Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Obviously, you're not a golfer.

I had previously addressed the topic of the number of children required to meet biblical expectations (Three Shall Be the Number Counted and the Number Counted Shall Be Three, April 3, 2006).

If you missed it, you may want to read it for context, but I thought I would respond to a comment made on that post last week, particularly since my view has changed somewhat.

The (9/10/2008) comment:
"I really hope that this entire blog was meant humorously and not to offer spiritual advice of any kind. The idea of "net increase" is especially bizarre. You gave no consideration to the fact that successive generations will also likely bear children, so increasing in number would be cumulative in nature. Even if parents had a only one child, there is an increase. Simple math proves that. 2+1=3

The whole golf analogy is just silly. A birdie is one less than par, not one more! You make it seem as though there are penalties and rewards based on the number of children a couple has."

My response ...

Well, my original post starts with:
"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."

That being said, I will interact with the above criticisms.

"You gave no consideration to the fact that successive generations will also likely bear children, so increasing in number would be cumulative in nature. Even if parents had a only one child, there is an increase. Simple math proves that. 2+1=3"
Actually, that's not so, per very simple math. Take 8 couples, each producing one child. 16 people just produced 8. Those 8 pair up and produce 4 kids. Those 4 pair up and produce 2 kids. Those 2 pair up and produce 1 child.

So, in "successive generations" of having only 1 child the population decreases dramatically, as is seen in the above example where the population went from 16 to 1 in just 4 generations.

"The whole golf analogy is just silly. A birdie is one less than par, not one more!"
Well, the golf analogy works because a birdie is ONE BETTER than par.

"You make it seem as though there are penalties and rewards based on the number of children a couple has."
It had been quite a while since I read this piece, but reading it again, I think that's either an unfair accusation or misunderstanding of the post.

The children are themselves the reward, according to the post and according to Scripture (e.g., Ps 127:3-5).

Continuing with the trend of seriousness, I would be interested in hearing a biblical argument in favor of being able to have many children, but choosing instead to have 0, 1 or 2. Or really, one might say to limit the number at all.

Since this post, I have actually become more convinced that even the church has bought into the cultural perception of children as things to be avoided or minimized lest they cramp our style.

This is often voiced as, "We can't afford X number of children."

But is that really true?

I'll close with this, if the biblical command is to “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.”, then the burden of proof lies on those taking measures to prevent that from happening.

I'm not saying the only legitimate reason to have woo-hoo is for procreation, but when people mock a mother who has a 5th child, considering her irresponsibile, the church should at least be ready to enter the conversation with the biblical value on children.

Remember, it's "Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!" (Ps 127:5) and not cursed or punished.

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8 Comments:

At 16 September, 2008 17:13, Blogger Kasey said...

I recently listened to an interesting sermon by Voddie Baucham that addresses this issue.

 
At 16 September, 2008 17:23, Blogger Lance said...

I think your last paragraph says it well.

We DO frown upon those who have more children than we think people oughta have these days.

Why is that? Why do many in our culture feel as if we need to limit this?

Why did I gasp the other day when I heard of a family with 10 children?

 
At 16 September, 2008 17:46, Blogger M. Jay Bennett said...

This is one of the primary means by which we Presby's grow the church. :-)

 
At 16 September, 2008 20:06, Anonymous georgie said...

Or the burden of proof lies with those who think the command to Noah and his sons after the flood is still a valid command for God's people today. Of course they had to "be fruitful..." because if they hadn't been, civilization would have ended.

 
At 16 September, 2008 22:15, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didnt read this post, but chuckled at the Lebowski reference. Cheers, Moz.

 
At 17 September, 2008 16:56, Anonymous Tiffany said...

I mostly agreed with your post, and I'm all for people having as many children as they want, so I'm not criticizing that at all.
But I do believe it is logical and perhaps biblical for a couple to question if they can afford children before bringing them into the world. It takes everything my husband and I earn right now just to pay our expenses and get through seminary. (And we are being as frugal as possible.)
If we had a child right now, neither one of us would be able to stay home full-time to care for him/her, as so many people here at seminary stress is an important thing to do. Nor would we be able to home-school, which is something we're considering for the future.
Sorry for the long comment, but I truly believe we would be doing a child a disservice if we brought him/her into our current financial condition. (Of course, if God decides otherwise, we won't argue with Him.) :)

 
At 17 September, 2008 17:07, Blogger KELLY said...

I am in awe of parents who have more than 1 child and have enough energy left over for their marriage. I have several friends who have more than 3 kids - one has 8 - and they are some of the happiest families I know! More power to them....I am happy with having just 1 child.

Of course, now that my child is looking at potential college's - I am wishing for those years when he was small enough to wrap in a blanket and be held in my arms!

 
At 17 September, 2008 22:01, Blogger brandi said...

man the debate team and those rhetoric classes really pay off. You handle yourself well, Eric. Quite the intelligent fellow. You go on with your bad self.

 

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