Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three.
Previously, I posted my suspicion of the modernistic notion of quantification (These Go to Eleven), partially so that when I posted this diatribe it would be taken in a light-hearted manner. So, before the "sub-par" golfers try to throw me under the bus, you may want to read the aforementioned post.
Okay, with that caveat made ... let me have some fun with it.
- If you want to be a godly follower of the Lord Jesus, how many children should you have? As many as possible? None? As many as you can financially support?
- Is family size necessarily an indication of spirituality, a way to keep score, so to speak?
This is a topic of great discussion among Christians, but one typically done in the circles in which one already knows the environment. That is, those with large families get together and bash/belittle and carry on with regard to smaller ones and vice versa.
What do the Scriptures have to say about parenting and the number of children?
Biblically, God gave people a responsibility to populate the planet. In fact, you will note almost the exact same language, pre & post fall of Genesis 3. In other words, this wasn't merely an obligation prior to sin's entrance.
- In the beginning, after God “blessed them,” humanity was told to “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.” (Gen 1:28)
- Following the flood, after God “blessed” Noah & his sons, humanity was told to be “fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth.” (Gen 9:1)
After each of the above, God commands dominion of the animal kingdom.
Increase … With two parents, two children would merely replace the parents and, of course not produce a net increase. Thus, it would seem to me that three would be the minimum for the above such commands to be carried out.
Let me put it like this for all of you golfers out there, though I’ll confess my ignorance of such a silly sport and its appeal. (Incidentally, I’ve been told that if I actually went I would enjoy it and probably be hooked, but I can assure you that one of the last things I need in my life is another hobby about which to obsess.)
Think of fulfillment of biblical obligation as par (i.e., what you should get or are supposed to get). So, God’s is a par three course (i.e., three kids). Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three.
If one has 4 kids, that is one better than par, that is, a birdie. 5 kids, consequently, would be an eagle (the extent of my golf knowledge in that direction). Conversely, to have only 2 kids would be one worse than par, that is, a bogey. One kid would be a double bogey and, I assume, zero kids would be a ... triple bogey?
Now, although my par theory of childbirth is somewhat lighthearted, on a serious note ...
I do want to issue the caveat that my game scenario assumes people are enabled to have children. A miscarriage is the death of your child, and should be mourned as such. God understands and knows who can and who cannot biologically produce offspring.
Those decisions lie with God, for He is the Lord of the womb and children are a blessing and heritage from Him (Ps 127:3-5). He opens and closes wombs as He sovereignly pleases for His purposes and good pleasure (cf. Deut 7:13-14; Ps 113:9; Gen 20:17-18; 25:21; 29:31; 30:22; Ex 1:21; Judges 13:2-3; Ruth 4:13; 1 Sam 1:5, 20; 2:21; 2 Sam 6:23; 2 Kings 4:14-17; Lk 1:7, 13). I do find it interesting, however, that you don't typically see the patriarchs (particularly these two given the command, Adam & Noah) going crazy in the kids department. We're not really sure how many Adam had, but only three are listed by name. Noah apparently had three sons only - not all that impressive considering the length of his life. There's the obvious exception of Jacob, but that was with multiple moms.
At times I wonder if some interpret God's command to be such that Christians should have as many children as humanly possible. However, if so, you don't see anyone in Scripture who clearly set out to do that.
Interesting, eh? It's also interesting that Scripture does not look favorably on those who condescendingly condemn the barren woman. Now, we're not talking about those able, but unwilling to have children, for that's a different species. But, keep that in mind before you boast about your birdie or eagle and condemn the sub-par, for it may be more a situation of not being able versus not being willing.
I do find it interesting, however, that you don't typically see the patriarchs (particularly these two given the command, Adam & Noah) going crazy in the kids department. We're not really sure how many Adam had, but only three are listed by name. Noah apparently had three sons only - not all that impressive considering the length of his life. There's the obvious exception of Jacob, but that was with multiple moms.
Also, it would seem to me that in light of what transpires in the gestation, nursing, and raising of children that the men folk don't have near the latitude for boasting that they might think. In other words, I might suggest that the wives/moms are the true golfers and the husbands/daddys are more the caddies.
Anyway, thanks for enduring the back nine of speculation.