The Fruitful Callings of the Childless By Choice
Sometime in your late 20s, you start to notice a change with the invites sitting in your mailbox. The creamy white paper requesting your presence at a wedding transforms into a dainty baby-shower pink or blue. That same friend who just walked down that aisle is now having a baby. I have fun celebrating with my expecting friends, until the inevitable question comes my way.
"So when are you going to have a baby?"
Long before my husband and I married, we talked about having kids and agreed we were in no rush. We both assumed that when the time was right, we'd know. Lately though, we've begun doubt that the right time will ever come. We're considering not having kids.
Neither of us feels any desire to reproduce, certainly not right now, and we aren't scared of a potential future of "just us two." We actually welcome the idea. And while we love our friends' kids, we just don't love all of the things that would come with having our own.
Let me reiterate that: We are not kid-haters. Being around friends with a houseful of kids doesn't cause us misery. It fills us with the same type of awe we get from watching ultra-marathon runners or astrophysicists. It's a glimpse into a foreign world we enjoy visiting.
Truthfully, the entire time we've been discussing this "radical" option, it never occurred to either of us that what we were talking about doing could be seen as sinful. It wasn't until I started researching the church's traditional stance on sexuality that I saw the huge weight placed on procreation.
God's words to "be fruitful and multiply" were not taken by most believers as a blessing for just Adam and Eve, but a commandment for all Christians for the rest of existence. Church tradition holds that the overall purpose for marriage is the creation of children.
But is this true?
Does a married couple need to have children to bring God glory?
Not according to all Christian theologians. James Brownson, professor at Western Theological Seminary says in his book, Bible, Gender, Sexuality:
The command to "be fruitful and multiply" is not given merely to the man and the woman. It is also given to the animals (Gen 1:22) and is thus not a directive given uniquely to human marriage. This in itself calls into question whether the essence of marriage is in view here...
He goes onto say:
Genesis 2, which explores the one-flesh marital bond in detail, does not mention procreation at all. Here, if anywhere in Scripture, the essence of marriage is clearly in view -- and procreation is never mentioned... similarly, the most extended meditation on sexual love in the entire Old Testament, the Song of Songs, makes no mention of issues related to procreation at all..."
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