Is Birth Control Biblical

 by Chuck Snyder
 co-chaplain for the Seattle Mariners


Dear Chuck
What does the Bible say about using contraceptives when you have sex? How about birth control?

Chuck's Response
Thanks for the note about contraceptives and birth control. First of all, sex must be within the bounds of marriage. Anything outside of that is sin in God's eyes, and He cannot bless the relationship.

Birth control of any kind is one of those gray areas where the Bible is silent on the exact situation. Some people say that the prevention of pregnancy is wrong, but isn't that the goal with any birth control method, including natural family planning? Not having sex at certain times of the month is as much preventing implantation as anything else. If the couple had sex there is a chance they might get pregnant, so they don't have sex -- and prevent implantation of an egg. The idea that using a form of birth control "interferes with God's plan" assumes that He wanted us to have a baby. I don't think that is His idea every time a couple has sex in a normal marriage relationship. God encourages this wonderful bonding of two into one flesh. The marriage bed is sacred. He encourages a couple to come together "regularly," except for prayer and fasting, and then come back together again quickly. I do think it is wrong however, to interfere with the baby after implantation. That would be murder.

I would like an author friend of mine, Paul Tomlinson, to add his take on the situation:
"When two people get married and agree on certain issues (like birth control) and then one spouse has a different view later, then I believe there should be mutual agreement to change. An example. Two people meet and marry. They agree on basic issues of where they will live, what their goals are, etc. Several years later there is a missions conference at their church, and suddenly, the husband feels called to missionary service in Africa, which will require the wife to come along. The wife does not feel called, and in fact, does not feel such a decision is right. At this point I believe the "called" spouse would be required to wait until the other is in agreement or is called. God will provide unity in the decision. This requires both to be in communication with God, to put their desires on the altar and to seek His answer -- and patience ... The above example is a secondary biblical issue. While there is a mandate to make disciples of the world (the Great Commission), there is no clear-cut verse that Africa is the place or that any specific person is called.

"I don't believe there is clear direction on birth control. Authors can make their point, as they do about gifts of the spirit and tongues, and yet great people of faith stand on both sides. Therefore, if the agreement before marriage was to use birth control, then I think that practice should continue until BOTH are in complete agreement to change. Since there is clear direction in the Bible about maintaining an intimate sexual relationship in marriage, I think withholding this (even for what seems like noble reasons) potentially could be more dangerous spiritually than using birth control. Satan just loves to try to divide husbands and wives, and sometimes is quite subtle in his efforts to do so!"

Thanks, Paul. So, I believe because of the silence of the Bible on birth control, each couple has to make up their own minds on what to do. There are a number of verses that talk about God opening or shutting the womb. It sounds like God is still in control no matter what we do. He can overrule if He wants to. Preventing the implantation with a pill or condom is at least in my mind no different than not having sex. Thanks for asking.

Chuck Snyder



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Updated 05/24/2005