After God created Adam and Eve He blessed them. The blessing is recorded for us in Genesis 1:28. It says, “And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’” In the blessing God laid the foundation for the biblical family: “Be Fruitful and multiply.” It’s God’s desire that we reproduce. Most of the protestant community sees reproduction as a “procreation stewardship” and supports the idea of planning our families and limiting the number according to our means and desires. It primarily bases this on the “dominion” phrase of the verse quoted. Although I’ve often said as much to people in keeping with the tradition, I’m not so convinced. Having been raised Catholic I’ve seen firsthand the joys and pleasures of large families. My mother was the oldest of 9 children. The aunts and uncles often made our lives richer and more exciting.

One of the most profound regrets that Kathy and I share is that we didn’t have more children. If we had it to do again, knowing what we know now in our 60’s, we would have had all the children God would have allowed us. That’s an easy thing for me to say, but Kathy agrees completely! The pain and discomfort of bearing children are most forgettable with the new life that is the result. I agree with the female commentator who said, “…a married couple should recognize that fruitful marriage is a biblical norm, and they would do well to consider the heritage God may have planned for them in ushering in and rearing the generation to come.” I understand that no one should attempt to decide such things for others. It’s one of those issues between a man and a wife and God Himself. Yet, I must say to those in the productive years that Kathy and I would surely have done it differently. We both look back at this with regret.

The primary purpose of marriage is companionship. Yet God seems to expect children to be the product of that companionship. It’s in the miraculous process God chose to create people in His own image. The process is a divine process that God knows intimately. He’s aware of our conception and he weaves us together in our mother’s wombs and in the conception of life comes the indwelling of God’s image. This miraculous process is one of the expressed purposes of God’s designing men and women. When Malachi focuses on the importance of faithfulness between husbands and wives, he clearly expresses God’s purpose as procreation. He says, “Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth” (Malachi 2:15). God puts us in families. Families are God’s idea and he has lots of lessons for us regarding them.