Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity

Bible Answers

Gene Frost, 1900 Jenny Lind, Fort Smith, Arkansas

Question: Is Birth Control Sinful?

ANSWER: All arguments against birth-controls are based upon the proposition that the marriage relationship is wholly and solely for procreation. While certainly it must be acknowledged that the design of this relationship of the sexes is primarily for the increase of mankind upon the earth (Gen. 1:28, I Tim. 2:15), it is presumptuous to assume that no other effect is intended. If it can be shown that there is another design in the marriage relationship, then the proposition that cohabitation is wholly and solely for procreation is false and with it the various theories based thereon.

Another design of marriage is to effect avoidance of fornication. Man is created with fleshly appetites. These are not wrong and sinful in themselves, but are necessary to the preservation and posterity of man on this earth. Sin results from an abuse or misuse of these appetites, e.g. gluttony, covetousness evil concupiscence. The satisfaction of the bodily appetites according to God's will (Who created man with them and designed their proper function and purpose) is not wrong. (I John 3:4). In order, then, to avoid the unlawful gratification of the sexual appetite in fornication, a person should marry (according to God's will). And so the apostle Paul writes in I Corinthians 7:2: "to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every wife have her own husband."

It might be reasoned that the avoidance of sin in lawful gratification is incidental, and that the apostle is actually advocating the conjugal relationship with a view to procreation. But this is not the case. Notice the context. "Let the husband render unto his wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency." (I Cor. 7:3 - 5).

In marriage, the husband is to satisfy the wife in her desires lest she be tempted to seek gratification with another man, in a sinful relationship, and vice versa. Neither has the power of his own person to deny the other of the marriage privileges. To do so is apt to cause the other to sin through an inability to restrain his lusts. Marriage is a most sacred relationship wherein separate ownership of one's person ceases, and without which the perfect ideal of man is not realized. Abstinence from conjugal relationship must be only for a time, and with mutual consent: the apostle Paul is not arguing that they must be continually striving to produce offspring, but rather shows another design of the marriage privilege.

Whereas marriage is not for procreation alone, neither must it be reduced to an arrangement for gratification alone. Marriage realizes its perfect design with the gift of children. The extent of the family circle should be in keeping with health, parental ability, economics, etc. These factors must be determined by the persons involved and are not subjects of ecclesiastical decrees. Marriage is not an ordinance of the church; it predates the church and is God's law from the creation. The relationship of one man to one woman has not a single, exclusive design. As well as for procreation, it is a relationship of love wherein mutual well-being is experienced.

— 1900 Jenny Lind Avenue, Fort Smith, Arkansas