just crazed Daniel wanting everybody to go out and go crazy in openness to kids — or is this the heart of God?

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15 Responses to Blessings of breast and womb

  1. Leila says:

    I saw your comment on the post on the Federalist from the fellow who is going to get the vasectomy. I appreciate this post very much — the same process took place in my heart: finding out that God considers children a blessing, and asking myself why I would think differently from Him.
    I was wondering if you would be interested in my post about this topic — part of a series in which I try to warn about the effects of choosing wrong at the beginning of your married life, and about considering TRUSTING God: http://www.likemotherlikedaughter.org/2014/04/the-third-secret-to-destruction-proofing-your-family/

  2. Courtney@BooksnBoys says:

    My pastor told us in premarital counseling that he believes you have a very good reason for limiting God’s blessing of children. I am the oldest of ten children. So I am familiar with the “quiverfull” movement. We now have three kids and we are done for at least several years (possibly forever, not counting adoption). My understanding is that YES children are a blessing, but why should we chase after that blessing all the time? Work/Money is a blessing, but if a man chases after work all the time he is considered a workaholic and it is a negative. Service is a blessing, but if a man serves to the detriment of his family it is a negative. Food is a blessing but we shouldn’t constantly eat. Why should we exclusively chase THIS blessing to its maximum if we don’t do that with any other blessing that God gives? I don’t see evidence in the Scripture for children are a blessing “therefore you should have as many as humanly possible”.

  3. danielmeyer says:

    Dear Courtney,
    Thanks for writing. You’ve mentioned work, service, and food, all of which must be done in moderation, but you’ve avoided the categories of blessings that God most often associates with human fruitfulness: that of flocks, herds and grain. Your argument wouldn’t sound as compelling if you said, “You don’t want to have your field FULL of grain, do you,” would it?

    The Israelites could have avoided a lot of trouble if they hadn’t had so many kids and gotten the Egyptians worried. Do you think that if they had had modern birth control they could have avoided the Exodus?

    Warmly,

    • Courtney@BooksnBoys says:

      Okay, I picked work, service, and food because they were the chief blessings that came to my mind and I thought they were a pretty good modern equivalent of flocks, herds, and grain. But sure, let’s consider flocks, herds, and grain. I know a little something about these from living in farm country :)
      My argument still is: Yes children are a blessing, however we should not attempt to have as many as possible.
      My support for this would be Genesis 30:37-43, where Jacob purposely manipulates the flock’s breeding to encourage or discourage a particular color of animal. Jacob interfered with God’s natural plan for how the animal’s mated.
      As for grain – Exodus 23:10-11 warns the Israelites to give the land a break from growing grain. Grain is clearly a blessing, and yet they weren’t supposed to grow it all the time.
      I don’t think the Israelites could’ve avoided the Exodus, even with modern birth control. It was not only because of the fact they were so prolific that the Egyptians enslaved them, but also because “they are mightier than us” (Exodus 1:9). Also, I would think that even with modern birth control the Israelites would grow in number faster than the Egyptians simply due to better health.
      I guess a better analogy of my argument isn’t “you don’t want your field FULL of grain” but more “I’m happy with three acres of grain rather than five” :)
      Does that make sense?
      I appreciate the ability to dialogue and think through this issue!

      • danielmeyer says:

        Dear Courtney,
        Remember that we aren’t raising these crops of grain and children for ourselves, but we desire to raise up a godly seed for our Master.

      • Leila says:

        Dear Courtney,
        I wonder about what I would consider the false dichotomy that looks like this: A. Plan carefully and have only the children you can handle/afford. B. Try to have as many children as you can.
        Is there another way to look at it?
        Is this way of looking at it not imputing an unrealistic level of control to what is actually not all that bendable to our will?
        Is it in fact true that if a couple decide “to have as many children as possible” that they WILL have more than three children, necessarily? (I realize that some will. I wonder how many realize that many will not.) Is it true that a couple who limit their children on purpose would in fact have had more children, had they not so limited?

        And how do you definitively limit? With surgery? That is mutilation — harming healthy organs — a very grave offense against nature and God. Not to mention that it doesn’t always work! I have encountered people who have had a child post-vasectomy! How laughable, if it were not so tragic.

        With chemical warfare? How dangerous for the woman. With barrier methods? How ineffective.

        I am wondering if there is the possibility that God made us to be a certain way — to love and to receive the gift of children, trusting in Him — and that we don’t have to make a “movement” of it (like the quiverfull movement, which strikes me as missing the point) or resist it. What if we just live our lives as if God actually blesses us, and accept the children — none, few, or many — that God sends, having recourse to periodic abstinence if we (the couple) deem it necessary?

        I wrote about this more fully here, attempting to step out of the birth control/have as many children as possible deadlock: http://www.likemotherlikedaughter.org/2014/04/the-third-secret-to-destruction-proofing-your-family/ from the perspective of someone who has seen many couples come to ruin over the issue of control.

  4. danielmeyer says:

    Courtney, God also instructs husbands and wives to come together regularly (1 Cor 7:3-5). Long-term abstinence in marriage is not wise.

  5. Courtney@BooksnBoys says:

    @Daniel Meyer – I totally agree with both your comments. (Not really sure what your first comment was in response to though)
    @Leila – First of all, after reading your blog post I really wish I could have you over for tea to sit and talk face to face about this :( It is clear you have a heart for encouraging Godly marriage and family.
    I think your two scenarios are the extreme ends of the issue and we all fall somewhere in between :) Of course, ultimately fertility is in God’s hands, but it seems illogical to me to say “We’re trusting God for our family size”, have tons of “marital embraces”, and not expect to have many pregnancies (for MOST healthy couples). This is the viewpoint of the majority of people I know (and they all have from five to eleven kids) so this is just my personal experience. I consider them more on the B side of the scale (B. try and have as many kids as you can)
    If God wants us to have a baby, nothing we do will prevent that; even birth control. But after reading your blog post I think your information on birth control is rather outdated. Birth control for my mom’s generation (in the seventies and eighties) is very very different from birth control now. I go to a practice of midwives that are very much in favor of the whole natural birth, homeopathic medicine category; yet they recommend certain forms of birth control. I personally use the copper IUD because it’s non-hormonal, non-abortive, and will not “chemically alter” my body.
    The reason we decided to use birth control was because after three pregnancies my health was NOT in good shape. I needed a break from babies (and breastfeeding did NOT work for me in that regard).
    I think the biggest danger in the whole argument between birth control and family size is saying that one way is better or holier than another. By saying “there is no biblical basis for intentionally limiting your family size” there is the potential for people to draw the conclusion that more children = better and more Godly (in other words the quiverfull movement). I don’t think that is universally the case. I think it’s more along the lines of the Master and servants in Matthew 25:14-30. The Master gives different amounts to each servant “according to his ability”.

  6. Leila says:

    Dear Courtney,
    What you say does sound very reasonable. Especially when families are in the midst of things, with very young children and limited means, it’s hard to imagine how to continue that way, indefinitely.
    I know this very well because I have seven children and I have been there — as I mentioned in my post, not only did we have lots of littles, I nearly lost my life in childbirth and my husband did lose his job and remained jobless for 18 months. Imagine — 6 (at the time) children and no job other than what he could cobble together on the fly.
    I want you to know that I do understand how it looks and feels in a way that few in our country do (but of course, throughout human history and in many countries our situation was enviable, what with state-of-the-art medical care and a safety net that at least assured we’d have a shelter if we lost our house! food for thought).
    I actually keep quite current with the state of contraception. I did leave out one category of “contraceptives” when I discussed it in my post. It’s rather shocking when you don’t actually delve into how contraceptives work, but simply trust medical professionals to give you information. Of course, everyone makes a lot of money from birth control, so it’s hard to know whom to trust…

    Anyway, in my post I said that there are two kinds — the kind that work (only, they do fail) but are harmful to the woman or mutilate the body, and the kind that don’t work at all. But I left out something in the “kind that work”: the kind that work because they render the womb inhospitable to the developing baby — in short, the kind that work by abortion.

    The low estrogen pill, “Plan B,” and the copper IUD are in this category. You may not have realized this, because unfortunately our medical professionals, in order to be complicit with the abortion industry and with reproductive technologies, have redefined pregnancy for their own purposes, in the teeth of biology. (You can read a very clear explanation, because this was actually just in the news, here: http://thefederalist.com/2014/05/19/the-washington-post-is-super-confused-about-where-babies-come-from/)

    However, every scientist knows that the baby starts developing before it is implanted in the womb. If you render the womb inhospitable by chemical and physical means (the IUD does this), you are aborting the baby.

    I can understand how a person who doesn’t realize this would opt for the IUD, thinking it’s safe (although how could it be safe for the woman? When it takes a healthy organ and essentially irritates it indefinitely? I wish people would use common sense). But if she does realize this, and if her husband realizes this, how could they continue to use it? How could Christians accept that they are potentially disposing of — killing — their own child every month?

    What I am trying to say is that our society sells birth control as magic. Use this magic and everything will be okay.

    But when you look into it, you find that it works at a high cost or doesn’t work, and even the ones that extract the ultimate price still don’t work! There are women who get pregnant using the IUD!
    Could it be that God actually has a plan for each marriage? That is the question that Christians today must ask ourselves. Once we answer honestly, we can come to see how He deals intimately with each person and sends them exactly what they need — in every aspect of life. He even deals mercifully with those who are afraid, by arranging for infertile periods and even allowing complete abstinence if that is what is called for. http://www.ewtn.com/library/encyc/p6humana.htm

    Why can we not trust Him and the way our bodies are made?

    • Courtney@BooksnBoys says:

      I fully admit that my perspective is a young one “in the midst of things, with very young children and limited means”. And I very much appreciate the perspective of older adults in a different stage of life. I think it’s very possible that we might have more children, but we would do so through adoption rather than pregnancy.
      I am still confused as to your aversion to birth control because it kind of seems like you want it both ways. (“even the ones that extract the ultimate price still don’t work! There are women who get pregnant using the IUD!”) I totally agree with you that life begins at conception. I grew up being taught that using ANY form of birth control was tantamount to aborting a baby every month.
      My midwife (who is Catholic and has the same values as me and I totally trust) explained it to me like this: all IUDs prevents pregnancy in three ways (1) prevents ovulation (2) kills sperm (3) thins the lining of your uterus [which is the only abortive component]. The only problem is, it doesn’t partially fail. There is NO study I can find in which it has partially failed. In other words, if the IUD fails in number one and two, number three is going to fail as well, which is why you have some ladies get pregnant. This is the reason I am okay with using it. If it is successful, it prevents conception and if it fails, I will have a baby.
      “Could it be that God actually has a plan for each marriage?” Why can’t birth control be part of God’s plan for a marriage? I’ll admit I am not Catholic, but it has always confused me that the Catholic Church allows for some forms of birth control (NFP) and not others.
      “Why can we not trust Him and the way our bodies are made?” Sex (protected or unprotected) always carries the possibility of pregnancy. I don’t see how I am trusting God any less by trying to lower the possibility any more than I am by buckling up in a car or taking medicine when I’m sick.

  7. danielmeyer says:

    >>> (Not really sure what your first comment was in response to though)

    Dear Courtney,
    I think you must be referring to when I said, remember that we aren’t raising these crops of grain and children for ourselves, but we desire to raise up a godly seed for our Master.

    I was answering your objection when you said, “I’m happy with three acres of grain rather than five”. I’m saying, it’s the Lord’s field, so the question is what amount of fruitfulness pleases Him. Is He content with a little, or does He desire great fruitfulness?

    The answer, of course, is clear.

    • Courtney@BooksnBoys says:

      And THIS is why I have a problem with your original post: “I’m saying, it’s the Lord’s field, so the question is what amount of fruitfulness pleases Him. Is He content with a little, or does He desire great fruitfulness? The answer, of course, is clear.” Your conclusion is “God wants us to have great fruitfulness = lots of children”. Combining this conclusion with “children are a blessing” and couldn’t you logically conclude then that “God is MORE pleased with you the more children you have”? This is where the quiverfull movement has gone and this is the point where I think you are reading into the Scripture.

      How can you give a blanket definition of the amount of fruitfulness that pleases God?

      How can you say that a family with three children isn’t pleasing God as much as a family with more? (For the record, I don’t think this is what you are trying to say, but that is how it comes across.)
      What about couples with infertility? Is God less pleased with them because of their barrenness? (Scripturally barrenness was used as a punishment at least once, does that mean it’s ALWAYS a punishment?) What about couples with only a few kids? Does “great fruitfulness” always mean “lots of children” or can it mean investing fully in a few?
      I completely agree with you that children are a blessing. I just don’t think you can quantify and say “God desires great fruitfulness which means have lots of kids.”

      • danielmeyer says:

        Your conclusion is “God wants us to have great fruitfulness = lots of children”. Combining this conclusion with “children are a blessing” and couldn’t you logically conclude then that “God is MORE pleased with you the more children you have”? This is where the quiverfull movement has gone and this is the point where I think you are reading into the Scripture.

        Dear Courtney,
        Yes, God wants us to have lots of children. See God’s multiplied specific commands to have lots of children, starting in Genesis 1:

        God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” – Genesis 1:28 NASB

        As for whether God is more pleased with us the more children we have, remember that a husband has his responsibility and a wife has her responsibility, but God makes a baby grow. We do our part by faith and pray for God to grant the increase, and this obedience by faith is pleasing to the Lord. To some He grants more children and to some less. This is much different than the man who says, “I refuse to raise any more children for the Lord.”

        Stepping back a bit, obedience by faith always pleases God.

        Samuel said, “Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
        As in obeying the voice of the LORD?
        Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
        And to heed than the fat of rams. – 1 Samuel 15:22

        And remember that Jesus said that the wise man who built his house upon the rock was the one who “hears My words and does them”, but that the one who hears His words and does not do them, his house will be destroyed.

        Later you bring up difficulties people may have: infertility, etc. But of course there’s a big difference between being barren and praying for God’s mercy in opening your womb, or mutilating your body to make sure you remain barren!

        Courtney, all the time we are discussing this you have a device in your body that keeps tiny souls conceived by you and your husband from implanting in your womb but consigns them to nameless, anonymous death. Jesus warns us that we must be hospitable to strangers (Matt 25:35), yet you refuse your own offspring the most basic hospitality of a place to live in your womb at his most vulnerable time. Your hate for him is so complete that you would rather he die than provide a place for him.

        Please stop using the accursed IUD. Until you understand your sin, guilt, and danger to your soul in this and turn from this practice there is little hope for your understanding, let alone coming into conformity with, God’s commands and instruction regarding the blessing of children.

  8. Courtney@BooksnBoys says:

    You asked in your original post, “But why are you angry? Am I misrepresenting the words of a holy God, and you’re jealous for his glory? Or could it be that I have challenged beliefs that you hold more dear than the Word of God?” May I present another option: the reason I found your post off-putting was because you are giving an interpretation of the Scripture and saying any other opinion or interpretation is wrong and sinful. This is not a black and white issue where God clearly said “preventing children for any reason is a sin” which is why even the Catholic church allows personal choice on the matter. God clearly calls us to be fruitful, but we can debate all day over what that means.
    I don’t know if you watched the recent debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye, but Bill Nye asked a question that I thought was very useful for debates. Is there any evidence I could offer you that would change your mind about this issue? Unlike the Ham/Nye debate where they couldn’t agree on a basic authority for evidence, we both accept the authority of Scripture. Our disagreement seems to stem from how we define fruitfulness. I grew up being taught that debate was a healthy way to hash out what and why you believed something. Based on your last reply though, there is no room for any other opinion on this matter besides your own. You can therefore consider this my “closing argument” on the matter.

    IUDs are NOT abortificient. If I was not completely convinced of this (based on solid evidence, five of such recent studies are referenced below) I would not have it. “Sin, guilt, and danger to [my] soul”? – I can’t help but wonder if you are taking advantage of the anonymity of the internet to vent a little. Would you say that to my face? Or to the face of another sister in Christ?

    * L Bovens (2006) in his journal article “The Rhythm Method and Embryonic Death”, argues that using NFP increases the risk of embryonic death (ie a shed fertilised egg). Simply because IUDs prevent you from ovulating, and in those using NFP/FAM you still ovulate (thereby creating much higher risk automatically). He defines rhythm method as ‘measuring Cervical Position/Cervical Mucous/Temps to ensure pregnancy is not achieved’ (which is what I believe to be the ‘foundation’ of NFP/FAM).

    * Goodnough (2001) did a literary review of Randy Alcorn’s book ‘does the birth control pill cause abortions’, by researching the various studies out – and showed that most research carried out thus far with regards to the OCP showed that there was no significant data that had showed a fertilised egg was ‘shed’ due to inhospitable lining (which Alcorn had been arguing). Although that is a known side effect of an inhospitable lining, it had yet to be shown as happening due to the use of the oral contraceptive pill (ie. samples taken by menstruating women in the studies, had no samples showing a fertilised egg/embryo). The women thus far in the studies he looked at who had ovulated had ended up pregnant – and was due to either a prolonged time frame (ie. >5 days) not taking the pill, or not adhering to taking the pill at the same time every day.

    * Rivera, Jacobsen et al (1999) in their article “Mechanisms of Action of Hormonal Contraceptives and Interuterine Contraceptive Devices”, showed that there was no significant evidence to prove that oral contraceptives promoted the shedding of fertilised eggs. Although the lining DID thin (which can cause failure of implantation), there was no indication of a fertilised egg shedding as a result. This was also evidenced by the studies they referenced.

    * Dando and Curran (2005) in their article “Low Dose ethinylestradiol/levonorgestrel” referenced a number of studies. In one particular one carried out by them, they had 2 groups – of one 100% of patients had successful suppression of ovulation (and no reliance on the secondary and tertiary factors), and 97% in the other (those who managed to ovulate, fell pregnant).

    * Guillebaud (2003) in his article “When do contraceptives work” states that if you reduce the timeframe of your breakthrough bleed whilst on the combined OCP to 4 days per cycle (ie. the time when you are on a ‘placebo’ pill), you basically prevent entirely the risk of shedding a fertilised egg. Same with using a triphasic pill, Depo provera, Implanon, and the majority of progestin-only pills.

    [NOTE FROM DANIEL MEYER 6/9/2014 – I have removed this link to unbiblical content]

    My purpose for beginning this dialogue at all was not to change your mind about what you believe. I was just hoping you would acknowledge that the Scriptures are not as clear on this issue as you first demanded. Family size and birth control are not mandated in the Bible.

  9. danielmeyer says:

    Dear Courtney,
    From the ParaGard prescribing information sheet (a copper IUD)…

    How does ParaGard® work?
    Ideas about how ParaGard® works include preventing sperm from reaching the egg, preventing sperm from fertilizing the egg, and possibly preventing the egg from attaching (implanting) in the uterus. ParaGard® does not stop your ovaries from making an egg (ovulating) each month.

    I’m not venting, I’m calling you to take heed to your ways before that Day when we give an account of our deeds.

    Love,

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