[#] Big Families and my Big Mouth (2)

Continuing from yesterday, Alana said:
The reason prevention is different from abortion, not just in degree but in kind, is that abortion sins against an existing human being, while prevention does not. So the command not to murder, and the reason of not de-valuing the imago Dei, simply does not apply to prevention. If there is no child there is no imago Dei to de-value.
The odd part of this objection is that I do not apply the imago dei reasoning to the hypothetical child: I apply it to one's spouse. When one makes sex only about pleasure (even if it is intimate pleasure) and actively thwarts the reproductive end of sexual intercourse, one has to determine if he/she is reducing one's mate to an object of one's own pleasure. Making one's mate merely an object of selfish pleasure defaces the image of God.

That's a lot different than saying we deface the imago dei of hypothetical children by not having them.
I do like your idea that it's silly to grasp after far-off blessings and never accept the immediate blessing (children) offered here. Over the years my Mom developed a theory that every woman has her breaking point. With some it's five kids, with others it's nine. It's better for the woman and family if she's not pushed to cross this barrier.
Let's keep something in mind: it's somewhat obtuse to say that a family with 4 or 5 kids has somehow denied the operating principle that children are a blessing from the Lord. In that same mind-set, it is equally obtuse to say that a husband and wife who have no children but also actively practice birth control are living inside the paradigm than children will be a blessing to their marriage.

If someone is willing to ask the question, "well, cent, how many is enough?" I admit openly that I do not know how many is "enough". The question is if zero is enough, and the answer there is plainly "no". Under normal circumstances, where the husband and wife are both fertile, it is difficult to say that they are demonstrating the premise that children are a blessing from the Lord by having no children.
I'm the oldest of eight, and I've almost always enjoyed that. My husband and I are planning on having a few less, because I want to do a really, really, good job and keep the value of potential children in balance with other values like the well-being of my marriage, not getting in debt (which the Bible also warns against) and so on. I'm so thankful that I have the freedom to set a limit and try to keep within it.
This statement brings us back to something important: the biblical reasons to stop having children. Another clear statement of Scripture is 1Tim 5:
    7 Command these things as well, so that they may be without reproach. 8 But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
Let's be honest that, in its context, this verse has no direct bearing on contraception. But what it talks about is the necessity to "provide for" the member of one's household in the same way the church should "provide for" widows. In that context, "provide for" does not mean "make sure they have X number of presents at Christmas" or "make sure they have a college savings fund": it means "make sure they are fed and clothed and have a roof over their heads".

In that, the legitimate question regarding whether one more child is going to change the financial balance of a family from solvent to insolvent is a good one. I come from a family of 3 sons, and 3 was plenty in our house – my Mom (mostly) stayed home with us and my Dad was a high school teacher at a private high school, so we were not updating our wardrobes every quarter. We lived in the middle of necessity, and all 3 of us started working as soon as we could to make our own money to buy extra things. In that context, one more would have been a challenge.

Let's keep in mind that this is not the same thing as saying, "well, we want to be able to keep up the family camp site, so we're not going to have any more kids," or "in order to buy a new car next year, we're going to 'put off' having another child," or "when I get that promotion and we buy the new house, (as opposed to the house we have right now) then we'll have a child (or another child)." When you are obviously making less than what it requires to "provide for" the members of your own household, I'd suggest that the first place to start is contraception – but this takes a right-minded view of what "provide for" means, and I think it's a good bit less than what the average American thinks is necessary.

And I'd still be interested in any Scripture Alana (or anyone) could provide that says that a smaller family is a better family under the circumstance "X".