God's Plan For Life
The Scriptures reveal that when God designed a plan for life, he used careful and loving advanced planning. In Jer 1:5, God says “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you.” This is rather surprising. God knew Jeremiah before he was born. It follows that God knows all of us even before we are born.
God's advanced loving and careful plan is confirmed by Rom 8:29-30 where Paul says:
“For those he foreknew he also pre-destined to be conformed to the image of His son, so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.”
The same notion of foreknowledge is revealed in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, 1:3-4:
“Blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him.”
Love requires advanced planning. God’s plan for life began before the world was made.
In The Beginning
The beginning of the execution of God’s plan for life is revealed in the Book of Genesis. When we read the book of Genesis, we recognize the spiritual elements that are being taught by the message. Adam represents man; Eve represents woman. He created man in his likeness, Gen 1:27. Man has some amazing capabilities. He has the ability to create, to have a sense of justice, to intercede, to rescue, to show mercy, to forgive - these alone place him far above the animals, perhaps even the angels. Man is, surprisingly, quite Godly. Furthermore, man has the ability to have a relationship with God. Man has the ability to receive the Holy Spirit - God Himself. Finally, man is destined for immortality. There is nothing more God-like than to be immortal!
The very first commandment in the Bible is “be fertile and multiply”. This is soon followed by the commandment "Fill the earth and subdue it", Gen 1:28. These are extremely important elements of God’s plan for life. They take on fresh meaning in today’s world. The earth is not yet filled and subdued. There are lots of resources and there is much unused land. God’s plan for life and the commandments that go with it are still valid.
The importance of chastity, as part of God’s plan for life, is contained in one of the Ten Commandments, “You shall not commit adultery” Ex 20. Leviticus 18 is entirely devoted to various directives on the sanctity of procreative powers. Men were ordered not to have sex with mothers, in-laws, a neighbor’s wife or another male. Men and women were ordered not to have carnal relations with animals. All such defilements are an abomination. God has, in effect, decreed that all humans must be chaste. Singles must be chaste. The married must be chaste. Widows must be chaste.
Only marriage with one spouse provides the loving and secure environment that fosters procreation and God’s plan for life. God’s loving procreative plan is a mutual relationship with us wherein we follow his directive to be chaste, fruitful and to multiply, fill the earth and subdue it. Through marriage we procreate human beings that he has known or foreseen before the foundation of the world. Chastity and marriage work together to promote fertility.
Children of God
God’s plan gets even bigger. Humans, through Jesus Christ, become children of God. Filled with the Holy Spirit of God himself, they fulfill the demands of chastity and generous procreativity. They multiply with joy. Also, humans possess a myriad of talents for achieving God’s plan for subduing the earth. There are workers, engineers, farmers, accountants, doctors, craftsman and scientists and people of many talents and persuasions all conceived and designed by God. Humans take pride and rejoice in fulfilling God’s plan to subdue the earth and in being one with Him.
Sodomy and Contraception Condemned
Quite early in salvation history some important lessons had to be taught. Many are familiar with the lesson of Sodom and Gomorrah, Gen 19. The cities were destroyed by God as an everlasting testament to the evils they contained, particularly sodomy, which was a significant deviation from God’s plan for life. In the Onan account (Gen 38), which is not too well known or understood, another important lesson about procreation had to be taught. Onan was one of three sons of Judah. The first son did evil in the sight of God and was killed. We are not given the reason. Under the Levirate law at the time, Onan was asked to marry his bother’s widow, Tamar, in order to procreate offspring in his brother’s name. Onan married her but when he had intercourse, he went through the motions, then spilled his seed on the ground. In medical terminology, this is called “coitus interruptus”. More commonly, it is called “withdrawal” and is a form of contraception. Onan did this because he did not want to have children under his dead brother’s name. God killed him. It is clear that God killed him because he defrauded the marriage of its procreative purpose. Tamar later went on to have illicit sex with Judah, her father-in-law. Tamar bore twins. Despite their sins, neither she, Judah, nor the twins were killed. Only Onan was killed as an everlasting testament to the evil of defrauding the marriage of its procreative purpose. Onan was not killed because he did not want to marry Tamar. The punishment for not marrying Tamar (see Deut 25) was not death. If he chose not to marry Tamar, she could remove his sandal and spit in his face publicly, thereby humiliating him. This is much less than the death penalty. Onan was killed because his action of contraception had far reaching effects and consequences. His action attacked God’s plan for life. Children were supposed to be born who were not born. We see from this account that contraception thwarts God’s plan for life and that God repudiates contraception. God essentially says 'The plan for life and creation is my plan.'
Children Are A Blessing
Children are a blessing; they are innocent and joyful. Children enrich the parents, making them less selfish. Children become adult inventors that solve the world’s problems. Children become adult apostles to proclaim the Word. Large populations raise the standard of living by providing a wide variety of goods and services. Also, these services are provided at a lower cost per person. For example, a small town with a population of 1000 people cannot afford its own water sanitation plant. At least 100,000 people are needed. Large populations are necessary to support a telephone industry or an automobile industry. The United States is the third most populous nation on earth, after China and India. Population and a free market made it prosperous. Children grow up and create prosperity!
When Does The Plan Stop?
It is not for us to know. In 2011, the population reached 7 billion people. Based on the percentage of land surface currently used for cities and farms (11%) it can hold 60 billion or more. The point is, we are nowhere close to filling the earth and subduing it. God’s plan for life is a loving plan and He can direct its fulfillment for our maximum benefit and joy. Praise the Lord!!