2/17/2012 3:28:24 PM
Pastor Mike Nitz
The Logic Behind Childbirth
Europe is worried there’s not enough baby-making happening. Already in 2005, the Chancellor’s family minister warned that Germany was "turning the light out" if its birth rate did not pick up. Germany is not the only European nation to be concerned. To urge an uptick in the birth rate…
- Sweden offers higher pay for women and flexible work hours for parents.
- France has a series of tax and cash incentives for women who have babies.
- Poland has legislated direct payments from the government to women who bear children.
Mark Steyn, author of the 2006 best seller “America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It,” wrote about Europe’s low birth rate: “These countries are going out of business.”
Should a shrinking birth rate really cause such grave alarm? Yes, say demographers, who point out that the “replacement rate” of births required to keep a nation’s population stable is 2.1 (meaning the average number of children born to a woman during her lifetime). The average is for a European nation is 1.53… well below the 2.1 replacement And when the birth rate drops below 1.3 then the population of that country will be cut in half in 45 years. Translation? That nation is in a death-spiral. A birth rate dropping below 1.3 means there are no longer enough able-bodied people to support the military and the economic infrastructure of that country.
So a lack of baby-making becomes a national security issue? Yes, and it’s not a new concern either. For similar reasons nearly 2000 years ago Caesar Augustus issued the famous census that sent Mary and Joseph on their trek to Bethlehem, where Christ was to be born. As best we know from history, Caesar had legislated incentives to help raise the birthrate in the Roman Empire, and he wanted to know if his government programs were working. Thus his empire-wide census that initiates the Christmas story: "In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world…” (Luke 2:1).
Why the falling birth rates in Europe? Not a few authorities on the subject point to the religious beliefs of the nation, or rather the lack of them, for trending a falling birthrate. “Social conservatives [have argued] for decades that [Europe] had divorced itself from God and church and embraced a self-interested and ultimately self-destructive lifestyle, abetted above all, by modern birth control.”
Is this assertion true? The God who created this world, blessed men and women to be fruitful and multiple; he gave us his Holy Writ in order to save us and to all bless our earthly lives as we live under him in kingdom. “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows” (Galatians 6:7). Turning from God will inherently bring a devalued view of marriage, family and children—a view that has now given birth to grave concerns for Europe’s future.
What about our country, the USA? In 2007 “the fertility rate in the United States hit 2.1, the highest it has been since the 1960s and higher than almost anywhere in the developed world. Factor in immigration and you have a nation that is far more than holding its own in terms of population.” That’s good news for now, but will it hold when Christian churches more away from teaching that Bible is the verbally inspired and inerrant Word of God? This shift ultimately robs Christ of rightful status as our God and Savior who died and rose again to deliver us from sin for heaven. A belittled Savior is one who whose Word is no worth following. America’s dumping down of the Bible will inherently bring a devalued view of marriage, family and children—a view that will soon enough give birth to America suffering the same grave concerns Europe faces.
Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not arguing for the preaching of Christ and his Word merely in order to make our nation a stronger nation, or make our world a better world. That would be disparaging to Christ who came into our world to be damned in my place and your place, to satisfy the holy wrath of God the Father as the Substitute for all sinners. What good is it to gain the whole world (ie, keep America’s birth rate strong) and forfeit one’s soul?” Without faith in Christ, a person forfeits his or her soul to sin, Satan and eternal death.
By pointing out the not-so-modern, yet modern concern for keeping birth rates high, I wish to arm you with a truth that is framed in the reason and logic that our government understands when legislating and governing. (At least it’s supposed to employ logic and reason.) Government does not understand Biblical truth. To speak to the government, Biblical truth needs to be translated into scientific, logical arguments. So here is a logical way to argue before non-believers why it is good for our government to institute pro-life, pro-marriage, pro-children, pro-family values.
But more than equipping you with the language that government understands, I desire to point you, Dear Believer, to our Savior God. He is the Ruler of the Nations, who makes world history his story. Our God is so powerful, he used Caesar’s concern over his nation’s birth rate, to set in motion the elements of Christ’s birth at Christmas. He prophesied this through the prophets and then put it all together in real time in order to leave heaven and to be born here on earth as the world’s one and only Savior.
And I also want you to know that because of this one special, virgin birth, there is an ultimate answer to all the problems we face in this shrinking world. Christ holds the answers to all the woes that suppress our world. Christ holds all things together, for the benefit of us who believe in him. And so Christ is also our peace: even as the world is going to pieces with each declining decimal point in the birth rate, Christ holds things together until we will have reached our promised, heavenly home.
For by Christ, all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:16-17)
What a blessing that behind the logic of childbirth stands Christ!
Note: This article is an updated reposting of an article first published in December 2009.
Resource material (Links may become inactive over time)
“The Severe Impact of Europe’s Declining Birth Rate” at ImpactLab.com
“The Falling Fertility of Europe” at Rickety.US