Since there is a Hell, why do people take chances by having children? The Bible mentions many godly men who had ungodly families. In the day we’re living in, why aren’t people thinking of the kids’ souls and not their selfish desires?
I would have to point out a number of things as far as what the Scriptures teach in answer to your questions. Let me start with your second question. First, I must say that bringing children into the world is not a result of selfish desires. In fact, especially in our day, we see the opposite. Many people are not having children so that they can accommodate their selfish desires and ambitions. Maybe it is for financial reasons, maybe for pleasure. Whatever the reason, self dominates the picture. Much of our abortion problem today is due to this very fact.
Also, sexual desire is God-given. Hebrews 13:4 reads, “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” Genesis 1:27 reminds us, “Male and female created he them.” Marriage is the plan of God, and He has provided the physical desire to accompany the union.
This leads us to another familiar part of this passage of Scripture—verse 28: “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it.” We should note two significant things with reference to this verse. First, it is the first command that God ever gave to a married couple! Second, this command never has been rescinded by God. These two facts show us how important childbearing is to God. It is not to be taken lightly. In Genesis 28:3 and 4 Moses listed childbearing as a special gift from God. Someone has pointed out that today many people are more interested in the offspring in the animal world (cattle, etc.) than in the reproduction of human beings.
Second, regarding the souls of children, the objective is to lead them to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, not to let them go to Hell. It is true that there is no absolute guarantee that all of our children will be saved and go to Heaven; yet, if we as parents are faithful and consistent and set the right example in word and deed, the chances that our children won’t trust Christ as Savior are quite slim. It is when we don’t do our part that it becomes risky. If what you are proposing in your questions were valid, the apostle Paul wouldn’t have needed to write in Ephesians 6:4, “Bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” You mention examples in the Bible of godly men who had ungodly families. Actually this happened seldom, and when it did occur, the parents had failed to do what they needed to do.
In regard to the day we’re living in, believe it or not, there have been even more difficult days in which to bear children. In fact, at no time has childbearing and raising been without problems. We still have a certain amount of freedom in our society to raise our children according to God’s standards.
The trouble is that parents are too negligent in using this freedom. The problem isn’t our society—it’s the lack of self-discipline of many parents. They aren’t living separated lives and having a close, personal walk with the Lord; hence, the children aren’t going that way either. Instead, they’re lured off by the world because Mom and Dad don’t have enough of a testimony to attract them to a godly path. Yet there are enough examples of godly children, godly homes, and godly parents to take care of the idea that the world is too wicked for bearing children. But work is involved, and many people don’t have the self-discipline to work on it. Or perhaps they’re more interested in personal hobbies, sports, and the like than in raising godly children and young people.
Many children in the Bible were born during what, humanly speaking, were bad times in history. Probably the best example is Moses since we’re familiar with the situation in Egypt at the time, along with the basket and bulrushes incident. Think also of Christ Himself in relation to Herod. How would you like to raise a child in a society where, if the little one were the wrong sex, the child would instantly be put to death? Yet God has ways even in these circumstances of protecting little ones for His purposes. Children in all eras have grown up to be used of God in difficult world situations.
Then, too, we must look at children the way the Bible looks at children. The psalmist wrote:
Children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate” (Ps. 127:3‒5).
The next psalm continues:
Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table. Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the Lord (Ps. 128:3, 4).
We need not wonder what “a quiver full of them” means numerically, as God will take care of that—He knows how many children should be in a man’s quiver. But the passage is showing us that our children—whatever the number—are something for which to be continually thankful. Since the Bible is true for everyone in all ages and circumstances, it must be concluded that there is no time when children are not desirable to have and raise.
Thinking that one shouldn’t have and raise children in a certain day also goes contrary to the Rapture. How would the Rapture take place if everyone were to avoid having children?
Finally, we must consider the importance of having children in regard to our nation. We know our nation is decadent, but that should be all the more reason to raise godly children to stand up for righteousness.
Furthermore, without the growth of Christian families, the future of our Christian churches is in great trouble, to say nothing about a shortage of pastors, missionaries, and Christian workers. Our economy would be in shambles, since family growth is vital to a growing economy. Our military would be in trouble. Industry would be in trouble. Yet people—mostly those who don’t have children—speak about the high cost of educating them, doctor bills, clothing, food. They do not bother to look at the big picture and the consequences further down the road. We could go on and on.
No, children are in God’s design for mankind, and it is folly to try to change His divine scheme of things. Instead of entertaining these ideas, we need to recommit ourselves to our children, determining with God’s help to lead them to the Lord and to help them be all God wants them to be.
And to those who don’t have children, let them have a part of this precious privilege and responsibility in our churches through teaching Sunday School, being involved in youth ministries, and so forth.
Do you have feedback or a Bible question to submit? Send to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to Norman A. Olson in care of the Baptist Bulletin, 1300 N. Meacham Rd., Schaumburg, IL 60173-4806.