What does the bible say about artificial contraception?

Asked by Robert

What does the Bible say about artificial contraception? One Anglican told me at Sydney University that the Bible is silent, therefore God intends that we should have no position about it. Did he represent the Anglican position correctly?


I am unaware of an official “Anglican position” on artificial contraception.  However, most Christians would argue that ‘biblical silence’ is never a reason for taking a ‘no position’ stance on anything.  For example, the Bible is silent on drug-trafficking, and yet most Christians have a position on that!

So when we come to grey areas of ethics (that the Bible is silent on), we need to take a big picture view of the whole counsel of God, and use all the tools of biblical interpretation to determine a way forward.

As I see it, the following statements are consistent with the teachings of the Bible, and so should be considered when thinking about artificial contraception:

1. Sex is to be enjoyed in an exclusive, and faithful, marriage relationship.  Therefore, using contraception as a way of avoiding the consequences of sex-outside-of-marriage, is a distortion of God’s design.  The best “safe-sex” strategy is to reserve sex for marriage.
2.  A married couple ought to have a welcoming attitude to children.  Throughout the Bible, children are seen as a gift from God, and a blessing from Him.  Therefore, children ought to be seen as a good thing and welcomed appropriately. 
And so, using birth control methods, as a means of preserving a self-centred lifestyle, runs counter to a welcoming attitude to children.
3. There are times, when circumstances demand, that it is wise to avoid the conception of a child (either temporarily or permanently). Since early 20th Century, Protestants have acknowledged that sometimes there are constraints in life that see contraception as a reasonable way to postpone, space or limit the birth of children.  For example, for some couples, a pregnancy may place the wife’s health at risk (either physical and/or psychological).  In these cases, birth-control is a reasonable option.  Or for others, contraception might be used to defer the birth of a child, until the couple have established their marriage relationship (a relationship that is vital for healthy child-rearing).  This would be another reasonable use of contraception.  And there are many other scenarios too, which might deem the use of contraception a wise decision, while still upholding a welcoming attitude to children.

So in summary, the Bible is silent on any direct comment on the ethics of the artificial contraception.  However, this does not mean Christians ‘fly-blind’ on ethical issues that arise from our technologically advanced society. A consideration of the whole Bible shows that God encourages married couples to enjoy a sexual relationship, and to be welcoming to his provision of children.  However, this does not rule out the possibility that at times there will be reasonable grounds for using contraception, due to particular circumstances.  Pray for wisdom, seek the counsel of older and wiser Christians, and search the Scriptures for the will of God. Ultimately you need to ask yourself why am I wanting to use artificial contraception.
One final word of advice.  No method of artificial contraception is 100% guaranteed (even a vasectomy can fail in around 1 in 4000 cases).  These artificial methods simply reduce the likelihood of conception.  Sometimes God’s plan might be to bring you a child, even though you have used all the “wisdom of ‘man’” to avoid it.  In those times, ‘rejoice in the Lord always’, for He is sovereign and knows what is good for us.

Answers are kindly provided by our friends at Christianity.net.au

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