Home › Forums › All Things Catholic › Where in the bible does it say that contraception is a sin?
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February 18, 2004 at 5:33 am #663
[quote:2xx33oyj]Where in the bible does it say that contraception is a sin?
In the Bible there are many things that are implicit as well as explicit. Not all Christian teachings are explicit like for example the doctrine of the trinity. In Genesis 38:8-10 we have an example of a man named Onan contracepting and God becomes very angry about it and punishes Onan. Granted this is only one way of contraception, but the overall point is that God does not like it. God does not like stealing, adultery or murder and the Bible does not list all of the possible ways to do this because we should understand that all forms of it are wrong. In short, the people of the early church kept this tradition. There are writings from the Church Fathers about this subject. A good one is from St. Augustine (but I do not have it sitting around right now). Also, it goes against the whole theology of marriage of giving one’s whole self to another. Using a condom or birth control pills, etc… for purposes of not having a child go against the whole reason of being married.
[b:2xx33oyj]UPDATE:[/b:2xx33oyj] Additional discussion on this topic occured and has been merged into this one.March 6, 2004 at 6:24 am #2595AnonymousInactive
I was just going to comment about the question dated Tue Feb 17, 2004 11:33 pm asking about contraception. Jon explained that there are implicit and explicit instructions in Scripture. I completely agree with this. We are not instructed regarding all the methods in which we must not kill. Yet, we are instructed “do not kill”. Jon used Genesis 38:8-10 as justification for an implicit instruction to not use contraception. I’m not sure I concur with this analysis however.
We have to put the Genesis 38:8-10 verses in their proper context to understand what the sin was. A cursory glance might suggest that the sin was contraception. However, the deeper meaning is more satifying, and I’m not sure these verses can truly be used as a blanket prohibition of contraception. Such a pronouncement might more readily be supported in Genesis 9:7, but even that is a bit of a tenuous extension of a more explicit command (that we are to multiply… it doesn’t say multiply without any consideration to when you are to do so… In other words that we are to leave that entirely to God without any consideration of our own gift of free will. Does loving God = abandoning reason? Does reason = sin? We’re allowed to use reason with regard to other explicit instructions, it seems odd that with this one we’re told not to. For example, in Leviticus we’re instructed that women cannot be present in the temple during menstruation [due to the ancient Hebrew reverence/fear of blood]. Thankfully, due to human reason, we do not observe this instruction today. So, we _have_ chosen to adopt or ignore _some_ traditions of the Hebrews after the New Testament, despite Jesus’s pronouncement in Matthew 5:17-19.) This was the whole point of St. Paul’s argument that circumcision was unnecessary for salvation in Galatians (I don’t have a ready reference to a Bible, but I believe it is chapter 2 or 3). Paul confronted Peter saying that he was wittling away at Christ’s gift by forcing observance of circumcision, and he further embarrased Peter by calling him a hypocrit because he was “ok with ignoring circumcision” when James’ crew wasn’t around, but when they showed up he suddenly changed his mind, and all of a sudden this was a problem. Paul’s point was that we can miss the meaning of the Resurrection if we aren’t careful about how we choose which Hebrew traditions to retain and which to disregard. Based on the events recorded in Acts (maybe chapter 15 or 16?), we can presume that Peter acknowledged his error.
The deeper meaning of Genesis 38:8 is that Onan was instructed by his father to sleep with his dead brother’s wife so that his dead brother’s name, and property rights, might continue to the next generation. This was a custom of the ancients, presumably given by God because of his desire to spread the kingdom of the Hebrews, and was codified by Moses in Deuteronomy 25. Onan’s sin then was not as much contraception (this was the _means_ of the sin, not the sin itself), but rather greed and contempt for his brother and his brother’s memory. This is more spiritually satisfying than simply believing this passage to be a blanket prohibition of contraception.
I personally believe that the RC attitude toward contraception is more of a geo-political issue, than a spiritual one, and that sometime over the lives of the next few pontifs, we’ll see this source of contention reduced or relaxed. It seems perfectly within the implicit and explicit instructions of God to say “God wants you to expand the kingdom. Make every reasonable effort to do so. Don’t use contraception continuously, as doing so shows contempt for His plan, but if you choose to use it to plan your life, God also understands this.” Wisdom (not vain wisdom of course) is also a part of our faith. My personal view is that there is room for some kind of discussion about the wisdom of using our gift of free will in deciding when to have children, and that the only mechanism for doing so need not be abstinence.
Won’t it be wonderful when the Christ comes again and clears up all these messy details? I strongly suspect that none of us have it completely right. How many times did our Blessed Lord confound the disciples? They lived with him for years, and yet he still surprised them regularly. I suspect that it will be similar in the Second Coming.
Thank you all for providing this forum, and God Bless.
” title=”Very Happy” />March 6, 2004 at 6:51 pm #2597AnonymousInactive
“Not my will, but Thine be done.”
The penalty prescribed in the Law for not bringing up offspring for your brother with his widow is given in Deuteronomy 25: she is to go before the elders of the city, issue her complaint, strip him of his sandal, and spit in his face, the Jewish equivalent of a slap on the wrist. God killed Onan. Genesis 38 makes a point that Onan spilled his seed on the ground and then says “what he did greatly offended the Lord”.March 7, 2004 at 7:03 am #2599
Hi calphool. I’m Jon.
(for anyone not familiar with the website, the question to which calphool refers is here: [url:3rah5sac]http://www.aboutcatholics.com/community/viewtopic.php?t=155[/url:3rah5sac])
[quote:3rah5sac]God killed Onan. Genesis 38 makes a point that Onan spilled his seed on the ground and then says “what he did greatly offended the Lord”.[/quote:3rah5sac]
I tend to agree with Benedict here and in fact I think this has been the traditional Catholic interpretation of this event in Genesis.
I do understand what you are saying and I think it is a sound interpretation as well. The Bible does not give clear instructions regarding contraception, but the girl asked for a reference in the Bible so I gave her the traditional Catholic one.
When you started talking about the mentruation in the temple and other practices of the Israelites it reminded me of a conversation I was having with a priest at my church the other day. You state that we do not observe these practices anymore by reason, but the fruit of my conversation with Fr. Mike was that when Jesus said he came not to abolish the Law, but to fulfill the Law, the Law was still in effect except for the ceremonial laws. So all the things about doing this the right way for worship and circumcision and all that are kind of thrown out the window, but the others remain. And those are fulfilled with love.
[quote:3rah5sac]It seems perfectly within the implicit and explicit instructions of God to say “God wants you to expand the kingdom. Make every reasonable effort to do so. Don’t use contraception continuously, as doing so shows contempt for His plan, but if you choose to use it to plan your life, God also understands this.”[/quote:3rah5sac]
Oddly enough, I just had this conversation with another person at church the other night. There are many things to look at when talk about the Church’s teaching on contraception. But before I get into that, let me ask you this: do you believe NFP to be contraception?
Your answer will help shape this conversation. ” title=”Smile” />
[quote:3rah5sac]Won’t it be wonderful when the Christ comes again and clears up all these messy details?[/quote:3rah5sac]
Yes. Often times I wish I had a phone to call God.March 16, 2004 at 11:44 am #2686AnonymousInactive
Remember when sex was linked with marriage, and marriage with children? Homosexual “marriage” fulfills that modern desire for all the sex and sterility one could ever hope for. They have no kids, and so have a concommitantly higher economic demographic. You will have to invite “guest workers” in to carry on…
These “guest workers” will probably be family-loving Muslim, as the contracepting Christian nations of Europe have found. And they will thrive, and slowly extinguish Christian culture and politics as they have in Scandinavia, Germany, France, Italy, England. The world’s largest mosque is in London.
Culture walks on two legs. No babies, no culture. Hope you’re ready to adapt. Modern Jews are particularly at-risk from this modern, passive genocide, having extremely low birth rates.March 21, 2004 at 7:07 am #2748AnonymousInactive
It’s also good to mention too that for catholics, the bible came out as a fruit of our church, not the church created from the bible. Therefore many teachings/doctrines have been of experiences/tradition/scripture exegesis culminated throughout our history- a threefold use of Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and Magisterium. Pope JPII’s Theology of the Body goes into great detail about the sacredness of male and female, and more about contraception eventually- it’s amazing some of the phrases that you’d never think the pope would be quoted saying. Christopher West does a good job of bringing it to understandable terms (for people like me, at least) I’d suggest his video tapes though, then you can properly catch his humor. ” title=”Wink” />November 21, 2007 at 1:02 am #8716AnonymousInactive
Just wondering how long the earth will last with zero growth rate?November 21, 2007 at 2:46 am #8717
The earth will last, but people won’t. ” title=”Wink” />
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