Friday, May 02, 2008

Blessings or Products of Nature?

bless·ing - Show IPA Pronunciation

–noun

1.

the act or words of a person who blesses.

2.

a special favor, mercy, or benefit: the blessings of liberty.

3.

a favor or gift bestowed by God, thereby bringing happiness.

Does God bless us today with physical blessings? Or are Christians under the New Covenant blessed with spiritual blessings?

Someone I respect and trust, we’ll call him “Joe”, believes that in the Old Testament God blessed His people with physical blessings: children, wealth, long lives, and protection. I agree with this. God’s Word clearly supports this.

Joe also believes that in the New Testament and today, God blesses His people, Christians, with spiritual blessings, not physical blessings. He believes that Christians receive good things in their lives (blessings) because they are following Christ and making Christlike decisions: good health because we are not out drinking and partying, good marriages because we are following Christ and being humble and loving, etc.

What is your opinion of this?

I hadn’t thought much about it, really, because Joe tends to get very focused on one thing in the Bible and study it until it seems almost legalistic, becoming very technical and losing focus on the idea presented.

But then my husband and I started a Bible study by Nancy Campbell called Be Fruitful and Multiply: What the Bible Says About Having Children. In this study, the author lists scripture after scripture from the OT about children being a blessing, God opening and closing the womb, God loving fruitfulness, and God knitting each person together in their mother’s womb. There are also scriptures from the NT, but the majority of the scriptures she references are in the OT.

We started discussing what Joe believes and it is really bothering me. If what he believes is true, then children are no longer a blessing. Children would be a physical blessing God gave His children.

This leads me to another issue: Does God create each child individually? Is God involved in the conception of children or are children just a result of “nature”?

Joe believes that God set the world in motion, made “nature” and that He no longer has a direct hand in our lives. He believes that children are conceived because their parents were intimate at the “right time of the month.” Obviously there is an egg and sperm and all of that and yes, it all has to join together at the right time, but I have always believed that God has a hand in conception.

Psalm 139:13
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.

Psalm 139:15
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth…

I have always believed, especially since I became an adult and studied the Bible for myself, that God created each one of us in His image (Genesis 1:27
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
), He knit each on of us together in our mother’s womb (Job 31:15
Did not he who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same one form us both within our mothers?),
and children are a gift from Him (Psalm 127:3
Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him
.).

If what Joe believes is true, then everything I have believed all these years and everything I have based my decision to “let God control my family size” is for naught.

Here are the issues I am studying and trying to figure out:

  1. Do Christians receive physical blessings from God today?
  2. Are children still a blessing to Christians today?
  3. Does God form each baby or are we all products of “nature”?

Feel free to email me or to comment. I am really searching.

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4 comments:

annb said...

Don't ever give up on your beliefs whatever someone else might see differently. I, too, know that God has a hand in every aspect of my life - I am now learning to "listen"!
I have recently separated from my husband and yet, I also believe that God blesses marriage when we are living for Him. That also means that both parties have to take responsiblity for their lives and live according to His will! I can't say if I was wrong to give up on my marriage - I can only say that God is a forgiving and Loving God! He knows my heart - He knew my marriage and I trust in His mercy and His grace to deliver me and to lead me in this life.
I am seeing a counselor, who is also a Christian. I have been meeting with her now for over 4 months and I believe that God went before to prepare a path to lead me to understanding and forgiveness of myself and others.
As you know, not every relationship is ordained by God - we sometimes decide that our choices are better than His rather than hearing His voice and guidance.
This is a great post and you are wise beyond your years.
I'm so glad you have happiness and blessings in your life. You deserve every blessing God pours into your life.
In His Love and Blessings,
annb

burrsmom said...

We believe that God has a hand in everything, big and small. He is there for us even when we don't (or won't) see. Each child is a miracle showing God's love for us as we are each made in His image. As far as receiving physical blessings from God, good health is a gift that we can choose to keep by living well or not, by living unhealthy. When I wake up each morning, I say thank you for giving me one more day on Your earth with my family. There are so many blessings in our lives and in the world if we would just see them. Are children formed by God or by nature? Or course God has a hand in them. If you find it hard to believe that He forms each one, ask yourself, who made the "nature" that forms children? God, of course! As far as your family's size, God only gifts us with what we can handle. So, if He didn't think you could handle it.... Please don't let anyone shake your faith, it too is a gift.

HomeSchool Mommy said...

I would have to agree and disagree with Burssmom. The verse is often misquoted about God not giving us more than we can handle. The original text is actually about temptation. So, I actually believe that God will ALLOW things to happen to us that we CANNOT handle. The point is that we have to give it to Him. He will handle it for us. And, in most things, He will give us the tools to handle the situations.

I believe the Bible speaks VERY clearly about God's hand in childbearing. When you look around in our society and see babies being born out of wedloc, to teens, in drug addiction, etc. it can be hard to believe that God would will that conception. The thing I have to remember, though, is that I don't know WHY God ordains or allows anything. His wisdom is beyond my reach. The bottom line for me is that I believe His word and His word speaks clearly about Him opening and closing the womb.

It can be tricky for our human minds to determine the line between God giving us free will and our choices affecting our lives and whether or not He actually steers us in each step. I think it's some of both. Sometimes we can get too bogged down with theology and forget about the grace, faith, and relationship.

I think you're doing awesome! From what I hear you say, you're really seeking and truly listening. You're not trying to warp His word to make your life easier. You're actually seeking to do His will and for that you will be highly rewarded!

Natalie said...

Julie, is your email address still the same after your move? Email me so I'll have your current one if it's changed, ok? I have some scriptures for you and some thoughts, but it's too lengthy to post here.

Love you,
Nat