On other threads birth control and childlessness have been discussed. They have mostly played out and I'm not trying to revive those debates here, though this will cover some similar ground. I would like to narrow the focus to specifics from the Scriptures. Is there a theology of marriage and childbearing? What do the Scriptures say? Do the Scriptures present marriage as a covenant between a man and a woman in which children are intended and expected? Or do the Scriptures present marriage as a covenant between a man and a woman in which their choice to have or not have children is part of the covenant they make between themselves? Does it even matter one way or the other? The following are some of my thoughts and Bible verses that I think relate to the issue. I brought most of these up in another thread, but they were passed over for the most part. So I'd like to make them the focus here. 1. When we look at the original, we see a lifelong union between one man and one woman with the blessings and responsibilities of bringing forth children. 2. Fruitfulness is a blessing and a command to Adam and Eve. 3. Similar blessing/command motif for Noah and Jacob. 4. That the woman should bear children is God's creative plan. That she would bear them "in sorrow" is a result of the fall. 5. The Lord has power over the womb, both opening and shutting. 6. Children (and even grandchildren) are an heritage (inheritance) and a reward from God. 8. Paul exhorts younger women to marry and bear children. 9. Marrying and bearing children seems to be the normal and expected course for the Christian (so much so that Paul assumes the elders will be married with children). 10. There are exceptions to this "normal course". For persons to devote themselves to remain unmarried in order to give themselves over to the Lord's service seems to above average, but certainly a good thing and that is acceptable to God. 11. Examples of Jesus' feelings toward children: I would like to keep the thread as impersonal and Scripture-oriented as possible. Among us are folks who have chosen to have no children, those who may have chosen to stop at 1 or 3 or 6 (etc.), those who have chosen to not stop until God or His natural causes stop them, those who cannot have children, and even those who have lost children. Regardless of our personal status in this matter, I hope that (at least to some degree) we can agree that it is Scripture and not our practice that decides the issue. If someone is looking for a "Thou shalt have children" or a "Thou dost not have to bear children", he certainly won't find it. But we all know that already, don't we? To me the general tenor of Scripture combined with specific teachings gives strong evidence that children are an intended and expected consequence of marriage. In the way I approach understanding the Word of God, I need more than the absence of "a command not to" in order to find an opposing argument convincing. Thoughts?