BE FRUITFUL AND MULTIPLY
“27. And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28. And God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiple, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.'” Genesis 1: 27-28
Christians should take note of the fact that the first listed command to mankind was “Be fruitful and multiply.” This command is repeated over again in the Bible several times (for instance, in Genesis 9:1 and 35:11). Our point is this: this is a command of God, indeed the first command to a married couple. Birth control obviously involves disobedience to this command, for birth control attempts to prevent being fruitful and multiplying. Therefore birth control is wrong, because it involves disobedience to the Word of God. Nowhere is this command done away with in the entire Bible; therefore it still remains valid for us today.
Martin Luther had this to say in regard to Genesis 1:28: “He has created male and female and has blessed them that they might be fruitful.” (Luther’s Works, Vol. 5, p.329)
On this same occasion Luther said, “…fertility was regarded as an extraordinary blessing and a special gift of God, as is clear from Deut. 28:4, where Moses numbers fertility among the blessings. ‘there will not be a barren woman among you,’ he says (cf. Ex. 23:26). We do not regard this so highly today. Although we like and desire it in cattle, yet in the human race there are few who regard a woman’s fertility as a blessing. Indeed, there are many who have an aversion for it and regard sterility as a special blessing.
Surely this is also contrary to nature. Much less is it pious and saintly. For this affection has been implanted by God in man’s nature, so that it desires its increase and multiplication. Accordingly, it is inhuman and godless to have a loathing for offspring.
Thus someone recently called his wife a sow, since she gave birth rather often. The good for nothing and impure fellow! The saintly fathers did not feel like this at all; for they acknowledged a fruitful wife as a special blessing of God and, on the other hand, regarded sterility as a curse. And this judgment flowed from the Word of God in Gen. 1:28, where He said: ‘Be fruitful and multiply.’ From this they understood that children are a gift of God.” (Luther’s Works, Vol. 5, p.325)
In Matthew 19:1-9, Jesus was questioned by the Pharisees concerning marriage and divorce. The Pharisees allowed divorce for a multitude of stupid reasons. Jesus corrected their view by calling their attention to Gen. 1:27 and 2:24, telling the Pharisees that if they wanted to see what God wanted in a marriage, they should get their rules from the way God set up marriage in “the beginning.” Please note that marriage as invented by God “in the beginning” was set up to “be fruitful and multiply” – NOT to “be sterile”!
Many today will say, “But I cannot afford to have lots of children, and so I must practise birth control. If I don’t, I will be poor, and my children will be stuck in grinding poverty.”
Listen to what Martin Luther has to say on this subject: “Although it is very easy to marry a wife, it is very difficult to support her along with the children and the household. Accordingly, no one notices this faith of Jacob. Indeed, many hate fertility in a wife for the sole reason that the offspring must be supported and brought up. For this is what they commonly say: ‘Why should I marry a wife when I am a pauper and a beggar? I would rather bear the burden of poverty alone and not load myself with misery and want.’ But this blame is unjustly fastened on marriage and fruitfulness. Indeed, you are indicting your unbelief by distrusting God’s goodness, and you are bringing greater misery upon yourself by disparaging God’s blessing. For if you had trust in God’s grace and promises, you would undoubtedly be supported. But because you do not hope in the Lord, you will never prosper.” (Luther’s Works, Vol. 5, p. 332).
We Christians worship the great and powerful Lord who created the entire world. Can we truly believe that if we obey Him in this matter of being fruitful and multiplying, He will desert us? This idea is truly foreign to the Bible. God is not obligated to give us a Cadillac, but He promises to give us food and clothing and shelter. (Psa. 37:25 says, “I have been young, and now I am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Or his descendants begging bread.” And Jesus says in Mat. 6:33, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.”) Our dedication to God should be that of Daniel’s three friends, who said, “…our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if he does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” (Dan. 3:17-18)