China, Children, and the Creator God

God and the Creation of New Human Life

China has been revising its One-Child Policy, a law first implemented in 1979 that limited almost every family to only one child. In November 2013, the ruling Communist Party announced that married couples in which one spouse is an only child may have two children. Since most Chinese couples of child-bearing age were born since 1979, this change effectively created a universal two-child policy, but this year, on Oct. 29, we learned that the Central Committee of the Communist Party has institutionalized a Two-Child Policy as the law.[1]

My wife and I have been blessed to have adopted three children from China. They are equal with our son who was born to us in every way as our children. We forget they are adopted, as, evidently, do they. We might have benefited from the One-Child Policy in some way, as it may have allowed us to receive them from the Lord, but we do not know that it had any effect. But it is possible.

That being so, and being enormously blessed by these three Chinese children in our lives, one might assume that I would want to think nice things about the One-Child Policy, but I do not. We could explore here the evil of the policy, including forced abortions and infanticide, government control of the most basic human relationships, unnatural distortion of human relationships both within families and in communities, ingrained selfishness, alteration of natural population sex ratios, and much more.[2]

Yet all of these results, and even the policy itself (whether the one-child version or the two), only demonstrate an underlying and prevailing attitude—a low view of children—and point to the supreme evil behind it all—the simple denial of the sovereignty of the Creator God. What we see in China (and in America through Planned Parenthood) is the outgrowth of the denial of the authority and ownership of the Creator God over His creation. That leads to a denial that God is the creator of human life, which, in turn, diminishes the value of humans and eliminates the truth of genuine human uniqueness and dignity.[3]

So we must ask ourselves: Just how far are American evangelicals from these attitudes and ways of thinking? Certainly, evangelicals would not deny that God created the world, but a flat denial is not necessary if the doctrinal agreement fails to produce congruent attitudes and behaviors. Two particular attitudes are in view here: our view of children and God’s creation of new human life.

View of Children

God makes no secret of His exceedingly high view of children. One of evangelicalism’s favorite phrases from Scripture is “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). We also know that Jesus rebuked the disciples for preventing children from coming to Him (Matthew 19:14). Less a part of common thinking on the matter is the fact that when God chose to become man, He did so by becoming a child (Luke 2:10-12). Most of us know about the quiver full of children in Psalm 127, but few quote “the fruit of the womb is a reward” (verse 3). Even fewer seem to know that “the one who fears the Lord” will be blessed by a wife that “shall be like a fruitful vine” and that his children shall be “all around [his] table” (Psalm 128:1-4).

Common today in the church is the purposeful limiting of the number of children in a family, and the most common deciding factors, it seems, are economics and personal convenience. Many families blessed by God with resources to rear multiple children to love and follow Christ decisively limit the number of children allowed into their homes in order to preserve the resources they can count and anticipate rather than trust God for future, unseen blessings.

Creation of Human Life

The larger question, though, is not our faith or even our self-focus. The larger question is the battle between our autonomy and God’s creative sovereignty. This battle is brought into stark relief by one change of phrase. Things look differently if, rather than saying, “We are going to have a baby,” we say, “God is allowing us to participate in His creation of new human life.”

The former places us in charge and makes a human life someone, something, that can be “had.” The latter places God in charge and makes human life a person whom He chooses to create. I doubt the latter phrase will catch on, but when we think of conception as God’s creation of new human life, by His infinitely wise choice, then children increase exponentially in value, and our efforts to control the process look more like interference than the exercise of our rights or responsibilities. Our participation with God becomes holy, making childbirth holy unto us. Should we diminish this holy work in our marriages and homes? Are we willing to receive all the blessings God desires to give?

The point here is not a number; the point is our attitudes. Attitudes of control are never attitudes of trust and faith. Attitudes that treat God as if He is not involved in a process that is distinctively His work are not congruent with attitudes of submission to His will and cooperation with His preeminence in our lives. Attitudes that restrict God’s will are not attitudes that serve God in trust. May we, with faith and a hunger for the holy, ever trust our Creator God.


[1] See http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/oct/29/china-decides-abolish-1-child-policy-allow-2-child/ and http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-34665539, for example.
[2] See http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/10/151030-china-one-child-policy-mei-fong/ and http://www.nationalreview.com/article/426458/china-one-child-policy-climate-change-left-media.
[3] Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy is his Doctrine of Human Dignity [my term] does not understand that the dignity of humanity rests not in individual autonomy but in our creation in the image of God by Jesus and for Jesus (Colossians 1:15-17) to live under His authority (Matthew 28:18) and according to His will. In decreeing homosexual marriage the law of the land, Kennedy diminished human dignity by moving human law further from the order of creation and the decrees of the Creator God.

Waylan Owens

Waylan Owens

Dean of the Jack D. Terry, Jr. School of Church and Family Ministries and Associate Professor of Church and Family Ministries at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Dr. Owens teaches in the School of Church and Family Ministries and serves as Dean of the Jack D. Terry, Jr. School of Church and Family Ministries. He is married to Betsy and has four children - Blayne, Joshua, Grace and Mary.
Twitter: @WaylanOwens
Website: waylanandbetsyowens.com
Waylan Owens

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