Childbearing in Genesis
Understanding Genesis is crucial for understanding the restof the Bible. Reading the Bible without Genesis is like trying to make senseout of The Lord of the Rings without knowing anything about the dark lordSauron, the power of the one ring, and Mt. Doom. Genesis is foundational forunderstanding who we are as human beings, why the world is the way it is, andwhy the world needs saving. Interestingly, Genesis puts a significant emphasison the importance of childbearing. The emphasis on childbearing is so greatthat anyone attempting to shape his/her life around Genesis should find thedeliberate ending of a pregnancy to be both immoral and unthinkable…
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after ourlikeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over thebirds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and overevery creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his ownimage, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” AndGod blessed them. And God said them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fillthe earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and overthe birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Notice that the very first command given to humankind has todo with abundantly bearing children. This command is considered a blessing, andit is connected with our dual responsibility of bearing God’s image and rulingover the earth.
The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have donethis, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; onyour belly you will go and dust you will eat all the days of your life. Iwill put enmity between you and the woman, and between her offspring and youroffspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
This curse comes after the disobedience of the first humansthrough the influence of the serpent. However, it indicates that the defeat ofthe serpent (and the evil he represents) will come through childbearing, theoffspring of the woman.
To the woman he said, "I will surely multiply yourpain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shallbe for your husband, and he shall rule over you."
Because of the disobedience of the first humans, God cursedthe most significant areas of life. He did not take away the privilege, but nowit comes with pain…
Then the man called his wife’s name Eve, because she wasmother of all the living.
The fact that Eve gets her name based on her ability toreproduce shows how important childbearing is in God’s world.
And God blessed Noah and his sons and said tothem, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth…”
After the flood, God is still concerned for humankind toabundantly bear children. Notice also that this is still considered a blessing.
Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go from your countryand your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. AndI will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your namegreat, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, andhim who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earthshall be blessed."
In the first 11 chapters of Genesis we learn how all ofhumanity is under God’s curse. Here we find that God is somehow going to“reverse the curse” through childbearing, through the offspring of Abraham.
Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and openedher womb. She conceived and bore a son and said, "God has taken away myreproach.”
Since Rachel considered her former inability to havechildren to be a reproach, this shows how important childbearing is.
In the book of Genesis then, childbearing is a hugeblessing. Whenever God commands humans to reproduce he is simultaneouslyblessing them. The blessing of child bearing is connected with the humanresponsibility of bearing God’s image and being good stewards of the earth.This is also likely why woman who had trouble conceiving felt so terrible aboutit. Beyond this, childbearing is hugely significant in Genesis because somehowGod plans to undo evil within his creation through childbearing. It is throughthe “offspring of the woman” and “offspring of Abraham” that God will undo eviland bless all the families of the earth. And while Genesis never mentions thepractice of deliberate abortion, it is quite clear that for anyone wishing to adoptthe worldview of Genesis, abortion would be utterly unthinkable.