Children – Pollutants, Products or a Blessing?

I ran across a couple of articles discussing children over the weekend. First up, an article from The Australian reporting on a paper from the Optimum Population Trust arguing that children are bad for the environment. The OPT paper suggests that “having large families should be frowned upon as an environmental misdemeanour in the same way as frequent long-haul flights, driving a big car and failing to reuse plastic bags.” According to John Guillebaud, co-chairman of OPT and emeritus professor of family planning at University College London,

The effect on the planet of having one child less is an order of magnitude greater than all these other things we might do, such as switching off lights. The greatest thing anyone in Britain could do to help the future of the planet would be to have one less child.

Meanwhile, Josh Sowin at Fire and Knowledge excerpts some paragraphs from Bill McKibben’s book, Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age. McKibben warns that genetic engineering in the future could cause some parents to begin viewing their children as products rather than people.

[Genetically engineered] children will, in effect, be assigned a goal by their programmers: “intelligence,” “even temper,” “athleticism.”

… Now two possibilities arise. Perhaps the programming doesn’t work very well, and your kid spells poorly, or turns moody, or can’t hit the inside fastball. In the present world, you just tell yourself that’s who he is. But in the coming world, he’ll be, in essence, a defective product. Do you still accept him unconditionally? …

The other outcome—that the genetic engineering works just as you had hoped—seems at least as bad. Now your child is a product … And what can she take pride in? Her good grades? She may have worked hard, but she’ll always know that she was specced for good grades. Her kindness to others? Well, yes, it’s good to be kind—but perhaps it’s not much of an accomplishment once the various genes with some link to sociability have been catalogued and manipulated.

I like God’s perspective on all this so much better. According to the Bible, children are neither pollutants to be controlled nor products to be evaluated; rather, children are a blessing from the Lord to be loved, cared for and raised to know God.

Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. (Psalm 127:3,5)

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14)

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)


  1. Rachael says:

    Bad for the enviroment?! 😀
    Just because we used to shoot ants with suction cup guns and kill gypsy catipillers in masses..well, and catch salimanders, take down trees to build our “log cabins” and disterb the peacful woods. 😉

    I feel insulted!


  2. CMN says:

    Don’t forget all the trees we critically injured for Marshmallow sticks!

    Of course, we did help those dandilions by picking them and waving their seeds around!

    And how about all those old popcorn and apple seeds we planted?? Huh?? ( :

  3. Ray Fowler says:

    Rachael and CMN,

    You two are too funny. I would definitely put both of you in the “blessing” category!

  4. Rachael says:

    AND watermelon seeds! (Mine went the farthest too! ;))That should have been put down for an “Earth day” project!
    Thanks Pastor Ray! We do have fun! 😀

    On a serious note, do they still enforce the 1 child rule in china? I was just reading about that and was wondering if it was still forced.

  5. Ray Fowler says:

    Sadly, yes. I posted some information about this back in April. You can read the post here: Praying about China’s One Child Policy

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