by Lawrence Bush  

   God's greatest creation is not the Grand Canyon. It is not the world.

    It is you and me.

    People are God's greatest creation. To have been a co-creator with God of the world or even the universe itself would pale in comparison to being a co-creator with the Almighty of even one human life. Ponder this a moment, because it is an awesome truth which we all too often take for granted!

    God the Father, in His infinite goodness and love, bestows on married couples the incredible privilege of having a role in the creation of new persons. What a tremendous gift! It becomes even more awesome when we keep in mind that the children we co-create with Him have heaven as their destiny. The world and all that is in it shall pass away, yet our children will live forever!  Yes, their spirits will one day be separated from their bodies -- what we call death -- but it is hardly the end! Our children have eternity as their destiny! In order for us as Christians to make a thoughtful decision regarding the bearing of children, we must broaden our horizons and consider the eternal ramifications of what we decide. If this life is but a fleeting moment compared to an eternity in the next life, which deserves greater consideration?

    God, who is love, created humanity because He wanted to love us. By bearing children, we assist Him in creating new persons to love and to love Him in return. By intentionally avoiding the possibility of bearing a child, we deprive God of a new soul for Him to love and be loved by. We may also deprive ourselves and our world of a great saint, a general in God's army who would fight the good fight in a world where Satan and his soldiers have a strong foothold.

    I don't mean to suggest that we should all have as many children as possible -- although I would certainly not disparage any married couple from doing so. Rather, I would suggest that we should never exclude the possibility that God, at any point, might will that we have a child.

    Now one might argue that nothing -- including surgical sterilization --could stop God from causing a couple to conceive a child if it was His will. After all, the argument might go, God is sovereign; therefore artificial birth control is ultimately no different than so-called "natural" means.

    But there is at least one major difference. Natural methods put up no barriers, physical or chemical, to conception. For those who utilize artificial birth control methods or sterilization, God must quite literally work a miracle in order for conception to occur. Must God go to such lengths in order that His will be done in our reproductive lives?

    Most Christians would agree that a fundamental aspect of being a Christian is giving your life back to God -- seeking His will in your life, not your own -- and following the example of our Lord at Gethsamane by submitting yourself to whatever God wills for your life, even if it not what we would choose. Some call this "making Jesus the Lord of your life", and appropriately so.

    Many Christians are willing to submit themselves to the Lord's will in matters such as financial or job decisions, relationships, what church to attend, where to live, etc. Yet it seems few Christians are willing to submit to God's will in perhaps the most important aspect of their lives: the bearing of children. Instead of accepting God's gift of being co-creators with Him of human life on His terms, saying, "Lord, thy will be done",  many couples say, in effect, "OUR will be done. We (the husband and wife) will make the decisions regarding childbearing, and we will make sure that it is OUR will that comes to pass by utilizing the most effective (and least intrusive) means of birth control available." True, sometimes we accept or even seek God's incredible gift of assisting Him in the creation of His greatest masterpiece, but we demand that it be on our terms. We choose how many and when, and take appropriate measures to ensure that no "accidents" disrupt our plans.

    And isn't it interesting that the converse is also true -- that when a couple wants to conceive but cannot, they sometimes spend thousands of dollars undergoing one procedure after another, even to the point of creating several embryos in vitro, only one or two of which are implanted, while the rest are literally dumped down the sink! I'm not talking about correcting a simple problem such as a blocked Fallopian tube, but rather extraordinary means to conceive, no matter what the cost -- financial or otherwise.

    Let's face it -- we are control freaks through and through, myself being among the worst. Yes, it is often very hard for me to submit to God's will for my life, especially when it involves something as personal and consequential as the bearing of children. But I am nevertheless called to do so. Jesus never said, "Trust in me, except in the big things."

    I believe that in most cases those who practice artificial birth control and sterilization are not motivated so much out of open defiance as out of fear to put one's life completely in God's hands. It is also borne out of ignorance. Most Christians, Catholics included, are not aware that until as recently as 1930, condemnation of artificial birth control was nearly universal in all of Christendom. That year, when the Episcopal Church declared artificial birth control as acceptable, many Protestant denominations vociferously denounced the move. Gradually, even these eventually caved in to pressure from society. Only the Catholic Church has refused to compromise, thank God! There are those who hypothesize that the acceptance of artificial birth control since that time is at least partially responsible for the skyrocketing divorce rate, as well as the legalization of abortion.

    All Christians should carefully examine this issue, beginning with Humane Vitae. Another excellent resource is John Kippley's work, "Birth Control and Christian Discipleship" (available through the Couple to Couple League).

    Practicing artificial birth control or sterilization actively blocks God out of one of the most significant areas of our lives -- so significant that the ramifications are eternal. Is this what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, and make Him the Lord of our lives? We as Christians must address this question honestly, and have the courage -- and above all, faith -- to respond accordingly.

        Copyright 1998 by Lawrence Bush ([email protected])
            Larry writes from Grand Rapids, in the REAL Great Lake State.

        BTW, the picture is of the Adirondacks.

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