Things to Think About in a Post-Roe World: Attitudes and Practices in this Providential Moment
And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it…’ — Genesis 1:28
I want you to have kids, kids, and more kids. That pretty much sums up the first words God said to the first man and woman. How well has humankind fared in obeying this command through the ages? The global flood in 2348 B.C. wiped out everyone except for eight souls (Noah and his family). From this new starting point, the world’s population reached roughly 250 million by the time Jesus Christ took on flesh and lived among us. This upward trend continued until the Black Death of the 14th Century reduced the world population from 450 million to 350 million humans.
The one-billion-persons mark was finally reached around A.D. 1800. At this time, Malthusian beliefs spread tales of doom and gloom. The theory was that a limited food supply would result in worldwide starvation if the population kept increasing. The worst nightmares of false prophets were realized as the world population continued to soar reaching three billion by the 1960s. At this time, a new class of Malthusian students shouted their warnings of famine and death. One glaring example was the best-selling book Population Bomb by Paul Ehrlich. This book repeated the same message that limited resources would result in catastrophic food shortages, mass starvation, and widespread death. Once again, these dire predictions have proved to be completely and unquestionably wrong. Almost eight billion people currently inhabit planet earth and though isolated regions of hunger do exist, there is more than enough food produced to feed every single person.
Although the world’s population has been increasing for a long time, as of late, birth rates have been declining—so much so that some countries are actually experiencing a demographic winter. In other words, a major shortage of fellow citizens. Notable countries in this predicament include Japan, Italy, Russia, and China. The latest data point for the USA in 2020 reports a birth rate of 1.64. With birth rates well below the replacement level of 2.1 for decades, cultures and economies are in a literal, prolonged, and irreversible depression. Think of this fact. You can’t replace an entire missing generation of people…not overnight…not ever. They were simply never born.
If it’s so obvious, commanded by God, and good that young married couples should have lots of kids, then why are birth rates declining and reaching dangerously low levels?
I offer four reasons.
First, the existence of modern-day birth-control technologies has lowered birth rates. Before I get ahead of myself, let me state that you and I are not God. Therefore, any sense of supposed control is an illusion. Regarding the options available today, there are contraceptives and abortifacients. The former prevents an egg and sperm from meeting (i.e. conception). The latter aborts any conception that may have occurred. Note the huge moral difference between the two. Couples in Christian marriages should be open to conceiving children with every conjugal act. With this attitude, there would be no such thing as birth control failure. God opens and closes the womb, and He forms and knits together each person in the secret place (Psalm 139). Therefore, anything that might prevent pregnancy should be suspect, whereas, not using contraception should never be.
A second reason people may want to avoid conceiving children is climate change—or climate anxiety, to be more precise. They are worried that a new human being will increase mankind’s Carbon footprint resulting in more climate anxiety. They believe that no kids or fewer kids are better than more. Related to this belief, couples are concerned about bringing a new child into a world that has such a bleak climate future. This is sad but true. Of course, this Malthusian reason for not having children originates from a false worldview that does not include a God who is sovereign over all He created.
Consider the reality of the circumstances when Moses was born. Can you imagine finding out you were pregnant when your little one would be killed or grow up to be a slave? The Israelites didn’t know what God was doing, so they needed to trust and obey. The fact that they were having so many children led to their oppression. In other words, God’s blessing of being fruitful and multiplying caused Pharaoh to enslave the Israelites and go one step farther — to implement policies designed to intentionally reduce the number of newborn children. Yet the people of God chose to not fear man or slavery. So they kept birthing kids, trusting God, and walking by faith. Should the same be true for couples today? I believe so.
Third, most men (myself included) think finances must be considered when it comes to deciding whether or not to start a family or have more kids. Articles abound with huge dollar figures required to raise each little child. What about private education, college, extra-curricular activities, health care, food, shelter, brand-name clothing, and top-of-the-line athletic shoes? And don’t forget all the “toys” you want to acquire to “bless” your little ones. I’m looking in the mirror when I say this attitude is not one that trusts God to provide everything you and your family need for life and godliness. I can look back and say that I am glad God knocked me upside the head with one of His providential two-by-fours and pointed me toward a different path.
A WRONG VIEW OF CHILDREN
The fourth reason I see for the declining birth rates is a wrong view of children. Viewing children as burdens instead of blessings is in complete contradiction to the Word of God. Psalm 127 states clearly that children are a gift, a heritage from the LORD. The Psalmist continues by writing that a man is blessed when he has a full quiver of little ones. Marriage is good, and praise God, children are an associated good. Married couples should eagerly, genuinely, and honestly look forward to receiving the gift of children — lots of them. When a married couple is open to walking by faith and letting God determine their family size, they can celebrate the birth of each unique child — a boy or girl made in the very image of their Creator.
Christian homeschooling families tend to have more kids than those who do not homeschool. Some indications report the average number of children to be twice that of other families. I wish this were true of all Christian families, not just those who are homeschooling. I suspect the reasons that hold many Christian families back generally fall into one of the four categories I’ve listed. I thank God that many homeschooling families aren’t afraid of climate change, finances, or having more kids.
Personally, after we had two young sons, God did a number on me; He changed my heart and led me to walk by faith. Once Rachael and I opened our hands (and bodies) to God’s plan, it was truly exhilarating — like most of the times when you trust God and walk by faith, not by sight. It’s scary, but exciting at the same time. My personal motto was, “One at a time, and it’s not a contest.” By this, I mean that no one should judge or be judged by the number of kids they have or don’t have. Many couples are open to more children, but infertility makes this a struggle. On the flip side, no one should flaunt having a large brood of children. Humility is still a virtue, even when it comes to family size.
I need to say this: the point isn’t to have a bunch of kids for number’s sake. The reason for desiring more children should be to spread God’s glory far and wide. In other words, if you have lots of kids, you better be prepared to raise them to know, love, and fear God Almighty. Then they can truly be a blessing.
The biggest hurdles for me to overcome were relinquishing control to God, trusting God to provide financially and otherwise, and changing my view of children to that of literal blessings. Once I considered kids (specifically, those yet to be conceived) as something eternally valuable, then I wanted more. Who wouldn’t?
Climate anxiety was never part of the equation for us. That’s a newer phenomenon deceiving a small number of young couples who listen to modern lies being told by people who are selfish, self-absorbed, atheist, and obsessed with a culture of death.
So, are there really people who are afraid of climate change and a world filled with more children? Yes, and yes. I thank God that many families (in particular those educating their kids at home) aren’t afraid of climate change, trust God to provide, and want to be blessed with kids, kids, and more kids. In other words, they are truly pro-life.
A POST-ROE WORLD
All this brings us to an interesting intersection. With the recent SCOTUS reversal of Roe versus Wade, let’s explore what it means to be pro-life. Many see this as a two-sided coin, but I believe there are actually four positions a person could take on this issue:
Let’s start with the assertion that being “pro” anything means you want more of it. While being “anti” something means you want less of it. Let’s go through the options in the order I have them listed and you can see where you stand?
The most extreme and negative position to take is pro-abortion. Some call this pro-choice. I think pro-death is more accurate. After all, people standing here want more abortion, that is, more death. That’s dark. And scripture warns that if the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness (Matthew 6:23).
An individual with an anti-life stance prefers fewer new humans to enter the world. They probably promote contraception as a way to prevent new life from being conceived. They aren’t crazy about killing existing people, but they certainly want to avoid conception as much as possible. I would liken this person to the modern-day Malthusian or the aforementioned person with climate anxiety.
The person holding an anti-abortion (aka anti-death) position would like to see fewer pregnancies terminated. This is not too far from the statement made by former President Bill Clinton that abortions should be “safe, legal, and rare.” (Emphasis on the word “rare.”) I am certainly anti-abortion. And I hope you are too. However, many people who say they are pro-life are actually anti-abortion, which is not the same. What do I mean by this? Read on.
To be pro-life is much more than wanting abortion to be rare or illegal. It should mean that you want more life, more babies — that is, kids, kids, and more kids. As I mentioned earlier, for a married Christian couple today, this is a literal walk of faith. Modern-day couples have erroneously convinced themselves that the number of arrows in their quiver is in their control. I’m not going to deny that technologies exist, which makes this illusion seem real. However, I believe that one of the most pro-life, Genesis 1 things a Christian couple can do is to give this area of their life back to God and see how many children He would like to send them. After all, they are a heritage from the LORD, a literal reward (Psalm 127:3). Wouldn’t you like to receive as many blessings as God would see fit to give you? Speaking from experience, it was a walk of faith — one of the most exciting, sanctifying, humbling, and rewarding journeys of my life.
So, what are you afraid of? Climate change? World famines? Finances? Walking by faith? More children? I’d like to believe that Christian homeschooling families believe God is truly sovereign over His creation (and its climate), are willing to walk by faith, and are ready to receive a quiver-full of blessings in the form of more children. What about you?
Here’s a short list of some things you can do to keep the pro-life momentum going in the right direction.
- PRAY that states would pass pro-life and anti-abortion legislation
- GIVE financially to one or more pro-life organizations. Some that I recommend include: Students For Life, Care Net, 40 Days to Life, and March for Life
- VOLUNTEER at a crisis pregnancy center
- EDUCATE yourself on the apologetics of the pro-life position
- GO TO the next March for Life in Washington DC (assuming they continue this event next January)
- WALK BY FAITH and let God determine your family size.
Creation-based Resources for Your Homeschool
Are you concerned about what your kids believe about God, His Word, and His creation? How can they learn that science and faith are compatible with each other? Will the curriculum you choose draw your kids closer to the Lord or lead them to pull away? For example, don’t most science courses teach evolution as fact? These are legitimate concerns for Christian parents. Sadly, research shows that 60 to 70 percent of children who grow up in Christian homes become skeptics or reject the faith entirely after age 18. So you definitely want to find a curriculum that incorporates a biblical worldview.
Apologia Science could be a great curriculum for your family. The courses are Creation-based and written to the student in a conversational style, complete with notebooks plus optional audiobooks in MP3 format and video instruction on thumb drives. There are eight titles in our Young Explorer series that you can use during the K–6 levels. For grades 7-12, you can choose from 11 titles in our Exploring Creation series.
This year, we are introducing a brand new science curriculum, developed specifically for preschoolers. It’s called Preschool Science – Exploring Creation Together. We’re excited about it, and we believe your family will be able to put it to good use. You can check it out here.
Go to Apologia.com — a great place to explore creation.
Walking by faith and enjoying the homeschooling adventure of a lifetime!
Davis is the president of Apologia Educational Ministries, the #1 publisher of Creation-based curricula for homeschooling families. He believes that if there was ever a time to homeschool, it is now! You can hear more of what he has to say on the Let’s Talk Homeschool Podcast.
© 2022 Davis Carman