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What does the Bible say about family planning?


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family planning
Question: "What does the Bible say about family planning?"

Family planning is the practice of regulating how many children are born into a family, including controlling the number of years between births, by means of artificial contraception, voluntary sterilization, treatment of involuntary infertility, Natural Family Planning (NFP), or other methods to either prevent or encourage pregnancy. Reasons for desiring this kind of control vary from family to family and can be influenced by many factors, such as career choices, relationship issues, financial state, physical disabilities, living situation, etc.

Since modern birth control and fertility options were not available during biblical times, the Bible is silent on the matter of using these methods to prevent or encourage pregnancy. Preventing pregnancy for family planning purposes, either temporarily or permanently, is a neutral act and not considered sinful. Exploring treatment options for infertility is likewise a neutral act and not sinful. However, the husband and wife should be in agreement on any decisions regarding any future children.

While there is nothing wrong with a married couple planning for their family’s future, they must accept that God’s will cannot be thwarted. There is nothing in the Bible that states every married couple must have children, but God’s sovereignty will usurp a couple’s plans, no matter what precautions they take. Proverbs 16:9 says, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.” If God’s will is to bring a child into a couple’s life, contraceptive efforts will not bar His way. If a couple has sex, with or without contraception, they must be prepared for the possibility of pregnancy.

If a woman becomes pregnant unexpectedly or unwillingly, the pregnancy should be allowed to come to term. Abortion or Emergency Contraceptive Pills (ECPs) are not an acceptable form of birth control because abortion and the morning-after pill work post-conception, resulting in the death of a living human being. God knows every person before his or her creation and lovingly forms the body within the womb (Jeremiah 1:5; Psalm 139:13–16). Many options, including adoption, are available for those who do not wish to keep the baby.

Children are a gift from the Lord (Psalm 127:3–4), but they bring with them great responsibility for parents. If a married couple decides that they are not ready for children yet or they wish to time pregnancies to space them a certain number of years apart, that is a decision they are free to make. Through prayer and discussion, a husband and wife may wisely plan their future and the future of any children God blesses them with (Proverbs 16:3; 21:5; James 1:5).

Recommended Resource: Christian Ethics: Contemporary Issues & Options, Second Edition by Norm Geisler

Related Topics:

I want a baby, but my spouse does not. What do we do?

What is onanism? Is onanism a sin?

What does the Bible say about permanent forms of birth control, i.e. a tubal ligation or vasectomy?

How should a Christian deal with infertility?

Is it wrong for parents to select the gender of their children, such as through Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD)?

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What does the Bible say about family planning?

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