In a pleasure-seeking world, contraception and abortion often represent methods of mitigating the risk associated with illicit sexual activity. We will delve into the topic of premarital sexuality in a different lesson, so for our current discussion, let us assume that the parties involved are married.
If sex were meant exclusively for procreation, it would be clear that contraception in any form is unacceptable. Some might argue that since it is God who opens (cf. Gen 29:31; 30:22) and closes (cf. 1 Sam. 1:5) the womb, using contraception is akin to playing God. A rejection of contraception in any form would significantly increase the possibility of conception, leading to large families. However, since pleasure is part of God’s intention for sexuality and sex is not solely a biological necessity for procreation, there are other factors to take into consideration. Here are some principles that a Christian married couple ought to consider in their sex life.
As Ellen White states, “True temperance teaches us to dispense entirely with everything hurtful and to use judiciously that which is healthful” (Ellen White, Patriarchs and Prophets, 562;
cf. Phil. 4:5; 1 Cor. 10:31). The principle is about doing good things in moderation and restricting those things that are harmful. Clearly this translates to abstinence from sexual indulgence for the unmarried, but it also means that those who are married ought to practice moderation in their sexual lives. The purpose of contraception is not to remove the need for self-control even within marriage.
By the same token, while it is a blessing when children are added to loving Christian homes, a couple must consider their ability to provide for the children they are blessed with.
As God’s stewards, Christians recognize that their children are given to them in trust. It is their responsibility before God to ensure that the material, emotional, and spiritual needs of their children are taken care of. The couple must therefore plan to ensure their ability to meet the needs of their children (cf. Luke 14:28).
Other considerations like stewardship of the earth, its natural resources, and not creating undue economic burden on society factor in here as well.
Trust in God
Even though a couple makes a plan and takes the necessary precautions, the possibility of conception still remains (even when deemed medically impossible; cf. Gen. 17:17; 18:12). This possibility reinforces the necessity of a fundamental trust in God to guide in the life of the Christian. Moreover, if the very fact that the sexual act is entered by two individuals is an insufficient reminder not to be selfish, the possibility of a human being conceived in the act ought to be another.
God is ultimately the Author of life, and only He can rightfully end it. While we must prayerfully plan our families, these plans are to be laid at the feet of the One who knows what is best for our good.