Sanctity of Life & Population Control

Tomorrow is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. I have given over the pulpit to David Wooten, my friend, new member at OGC, and staff member at Embrace By Grace, a Christian adoption ministry in Casselberry. I look forward to what my brother will bring from the word in Genesis tomorrow on the subject of being made in the image of God.

I find it a bit ironic that Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, always the third Sunday of January from year to year, coincides with my neighborhood book club on Monday where we will discuss Peter Hessler’s intriguing work River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze. The book documents Hessler’s two year stint with the Peace Corps in the city of Fuling, China, teaching English in the local university. The book started slow for me but gradually picked up with the author’s descriptive abilities in writing and the various subjects upon which he touched.

Among them in China, of course, was the matter of the government policy prohibiting the citizens from having more than one child. To exceed that limit, according to Hessler, invites stiff consequences of various kinds. He writes:

The going rate for a second child was More than ten thousand yuan, at least in the countryside close to the college. In the city it was rare that anybody got to the point where she paid this fine–if a woman was pregnant with her second child, she would be threatened with the loss of her job. . . . and having a second child could result in a woman’s being forced to undergo sterilization surgery (p. 261).

Knowing the bent of some of my neighbors, I anticipate that this subject will come up in our discussion. In the interest of preparing for the conversation, I did a bit of research on the question of population control and came across this excellent article entitled, Population Growth as Blessing or Blight. In it E. Calvin Beisner dismisses some of the emotional rhetoric surrounding the controversy with statistical evaluation, biblical exegesis, and sound ethical argumentation. For example, he contends:

People are not machines; they cannot be programmed and expected to behave as ordered. They have imagination, hopes and fears, emotions, volitions, and goals. These and many other determinants of human action change relative to a constantly changing environment. Begetting and bearing babies are human actions, and like all other human actions they are determined by humans’ constantly changing hopes, fears, goals, and choices. In a world in which so many things change so rapidly, it is intellectual suicide for anyone to pretend to predict with accuracy and reliability what large numbers of people will do over long periods of time.

To read the entire article click here.

Tomorrow as we gather for worship on the Lord’s Day may we celebrate the God who made us in Him image AND told us to be fruitful and multiply WITHOUT entertaining fears that somehow obeying God will jeopardize the planet. It never has been the case and never will be.

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