Drinking Deeply

Monday, July 24, 2006 at 12:41 AM

Marriage, Children, and Multiplication redux

So the comment thread over at my previous post commenting on Al Mohler's commentary on today's culture's view of marriage had some good discussion. Check it out. And check out how often I managed to use comment and possessive apostrophes in the last sentence too.

Some brief thoughts, since I've been asked to comment (not that my views are worth that much anyways =p).

I cannot really say that marriage without children is sinful per se.

That said, the Bible is against any and all forms of selfishness. Not that we should sacrifice ourselves until we die, but if we're living for the here and now, the Bible has promised that the here and now is all we're going to get. So I think Mohler's criticism of the culture's growing trend against children is accurate. The trend betrays a mentality that is opposed to God, His creation, and His people.

Just like I see the normative biblical lifestyle in the NT to involve church even though I don't see explicit commands for church (and I do see encouragements and promises for those who were, for some reason, separated off from the church), I agree with Mohler that the Bible assumes a married life and a marriage assumes children. (Though the Bible does also encourage those who may not have children, by choice or God's will). This is most clear, as Theocentric has pointed out, in the creation mandate, the blessings of children, the curse of barrenness, and I would also add, God's promise of faithfulness to generations and through families. The command to teach one's children, binding the law upon their foreheads and wrists, and similar passages.

That said, I am in general agreement that the primary purpose of marriage is not to have children. I find the relationship between the husband and wife to be far more important than the relationship between parents and children. This is clear in:
Genesis 2:18 - Then the LORD God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him."

1 Cor. 7:2 - But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.

Eph. 5:31 -32 - Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.
Regarding Paul, I see no evidence that he did not consider marriage normative. 1 Corinthians 7 seems to address a specific church problem, namely that people were saying that it would be best to be single, but Paul points out that "no, you guys are going to lust, if you don't have the gift chastity, then get married." I agree with the ESV's translation which pinpoints the first verse as a quotation from a letter from the Corinthian church:
1Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: "It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman."
jefe - as for intentionally childless marriages, I think the examples you bring up are appropriate exceptions, but I don't see Al Mohler criticizing them, but rather the marriages that are made with an intent to not have children from the get go (or as Jess would write, gecko =p).

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Anonymous theocentric522 said...



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