“Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce.
Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare, you will find your welfare.”
A blessing or not a blessing? That is the question. According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal (August 2006, Ms. Gardner of Wheaton College) 88% of Evangelicals approve of the use of contraceptions. Some families may only want one or two children, making the contraceptions a means of securing that. But is this multiplying and “filling the whole earth” as God commanded? Of course for multiplication to happen you would need to have at least three children, which is becoming uncommon in our time. In times past, it was not uncommon to have four, five, or even more kids, as they were considered to be assets to the family.
Part of multiplication involves growth over different generations as well. This means if each generation of a family is only having one or two kids there is no longer multiplication but rather decline. So what happened?
In today’s urban world of fast-paced life with the resulting vacuum which creates more need for convenience as people get busier, time has become the enemy.
According to the Wall Street article, “The introduction of the birth control pill in the 1950s and 1960s offered ‘free love’ to society at large; married evangelicals embraced its convenience and effectiveness.” It seems children have become a liability, even to Christians. Indeed, we may still regard any child as a blessing, but now it seems they have become more like cars to maintain, rather than houses to invest in. Although with cars, we will take one anytime, and even more of them than children if we could. With kids, there are many an excuse for not wanting one. Ironically, global problems of pollution and destruction of ecosystems are blamed on there being too many people.
Growing up and being raised in the urban life, everything I observed about having and raising children told me that they were liabilities. The belief seemed to be, “If you have children, it will cost.” I remember seeing reports in newspapers about average costs for raising a single child and thinking, “Wow, how expensive!” The publication propagated children as simply an expense. No one ever talked about the inherent value of a child. But when we turn to the Scriptures we see a completely different attitude towards children and that they are the most valuable investments we have on this earth.