A question from Wes…
When attempting to apply Reformed doctrine to everyday life, should the belief in a specifically Sovereign God shape our answer to the question of Contraception use?
Why or why not? In what way, and to what degree?
Yes, I think it should. If God is Sovereign and if we have submitted to His Sovereignty, our attitude in life will be to seek God’s will and then live as closely as possible to His will.
There are some who would say that it is clearly God’s will from their reading of Scripture that God’s will is for humanity to reproduce in every instance of the sexual act. They would of course, admit that God has sovereignly kept some people from reproducing, but by the same token they would also view any contraceptive use as sin and outside of God’s purpose for humanity.
Others would simply state that every act of sex should be open to procreation, and simply leave it at that.
Concerning contraceptive use, as Christians we know that it is never God’s will for us to destroy human life (except in the instances of crime and punishment, and even that should not be done in a flippant manner). Consider Bonhoeffer’s assessment of the issue;
Destruction of the embryo in the mother’s womb is a violation of the right to live which God has bestowed upon this nascent life. To raise the question whether we are here concerned already with a human being or not is merely to confuse the issue. The simple fact is that God certainly intended to create a human being and that this nascent human being has been deliberately deprived of his life. And that is nothing but murder. (As quoted by Peter Barnes in, Open Your Mouth For The Dumb: Abortion and the Christian.)
Any contraceptive use that deprives life after the egg has been fertilized in murder, whether you believe that this life is a human being or not. Therefore any contraceptive that would cause any miscarriage, no matter how early in the pregnancy should not be used. The only exception to this rule that I would see is that the contraceptive would not be used as a contraceptive, but for other women’s health issues, that I would rather not discuss…’cause it freaks me out.
So any contraceptive that is ‘abortive’ of life is clearly out of bounds. And that significantly reduces the market, in my opinion. In fact, in my opinion the only valid methods of contraception are those which would prevent the fertilization of the egg, but in the event they should fail to prevent fertilization they would not cause a miscarriage.
Now back to the discussion of Sovereignty and Contraception. I don’t think the fact that the Bible says “Be fruitful and multiply,” means that you have to have a new baby every year. I’m also not against couples having a new baby every year. I’m saying that God is Sovereign and He gets to decide how many children a family has. I think He can do this in three ways…He can override our decisions to use contraceptives and give us more than we thought we needed, He can use the means of contraception to limit the number of children that we have, or He can do whatever He wants anytime He wants. Our responsibility is first to actively seek His will in our families and second to be open to change our plans.
I hope that answers the question.