Cultivating Chastity – Part 5

If we’re going to cultivate the virtue of chastity–if we want to be disposed towards right behavior and against wrong behavior on the subject of sexuality–then we need to consider what right and wrong mean. As Christians, our first step in that consideration is to review the Biblical teachings. Join us as we survey some of the key points of what the Bible does–and doesn’t–teach about sexual morality.

Previous Installments:
1) Introduction:
2) The Church’s Failure:
3) Stop Teaching Celibacy:
4) The Virtue of Chastity:

More than a Duty; Not Less:
The Golden Rule Means Having Kids:

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2 Responses to Cultivating Chastity – Part 5

  1. David says:

    I have a philosophical question for you.

    You have stated that the Golden rule means having more kids. Say a parent “Albert” has 4 kids. One of the kids, “Benny” has gone to the dark side. And all “Benny’s” kids, grandkids and subsequent generations have gone to the dark side as well. They all suffer, eternal hell, not for million or billion years, but forever and ever.
    Do you not think there is a moral argument to be made for not having kids? Say, even if Albert’s 3 kids and all subsequent generations stay faithful and make it to heaven, Albert’s evil kid and all the subsequent generations suffer in hell?

    • Matt says:

      Thanks for the question, David.

      Just looking at philosophy, it depends, of course, on the value of heaven relative to the value of hell.

      To some utilitarians, for example, it’s basically a wash because ultimate suffering cancels out ultimate pleasure–the net pleasure from people in heaven and people in hell is zero. Alternatively, other utilitarians would look at individuals in aggregate, so if 3/4 of the folks involved go to heaven and only 1/4 to hell, that’s positive aggregate pleasure, and it’s a good thing. Still other perfectionist philosophers, however, would content that even one person’s suffering in hell would ruin any any number of people’s pleasure in heaven. Philosophy can give us any number of alternative ways of parsing out the mathematics involved.

      Which is basically my way of saying that since we’re considering the Golden Rule as given by Jesus Christ, it’s less a philosophical question than a theological one. Heaven and Hell exist according to God’s wisdom and purpose, and so we cannot really know or determine much about the relative values apart from what He has told us. If Christianity is true (which it is), then imposing our own ethical systems on the matter isn’t really sensible. It’s pretty clear that God doesn’t think along the lines of the perfectionist, because if He did, He wouldn’t have created a world in which Sin and Hell is possible at all. It’s also pretty clear that God isn’t a utilitarian of any sort. After all, if the path to destruction is broad and the path to life narrow as Jesus says, then the population of Hell is likely higher than that of heaven. Having foreknown this, it doesn’t seem as though God would have created a world in which Sin and Hell are possible if that’s how He saw the relative values.

      What we do see in Scripture, however, is that the contents of heaven categorically outweighs the contents of Hell in God’s eyes. If you want a good visualization of that reality, I’d suggest reading The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis. If you want a technical definition of how that all works, however, I can’t give you one, and I suspect no one can–God hasn’t given us enough information to solve the problem. However, considering that God not only created this world but that He Himself undergoes suffering and death to deliver people from Hell into Heaven rather than holding Himself aloof from the whole affair, I’m willing to trust His judgment that it’s worth it.

      So, circling back to the question of whether the possibility of hell should warn us against having children… the answer is no. Christians have hope rather than despair because God is the One who is sovereign over these matters and we trust Him.

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