1. Religion & Spirituality
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

Inconsistency: Is Reproduction Good or Bad?

Bible is Inconsistent on Whether Reproduction is Good


The Bible is inconsistent on whether human reproduction is good or not. Genesis depicts God ordering the first humans to reproduce; in fact, the command to "be fruitful and multiply" is sometimes treated as a command to have lots of children. Leviticus, in contrast, has God treating human reproduction as "unclean" in a way that makes it seem like a sin or disease. So is reproduction good or bad?


Genesis on Human Reproduction

Genesis 1:28: And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.


Leviticus on Human Reproduction

Leviticus 12:1-8: And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean. And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised.

And she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days; she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled. But if she bear a maid child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her separation: and she shall continue in the blood of her purifying threescore and six days.

And when the days of her purifying are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest:

Who shall offer it before the LORD, and make an atonement for her; and she shall be cleansed from the issue of her blood. This is the law for her that hath born a male or a female. And if she be not able to bring a lamb, then she shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons; the one for the burnt offering, and the other for a sin offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for her, and she shall be clean.


There are more passages in Leviticus where the natural results of sex — specifically designed and created by God, according to the Bible — also cause people to be unclean:

Leviticus 15:16: And if any man's seed of copulation go out from him, then he shall wash all his flesh in water, and be unclean until the even.

Leviticus 15:18: The woman also with whom man shall lie [with] seed of copulation, they shall [both] bathe [themselves] in water, and be unclean until the even.

Leviticus 15:19: And if a woman have an issue, [and] her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the even.

What else can make a person unclean? Not much, the label is more often applied to non-human things. Disease is one thing that makes a person unclean:

Leviticus 13:22: And if it spread much abroad in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it [is] a plague.

So is human reproduction a good thing that God wants us to do or is it a nasty thing that makes us unclean? The Bible tells us both and this is an inconsistent position for the Bible or God to adopt. If reproduction were good, then having children shouldn't make a woman unclean and the act of sex shouldn't make people unclean. If however sex is a nasty thing that makes us unclean than God shouldn't want us to do it.

Is this a legitimate Bible inconsistency or can the different biblical attitudes towards sex and reproduction be harmonized? If you think you can resolve this inconsistency in the Bible, explain how — but your solution cannot add anything new that's not already in the stories and cannot leave out any details that the Bible provides.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.