Are Children Always a Blessing?

Discussion in 'Family Forum' started by jpfrench81, Jan 4, 2011.

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  1. JennyG

    JennyG Puritan Board Graduate

    I'd be interested to see that
     
  2. he beholds

    he beholds Puritan Board Doctor

    PM'd you♥
     
  3. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    The aim of biblical ethics is to be as biblical rather than be as conservative as possible or as liberal as possible.

    Conservative positions would be

    (a) The Bible/natural law teaches that birth control should never be used under any circumstances.

    (b) More conservative - the Bible/natural law teaches that married couples should try to have as many children as possible.

    Liberal positions would be

    (a)Contraception can be used by married couples to avoid having any children or to have as few as desired for fashionable reasons or any reason.

    (b) Married couples should try to have no or as few children as they feel like having even if only because it's fashionable to have 0,1,2 or 3.
     
  4. brianlve

    brianlve Inactive User

    Yes, always!
     
  5. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    It has already been confessed that contracting the virus is an evil. It is not an expression of love to expose another to what is evil and harmful for them.

    Concerning the marital expression of love -- God did not make sexual relations pleasurable in themselves; He made procreation of His image to be pleasurable. It is not merely physical, but spiritual also. If a couple does not take pleasure in seeing their union result in the fullest fruit of their "coming together" then the marital expression of love is lacking an important development for which God created it.
     
  6. he beholds

    he beholds Puritan Board Doctor

    I definitely disagree here. I actually think the closeness of being one is superior to procreation.
     
  7. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Honesty is commendable, but the sentiment expressed is idolatry. Any benefit from such closeness is a blessing from God; a blessing from being close to the image of God in that person; a blessing which encourages the propagating of the same image as a fruit of that closeness. To sever the spiritual element is to serve the creature in the place of the Creator.
     
  8. satz

    satz Puritan Board Senior

    Rev Winzer,

    What bible passages support this position?
     
  9. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    It is not a matter of Bible passages; it is the worldview of the Bible from beginning to end. It is the creationist worldview -- that our ethics are receptive rather than creative. We accept the world as God has created it, our lives as God has determined them, and our morals as God has revealed them. But if you need a specific text which sums up the creationist worldview I would point you to Romans 1:18-32. The need to distort and interfere with the natural order is ascribed to a perversion of the Creator-creature distinction and relation. Verses 26-27 emphasise the "natural use." If humans have the power to create their own world, to determine their own lives, to invent their own morality, then Romans 1 is false and we have no reason to place such emphasis on the righteousness of God which is by faith in Jesus Christ.
     
  10. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    If she's 2 months pregnant and you're still just as desirous of her and take just as much pleasure in her even though you know it won't make another baby, how would that fit in?
     
  11. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    It should be even more passionate because she is bearing your children and is deserving of even more of yourself. Of course, I'm depending on a biblical view of complacent love when I say such things. Love that begins as appreciation, develops into admiration, and is completed with adoration. And not merely love for some God-alienated object, but loved precisely because of the God-likeness which is evident in the person.
     
  12. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    Very nice, Pastor. Thanks much.
     
  13. Joseph Scibbe

    Joseph Scibbe Puritan Board Junior

    I am going to say no. I make less than $2,000 a month (post tax). I am crunching numbers now and when I get married, if I am not making anymore money, things are going to be tight. If I were to add a child there is no way I could make ends meet. If I were to have multiple children things would absolutely fall to pieces. I have had conversations with my (hopefully) future wife and we have decided on 3-4 children at most. I grew up in a family with a large number of children and, while I can't imagine life without them, I think it is totally legitimate to not want a large family.
     
  14. John Lanier

    John Lanier Puritan Board Junior

    I'm not saying that you are wrong as I don't know your exact situation...but what I will say is that it is possible. I make $1800 per month post tax and have a mortgage. My wife is a stay at home mom so we live completely on my income. We are expecting our second child in a couple of months. We are both frugal people and don't even have to live check to check. We usually have money left over each month. The Lord is gracious when we seek to raise a godly heritage unto Him. He has always provided for us. My two cents (not a rule for anybody): I would rather give up a lot of the lawful enjoyments in the world in order to raise the children that the Lord has and may bless us with. Once again, I don't know your situation and I am not saying that you are wrong. All I am saying is that the Lord is gracious and we somehow always are provided for in our needs.
     
  15. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    On income management, there are three points worth considering. First, Faithful in few, entrusted with much. It is a fact that God entrusts us with small things while we are dealing with small things, and then increases our stewardship as we show that we are truly serving Him with what we are given. Secondly, sowing and reaping is proportionate. It is remarkable how God gives a little for doing little and gives much for doing much. Thirdly, one cannot appraise the cost of feeding a family per capita. A little truly does go a long way when you make value based lifestyle choices which invest in souls. And buying in bulk always lessens the bill per capita. All which adds up to a very big question -- whose economics?
     
  16. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    Yes, every time I had a kid my income went up. To me it's a no brainer. What a small thing to trust if one is a Calvinist of all people.
     
  17. satz

    satz Puritan Board Senior

    Kevin,

    That’s not quite true, which is what I have been trying to show.

    1 Corinthians 7 deals with entering into and not entering into marriage. But the principles it sets out, the reasons for making a decision not to enter into marriage, are applicable not only to marriage, but to other areas of life as well. Verses 30-31 mention other things (weeping, joy, business, using the world) as well.

    And the principle is, that we need or may limit things in our lives to avoid excessive carefulness (v32). This principle applies to marriage (which is a great blessing) and is not limited only to marriage, as verses 30-31 show.

    So why doesn’t it apply to childbirth?

    Regarding the stand of church history, I have to admit the evidence is as you say it is. Do you know of any answer to my question above?
     
  18. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    The principle the apostle lays down is that to avoid carefulness and divided interests it is better not to marry, especially in the present distress. If avoiding the married state is the only way to relieve oneself of its burdens it is obvious that entering into the married state obliges one to all its burdens.
     
  19. he beholds

    he beholds Puritan Board Doctor

    Wait a minute...how did you come to the conclusion that the closeness of man and woman knowing each other is a severance of the spiritual element? That is EXACTLY the opposite of what I think it is. That oneness is the primary reason for marriage, the oneness is the spiritual element. Creating children is not the spiritual element. There are married people without children, do they not have the spiritual element?????????? Creating children is wonderful. And I am open to life, as it were. But, I don't think that validates or spiritualizes my marriage.

    Why do you call my "sentiment" idolatry? I know that the closeness is a blessing from God. Children are also a blessing from God. So is it idolatrous to consider that the primary reason for marriage? If not, why not? I really don't understand how you could conclude that closeness is idolatry.
    Are marriages not designed to mirror our relationship with God and the closeness of that?

    I think I'm just sick of idolatry being claimed without backing it up. I really hear this all too often. I think that is the first target for many. And this is yet another case where I don't get the connection. So maybe I need a lesson on idolatry.

    ---------- Post added at 10:10 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:07 AM ----------

    Or if she's infertile? And not just that you suspect it, so there's always hope for a baby, but you know it because some illness removed her ovaries when she was 14? Or he's infertile.
     
  20. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    Mark, what Pastor Winzer said.

    But wouldn't you still fall under the 'obligations' of the married state, as per the marital relations in 1 Cor 7:5?
     
  21. satz

    satz Puritan Board Senior

    Rev Winzer,

    I do not see how that follows.

    1 Corinthians 7:29-31 But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.

    Paul specifically says that even those who are married are not to let their marriage and its duties so overwhelm them that they become too distracted from serving the Lord. The same applies to those with circumstances that cause them to weep or rejoice, to business activities and to our other activities in the world. Being married involves entering into commitments, duties and burdens that will take up one's time and energy. But it is a choice to not let those things overwhelm you.
     
  22. he beholds

    he beholds Puritan Board Doctor

    Yes, but I argue that this would still be spiritual and that the husband-wife obligations are to bring closeness to a couple, regardless of childbearing occurring or being able to occur.
     
  23. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    Boy Josh, you could have saved us all a lot of trouble by putting that at post #2 instead of post #143.
     
  24. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Because true closeness and union require love of the divine image in that person. It cannot consist with a despising of the divine image which is evident in the refusal to procreate it as a fruit of closeness to the divine image.

    Infertility causes grief precisely because genuine love cannot develop into its ultimate expression. Grief, by definition, is a sense of pain for the loss of something valued, and therefore contrary to pleasure.
     
  25. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    That is not what he says at all. He says the opposite. Vv. 27, 28 "Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you." Again, vv. 34, 35, "There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction."

    It is obvious that living "as though they had none" does not give liberty to omit the burdens of married life because Paul has specifically stated that married people are not to defraud one another except for brief periods of exclusive spiritual exercise.
     
  26. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    That's just it - there's no difference in the mechanics of marital relations, it is just that no child occurs. It is not a results-based issue, it is an attitude-of-the-heart issue.

    Rev. Winzer makes me dance like Snoopy.
     
  27. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    But the married couple know that no child will result and yet have relations. If the proper intention of having relations is always to try to have children, or possibly have children, and any other intention is unnatural, then their behaviour is unnatural.
     
  28. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    If the point is closeness, then the argument becomes birth control (of any sort) inherently limits the closeness of the couple. I am not saying an argument of this sort cannot be made, but I do not think I have seen it.

    CT
     
  29. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    That's correct, which is why it is not a matter of simply heart-attitude (nothing ever is). It is a matter of creation mentality and morality. It is a matter of thinking completely in accord with the entire mechanism that God has made. It is obviously possible to pull an engine apart and to describe its various parts and functions; but it is not possible to run the engine while it is in pieces. We must have some understanding of all the parts functioning together. And in God's order, bearing children as a fruit of sexual union is an integral part of the mechanism of creation, of reflecting the image of God.

    Now, God can overrule His own creation and make a couple happy even while they are childless. He does this by making spiritual blessings take the place of marital blessings. But a couple cannot overrule God's order and still expect the same happiness. Providence is God's business; obedience is man's. Happiness is what God promises as a consequence of following Him, Psalm 1. To overrule God's way and to seek happiness is the very form of idolatry into which our first parents were seduced by the serpent. And if the soul has fallen into the idoaltry of seeking happiness apart from God's ways that soul cannot look to God to make up the loss of marital blessings with spiritual blessings.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2011
  30. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    Very nice again, Pastor. And it accounts for those who are prevented from having kids through no fault of their own.
     
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