Let’s start with some honesty: children are massively inconvenient, and kinda gross. For every picture of a cute baby, there are weeks of sleepless nights, and dirty diapers, courtesy of the aforementioned baby. Add in the amazing amounts of snot, vomit and… other things… that a baby produces, along with the cost of actually raising a child, and you begin to wonder why anybody would have a baby. Conservative cultural observers have pointed out that it used to be the case that children were needed to work the farm, run the family business, etc. One’s economic welfare depended on having children to take care of them in their old age. Now, we have retirement funds and nursing homes, so the economic necessity of children is greatly lessened. Consequently, the argument goes, people have fewer children because they don’t need them.
This is not wholly untrue, but I think it misses the deeper point. People have lost sight of the inherent value of children; a value completely detached from their economic profitability. A child’s value derives not from their future earning potential, but from the simple fact that they are made in the image of God. In virtue of this, a child is of infinite value; beyond any other thing you could spend your time and money on. Most importantly, children are a gift from God, as it says in Psalm 127:3-5:
Behold, children are a gift of the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
They will not be ashamed
When they speak with their enemies in the gate.
This is a reason that you should have children, if you’re married. A child is the most unique and valuable thing you can make. Children, by simply existing, are more valuable than all of the money that you spend raising them, and one of the best investments of your time. Christians throughout the ages have understood this; it’s why Christians in ancient Rome went through the streets at night collecting unwanted babies who had been left to die of exposure. They didn’t do it because they thought these kids would help them get ahead economically, but because these children were made in the image of God, and therefore deserving of love and protection.
In addition to that, having children reflects one of God’s attributes, that is, that he is a God who creates. Now, having a baby isn’t exactly on par with creating an entire universe and everything in it, obviously; but it is a chance to, to the limited extent possible, imitate God. God created life, and he gave us the ability to do so, to a lesser extent. That’s another reason to have children, it’s a way to imitate God.
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