What does the Bible say about birth control?

Did God create sex only for procreation - having children? Can Christian married couples use birth control?


God created humans as male and female and considered His whole creation “very good” (Genesis:1:31). He planned for husbands and wives to be joined together and to become one flesh through sexual relations (Genesis:2:24), and He calls the marriage bed “undefiled” (Hebrews:13:4).

Children are a natural result of sexual intercourse between a husband and wife and are called “a gift from the Lord” (Psalm:127:3, New Living Translation). But the Bible does not restrict sex in marriage to be only for making babies. In fact, the Bible encourages husbands and wives to give pleasure to their mates.

Our Marriage and Family: The Missing Dimension booklet points out: “The idea that sex was dirty and evil was an idea that crept into Christianity from early Catholic teachers. Their compromise with the obvious reality that sexual activity was necessary to have children resulted in their teaching that sex should only be engaged in by married couples when they wanted to have children. Yet there is no such instruction in the Bible.

Genesis:2:24 says, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh [have sex].’ Proverbs:5:15-19 encourages couples to enjoy sexual pleasure together within marriage. Paul says that husbands and wives should render the sexual affection due each other—refraining only during times set aside for prayer and fasting (1 Corinthians:7:3-5).

“No passage in the Bible forbids husbands and wives from having sex for pleasure when not trying to conceive children. There is nothing wrong with couples using contraceptive methods, provided they are not physically harmful, to postpone having children until the time of their choosing.”

One passage often cited as prohibiting birth control is in Genesis 38. This sad story is one of selfishness and rebellion, but does not make a statement about birth control in general.

After Tamar’s husband Er died, her father-in-law Judah told his son Onan, “‘You must marry Tamar, as our law requires of the brother of a man who has died. Her first son from you will be your brother’s heir.’ But Onan was not willing to have a child who would not be his own heir. So whenever he had intercourse with Tamar, he spilled the semen on the ground to keep from having a baby who would belong to his brother” (Genesis:38:8-9, NLT). Onan’s sin was rebellion and selfishness, not birth control.


angieness77's picture

Have you ever been through a Theology of the Body series, or encountered Pope John Paul II's writings? He says that when you marry someone, you give them your WHOLE self. Body, mind, and spirit. That is why the two "become one flesh." But when you contracept, you are witholding a part of yourself from that other person--your fertility. It is like you are telling that person, "my fertility is like a disease, and I don't want you to have it."
Now I understand that the point of getting married is more than having children--it is to create a union between the two persons. But how is God to bless your marriage if you are witholding his gift of fertility from one another? That is why, using a 99% effective methold called Natural Family Planning (NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH THE RHYTHM METHOD) is where you take your temperature and see what days the woman is most fertile--and when she is, and if you cannot support children, you love her in other ways and build your marriage through other ways.

I encourage you to look further into the studies of Theology of the Body. It isn't just about "those christians" who are trying to restrain you and tell you what to do with your personal life. It is a reason to discover the fullness of God's intent for us when we were created from the Heart of Love.

Steven Britt

Steven Britt's picture

angieness, the logic employed in the argument you've cited is that contraception amounts to witholding part of yourself from your partner. Doesn't that presuppose that the other person wants that part of you at that specific time? It makes more sense to me that it should be witheld if your partner desires it to be witheld. Furthermore, wouldn't Natural Family Planning essentially amount to the same dilemma, since you are specifically choosing to withhold sex from each other at the only time that the woman has the ability to give her gift of fertility to her husband? Additionally, couldn't two people circumvent this whole problem, by your logic, if the man simply becomes content to have sex without orgasming? I think that the argument against contraception raises far more questions than it answers, creating a never-ending series of workarounds that end up defying the very action that it defines as God's will.

Such bits of logic as we just engaged in are human-devised philosophical endeavors, which can do nothing to reveal the express will of God, but are useful in helping us to judge how we will live as we strive to follow the intent of God's law. It's important to realize that there are relatively few biblical restrictions governing sex within marriage, and certainly no discussion of contraception. In summary, I know of no principles legislated by God which seem to preclude the practice.


Tana's picture

This comment is not meant to condemn anyone in any way, shape, or form. I am merely sharing what I understand God's Word to say.

I believe that contraception is wrong myself. God created sex for marriage. It is for both pleasure and pro-creation. He himself has already stated his WILL in this department is for us to be fruitful and multiply. And in Malachi 2:15 God states he is seeking a godly seed. Children are a blessing and proverbs states that "blessed is the man who has his quiver full of them"

Aren't we to trust God? Can't God open and close the womb? If children are a blessing, than fertility is also a blessing, why refuse a blessing God is trying to give us? God says he will care for us, for our needs, he will provide. So if God is the God the Bible proclaims I am positive that he can handle the birth control issue his way. If God knits us together in our Mother's womb Psalm 139 We are his creation, he has created that child. If he does not want the child to be born for whatever reason they will not be born.

I realize no everyone will agree with me on this, but I do not see how we can say we are fully trusting God and fully loving God (as isn't trusting Him part of loving him?) by doing our own will in how many children we aught to have, instead of how many He wants to bless us with to raise up as godly men and woman.

So I guess the short question is this : How are we honoring, trusting, loving and worshiping God as the creator of all, who knows what is best for all, the Alpha and the Omega...but think that we have to decide how many children He should bless us with?
And take it into our own hands?

How does it make us any different from the woman in Australia recently who decided to abort the baby with a heart condition at 32 weeks...She ended up losing both babies...When we refuse God's blessings or only want part of his blessing...we lose the blessing.

Lena VanAusdle

Lena VanAusdle's picture

Tana, you claim that if God doesn't want you to have children He can close your womb, but isn't the reverse also true, if God wants you to have children, can't He make that happen even if you use birth control? The Bible says nothing on the subject, and whatever we choose to believe is simply that, a choice.

Charles Rapp

Charles Rapp's picture

I am surely convinced that God did nt create us as robots, we are different from that! Recently my wife conceived, We were not prepared, as our young boy is only two yrs this April 30; and also we are ant abortion! I am to go back to university this october and she will be working to support the family. The only solution was to go back again to the Creator Himself and ask him to provide us with a valid solution. At our suprise the night we ask Him, in the morning she started to see her days just as normal! we thanked him for the intervention and we have no way out as to be on guide not to block our plans of which we also trust him for implimentation!
So I think couples have to opt on natural birth control and at the same time asking God for His blessings on proper timing! We cant just be as beasts and have children that we can not properly care them! This will not be blessing any more as pain and sufferings will dominate the family!
As food is also blessing, but can we just feed beyond our reasonable capacity? Is that not a sin too? We are told to be mean in avery deed, so even in family size we have to choose according to our capacities!
May God speak to us afresh on this topic as we need His divine direction on what to do!


KARS's picture

I know for a fact that nursing is a form of birth control. It all depends on how long you want to nurse your child. This is also mentioned in the Bible of the O.T. There you will read about a husband that waited till his wife stopped nursing. However, he doesn't have to wait that long. The medical profession will say you can get pregnant while nursing. I didn't. Not until I stopped.

In the end it is the couples choice.


joejhon's picture

Some of these comments are so ridiculous. It's sad that WOMEN would be AGAINST birth control knowing what a number pregnancy and birth does on your body. Some people can't afford to just be "blessed" with more children. God said "all things in moderation." Besides, there's already too many people in this world-- we don't ALL need to be the Duggars!

And what of unmarried women and birth control? There are SO many different reasons to use it besides not wanting to get pregnant. Some women cannot get their period regularly, some go through tremendous pain, some have bouts where they are bleeding the entire month and their cycle needs to be regulated.

I think that lots of Christians, or rather, people who *profess* to be Christian have not been properly educated on the subject. This is why states that identify themselves are *religious* have the highest births out of wedlock and divorce rates. We need to stop looking at contraception as something evil, when really, it does its fair share of good.

I was on birth control because I was having problems in my cycle, and my periods were unbearably painful. I was also having pains all month and bleeding in between periods. NOT FUN. I got off it eventually, because it does really change your hormones, and you need time off it before your body can go back to normal, but once I get back to the excruciating cramps and vomiting, I'm going right back to my doctor!


mel7905's picture

birth control is against God. Doesn`t the old testament speak against wasting your semen on the ground. Using a condom means discarding your seed as though it is waste. The Lord commanded humans to procreate, and this is what he designed us for. birth control makes it easy for people to have casual sex. It is a human invention, to prevent our bodies doing what they should. Also, some kinds of contraceptives have serious health risks.


faithfulservant03's picture

TANA I AGREE with you!! we should sumit all of our life to GOd He knows how many children He wants to give us. it all goes back to faith. Can God take care of us? Can he provide for us? Didn't God say if we keep his commandments He would bless us coming in an going out, bless us in our store houses? in matt 6 Jesus said not to worry bout food clothing etc God would provide. Do we reject the heritage of the Lord? should we as Christian not have the children God wants us to have an add to the army of the Lord? unfortunately we live in a time where it is more popular to kill our babies than to have them an raise them. if my life is full submitted to God then He has control over it all. y would I try to prevent Gods will?? cause im not submitted?? that s most likely the answer.an the answer to ppl out of marriage having kids is abstance!!! but that's not gonna change. it all goes back to the Family. parents teaching their children to love the Lord with all their heart an keep n His commandment. my concern is my family an those that God blesses me with I want ALL of my blessings!! an in the end when I stand before GOd I can say Lord i've held nothing back from u!! "AS for me an my house we will serve the Lord"


Mrslogwood's picture

We always seem to alter scripture to self. God is the creator of life; if we believe this, then pumping ourselves with dangerous chemicals would not be of consideration. Educate yourselves on the dangers of man made birth control. Birth control is to control what God had ordained..... LIFE. Our bodies are a vessel for God; if we submit ourselves to Him fully, then we are allowing Him to use us as He pleases. God will not give us any task that is too hard, therefore, any children that He gives us, if we trust in HIM, He will provide. Point blank. Using birth control comes with consequences and if we just trust in Him, we really don't need to bother with birth control and it's consequences. Ppl need to stop having unGodly sex and allow Him to bless our marriages as He sees fit. We may have one , two or 19 kids, either way, it's Gods choice not ours. He is the Beginning and End.........


Djand's picture

In reference to the comment stated above, this is a sad story about selfishness and rebellion, but does not make a statement about birth control in general. Lets take a look at the scriptures again. We are all aware of Genesis 38. I'll start at vs. 9:But Onan knew that the heir would not be his; and it came to pass, when he went into his brother's wife, that he emitted on the ground, let he should give an heir to his brother. Vs. 10: And the thing which he did displeased the Lord; therefore he killed him also.

I am not sure God kills just for being selfish?

Furthermore, some say, possibly as well as the person making this comment, that Onan was killed for disobedience, but not for contraception. But the penalty for refusing to keep up the family lineage was not death; it was public mockery with a good spit in the face. (see Deut 25: 7-10)

Judah, who commanded Onan to go into his brother's wife, also refused to keep up the family lineage, but God did not kill Judah (see Genesis:38:11-26). God killed Onan not for disobedience but for wasting seed.

Deuteronomy:25:7-10 But if the man does not want to take his brother's wife, then let his brothers wife go up to the gate to the elders, and say, "My husband's brother refuses to raise up a name to his brother in Israel; he will not perform the duty of my husband's brother. Then the elders of his city shall call him and speak to him. But if he stands firm and says, I do not want to take her, then his brother's wife shall come to him in the presence of the elders, remove her sandal from his foot, spit in his face, and answer and say, "So shall it be done to the man who will not build up his brother's house. And his name shall be called in Israel, The house of him who had his sandal removed.

So again, selfishness and rebellion was not worthy of death by God in this case. God killed Onan for contraception.

I might also add the Lambeth Conference of 1930. Before this time, all Christian Churches taught that contraception was not of God.

Even Protestant Reformers such as Calvin and Wesley taught that it was evil. Even Martin Luther believe this to be true.

Norbert Z

Norbert Z's picture

Djand, that date you give, 1930. It's interesting because if a person were to trace the history of the contraceptive pill: The wiki states, "By the 1930s, scientists had isolated and determined the structure of the steroid hormones and found that high doses of androgens, estrogens or progesterone inhibited ovulation".

What's not hard to acknowledge is the gradual increase in the public acceptance of the use of sex and disassociating shame with many sexual practices. Many of which are now associated with "pride". Likewise I wouldn't categorize a spit in the face as good. From what I can tell, it was an act of public shaming the person and show that his nation does not take pride in his actions.

I would say, pride is a deadly deceiver on any side of an issue. Ezekiel:33:11 Luke:9:56


Roman's picture

Guys, I have something to say, regarding such called birth control. Those who proclaim, that God created sex for pleasure are right, because really there are many places in Bible, where said, "You have to have sexual relation with your wife, in order to get rid of devil temptation", what for some of us it means at least twice a week. However, there is one big AND, for pleasure AND procreation, those thing go along with each other, and there is no way to separate them. The reason why, because God made us in that way, your lust pushes you to have pleasure through sex, so be it, but you have to be ready to bear burden afterwards, because evere time you get pleasure, your seed leaves you and goes straight to that place where it must be due to Creator's program, and everybody knows what happens next, and this is exactly how it must work, this is God's will, otherwise he would created some kind of switch inside of man body: when you want to get just pleasure but no kids, you switch it on and here we go - pleasure, but no kids and vice versa, but God DID NOT DO THAT, it means HE DID NOT WANT IT back then, and HE DOES NOT WANT IT NOW, this just not His will, and when smart scientifics created condom in order to separate pleasure and procreation it was destroying of God's will. Of course it is not as big sin as abortion of a child, but it is still disobedience to His will.

In conclusion I want to refer to Bible:

1 Corinthians:7:28

But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.

Probably now, after I explained what God's will is, this verse will become more comprehensive. Do you want to get married? Ok, but in accordance to His will you will have to multiply, and not just 1 or 2 or 3 children, but as many as God gonna give you (whithout cheating such as birth control from your side). Imagine that you have 10 children, now you really face many troubles )) Bible never lies ))


Mimi's picture

My best friend and her husband, who are Christians, cannot have children. She is unable to conceive or carry. Are she and her husband supposed to refrain from sex since they know that they cannot create a child? The Bible states that a husband and wife are to submit to one another. So wouldn't that be contradictory, since they know they can't have children? Are they supposed to have a sexless marriage?I also have a friend who was only able to conceive with her husband once. and that was a miracle. So they have one child. But they continue to have sex. Are they supposed to stop since she can only have the one child? Does that even make sense? God made sex for marriage, yes. But not only for procreation. We are allowed to enjoy our spouses.
was married. We had two children. .i wanted for, but he only wanted to. So were we supposed to stop having sex because he didn't want any more kids? Or was I supposed to submit myself onto my husband as the Bible states to?and I love God, I promise I do, but I'm barely making it with two kids, how was I going to make it with 4 or 6 or 12 or however many I would have, had I not used birth control?


danielsmomtc's picture

I think the choice to use birth control or not is a decision each family needs to make on their own, but only after seeking God's will and prayer about the subject. Early in our marriage we practiced NON chemical birth control but we have now come to a point in our lives where we feel differently about it. We feel we should put it in God's hands and pray His will be done. Our bodies belong to Him and we have faith that He will provide for our every need. We were created to have children for His Kingdom. ( Satan hates this by the way and will do anything he can to deceive us about of the joy and blessing of children) This is what is right for me and my family. As I said before, each family needs to seek God's guidance in this subject. I would like to also add, if you choose to use birth control, please do research on the type you are using. The "pill" can basically cause an abortion. There have been studies to show how the life of a already conceived baby, maybe only days old but still a baby, can be ended because of the birth control pill. This would be a sin, to kill your unborn baby. So please, if you choose to use a birth control method, research other ways rather than use a chemical way. Our bodies are a perfect temple, created by our Father, we don't want to change His design for our bodies and how they function. A "pill" effects how our bodies function, changes the design, for me that is not something I am comfortable with. Each family has to seek God's will and do what they feel He wants from us. Someone mentioned "we don't need more Duggars" but why not? They seek God's will and raise their children to love God. What is wrong with that? Why are people so quick to judge them ? What has happened to our society that makes us think we only need one or two children, if any ? I feel Satan has deceived this world and turned what once was a blessing, into a "curse". I would have to think in Bible times, people had large families. Now people see children as an inconvenience and a burden. The world is very "self" motivated instead of God motivated. And for anyone who wants children and have not been able to conceive, keep praying! God can open your womb, or someone else's if it's His will, and send you a blessing. Have faith! Trust in Him and His timing. Romans:8:28- all things work together for good to them that love God....

Login/Register to post comments

More Information

Ask a Question

Ask a Question

Printer-friendly version

Got a question?  If you don't see your question here, ask our team of caring, dedicated ministers for a personal answer. (Please allow a week or so for an e-mail response.)

4 + 1 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.

© 1995-2015 United Church of God, an International Association | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use

Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. All correspondence and questions should be sent to info@ucg.org. Send inquiries regarding the operation of this Web site to webmaster@ucg.org.

You may login with either your assigned username or your e-mail address.
The password field is case sensitive.