Updated: Oct 8
God designed the perfect mechanism to ensure the future of humanity, but there has been a glitch in the system. Every culture in human history has recognized that the bedrock of any healthy society is the family unit formed by the institution of marriage. This institution provides the safest and most beneficial environment for sex for all parties involved—the mother, the father, and the resulting children. We ignore this basic and universal truth at our peril as there are demonstrable detrimental effects on men, women, children and society as a direct result.
The Biblical Case for Kids
When Jesus told His disciples to permit the little children to come to Him, He was confirming—not contradicting—biblical instruction and values. Indeed children hold a rather unique place of importance in the biblical narrative as God's design and purpose for mankind from the beginning was to be fruitful and multiply. Literally one verse after Genesis records the creation of man, God gives His first command to Adam and Eve and it's regarding procreation.
God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth." -Gen 1:27-28
While Adam and Eve didn't listen too well regarding God's command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they seemed to have fared much better here. Genesis only mentions three of their children by name (Cain, Abel, and Seth) while only alluding to others in Genesis 5:4, but the Jewish historian Josephus wrote that according to oral tradition, they had fifty-six (56!) children in all—33 sons and 23 daughters. But the importance of preserving and multiplying the human race wasn't limited to the creation account in Genesis—it is a pervasive theme throughout all of scripture.
After the flood God again reiterates this command to Noah in Genesis 9:1 and 9:7. When God made His covenant with Abraham, He promised a blessing which entailed multiplying his offspring and blessing all the other families of the earth through them (Gen 12:2-3). God later clarified His promise by stating that He would "greatly bless" Abraham by multiplying his seed as the stars in the heavens and the sand of the seashore (Gen 22:17). When God spoke a blessing over Isaac, again it regarded multiplying his offspring (Gen 26:24). When Isaac spoke a blessing over Jacob, the blessing entailed being fruitful and multiplying (Gen 28:3). When Jacob wrestled with the angel of the Lord demanding a blessing before he would let Him go, the resulting blessing pronounced was again concerning numerous offspring (Gen 35:11). When Israel was enslaved in Egypt, the favor and blessing of God on them was shown in their birthrates and numbers of children (Exo 1:7, 12, 20).
In case you may be tempted to believe that being fruitful and multiplying was mainly concerning God's promise to Abraham, note that this language and phrasing of blessing continued long after the fulfillment of that specific promise in Deuteronomy 1:10. We see God speak it in Deuteronomy 6:3 to all of Israel, and it is eloquently stated yet again a few passages later.
"He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock, in the land which He swore to your forefathers to give you." -Deu 7:13
Notice the blessing always relates to the womb, the ground, and the work of our hands—all three elements which were cursed as a result of sin in Genesis 3:16-19. The blessing of God is a redemption of the curse of sin and therefore is His intent for all mankind, using Israel as a type and shadow. This universal element and promise of God's blessing is repeated and emphasized again and again—particularly in the words of the prophets (Isa 9:3, Jer 23:3, Jer 30:19, Jer 33:22, Eze 37:26 etc). When the writer of Hebrews spoke of this blessing in Hebrews chapter 6, he (or possibly she) emphasized the unchanging nature of this blessing and God's purpose.
In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil... -Heb 6:17-19
This passage makes it crystal clear: God's blessing involves being fruitful and multiplying, not just in the case of Abraham or Israel, but even more so for the heirs of the promise—us. So when scripture speaks of children as our biggest blessing and most valuable resource, it really means it.
Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one's youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; They will not be ashamed When they speak with their enemies in the gate. -Psa 127:3-5
God vs. Gaia
If the plan and purpose of God is for the multiplication of the human race throughout all the earth, it should be quite clear what the strategy of the enemy will be—convincing man otherwise. The New Testament calls the enemy the father of lies, the deceiver, and describes him as one who comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 8:44, 2 Jn 1:7, John 10:10 respectively), so it is quite easy to spot an idea of his—whatever stands in opposition to God's truth. Paul speaks of tearing down any arguments, speculations, opinions, or lofty ideas which are raised up against the knowledge of God in 2nd Corinthians 10:5, so let's take a look at a few such unbiblical ideas.
The concept of Gaia or Mother Earth stems from the ancient Greeks, but the idea dates back even further. In Greek mythology, Gaia was the goddess of the earth and a primordial deity—the mother of all life. Her firstborn child was Uranus, who was the god of the sky and together they bore the Titans (with some interesting biblical parallels to the Nephilim). The Roman equivalent in their pantheon was the goddess Terra, often referred to as Terra Mater—which literally translates "Mother Earth."
While most Westerners have largely abandoned the religious or spiritual connections to the idea as they have adopted a more materialistic notion, the reverence for Mother Earth remains. From full blown nature worship such as Wicca and the resurgence of other neo-pagan practices to the more subtle environmentalism movements, the idea is that nature is pure and benevolent while man is corrupt and malevolent. This idea is so pervasive in the world today that the top two movies of all time—Avengers: Endgame and Avatar—both hold it as a central premise. But this idea warps and perverts a biblical truth—that nature was created for man, not the other way around.
God has no intention of preserving the earth—He destroyed it once by water in Noah's time while preserving humanity, and He plans on destroying it again by fire in the coming day of judgement while once again preserving humanity. When we make a god of nature, the end result is always demonizing mankind as a destructive force which must be kept in check. Note that kept in check means population control mechanisms—either via birthrate or mass genocide (which is why politicians like Al Gore and Bernie Sanders have both advocated population control in order to protect the climate). The enemy's schemes often look innocent enough at first glance, but follow them through to their conclusion and you find humanity invariably suffers as a result.
However, some of those schemes will be blatantly obvious, such as the anti-natalist movement, which posits that life is not a blessing, but a curse—therefore all humanity should choose death. What is utterly consistent is that the result of these ideologies is always the dwindling of the human population from death, famine, disease and war, but also from economic, political, social, and environmental policies. The latter wounds may appear self-inflicted, but are clearly demonic in origin. God promises a hope and future for mankind (Jer 29:11 etc), but the enemy promotes fear and causes us to doubt that truth, often producing self-fulfilling prophecies.
The Overpopulation Myth
One of the most pervasive populist ideas out there is that the earth is overpopulated and therefore such drastic control mechanisms are appropriate. From the population bomb theory of the 1970's (if you're unfamiliar with that enormously influential work, please click that link) to the extremely popular science fiction notion of colonizing other planets (Elon Musk being the current poster child for), the idea remains the same—man has exploited the resources of our planet too greedily and Mother Earth can no longer sustain him. It seems obvious and undeniably true, except that it's not.
Actual scientific research, empirical evidence, data analysis, and academic journals are quite clear on this point—the earth is actually currently quite underpopulated and the challenge of the future is going to be a population collapse, not explosion. This reality is so problematic and so misunderstood that the Population Research Institute launched an awareness campaign website called overpopulationisamyth.com which outlines the fallacies in cute, bite-sized cartoon infotainment format (seriously, go watch them).
Because the reality is every single person alive today could fit on the tiny island of Zanzibar (go ahead, google map it)—we are not even close to using all available landmass for human habitation. Just in the last 35 years, reforestation the size of Alaska and Texas combined have occurred around the world—we're using less land, not more as the population increases.
How about food? Not a problem. As human population numbers increase, the rate of food production increases even more. With a population of 7 billion, we currently produce enough food to feed over 10 billion people. The reason there is hunger and starvation in the world is not because we don't produce enough food, but rather because of poverty, war, and natural disasters. Depopulating the earth would not solve any of those underlying issues. In fact, depopulation would exacerbate them. Worried we're destroying natural habitats by using more land for agriculture? Don't be. In the last 50 years, food production has increased dramatically, but land usage has actually decreased 65%. By 2050 it is estimated that a land area the size of India will have been released from food production and back to wilderness.
Surely water is a problem? Nope. If you haven't noticed, 70% of the earth is covered in the stuff. Water also cannot be used up or destroyed; you can only change its state (from liquid to solid or gas) or contaminate it so that it is undrinkable. Thankfully human ingenuity outpaces human population growth and we continue to find ways to decontaminate and reuse water. Since 1900, fresh water production has increased seven fold while the population has only increased four fold. Now with desalinization plants and wastewater treatment, the potential for potable water production is enormous.
The mother lode of myths is the idea that our population growth is a runaway train on a collision course with eventual resource limits. Hockey stick graphs are plastered all over textbooks, news, media, and doomsday pamphlets proclaiming the dire state of our reproductive status—rabbits apparently don't hold a candle to us. The truth however, is that humanity makes up a tiny 0.01% of all of earth's biomass (all plants, animals, and organisms) and our growth rate is slowing, not accelerating. So much so, that current U.N. projections indicate that humanity will peak in population around 2045, and then begin falling—gradually at first, and then rapidly. The New Testament also alludes to this ultimate end when Jesus stated in Matthew 24:22 that His return will cut short the last days because otherwise mankind would cease to exist, not because mankind would so overpopulate the earth that we'll need an overflow room in heaven.
Birthrates & the Collapse of Civilizations
An alarming trend among humanity is that as populations rise out of poverty and/or urbanize, the birthrate falls. This trend has typically been offset in history by the large numbers who remain in rural areas and practice subsistence farming. However, in the modern age, urbanization has risen to unprecedented levels. According to U.N. data, in 1950 just 751 million people lived in urban areas, but by 2018 that number had risen to 4.2 billion, or 55% of the world's population. That number is expected to increase to 68% by 2050. While this geographic shift carries with it a general rise in quality of life for those who make the move, with that decrease in poverty rate comes the unintended consequence of a decrease in birthrates.
Throughout history, the general trend has been an overall increase of the human population. In the rare event that the world has experienced seasons of an overall decrease in population, it has been because of massive wars, famine, or plague. But usually these phenomena are regional and isolated and therefore are offset by broader global trends. But for the first time in history, birthrates are falling all across the globe with the newest studies predicting the population in 23 nations to be cut in half in the next 80 years. But the birthrate is not dropping equally among all demographics... Western nations are experiencing this phenomena at a disproportionate rate. As "Christianized" developed nations enjoy the economic success that development has brought them, the birthrates plunge. At the same time, another religious ideology in the East continues to experience very high birthrates—Islam.
As of 2008 data (short video below), the minimum fertility rate (birthrate) necessary to sustain a culture is 2.11. In other words each woman must have (on average) slightly more than two children. Historically, no culture has been able to reverse course and survive if the fertility rate drops below 1.9—this is the threshold for demographic suicide. Unfortunately for the Western world, most nations have begun the descent into chaos with the European Union's average at a paltry 1.38 fertility rate. This is why immigration is such an issue in the West—our options are to die sooner, or open the floodgates to immigration and die a little later. And as Muslims are still producing high birthrates, the West imports them in droves. In France for example, the native population's fertility rate is a mere 1.8 while Muslim immigrants there produce a whopping 8.1. Christianized nations, by rejecting God's plan and purpose for the family and His blessing of children, are literally self-selecting for an extinction-level event as Islam spreads around the globe and overthrows Western democracies from within. The irony is that Muslims are doing so by actually practicing the biblical command to be fruitful and multiply (and fulfilling a promise of God to Hagar and the descendants of Ishmael in Gen 21:17-18).
The data in the video is from 2008, and since then unfortunately the situation has only gotten worse. The Syrian refugee crisis saw an enormous influx of Muslims into Europe while at the same time, native birthrates continued to plummet. America hasn't fared much better as the latest CDC data (2019) now shows American fertility rates have reached all-time lows as well at a depressing 1.73 (down from 2.11 in 2008). As the CDC chart below shows, America hasn't had its head above water in birthrates since the mid 1970's (with a brief gasp of air in 2007-2008). We are in critical decline and if the Western church doesn't wake up, it may very well go down with the ship.
There are a few significant factors which contribute to the overall decline of birthrates beyond prosperity and urbanization, and yet a few others which contribute to the decline in the family unit once any children are actually born. Looking at the above CDC chart, it should be immediately apparent that something drastic occurred in our culture in the early 1970's which led to a catastrophic collapse in our fertility/birth rates. Because if you back up just a few years, you'd see that in the late 1960's fertility rates were trending upward. What happened in U.S. history in the early 70's to change that trajectory?
Aberrant Behavior: Abortion
Unfortunately, one of the aberrant behaviors of mankind was legalized in the wake of the major Supreme Court case Roe v Wade in 1973. Indeed, the U.S. saw a dramatic increase in abortions during the same period we see birthrates plummet. According to the most comprehensive data available, in the 1960's abortions averaged only a few thousand cases per year. Then in 1970 as Roe v Wade came to the forefront of the national discussion, that number exploded to over 190,000 aborted children. In 1971, the numbers went nuclear—over 485,000 children aborted. By 1975 Roe v Wade had legalized abortion nationally and over 1 million children were being aborted each year. By 1980, the number had skyrocketed to 1.5 million per year. The painful and obvious lesson here is that it's difficult to keep birthrates above the necessary threshold when you kill nearly 1/3rd of your children every year.
What is possibly even more shocking is the resulting cultural shift which occurred in the American church. Christians began to support and defend this practice, no doubt in part as a result of the declining biblical literacy and worldview in the church which began in the 60's (and now also sits at all-time lows). The feminist movement managed to frame abortion as a women's rights issue and hence many in the church were convinced of its merits and swayed to support its cause. A preponderance of Christian books and articles (like this one) were written with good intentions, but armed with faulty logic, bad data, and an apparent lack of biblical understanding.
Many cite the fact that abortion is not specifically condemned in the Bible ignoring the rather obvious—that scripture condemns both murder (intentional) and manslaughter (accidental). Pro-choice adherents will attempt to argue that you cannot apply these definitions of morality to unborn children however as somehow their humanity is in question. They then delve into fanciful and rather inconsistent scientific definitions of when life begins. However scripture does indeed speak of the humanity of the unborn in many passages such as Psalms 139:13, Ecclesiastes 11:5, Isaiah 44:2, 24, Isaiah 49:1, 5, Jeremiah 1:5, Jeremiah 20:17, Hosea 9:16, Hosea 12:3, Luke 1:15, 41, 44, and Galatians 1:15.
Scripture also explicitly condemns the harm of the unborn in Exodus 21:22-25 and calls for the death penalty for anyone who even accidentally kills a child in the womb. In other words, the biblical value of children was such that the unborn were not only recognized as human, but also had the same legal protections against harm as an adult male. This is further born out by all historical data from both ancient Jewish culture and early church doctrine—abortion has always been condemned as murder. Unfortunately many in the church have largely abandoned biblical morality in favor of cultural definitions and the spirit of the age. As a result, tens of millions of children have been (often brutally) slaughtered and our society's birthrate has slipped into the abyss.
The stats in the U.S. are quite shocking actually as we see just how protective and good God's moral law is. God designed marriage as the perfect institution to protect the health and value of men, women, and children. In America, between one-quarter and one-third of pregnancies end in abortion for unmarried women. That number plunges to a mere 4% of pregnancies for married women. The reason is obvious—abortion is being used as after-the-fact birth control, not as medical intervention. In fact only 0.36% of abortions are performed to save the life or health of the mother. Only 0.24% are performed due to fetal abnormalities, and a mere 0.09% due to rape or incest. The vast, vast majority of abortions (99.31%) occur due to social or economic reasons. Simply put, outside of the commitment, love, and social and economic stability of marriage, raising a child is a very challenging prospect—so killing the baby becomes a very appealing solution. For a more thorough look at the issue of abortion, you can read the article "Life, Death, and the Gray."
Aberrant Behavior: Hypersexuality
But biblical marriage doesn't just protect the lives of children and future generations, it also provides protection for the mother and father. Designed to not only produce children, but also to produce a physical, emotional, and spiritual bond between a man and a woman, sex is a deeply intimate experience. Marriage provides a safe context and environment for that experience as it is an oath of monogamy, commitment, and exclusivity. Even secular studies confirm this fact showing that virginity produces better marriages, makes you less likely to divorce, creates better relationship stability, increases relationship satisfaction, produces better sexual quality, and even improves communication between the man and woman.
Sex has a deeply psychological as well as physiological function, which is why societies throughout history have recognized rape and sexual assault as more heinous crimes than just physical assault. But while we acknowledge the trauma and deep violation which takes place in those sexual experiences, people typically don't connect the dots and recognize that much of the same trauma occurs even in consensual sexual experiences outside of monogamy. The human heart simply wasn't designed to bond so deeply to another and then be ripped apart. Relationships were designed for commitment and trust—in other words, covenant. Even God entered relationship with man through a blood covenant promising faithfulness and exclusivity—through the blood of animals under the Old Covenant and through the blood of Jesus under the New Covenant.
But putting aside all the implications for the spirit and soul for a moment, let's just look at the physiological ramifications of sex outside the biblical parameters of marriage and monogamy —because there are serious health consequences for promiscuity. A ridiculous 1 in 4 Americans have an incurable STD. In fact, if you're sexually active, you have a 50% chance of contracting one before age 25. A full 8 in 10 will contract an HPV in their lifetime (HPV causes genital cancers and warts). Another 1 in 8 have genital herpes, while 1 in 2 have oral herpes. Much of this consequence is of course passed down to any resulting children—if you can have any children at all. Tragically, one of the most devastating effects of this behavior is that it renders around 24,000 women sterile per year. That's 24,000 women per year who will never produce a single child in their lives. This adds up to roughly 500,000 sterile women in a single generation, which eliminates the potential of millions upon millions of children in the next generations. The detrimental and compounding effects of our deviant sexual behavior on future generations and society just keep adding up.
The health consequences for non-heterosexual behavior is even greater. Members of the LGBTQ+ community make up only 4.1% of the population, but are extremely over-represented in negative health outcomes. They are 100x more likely to be homeless, 2-6x more likely to commit suicide, 3x more likely to suffer from depression, 3x more likely to suffer from substance abuse, 2.5x more likely to suffer from alcohol abuse, and are much more likely to suffer physical and sexual violence from a romantic partner. The risk of HIV infection is also far higher among this demographic with homosexual males topping the charts at 130x greater risk. The good news is the latest scientific studies clearly indicate this behavior is not biologically determined, therefore these adverse health effects can be avoided by choosing to adhere to God's protective sexual guidelines.
As terrible as the personal health consequences are however, sexual immorality also has detrimental consequences on society as a whole. Oxford social anthropologist J.D. Unwin summarized a lifetime of research studying sex in 86 different societies spanning 5,000 years of history in his book, Sex and Culture. A non-religious man himself, he nonetheless concluded that sexual restraints are absolutely necessary in developing a healthy and flourishing society. He identified 3 levels of prenuptial sexual restraint in societies and 4 levels of post-nuptial sexual restraint. Prior to marriage, the 3 progressive levels are complete sexual freedom, occasional restraint, and strict chastity. Once married, the 4 levels of sexual restraint are modified polygamy, modified monogamy, absolute polygamy, and absolute monogamy. All throughout history, in every case, Unwin found that the stricter the cultural sexual restraints, both pre and post-nuptial, the healthier and more developed the society. The most powerful combination was prenuptial strict chastity coupled with absolute monogamy. Rationalist cultures that retained this combination for at least 3 generations exceeded all other cultures in every area, including literature, art, science, furniture, architecture, engineering, and agriculture.
What is even more alarming is that Unwin found that whenever sexual freedom increased in any society, negative consequences always followed—particularly, if a culture moved away from strict chastity. When strict prenuptial chastity was no longer the norm, absolute monogamy, deism (religious belief), and rational thinking also disappeared within 3 generations. If complete sexual freedom was embraced by a culture, that culture collapsed within 3 generations to the lowest state of development and was usually subsequently conquered and taken over by another more developed society. America is currently about halfway through the second generation (by Unwin's metric of about 33 year generations) from its sexual revolution in the 60's and 70's...
But while many of these catastrophic consequences may appear to take effect over the course of several generations, a society's fixation on sexuality and sexual expression outside of God's parameters can also produce rather swift and calamitous results. Professor Camille Paglia—a noted atheist and lesbian herself—studied the rise and fall of every civilization from ancient Egypt to the modern day and discovered an alarming and universal trend: each and every one collapsed after the acceptance and proliferation of homosexuality and transgenderism—not generations later, but rather abruptly. She published that research in her book Sexual Personae, but below is a short recent interview clip where she reiterates this reality—which yes, has profound and dire implications for America today.
Aberrant Behavior: Fatherlessness
The hypersexuality of a society has even more unintended consequences on their children and future generations though. The "sins of the father" appear to be a gift which keep on giving. As sexual experiences increasingly occur outside of the love and commitment of marriage between a man and a woman, what resulting children are not murdered or born with an incurable STD get to grow up with only one—or possibly no—biological parents. Due to biology and our court systems, mothers by and large raise the children of these broken relationships and therefore fatherlessness is an increasingly common experience for children in our society.
The numbers are quite serious in America: 16% of Asian children grow up in a single-parent household, 24% of Caucasians, 42% of Hispanics, 52% of Native Americans, and 66% of African Americans. Unsurprisingly, this also happens to be the exact order of average household income in the U.S.—Asians at the top, and Blacks at the bottom economically. There is only one demographic group which have lower single-parent rates than Asians, and therefore sit at the top of the chart economically—Jews. Follow God's law, and you reap the blessing and benefit.
But what are the consequences for children (other than economic) without a father? Well, it turns out, they are pretty significant. Fatherless children are 32x more likely to run away from home, 5x more likely to commit suicide, for girls 7x more likely to get pregnant as a teenager, for boys 14x more likely to commit rape, they are 9x more likely to be placed in a state-run institution, 20x more likely to exhibit behavioral disorders, 2x more likely to drop out of high-school, 10x more likely to practice chemical abuse, 20x more likely to be incarcerated, 4x more likely to live in poverty, and have 2x greater risk of infant mortality and obesity. In short, God's design for the family with a loving mother and father to nurture, guide, correct, and support their children safeguards not only the children, but also the surrounding society from all sorts of negative side-effects. Marriage was designed to produce healthy intimate relationships which then produce families. The family was meant to produce healthy children which then produce healthy societies. We ignore this cause and effect relationship at our peril.
The Gospel is good news, and that good news is that God loves you and is looking out for your well-being personally as well as mankind's at a societal, national, and global level. That good news was proclaimed to Abraham and a covenant was made between God and man which would result in the blessing of all families and nations of the earth. The sooner we understand how good God is and how perfect His ways are, the sooner we will love Him in return and walk in His ways with joy rather than grumbling. His plan of redemption, protection, and blessing is so complete and so unfathomable, that the enemy's tactic has to be to cause us to question the character of God and the validity of His word so that we don't get to experience the health, wholeness, and blessing that comes with submission and obedience to His law—from generation to generation.