Children: Bane or Blessing?

May all Christians everywhere break the deadly silence that is allowing the world to dictate to God—crushing out the future generations!

“Abortion” has prime time in the news today, Legislators struggle with demands for liberalized laws on it. “Women’s Lib” carries on a vigorous and noisy crusade for a woman’s “right to have a baby only when she wants one.” Panelists engage in endless debate on exactly when that little “bit of fetal tissue” actually becomes live and human enough to call its removal from the mother’s body “murder.”

With few exceptions, the Christian community stands mutely by watching while men and women set themselves up as authorities on population control, deciding how many babies should or should not be produced in a given area over a specified amount of time. They watch while unscrupled men and women agitate for and legislate favorably on laws which allow the “unborn,” no matter how small, to be robbed surgically of the right to life. Even Michigan, a state which protects the property rights of the “unborn” by law, is now seriously considering a denial by law, of the “right to live” of the unborn.

The time has come for sensitive Christians everywhere to make this issue a matter of supreme importance in their thoughts, prayers and actions lest our already corrupt morals sink lower still and this country collapses in utter ruin under the wrath and judgment of a holy God.

It is time that Christians everywhere insist that God’s will in this matter be enforced at local, state and federal levels.

What is God’s will concerning the children whom He Himself “knits together” in the womb? The Bible speaks very plainly in at least four areas; 1. God’s “blueprint,” 2. God’s command, 3. God’s product, 4. God’s blessing.


Any couple planning to build a new home for themselves and their family knows that, before the hole is dug and the blocks are laid, there must be a masterplan, a blueprint. And even before the blueprint is drawn by the architect, the couple must sit down and tabulate their needs, matching them to what they feel would be a convenient layout to meet those needs.

If we as mortal men make such scrupulous plans to build a perishable house. how much more so our God when He Himself planned the creation of man with an imperishable soul. He created man “in His own image.” He anticipated the need of man for his beautiful counterpart, woman, the one who would fulfill him, not as his slave or as his master, but as his helper. He planned to “crown” their union and reward their love and faithfulness with little children. Being a “covenant” God of children as well as parents, He also provided marriage, parenthood, and the family as His ordained way of supplying for the nurture and training of little children born into this world.

So out of the beautiful plan of God, shrouded with a mystery of love between Cod and man, and man and woman, came Adam then Eve, then children, and subsequent marriages, homes and families down through the centuries. with pleasure in marriage came blessed responsibility. This is God’s way—His blueprint for true righteousness and consequent happiness.


God did not hide His blueprint or let man discover for himself what the will of God was. God gave man a command—marching orders if you will. Genesis one records God’s command to bring forth children as his first words to Adam and Eve: “And God said to them: Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the earth . . .” And even though the tragedy of sin marred the beauty of God’s creation including the marriage relationship, so that God deemed it necessary to wipe out the entire human race except Noah and his family, nevertheless the ordinance of marriage and the family stood fast. When the flood had subsided and Noah made his sacrifice of thanksgiving, God once again re-issued His command to man in a state of sin, in Genesis 9:1: “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth”; and again in Genesis 9:7: “And you, be fruitful and multiply, bring forth abundantly on the earth and multiply in it.”

In all three instances we observe that God did not give man the right to decide that for personal selfish reasons he might limit this “fruitfulness” and “multiplication.” Not once in the entire Bible do we find any indication that in due course of years there might be “too many people” on the earth so that we humans would have to employ unnatural measures to curb the mythical “overpopulation” crisis. God has His own way of curbing population through natural disasters and other means. The repeated and sustained witness of Scripture is that it is God alone, who “opens” and “closes” the womb.

What we do find in the. Bible however, is; 1) a cultural mandate to “subdue” the earth; 2) a command to walk before the Lord in righteousness; 3) a command to give liberally to the genuinely poor and needy (not the parasites).

If these three commands are obeyed, the myth of “overpopulation” will all but evaporate. By using our God-given insights, we can “subdue” the earth by devising new methods of renewing the earth in strategic parts of the earth so that the land may be made productive for crops to feed the starving millions. We can preach the true gospel to the starving people in India thereby showing to them that there is no “sacredness” in cows, thus providing another vital source of food to their needy millions which now, for false religious beliefs, is denied to them (they are more faithful to their “false religion” than many Christians are to the “true religion”). We can work on ways to relocate major industries and create new ones resulting in a redistribution over the continents of population now concentrated in a limited number of huge cities and small densely populated plots of ground.

If we follow the second command of God to “walk before Him in righteousness” and preach this principle day in, day out over the globe, we will find that “illegitimate births” will greatly diminish and welfare programs will be greatly reduced.

And lastly, if God’s people really take God’s command seriously to assist the needy with our lives and our goods, the church programs will flourish and government welfare programs will be unnecessary.

The vexing problem today is not “too many babies.” The problem is “too much sin,” “too much greed,” failure to use our resources properly, failure to distribute goods wisely and mercifully to the genuinely needy. And yet, it is the “unborn” that arc paying the price of parents’ (married or unmarried) guilt. Their lives are either being prevented by a wholesale condemnation of big families and by unnatural means and ghastly methods such as sterilization, or they are being terminated by murder, sophisticatedly called “abortion.” Without a doubt there is also a very real relationship between the current reluctance of married partners to produce offspring and the current breakdown of many marriages.

What we desperately need today is many, many more babies born to “Christian” families, babies who will grow up to be real Christian doctors and nurses willing to speak up on matters such as abortion; Christian lawyers and politicians who will actively promote Biblical principles in legislative bodies; Christian pastors and teachers who will ardently cover the globe proclaiming the claims of Christ in the lives of people everywhere. Instead we see Christian schools closing doors because of declining birth rates, while suburbs blossom with the erection of plush new homes built by “Christian” young couples. Do we really have our values straight?

God’s command to he “fruitful and multiply” still stands. The “fruit of the womb” is still His “reward,” His “gift.” We can only expect the wrath of God to descend when His command is ignored or aborted, and His gift or “reward” is spurned and exchanged for material goods. We are not at all ready in our church circles to accept “Planned Parenthood” or “Family Planning” instruction for our young couples or our growing teenagers either in church or school programs. It is God who plans our families, not humanistic predetermined standards of a secular society or even misguided Christians.


The heat of the abortion controversy today centers around the debate about whether or not that tiny bit of fetal tissue lodged in the mother’s womb is human life. Even secular science tells us that at the moment of conception the fertilized egg is stamped with a genetic code that determines its characteristics such as sex, bloodtype and the like. Charles E. Rice in a recent book, entitled The Vanishing Right to Live, points out that in early weeks of development the infant has distinguishable hotly parts, a permanent skeleton and all his internal organs.

Furthermore, if that little tissue is allowed to grow unhindered for 266 days, it will pass fully developed from the mother’s body. And absolutely nothing can prevent it. That tissue, although is in within the mother’s body, is nonetheless, separate from it. It is a “new” individual with its own structure, its own rights.

When the world debates this issue it is understandable. The secular mind is committed to an “evolutionary explanation” of origins and consequently it sees that tiny blob of fetal tissue as no more significant than that of animal life. A popular cereal company commercial tells us to eat its products and “Be a healthy animal!” No wonder then that godless men and women easily dispose of a little life that might cause them embarrassment or be an unwelcome intrusion on a fast schedule of fun and frolic. No wonder then when godless men and women engage in endless debate desperately trying to prove that the tiny bit of fetal tissue is not yet “human” in its earliest stages.

But when the church, God’s people, debate this issue, it is tragic. Is not the Bible replete with references to the fact that the product of the womb, no matter how small, is God’s product and as such it is unique and holy. That tiny bit of fetal tissue is holy for two reasons: 1. God planned it; 2. God fashioned it.

God plans the advent of every person from the fertilized egg to the grave and beyond. Jeremiah makes this very clear in Jeremiah 1:5 when he quotes God as saying: “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.” In Psalm 139:16 David says: “Thy eyes beheld my unformed substance; in thy book were written everyone of them, the days that were formed for me when as yet there were none of them.” Isaiah says in chapter 49:1: “The Lord called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name.” When human beings take matters into their own hands, disposing of prenatal life at any stage, they are murdering a life that God has planned.

They are also disposing of a life which God has fashioned since the instant of conception. One author has beautifully described the mother’s womb as “God’s workshop” and so it is. Ephesians 2:10 says: “For we are His (God’s) workmanship . . .” The context of the verse indicates that the “workmanship” here refers primarily to man’s spiritual recreation in Christ, but also includes the physical structure of man which comes forth from the hand of God. God Himself fashions and forms that “bit of life.” Job said: “Did not He who made me in the womb, make him? And did not one fashion us in the womb?” (Job 31:15) Solomon says in Ecclesiastes 11:5: “As you do not know how the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.” Isaiah quotes God as saying: “For when he sees his children, the work of My hands they will sanctify Me.” In chapter 43:1, Isaiah says: “everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made . . .” Need we say more? Every bit of human life is holy, planned and fashioned by God, from the fertilized egg with all its potential to the mature man, the mature woman. “Oh Lord, how glorious are all thy works! In wisdom Thou hast made them all!” (Psalm 104:24).


Having planned and fashioned each child, God presents them to parents as a “gift,” a “reward.” He has ordained that children should be the “crown” of a marriage, the source of deepest fulfillment and highest joy to husband and wife—God’s blessing. In God’s all-wise design, children bring to parents: I. Cheer, 2. Companionship, 3. Challenge.

Children bring cheer. Life in its various facets and at different times brings loneliness and dullness. God has provided the happy smiles and cheery voices of children to chase the gloom away. He has provided the endearing, unexpected little acts of love from children to relieve the monotony of a fast-moving, mechanized society. He has provided the never-dying “optimistic view of life” in children to ease the tensions in adults created by jobs which involve personal interactions with others, be it business contacts, professional services, teacher-student relationships all of which sometimes cause adults to despair of ever finding any settled and binding peace in this world.

Children bring companionship. Although some of us sometimes yearn for a period of hours or even days of uninterrupted quietude so that we may meditate, attempting to unravel some of life’s tangles, soaking our souls in the sunshine of God’s Word, nevertheless no one chooses to live out his earthly existence alone. When God fashions men, He makes them social beings with a created need to share their joys and ills with others, to enrich the lives of others and be enriched by them. And as a constant assurance of companionship to parents, God gives them children, He reinforces the obligation of children to remain faithful to their parents, obeying them and caring for them in later years, by including the commandment “Honor thy father and mother” in the decalogue.

Thus as parents and children work and play together—filling the freezer, sharing the campfire, playing dolls, shooting basketball, cleaning the basement—they fulfill each other’s needs and prepare precious memories for years to come.

Children bring challenge. Even as in nature we see first “the blade, then the ear, then the full-grown corn” (Mark 4:28), and first “the seed, then the bud, then the full-blown rose,” so too in children, parents see the awesome, mysterious, and steady unfolding of a new person, planned and fashioned by God, made in His very image—a miracle of nature, a miracle of grace! If we as parents are truly submissive to the will of God, we will find that children bring challenge to us in at least four ways:

1. They sharpen our spiritual sensitivities. They point out inconsistencies in our behavior; they expect answers to their questions about God, the Bible, and Christian living. Tn order to answer them, we ourselves must know our God; we ourselves must have a “working” knowledge of that Bible which we can only obtain by studying it diligently alone and with others. Children enrich our family worship times.

2. They put a check on our behavior. If we are prone to a quick temper. we learn to control it because of their presence. If we would have them watch only “good” TV programs and read only “good” books and magazines, we must do the same. If we would teach them the proper use of money, we must do the same, If we would expect complete honesty from them, we ourselves must he thoroughly honest. If we would have them be faithful in divine worship, we ourselves must not invent excuse’s for not being there with the whole family. In short, if we would have our children he holy, we ourselves must he holy, empowered by the Holy Spirit.

3. They provide the ideal antidote to selfishness. If we were childless. we would he tempted to invest our income in large wardrobes, fancy homes, exclusive restaurants and elaborate vacations. (The modern “American tragedy” is that too many parents who can ill afford it, do this anyway and father ends up working round the clock, holding down two jobs, or mother goes to work to pay for it all while the children bring themselves up, growing “like Topsy.”) With the advent of children in our homes finances are reshuffled to cover tuition, clothes, shoes, milk, money, food, fees, and on and on all of which helps to “build” and “beautify” the lives of our dear children with all the potential God has placed within them. There cannot he a more satisfying investment.

4. They challenge our intellect and latent abilities. Junior comes home with a question we have never pondered before. We scurry together to the library or the encyclopedia to investigate the matter. Sissy comes home challenging a long established spiritual or cultural tradition and immediately we arc put on the defensive. As a result we are made to investigate carefully the whys and the wherefores of what we have believed all these years. We “surrender” to them only when the Bible permits it. This must be underscored today when children seem to train parents far more often than parents train children. Mary comes home and pleads eloquently for the need of a mother who “sews” to teach a 4H class in sewing. Since her mother “sews,” her mother now has a new job. And so it goes. All the while parents are growing intellectually and culturally, that is, if they are willing to do so.

We stand amazed in adoration at the all-wise, all-loving design of God in bestowing His “reward” of children. But we stand mutely astonished too in this decade as we watch the feverish campaign to prevent or abort this gift of God. At no time in history do we see so clearly the fulfillment of these verses in Scripture which say: “But know this that in the last days grievous times shall come. For men shall he lovers of self, without natural affection . . .” (I Tim. 3:2a, 3a). To “love” is natural. To “love” children is “natural.” In the “end times” people will love themselves only—not their children. They will be willing and anxious to prevent or abort the “fruit of their bodies” for the “sin of their souls.”

It is time that married partners everywhere abandon their materialistic “TV conditioned” sense of values, and study God’s “blueprint,” fulfill His command, cherish H is products, and enjoy His blessings of children, lest “sowing to the wind” we reap “the whirlwind” of judgment.

In the bearing and raising of children perhaps mother will not cut the trim figure she did in the blossoming teen-age years; perhaps her hands will become rough and red; perhaps she will of necessity become a “self-styled” hairdresser, not being able to spare the several dollars per week it requires to have her hair (or wig) styled professionally. Perhaps she will have to carefully plan her meals by the week so as to make maximum use of a minimum of purchases. Perhaps her grocery cart will bulge with the large economy sizes of all the staples from which she herself must create the “home-made goodies” (which are better anyway) not being able to afford the expensive, attractive, prepackaged sweets and snacks. Perhaps her freezer will be crammed with luscious fruits and vegetables which she and her children have had to plant, pick and process themselves. Perhaps her closet will house dresses and skirts of just one length because the family budget (and sometimes moral purity) cannot keep pace with the rapidly changing hemlines. Perhaps she will even have to assemble her own clothes and those of her children with needle and thread from the gay assortment of inexpensive drip-dry wrinkle-free fabrics available in many shops. Perhaps father will have to abandon that dream of a new boat or snowmobile for a. while at least. Perhaps father and mother will have to scuttle their dreams for a “new” home and apply ingenuity and hard work to refresh an older one.

All of this can be a chore or a challenge depending on what parents’ attitudes are toward their children. If children are a “bane,” a cumbersome burden. then sacrificing and working for them will he a chore. But if they are a “blessing,” no sacrifice or task will seem too great.

Our family gives humble thanks to God for blessing us with six children, one of whom He has already taken 10 glory. We pray that the world and the church may never forget that “children are a heritage of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is His reward.” May all Christians everywhere break the deadly silence that is allowing the world to dictate to God, crushing our the future generations! May fathers everywhere experience the joy expressed in Psalm 128:3 and 4: “Thy wife shall he as a fruitful vine, in the innermost parts of thy house; Thy children like olive plants round about thy table. Behold, thus shall the man he blessed that fears Jehovah.”

Laurie Vanden Heuvel is the wife of Rev. Thomas C. Vanden Heuvel, pastor of the Central Avenue Christian Reformed Church of Holland, Michigan.