I’m curious about your thoughts on artificial contraception or sterilization within the bonds of the marital union. How is the conjugal act between a husband who is sterilized for the purpose of preventing conception, and his wife morally distinguished from homosexual conjugal acts? For that matter, given that up until about 90 or so years ago all Christians agreed that any artificial prevention of the possibility of pregnancy resulting from the conjugal act, even within marriage, was sinful, what happened to change that previously universal opinion? Was the change the result of a new way of understanding scripture on this issue? If so, who decided the new understanding was correct?

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Jan 18, 2023·edited Jan 18, 2023Author

Hey Marty, regarding the issue of contraception, I don't see any place in Scripture where contraception is prohibited. Typically, Onan is pointed to as an example of God's displeasure toward masturbation and sexual intercourse the primary purpose of which is not reproduction. The problem is, that passage has nothing to do with either one of those things.

Onan sinned not because he masturbated or had sex with non-reproductive purposes in mind. He sinned because he flagrantly violated the Levirate Law which he was obliged to fulfill. The Levirate law not being universal, moreover, also militates against the idea that artificial contraception is condemned in Scripture.

There is no Scriptural justification for the belief among some that sexual intercourse is primarily for the purpose of reproduction. I would, in fact, argue that since the marriage and Adam and Eve foreshadows/typifies the union of Christ and his Church, then it follows that the primary purpose of sexual intercourse is covenantal unity, which is usually, but is not always, followed by reproduction.

Regarding conjugal acts, there are only heterosexual conjugal acts. Seeing as the Scriptures teach that only a man and a woman are married before God, then it follows that only a man and a woman can engage in conjugal acts/sexual intercourse. There are no homosexual conjugal acts.

As for the distinction between heterosexual sexual acts and homosexual sexual acts, God clearly differentiates the one from the other in his Law. Heterosexual sexual acts are natural, and they are good and lawful when practiced between a husband and wife. Homosexual acts are unnatural and evil in any context. Given that God is good, and given that he can be trusted, do I need to further understand how these are distinct from one another in order to say that they absolutely are? Not at all. God has said it. He is good and trustworthy. I believe him.

Now, I can say how they are distinct, but I first want to point out that since God defines heterosexual sexual acts as natural and good when practiced within the marital bond (yes, even apart from reproduction), there is no analogy to be drawn between these good and natural acts and those which are by definition unnatural and evil (e.g. homosexuality, bestiality, etc). To analogically relate these two distinct modes of sexual engagement is to already presuppose that sex is good only if it is geared toward reproduction (if that is what you are insinuating).

What is more, my own position is that homosexual "sex" is not really sex at all. It is a perverse simulation of sex. It is sexu'al' in that it is sexually arousing, stimulating, etc. But one cannot actually have sex with a member of the same sex, given that sex is something that can only be engaged in by a man and a woman. So the comparison, again, begs the question by presuming the truth of it is supposed to be proving, namely that heterosexual sexual activity is only good when it is being used for the purpose of reproduction (otherwise, it is no different than homosexual "sex").

A man and a woman do not have to have babies every time they have sex. They can intentionally plan to not have children. They can also use contraceptive measures, if those contraceptive measures do not involve the killing of humans at any stage. Artificial contraception by self-sterilization, as far as I can tell from Scripture, is not forbidden. Forms of sterilization that require physical alteration may be forms of self-mutilation, but that is a little more difficult to suss out for me, personally.

Finally, you asked why it is that the universal opinion of Christians regarding the sinfulness of the artificial prevention of impregnation changed about 90 years ago. This question assumes that there was a universal consensus on the issue, which is something for which I don't have any evidence, nor do I think it can be provided. But if it could, your question answers itself -- it is an opinion. Opinions, regardless of how many people hold them and regardless of how long those people hold, are still opinions. They are views which are subject to alteration and even destruction, if it happens to be the case that they turn out to be wrong.

What is more, by calling one understanding "new" the question is, once again, being begged. Was the earlier understanding universal? I am not convinced that it was. So I cannot in good conscience say that the other understanding is "new", a theological novelty of some kind. The distinction is, at best, dubious.

The Scriptures are clear that men are to use wisdom, to consider what they are capable of, as well as what they are incapable of doing. If God tells us this as regards our decision to follow Christ (see Luke 14:25-33), which is of infinitely greater significance, would he not also want us to do the same when it comes to the matter of whether or not we can and/or should have more children, which is of great, but lesser, significance)?


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Jan 18, 2023Liked by Hiram R. Diaz III

Thanks for that detailed response. I’m not trying to insinuate anything. I’m trying to understand how something that was considered sinful by all Christians for centuries can suddenly become not sinful. Perhaps my assumption is wrong and not all Christians considered it sinful. If you have any information to share in that regard I am all ears.

But I think more relevant to this discussion is how other Christians can read the Scriptures and reach different conclusions on such a vital topic. Who decides?

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Jan 18, 2023·edited Jan 18, 2023Author

You're welcome :)

Spirit informed reason guides the proper interpretation of the Scriptures. Logic, in other words, is the primary means of differentiating correct from incorrect interpretations. Doctrines that are self-contradictory, or which contradict the clear teaching of Scripture or general revelation, are not true, since no contradiction is or can be true. They cannot, therefore, be the correct interpretation of the Scriptures.

This requires all Christians to study the Scriptures and to do so systematically. An issue like the one you mentioned (namely, artificial contraception) is important, but it is one that Christians can be wrong about. The issue of whether or not homosexual desire is a sin is one that can be very simply answered from Scripture by means of deductive argumentation. The protestant men I mentioned above know this and have, for sinful reasons, chosen to muddy things up.

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