Is it a Sin to Choose Not to Have Children?
- Katie T. Kennedy Contributing Writer
- Published Aug 09, 2023
Should Christians have children? Is it their choice, or has God already laid out a plan for Christian marriages? These are great questions we will discuss and more.
Birth rates in the United States and globally have been consistently dropping. There are quite a few speculations as to why, but regardless of the why, the numbers are telling. Even China is changing its restrictions on couples, allowing them to have more children.
In this article, I will be speaking about Christian marriages and whether they have a duty to have children. This article does not cover whether or not a couple is able to have children.
What Is the Purpose of Marriage and Children?
Let’s look to the Bible and remind ourselves of the purpose of marriage. The three purposes of marriage described in Genesis are companionship, unity, and procreation. God is the creator of marriage. In Genesis 2:18, the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” The Lord created women as a companion and helpers.
When the Pharisees confront Jesus in Judea in Matthew 19, he quotes Genesis 2:24 in his response stating, “For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” He goes on to say in Matthew 19:6, “So they are no longer two but one. Therefore, what God has joined together, let man not separate.” Marriage is the union of two separate beings, both made in the image of God, who are brought together to create oneness. Michael Foster states, “Marriage is God’s picture of the perfect onetogetherness we will ultimately experience in communion with Him.”
When God was finished creating man and woman, he blessed this couple and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number: fill the earth and subdue it.” (Genesis 1:28) We are called to produce godly offspring and exercise dominion. “Has not the Lord made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring.” (Malachi 2:15)
Through marriage, we have an opportunity to glorify God and serve our spouses. In marriage, we get to show God’s love for us by loving, serving, and helping our spouses. We get to honor God through our marriage and live out His will for our life.
Is Not Having Children a Sin?
If we look to the Old Testament, a couple’s primary goal main was to have children. Look at Abraham and Sarah and how her barrenness caused grief and shame.
In Exodus, you see God’s Word is fulfilled from Genesis 1:28, “But the Israelites were fruitful and multiplied greatly and became exceedingly numerous, so that the land was filled with them.” (Exodus 1:7) They became so many the Pharaoh was intimated by their numbers and strength and worried they would turn against him if war broke out. That was when he ordered every son to be killed.
Nowadays, couples are more self-focused and less God-focused, even Christian couples. We often get caught in the trap of playing God. With technology, modern transportation, modern medicine, we have abilities that put us in greater control of our lives. These modern conveniences give us the sense that we have greater control over outcomes and don’t need God as much because we have ways to “control” the situation ourselves. We have a false sense of control. It isn’t until a major catastrophe happens that we recognize we really don’t have as much control as we think.
We have become a generation of Christians who depend on ourselves instead of our God. The mainstream media, social media, and peers all affirm these thoughts. This false sense leads to pride and ego, and it’s hard to humble ourselves before a worthy God if we think we have everything together. The world tells us we deserve happiness. The Bible tells a different story.
What Does the Bible Say about Having Children?
The first commandment tells us, “You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3) We must put our God above all else. This means taking all our decisions to the Lord and asking Him to align our will with His will. We boast in our Christianity until it means we must live a certain way and surrender all desires, including the decision to have children to the Lord.
We are born sinners. I know this can hurt to hear. Our natural inclination is to succumb to our fleshly desires. This makes the Christian journey so challenging; it goes against our natural desires. We want to control; we want to play God. It’s easy to make decisions on what will be the most convenient and comfortable thing for us. It’s hard to surrender these decisions to God, to trust in Him, and acknowledge that His plans are better than anything we can come up with.
We get the privilege of following Him, praising Him, and listening to His word. When we ignore Him, things go astray, as exhibited in the story of Abraham and Hagar. Sarah and Abraham decided to take matters into their own hands instead of waiting for God to follow through on His promise. Sarah asked Abraham to sleep with her maidservant, Hagar, so they could build a family. The result was jealousy, division, and sadness.
In his book Galatians for You, Tim Keller states, “When we fail to rest in God and instead seek to be our own savior, the result is havoc and disintegration – spiritually, psychologically, and relationally.” We must put our God first and surrender our desires to Him, including the decision of having children.
Children Are a Blessing
Kids are a blessing. Psalm 127:3-5 states, “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.”
I know some couples are not “ready” to have children. Are you ever truly ready? Do you ever have quite enough money? Is your home big enough? No. Having children is a chance to put your faith in God that He will provide for you. (Philippians 4:19) Will having children take away from your goal of retiring early, buying that vacation home, or taking that amazing vacation? Absolutely! Go back to why we are here. We are here to glorify God. We are not here to accumulate wealth on earth. (Matthew 6:19) Make sure your goals are aligned with God’s word.
The joy of children is beyond words. Yes, they are tons of work, they cost money, you will make sacrifices, including your valuable time to raise them up in the Lord. Are these things worth it? Absolutely! You have the opportunity to pass on your wisdom and knowledge of the Lord to the next generation. What could be more important than that, especially right now? Look around; the world is filled with corruption and sin. We need more faithful children being raised in the Lord, making biblical decisions, following Jesus, and standing firm in their faith. We need more children who will be light in this dark world who will share the gospel.
It is hard not to get caught up in the allure of the world. It’s easy to be swayed by the culture. Christians have a duty to follow the Lord, attend church, learn their Bible, and worship God. As we do these things, He will equip us and strengthen us.
Is it easy to raise godly children in this toxic culture? Absolutely not! We must do it anyway. It is critical we raise up children in the Lord, read them the Bible, pray for them and with them. We need to teach them how to be strong and stand firm in their faith so they can raise godly children of their own. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. "Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Galatians 5:24-25.
Katie T. Kennedy lives in Richmond, VA. She is married to a wonderful husband Jonathan and they have three girls. She is a writer, blogger, and employee of the family business. After a mid-life spiritual transformation, she discovered her love of writing. She loves to travel, read, be in nature, cook, and dream. She would love to connect with you online at www.katietkennedy.com, Instagram or Facebook.
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