Why Does More Money Equal Fewer Babies?

A wise old friend of mine once lamented that both he and his wife had only one major regret in life—not having more children. After he said this, I looked across the room where she quietly nodded her head. He explained that the regret is not based on a failed personal goal for a larger family but a failure to understand the principles of Scripture. He went on to say that when they were young in their marriage, they never really talked about having more than two children. It was just the thing to do. Now, after a long and, by all accounts, prosperous journey, he and his godly wife stopped to survey their past from the mountain top of time through the lens of Scripture. There they saw that what really lasts is not material assets, popularity or power, but people.

When it comes to the treasures of this world the Bible shows us that material wealth can become a curse, robbing us of faith. Jesus warns of this saying, “No one can serve two masters…You cannot serve God and wealth” (Mt. 6:24).

How does the U.S., the wealthiest nation in the history of the world, view children – burden or blessing? Or said another way, is America serving God or money? It is no secret that the average American has more comforts and conveniences than kings of old. But does this reality impact our families? Social scientists know that as societies increase in material wealth, they begin to have fewer children. One recent article1 opined, “Developed countries tend to have a lower fertility rate due to lifestyle choices associated with economic affluence.” This appears to hold true in the U.S. as our fertility rate has dropped to 1.72 children per woman—well below the 2.1 replacement rate. Bottom line, couples from wealthy nations seem to view children as financial liabilities, reducing their standard of living. Finances play a primary role in abortion decisions too, with 73% of women3 saying they aborted feeling they could not afford a baby.

Despite the falling fertility trends and the studies of sociologists, Christians know that God is the one who opens and closes the womb, as demonstrated in the well-known stories of Sarah having Isaac, Rachel having Joseph, Hannah having Samuel, Elizabeth having John, and Mary having Jesus. The pivotal nature of these people in the epic of redemption history notwithstanding, these stories highlight the general truth that God is the one who blesses families with children. Scripture highlights children as gifts from the LORD, and the person who has many is considered both blessed and well respected, even by his enemies (Ps. 127). In fact, the value placed on children by God is so high that the most honorable title that God can bestow upon anyone is “child of God.” The Apostle John writes, “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are” (I Jn. 3:1a).

Unsurprisingly, God tasks all people with the protection of all children—born and preborn. He notices the slightest kindness paid to them (Mt. 10:42) as well as visiting severe judgment upon those who cause them harm (Mk. 9:42). Astoundingly, Jesus equates acceptance of children as a demonstration of one’s connection with God saying, “Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me does not receive Me but Him who sent Me” (Mk. 9:37).

Christians implicitly understand that we are to welcome each new person because they are inherently and infinitely valuable, each made in the image of God and determined from the foundation of the world to both exist (Ps. 139:16) and reflect His glory (Gn. 9:6). An intentionally childless culture is a thirsty desert dweller refusing to dig a well for the trouble it will take to raise up a glass of water. The Bible does not picture children as consumers of wealth but wealth itself, the raw material necessary for fulfilling God’s purposes for man to subdue the earth (Gen. 1:28b). But in order to accomplish this creative work of ruling and managing all of God’s creation, mankind must also create like God in one other way: procreation. This is why God commands us to “Be fruitful and multiply” (Gen. 1:28a). Perhaps one reason why Christians are more apt to celebrate children than their secular neighbors is because they know the value God places on children to accomplish His purpose in the world.

Yet, the shadow-edge of abortion tells that ours is no gilded era. The Bible paints a grim picture of humanity at the end of the age as things proceed from “bad to worse” (2 Tm. 3:1, 13). A world that moves further away from God moves further away from its purpose, becoming increasingly anti-human and therefore, anti-Christ. Since mankind is designed to reflect the image of God as revealed in Christ, it is logical that Satan and a world in rebellion would seek to erase that image. Since the family is the primary mirror focusing God’s glory upon the Earth, destroying marriage and childbearing would seem a core anti-Christ strategy. Abortion is an attack not only upon a preborn child but upon humanity itself. Our job as disciples of Christ is to continue to reflect the image of God despite the darkening cultural malice against His image in man. We must act with hope, protecting vulnerable preborn babies, sacrificing for their mothers, and encouraging fruitful families.  

Toward a more pro-family future,

Rev. James R. Harden, M.Div.

P.S. Continue forging a more pro-life NY by serving women and saving lives through CompassCare


1 G. Nargund, “Declining birth rate in Developed Countries: A radical policy re-think is required,” ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4255510/

2 James Gallagher, “Fertility rate: ‘Jaw-dropping’ global crash in children being born,” BBC.com, July 15, 2020, www.bbc.com/news/health-5340951

3 Lawrence B. Finder, “Reasons U.S. Women Have Abortions: Quantitative and Qualitative Perspectives,” Guttmacher.org, September 2005, www.guttmacher.org/journals/psrh/2005/reasons-us-women-have-abortions-quantitative-and-qualitative-perspectives

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