Peter Singer's Swan Song
The simple answer is that we fulfill God's original command to Adam and Eve: "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth" (Gen. 1:28). God's command alone would be enough to compel our obedience. But God's Word supplies us with several other motivations, elucidated by Steve and Candice Watters in their 2009 book, Start Your Family: Inspiration for Having Babies. They worried about bringing children into the world as the Y2K challenge threatened to take down the world's computer grid. Their fears recurred when terrorists felled the World Trade Center's twin towers on September 11, 2001. They found comfort, however, in four major reasons God offers for why we should have children: design, blessing, crucible, and hope.
Christian hope differs significantly from the evolutionary hope harbored by Singer. Hope rooted in God's sovereign care for his creation transcends circumstances—even circumstances so dire as Judah's exile into Babylon. The exile, God's judgment for persistent sin, was cataclysmic for everyone in Jerusalem and the southern kingdom. Hope was in short supply. So how did God address his downtrodden people?
"Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease." (Jer. 29:4-6)
So long as God rules, hope will never run out. Childbirth will testify to God's enduring care. With each new child, we proclaim God as creator and redeemer. God did not need to create the world. He did not need to create human beings. In fact, when God created us, he knew we would sin against him and worship idols made of human hands. He knew his one and only pre-existent Son, Jesus Christ, would sacrifice himself for sinners. He created nevertheless, that his creation might know his love even more deeply in redemption. And the promise of redemption gives us sure hope for future generations.
Collin Hansen is a CT editor at large and co-author with John Woodbridge of the forthcoming book, A God-Sized Vision: Revival Stories That Stretch and Stir (Zondervan).
Copyright © 2010 Christianity Today. Click for reprint information.
Previous Theology in the News columns available on our site include:
Seven Theology Books for the Beach | Consider adding these recent releases to your summer reading list. (June 1, 2010)
Obama's AIDS Dilemma | White House funding priorities determine who will live and who will die. (May 17, 2010)
Piper, Warren, and the Perils of Movement Building | Why the debate over separatism still matters. (April 19, 2010)