What does the Bible teach about the value of children?

I am about to become a first time grandparent. I’ve never had grandchildren before. My son and his wife are pregnant with their first child which is supposed to be due in September of this year. I don’t exactly know what to expect, but people talk about grandparenting like it’s the greatest thing that ever happened. It’s like you go from one degree of joy in the family to another. And I think part of it is that you get to just love these children in your older and more seasoned years without having full responsibility for everything that happens to them. You just get to dump love on them and be there for them. I’m really excited about that.

We come to a point in our discussion today where we’re talking about the value of children. How does God see children? Does God value children? The answer to that is that children seem to be, in some exceptional and unique, mysterious way, near and dear to the heart of the Lord. They are an exceptional joy to all of us. Children, in general, are a joy and that gives me pause here to kind of give an observation. From my observations, younger generations right now seem to be eschewing the idea of having children in higher numbers than we have seen before.
Let me reiterate that the Christian norm, or actually the norm for all human behavior, is to desire to have children and to have a progeny and a heritage that comes after oneself. Especially for Christians, this should be seen as the norm. Anytime people do not want to have children for any reason that should be seen as aberrant for human behavior and particularly for Christian behavior. We really should stand against this trend in younger folks.

Some of them don’t want to have children out of compassion. They say this world is too hard or global warming is going to end the world in 12 years. Why would I want to bring anybody into a world of suffering like this world is? Then there are others who simply make excuses for not wanting to have children because of selfish reasons. Why would I want to bring a child into the world to disrupt the fun that I’m having as I live my own human experience?

For whatever reason people desire not to have children, as Christians, we should, we should reject that and we should encourage people to love, value and desire children in the way that God loves, values and desires children. He commands us as humankind to be fruitful and to multiply to fill the earth.

Now, as we’ve seen in past lessons, God loves life. There’s no question that God loves life. Of all the forms of life that exist in our universe, it is human life that he loves, cherishes and values the most. Of all forms of human life, it’s really innocent human life that he stands as Protector and Defender of. He loves innocent human life. What could embody that? The idea of innocent human life more than children.

Let’s take a look at Matthew 18:1-6. It is a well known passage. “At that time, the disciples came to Jesus saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And calling to him a child, He put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly I say to you unless you turn and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.””

Now, our loving and compassionate God, I’m sure, doesn’t want to see any of us drowned in the sea. The point being, children are exceptionally valuable and they teach us great lessons about faith. That does not mean that children are born without a sin nature. They do have a sin nature, but the Bible condemns sins that are committed in the flesh or sins of volition. That’s a reference to a 2 Corinthians passage that talks about sins that are committed within the flesh. Children obviously are innocent, not knowing the difference between right and wrong, up until some certain point. This has been debated throughout the ages. Is that the age of 12? Is it an age or is it a cognitive development level? We can’t know that. What we can know is that God values children and uses them as an example of faith, innocence and righteousness.

For more on this topic, I encourage you to download at passionlife.org our free resource called What Happens to Children Who Die. This is a great resource written by my colleague, John Ensor, to answer a lot of these questions. He gives a 20 point argument that is very biblically based. We have made that available on the passionlife.org website as a free download. You’ll find that resource in multiple languages that you can pass out to other people in other places and download our short article.