What does the Bible say about contraception?

Some time ago I had a meeting with a group of teachers whom I taught a lesson from the Word of God. At the end, I was asked many questions at which the teachers wanted to find the answer from the Bible. One of them was that – what does God say about contraception, that are the methods that deliberately prevent or reduce the likelihood of pregnancy or childbirth? That question appeared after we had studied what the Bible said about abortion and everyone understood that the life of the fetus had the same value as the life of a born man. And also, everyone understood that the ovule  fecundated by the spermatozoon represents a man in growth, whose life has the same value, that each of us life’s has. So, what does the Bible say about contraception?

I know two passages from the Bible that speak directly on this subject and in continuation I will analyse each of these passages.

 Onan’s case. I will present the whole biblical passage, so that the reader may understand the context in which this method of contraception was used, and also Onan’s character and motivation.

And it came about at that time, that Judah departed from his brothers and visited a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah. Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite whose name was Shua; and he took her and went in to her. So she conceived and bore a son and he named him Er. Then she conceived again and bore a son and named him Onan. She bore still another son and named him Shelah; and it was at Chezib that she bore him. Now Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was evil in the sight of the LORD, so the LORD took his life. Then Judah said to Onan, “Go in to your brother’s wife, and perform your duty as a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspring for your brother.” Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so when he went in to his brother’s wife, he wasted his seed on the ground in order not to give offspring to his brother. But what he did was displeasing in the sight of the LORD; so He took his life also. (Genesis 38:1–10)(NASB)

To understand better why Onan didn’t want to raise up offspring for his brother, I will show you another passage from the Bible, that explains more detailed what means to raise up offspring for the brother who died without any descendent.

When brothers live together and one of them dies and has no son, the wife of the deceased shall not be married outside the family to a strange man. Her husband’s brother shall go in to her and take her to himself as wife and perform the duty of a husband’s brother to her. It shall be that the firstborn whom she bears shall assume the name of his dead brother, so that his name will not be blotted out from Israel. (Deuteronomy 25:5–6)(NASB)

According to this law, the firstborn of Tamar had to assume the name of Er and inherit his wealth. Onan used his method of contraception maliciously and he was not in agreement with Tamar. He knew that their sexual relation is a delicate domain of life and this woman would not go to tell to the judges or to Judah how maliciously he acts towards his dead brother. Onan wanted to rob his brother Er. He was going to waste his seed on the ground for his whole life and, in this way, to lack his brother of descendents. So, Er’s wealth had to become his and his children’s, and the name of his brother, Er, would have been blotted.

 But what he did was displeasing in the sight of the LORD; so He took his life also. (Genesis 38:10)(NASB)

The method of abstinence is forbidden categorically. Some believers that don’t want to use any method of contraception, have sexual relations only when they have decided to conceive a child. But in the remaind time they abstain from sexual relations, in order not to use the methods of contraception, which they consider sinful. But, by lacking one another of the duty of married people, they apply a method of contraception that is forbidden by God categorically.

The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. (1 Corinthians 7:3–5)(NASB)

Fulfilling the sexual needs of the partner of the marriage covenant is a holy duty that every husband and wife has. God let this relation for married people to express the love for each other and to offer joy. If one partner deprives the other one of the sexual relation, in this way they are openly exposed to Satan’s temptations. God forbids this categorically. And if anyone that is married has a serious reason for prayer and fasting, where he wants to include abstinence from the sexual realtions, he may do this only by agreement of his wife and inversely. And this only for a little time. In fact, Apostle Paul says that including abstinence from the sexual relation while fasting is a concession and it is not a command, it is not necessary to abstain from sexual relation with your wife or husband when you fast. The next verse says:

But this I say by way of concession, not of command. (1 Corinthians 9:6)(NASB)

If you are married, make an evaluation of the sexual relation that you have with your wife or husband. Put away all wickedness from your heart, that can affect your motivations in this relation. Don’t ever deprive your husband or wife of the delight of the sexual relation, because this is your duty as a husband or wife. Beware of abstinence – the method of contraception that is forbidden categorically by God. Beware of murder. There are many methods of contraception that destroy the ovule fecundated by the spermatozoon. This is a murder – the murder of your own child. Don’t be a murderer of your own child!

Translated by Djugostran Felicia