31 July 2005

Multiply and Replenish the Earth

I see the discussion concerning the number of children a family ought to have is still continuing. I've thought a lot about the phrase "multiply and replenish the earth," and taken literally, it seems to me that a couple who has 3 children would fulfill this commandment nicely (actually, two would probably do, since isn't the replacement level at just under two children?).

So why do some get in such a snit about it? Why would the Lord give a commandment that simply cannot be fulfilled by so many people? Does that imply something about the commandment? Is a couple who chooses (one who is not infertile) to adopt instead of physically giving birth not fulfilling this commandment? (This brings up a lot of assumptions about adoption that I wish were challenged more often, but that's another post.) Why do we assume that the inability to have children, either completely or for a limited time, must always be a sore trial or the couple isn't righteous?

I just can't imagine that the interpretation of this commandment is quite as simple as some make it out to be.

4 comments:

  1. How come you keep making great comment on your own blog but not backing me up at the original discussion? (grin)

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  2. Amira~

    Great post, as always. I have never understood that assumption either.

    Not at all. Its a confusing arguement. One where my personal feelings and thoughts get in the way of the logical interpratation of the verbage.

    I went for a stint in my life, where I had only had one child and I couldn't seem to concive anymore. I really did ponder if I had done, my "duty" by just having one. For a time, I assumed that the Lord would give me another, if he wanted me to have more?! Then I studied more, and I wondered if it meant I need to go a step further. Not just to fulfill the commandment, but to fullfil me as a person. A mother. I had my one child, and then my two nephews I was raising. I look back, and think? What was it, that caused me to feel this way? Why did I feel so compeled and so totally incomplete.

    I had just gotten used to the idea. My husband and I were starting to plan our move to Mexico, my kids were 17, 15 and 13. WE were at a great point in our lives. I was very content, very happy.

    And then... I got sick. I thought I was having some kind of heart attack. I went to the Doc. Found out I was 16 weeks pregnant with Ethan.

    *sigh*

    I think that we certainly do have our free agency, but Heavenly Father has a hand or a divine intrest in our lives. We each can take on what we choose to, or he can decide for us.

    (that is put a lot more simply that I really feel, but its the *just* of it)

    Good post!

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  3. Julie, I'm not in the right level in the Bloggernacle hierarchy, so any comments I make don't matter much. And even though I almost always agree with you, people seem to view you as an extremist. Would I really want to align myself with that? :)

    Lisa, I like what you said even though it was stated simply. And I definitely understand what you mean!

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  4. One of the things that has bothered me about the "multiply and replenish the earth" command is the speed in which that commandment is supposed to be fulfilled. Many people I've known --friends of mine, in-laws, etc. --have interpreted that to mean "have a kid as soon as possible after getting hitched, preferrably within 9 months, unless you're physically unable." Why? I fought with my father-in-law for two years over that one; I wasn't ready to have a child right off the bat; he felt that I was ignoring God's commands.

    I agree with you about adoption. But I don't think it's just within the Church. I think with infertility drugs and in-vitro fertilzation, it's much more important in our culture to have one's own child.(I read a great oped in the paper yesterday about how children have become "possesions", another thing for adults to obtain.)

    I had an argument with a visiting teacher a long time ago; she said she wouldn't adopt because she wouldn't have any control over what she "got". Like you have control when you give birth?

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