Time Citizen Column
Rev. Paul L. Beisel
When God created man, and gave him the command to “be fruitful and multiply,” he intended this to take place within the sacred bonds of marriage. Genesis 2:24-25 states: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed” (ESV).
Pregnancy—the natural result of this one-flesh union—is viewed as a very good thing in the eyes of God. “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward…blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them” (Psalm 127:3, 5). Barrenness is seen as a curse, and fruitfulness a blessing. In short, the Bible praises children as a wonderful and blessed gift from our Creator.
Not only that, but we learn that it is God himself who is truly “at work” when a human is conceived. Psalm 139 says, “For you formed my inward parts, you knitted me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13). Every child that is conceived, every pregnancy that results from a sexual union, regardless of the circumstances in which it took place, is a gift and blessing from God. The fact that many pregnancies occur between unmarried couples does not negate the goodness of the gift.
Today, however, it often seems like pregnancy is spoken of in ways that make this good gift of God sound more like it is some kind of illness or disease, something to be prevented at all costs. When we conceived our third child, we often heard comments like: “I guess you’re probably done having kids now, aren’t you?” When we conceived our fourth, we heard: “Certainly you’re done now!” Has our culture, as a whole, come to view fruitfulness as a curse, and barrenness as a blessing?
Unfortunately, this negative view of pregnancy spills over into other areas of community life. For example, in conversations about teenage pregnancy, one often hears statements that suggest that pregnancy—not the act that leads to pregnancy—is the real problem among teens. “What can we do to prevent teenage pregnancy?” is the burning question. If we see pregnancy as the problem, the thing that needs to be prevented or fixed, then we will quite naturally see the solution in terms of instructing teens on the right and proper use of birth control methods.
What if the problem wasn’t pregnancy, but the fact that in modern thinking, “sex without consequences” has replaced sex and procreation within the context of marriage as the ideal? What if the problem was that people, teens and adults alike, are taught to view sex as purely a source of personal pleasure and fun? Isn’t pregnancy what is supposed to happen when two people become “one flesh” through a physical union?
I would submit that until we adults can get a handle on the real problem (sex between unmarried persons), we’re not going to be of much help to our young people. And, if we continue to speak of pregnancy in such negative terms, instead of viewing it as a wonderful gift and blessing from God, I’m afraid we are only going to succeed in creating a culture that is even more hostile towards the most helpless among us.
There was a time in the not-so-distant past when such virtues were commonly held, not only by people of faith, but by a majority of citizens. May God in his grace restore such a common sense of virtue to our land.