In a moment of disconnect between brain and tongue, my wife, trying to get the attention of one of our (then) four children, stumbled through all their names until she at last arrived at the correct one. Her sister-in-law, ever candid with her opinions, offered the following serious remark:
“That’s a sign you have too many children.”
Is there such a thing as “too many children”?
From the world’s perspective, the answer is yes. We’re repeatedly told that the world is overpopulated, that we’re running out of resources, that we need to slow down our reproduction rates in order to avoid global disaster. The idea of having more than two children is often considered strange, overwhelming, and even irresponsible.
Of course, a man would be wise to consider his resources before fathering a flock of children, but that’s something he should take into account before marriage, since children are a natural product of the marital union. But with the world discouraging a multiplicity of children, what is a Christian to do?
Understanding what Yahweh God says to us on the topic in His Word gives us perspective, not only about whether many children is a good thing or bad, but also regarding where it falls in the realm of Christian responsibility. Once we understand that, it also can shape our approach to and purpose in having children.
Why do we have children? We were created with procreation as a large portion of the human function, so it’s apparent that God included it in His plan for our lives. If not, He would have given us neither the organs nor the basic drive to reproduce. However, simply because we can do it doesn’t mean we should approach it without knowledge. Every device comes with an owner’s manual, and the same is true for the human body and its reproductive system. That manual is the Bible.
While the world looks to its philosophers, professors, pseudo-scientists, and bureaucrats to dictate the bounds and standards by which to produce children and raise families, Christians should always look to their Creator, Yahweh God, and His Word, the Bible. If overpopulation is a factor as serious as we are told, then surely Scripture mentions it in some capacity. If there is such a thing as “too many kids”, if there are limits on the reasonable number of children a family should have, then God must make these limits clear. And whether we are to produce many children or restrict that production, we should endeavor to understand what God’s intent might be, so we can properly apply that understanding to how we raise the children we do have.
The topic of childbearing is significantly important to the human existence. After all, it is through childbearing that humanity is perpetuated into the future. Understanding the means by which we achieve that perpetuation, as well as the reasons why, is pertinent, especially to Christians. We have been made God’s stewards over His creation, including the human sector of that creation. Good stewardship demands that we apply our Master’s intent in caring for His world and the things within it. A responsible shepherd maintains the flock by overseeing the reproduction and increasing its numbers according to the will of his employer – in similar manner, Christians, ruling with Christ as kings and priests, should oversee reproduction within the Kingdom according to the will of the King of kings.
As is apparent by the title of this article series, I advocate the responsibility of Christians to produce many children, and in the following articles I will try to show why. Fecundity (abundant reproduction of offspring) is not only allowed in Scripture, but even advocated without room for question. Also, God makes clear His reasons for that advocacy. Take note that the Biblical message of fecundity is contrary to the message of the world. If the world advocates anything, we should always compare it to the standard of the Word and, if any contradiction arises, be ready to choose the Word over the fickle whims of Man. The constant will of the Omniscient and Omnipotent God overrides the ever-changing philosophies of Man.
Childbearing isn’t something we do for our own satisfaction, glory, or entertainment, as many people in our modern world seem to think. It’s an extremely serious task, glorious in its purpose when aligned with Divine will. The world, contrary to what we are told by the Earth-worshiping environmentalist movement, needs human beings. We were placed here by God to be His stewards and caretakers, and by this alone we can conclude that our role is critical. He does not create arbitrarily. Everything He creates has a purpose, and that purpose is stewardship. In producing more people through reproduction, we continue the species of caretakers for His creation. While pagan environmentalism advocates the reduction of human procreation, Christian environmentalism advocates liberal proliferation. In other words, it is the duty of mankind, particularly of those members of mankind who love and obey God, to produce children.
This series will attempt to explore the topic in depth, using the Bible as its light and magnifying glass. If the world, opposed to God and His Law as it so vociferously is, tells us we must refrain from fecundity, we should question its wisdom and its motives. If our examination of Scripture reveals a mandate contrary to the cry of the world, then we must make the decision to “obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).