This post is part of an ongoing discussion on the Writers’ Block about the necessity, or lack thereof, of procreation for Christians. To see other articles about this issue, click here to return to our home page.
Debate any subject long enough, and eventually you will end talking about something else.
A case in point is our discussion on procreation. When I pointed out that the mandate to “be fruitful and multiply” came with a condition–until the earth is subdued–John contended that this was outside of humanity’s job description. God alone, he argued, can judge this:
“I don’t think it’s possible to take stock of the earth’s population limits. It’s been done before, and never has anyone successfully managed an accurate picture because, as you said, technology changes the situation so quickly. Trying to measure the earth’s tipping point requires an omniscient ability to view the world from ‘God’s eyes’. And that’s not in our job description.”
Addressing this point takes us slightly outside the realm of procreation. Boil it down and now we are talking about responsibility. How much are humans responsible for?
Responsibility and knowledge are often tied together. For instance, the people who smoked cigarettes when they first came on the market. They might make you cough a little, but no real harm done. We can feel sorry for the people who contracted cancer back then because they were ignorant. After a few decades of research, however, we understand the toxic effects of smoking and culpability now can be assigned, making it harder to feel sympathetic toward the man who smokes three packs a day and contracts an illness. This man acted knowingly.
This is the same vein in which we must address procreation. Are we to fill the planet until it can bear no more? Should we fill it to the point that future generations will lack the resources to have a healthy civilization? Humans already understand the devastation that can occur when an animal species overpopulates. Disease levels rise, starvation occurs, and hunters are called in to reduce the population to spare some of the animals the fate of a protracted death. Since we have this understanding of population levels, should we ignore it when it comes to humans?
To be clear, I am not saying an epidemic like this is near. I don’t think there is enough evidence to say that our population must be reduced. My argument is simply this: marriage does not require procreation. It does not because creation has long since been subdued; in fact, there are signs that we are reaching a population saturation point (see my previous post for more information on this). The mandate to subdue creation seems to have been met. Now, I think managing should be our priority.