Copyright © 1981, 2005, 2009 Philadelphia Church of God
Is planned parenthood wrong? Is the use of contraceptives contrary to God’s biblical teachings?
The Roman Catholic Church has always responded, “Yes!”
But if the Bible—the Holy Word of God—the Maker’s Instruction Book to mankind—be your true authority, it says no such thing!
Sometimes the case of Onan is cited, in an effort to sustain the false dogma against intelligent planned parenthood. But that incident upholds no such teaching.
Judah, father of the Jews, had three sons. Er, Judah’s eldest son, died, leaving a childless widow. By Israelitish law, it then became the legal duty for Judah’s second son, Onan, to marry the widowed Tamar, for the very purpose of begetting a son to bear the deceased brother’s name. The legal statute involved here is stated in Deuteronomy 25 (rsv): “If brothers dwell together, and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the dead shall not be married outside the family to a stranger; her husband’s [unmarried] brother shall go in to her, and take her as his wife, and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her. And the first son whom she bears shall succeed to the name of his brother who is dead …” (Deuteronomy 25:5-6).
Now continue the story of Onan:
“But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so when he went in to his brother’s wife he spilled the semen on the ground, lest he should give offspring to his brother” (Genesis 38:9-10; rsv).
So God destroyed Onan. Why? Not for planned parenthood—not for intelligent spacing of the arrival of children in a happy
family. Onan’s purpose in preventing conception was nothing of the kind. He prevented conception because he knew that the son born would not belong to him—he did it “lest he should give offspring to his brother.”
Onan’s sin was not planned parenthood. There is no biblical law forbidding planned parenthood. His sin was his refusal to obey the law which required him to beget a son to bear his brother’s name. His disobedience of that law was his sin. No such law pertains to New Testament Christians.
Animals do not practice planned parenthood, because they have no minds to do the thinking, reasoning and planning. With animals conception takes place as a result of instinct. It is automatic. Reproduction is the sole purpose of sex in animals.
Not so with humans. Sex serves the wonderful purpose of love-giving in marriage. Humans are endowed with minds. Humans were placed on Earth for the express purpose of developing godlike character—learning to make right decisions, with prayerful guidance from God and His Word, and to exercise the self-direction to rightly act on those decisions.
Planned parenthood violates no law of God! Planned parenthood is a definite contribution to this supreme purpose of character building. It entails, of course, the responsibility for right and wise planning.
Any teaching or legislating which violates this divine purpose of God—which instills in wives the dread and fear of pregnancy—is a religious heresy, and/or a violation of the higher laws of Almighty God!
No wife should ever need to suffer the fear of pregnancy. It is natural for every wife to want to become a mother. To prevent having children and producing a family would be a direct violation of God’s command, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.” But to plan a family in an intelligent manner, as to the time of the first arrival, and the time-spacing of other children—that is a different matter. Nothing in the Bible forbids this. Much in the Bible, in principle, supports it!
At this point, I stop! I had intended, in this revised edition, to include a chapter dealing with the subjects of contraceptives, and of sexual dysfunctions. A certain percentage of marriages are troubled with sexual dysfunctions, either on the part of the wife or of the husband.
But on further thought I have changed my mind. I deliberately avoided giving technical contraceptive information in the two previous editions of this book. It was offered free to our Plain Truth subscribers. I felt the book might fall into teenage hands—and I felt it should. But also I knew that, prior to marriage, they should not be in any rightful and moral need of contraceptive knowledge. Of course many of them have that knowledge already—only many of them get it “dirty” from other kids—and improper knowledge.
I do not wish to encourage premarital sex by supplying such knowledge—and in this book it could serve such a purpose.
Therefore I will say simply that married people who need such information may find it available in books that may be purchased at bookstores.
On contraceptives I will mention two.
One is Conception, Birth and Contraception—a Visual Presentation by Robert J. Demarest, Department of Anatomy, College of Physicians & Surgeons, Columbia University, and John J. Sciarra, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Gynecology, University of Minnesota. Publishers, the Blakiston Division, McGraw Hill Book Co.
The other is The Birth Control Book by Howard I. Shapiro, M.D., published by Avon, a Division of The Hearst Corp., 959 Eighth Ave., New York.
As to sexual dysfunctions in the male and in the female, such as premature ejaculation, or orgasmic dysfunctions, The New Sex Therapy by Helen Singer Kaplan, M.D., Ph.D., head of Sex Therapy and Education program, Cornell University, and Payne Whitney Clinic, the New York Hospital. Published by Quadrangle, the New York Times Book Co.
The most generally recognized authorities on sex instruction are Masters and Johnson of St. Louis. They began their researches several years ago at Washington University, St. Louis. They are William H. Masters, M.D., and Virginia E. Johnson (who is Mrs. Masters). They now head the Reproductive Biology Research Foundation of St. Louis. They have published several books, and I think almost any bookstore would procure for you one of their latest books.Continue Reading: Chapter 15: Engagement—and Wedding Night