This is perhaps a question best left for biblical scholars and theologians but it’s one I feel there isn’t necessarily a theological basis for a right or wrong answer, but more so a personal interpretation of scripture or a demonstration of your walk with God.
Birth control among married couples isn’t a common topic of discussion but the situation took me back to a chat I had about a year ago with a male friend of mine who is married. I don’t remember our initial topic of discussion for sure but I recall the moment the conversation went left of center for me. It was when he said that Christians who were married shouldn’t be on birth control or take precautions to avoid getting pregnant. I asked him how he came to that conclusion and he said trying to prevent pregnancy in a marriage is like saying you don’t trust God to sustain you and provide all your needs should you get pregnant. I likened his explanation to getting in a car without a seat belt and expecting God to keep you from flying through the windshield should you get in an accident. I understood his point but I felt as a creation with a higher level of brain activity than God’s other creatures we also have an obligation to not put ourselves in situations that aren’t good for us. If you know that you don’t have the financial means to provide for a child or even the mental stability at the time, should you not avoid bringing one into the world as opposed to relying on a cliche scripture of “God will provide”? If that’s not the case, then what’s so different from a non-married woman having a child out of wedlock—aside from the fornication aspect. Surely, it takes more than the presence of a man to provide a good home for a child.
I took this interesting point of view, which I had never heard from a non-catholic Christian before that point, to an older friend of mind who regularly studies the word and is a devout christian. She agreed with my male friend’s take, adding that the main purpose of sex is to procreate and therefore trying to prevent that from happening inside the institution of marriage, which God created, was wrong. I don’t recall whether she thought it was an outright sin, but from her view, it wasn’t a demonstration of being willing to accept whatever will God had for your life which could very well include becoming a parent if you are consistently having sex with your spouse.
The thing is, I’ve gained a new understanding on having faith in God, particularly since I quit a job last fall, moved back home to freelance, and literally placed my career and financial future in God’s hands, unsure of what would come next. But I didn’t do those things without at least having some sort of base plan and asking God for some guidance and assistance along the way. I didn’t put in my resignation and somehow think I could still live in my apartment partially employed without paying rent and a Landlord breathing down my neck and nothing but ice cubes in the fridge, I adjusted my circumstances as far as my line of vision could take me and asked him to do the rest.
I understand God’s plan for us to be fruitful and multiply and that if he will take care of the birds of the air and the fish of the sea, then surely he will take care of us. But I still believe we have a responsibility to not unnecessarily put ourselves in situations that we’re not ready to take on. The phrase “family planning” exists for a reason and I don’t believe it’s necessarily outside the will of God to engage in it. I personally don’t view birth control in a marriage as sinful prior to wanting to conceive, I think it’s smart.
What are your thoughts? Is it okay for married Christians to use birth control?