Many Christians are unaware within the Bible birth control is mentioned.
Even fewer know that Scripture condemns the use of birth control.
The most explicit Biblical passage about birth control resides in Genesis 38:8-10:
“Juda, therefore said to Onan his son: Go in to thy brother’s wife and marry her, that thou mayst raise seed to thy brother. He, knowing that the children should not be his, when he went in to his brother’s wife, spilled his seed upon the ground, lest children should be born in his brother’s name. And therefore the Lord slew him, because he did a detestable thing” (Douay Rheims Version).
WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?
Wait, why did Onan “go in” to his brother’s wife?
In Biblical times the custom was for brothers to honor the “levirate law.” This is explained elsewhere in the Bible (Deuteronomy 25:5-6). The custom was that if an elder brother died without a son (and thus an heir to his name), then his next oldest brother was to give him one. That brother would marry his brother’s widow, copulate with her in the hopes of having a son. That son would carry on the elder brother’s name.
Onan clearly knew his duty, but tried to circumvent it nonetheless.
Rather than risk impregnating his brother’s wife, to whom he now took to be his own wife, he “spilled his seed upon the ground.”
ONE FAULTY INTERPRETATION
The most common, incorrect interpretation says this passage has nothing to do with birth control.
Instead, many claim that God slew Onan because he did not fulfill his levirate duty.
A simple, and insurmountable problem with this interpretation arises, however.
The ancient practice of levirate marriage did not contain a capital punishment for dissenters. In other words, the penalty for not fulfilling the levirate law was NOT death.
Rather, Scripture tells us the crime was punishable by mere public humiliation. The widow was to slap the younger brother in the face with a sandal and spit on him (Deuteronomy 25:7-10).
Therefore, God did not kill Onan merely because he refused to follow the levirate law, as many claim.
THE CORRECT INTERPRETATION
So, if Onan was not killed for merely disobeying the levirate law, then why was he killed?
The answer remains God slew Onan for the method in which he attempted to sidestep his duty. In other words, God killed Onan precisely because he committed a contraceptive act.
Onan withdrew, committed coitus interruptous, pulled out, whatever you want to call it. As Scripture explicitly says, Onan “wasted his seed on the ground.” For that, God killed him on the spot!
In a society that embraces contraception and with a Biblical example of what God thinks of birth control use, I will let you draw your own conclusions for now.
WANT TO LEARN MORE?
Within the Bible birth control is actually mentioned more often than just in Genesis 38 with the Sin of Onan.
To learn where else, I encourage you to download my eBook, “7 Biblical Passages AGAINST Birth Control… And How to Use Them to Defend Life,” which is available for free here at ProLife365.com/eBook.
Clicking there, you can also read some endorsements I have received for my eBook. As well, at ProLife365.com/media, you can see what radio programs I have been on to discuss my eBook, as well as other blog posts of mine.
In closing, what are your thoughts about the Sin of Onan in Genesis 38?
Please share your thoughts below.