God's Babies: Natalism and Bible Interpretation in Modern America - cover image

Copyright

John McKeown

Published On

2014-12-17

ISBN

Paperback978-1-78374-052-9
Hardback978-1-78374-053-6
PDF978-1-78374-054-3
HTML978-1-80064-475-5
EPUB978-1-78374-055-0
MOBI978-1-78374-056-7

Language

  • English

Print Length

260 pages (x + 250)

Dimensions

Paperback156 x 14 x 234 mm(6.14" x 0.55" x 9.21")
Hardback156 x 16 x 234 mm(6.14" x 0.63" x 9.21")

Weight

Paperback816g (28.78oz)
Hardback1197g (42.22oz)

Media

Illustrations12
Tables5

OCLC Number

993953124

LCCN

2019467785

BIC

  • HRAM
  • HRCG3
  • RNA

BISAC

  • REL006050
  • REL012030
  • NAT011000

LCC

  • QP251

Keywords

  • Christianlity
  • Natalism
  • family
  • fecundity
  • Bible
  • ecology
  • biodiversity
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God's Babies

Natalism and Bible Interpretation in Modern America

The human population's annual total consumption is not sustainable by one planet. This unprecedented situation calls for a reformation in religious cultures that promote a large ideal family size. Many observers assume that Christianity is inevitably part of this problem because it promotes "family values" and statistically, in America and elsewhere, has a higher birthrate than nonreligious people. This book explores diverse ideas about human reproduction in the church past and present. It investigates an extreme fringe of U.S. Protestantism, including the Quiverfull movement, that use Old Testament "fruitful" verses to support natalist ideas explicitly promoting higher fecundity. It also challenges the claim by some natalists that Martin Luther in the 16th century advocated similar ideas. This book argues that natalism is inappropriate as a Christian application of Scripture, especially since rich populations’ total footprints are detrimental to biodiversity and to human welfare. It explores the ancient cultural context of the Bible verses quoted by natalists. Challenging the assumption that religion normally promotes fecundity, the book finds surprising exceptions among early Christians (with a special focus on Saint Augustine) since they advocated spiritual fecundity in preference to biological fecundity. Finally the book uses a hermeneutic lens derived from Genesis 1, and prioritising the modern problem of biodiversity, to provide ecological interpretations of the Bible's "fruitful" verses.

Endorsements

God's first words to Adam and Eve recorded in Genesis 1 v 28 were 'Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth….' John McKeown in his book 'God's Babies' takes these words and the many related references in the Bible and in Christian literature over the years and carefully discusses how Christians should apply them today in our increasingly crowded and damaged world. It is a subject of important relevance that we Christians today need to take on board. John's thorough and careful treatise provides a good basis from which to begin.

Sir John Houghton CBE FRS

Formerly chairman of Scientific Assessment for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and Director General of the UK Meteorological Office

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements

Foreword by David Clough

1. Natalism: A Popular Use of the Bible

2. Protestant Natalism in the U.S.

3. Martin Luther: Forerunner of Natalism?

4. The Old Testament Context

5. Augustine on Fruitfulness

6. An Ecological Critique of Natalism

7. Conclusion

Appendix

Abbreviations

Works Cited

Index


Contributors

John McKeown

(author)
IT support at the College of Life and Environmental Sciences at University of Exeter