Hello, I am a new member to the Orthodox church have some things that are a bit confusing to me. For quite someome now I have been studying ancient customs, rituals, historical facts of the time, of Judaism and the Catholic/Orthodox Church. I assume since Christianity has it's roots in Judaism it is essential to have an understanding. In addition it sheds great insight into the parables, works, reactions, etc. . .that we read about in the New Testament. With that being said I have some things I dont yet understand about sexual relations within the marital bonds.
My first concern is with the use of birth control. I fully get the point that something that causes a fertilized egg to be dispelled is completely immoral and obvisouly murder. However, those things that prevent fertilization I dont understand if the marriage is still open to creation, such a for spacing, etc. . . From what I have read and understand from the Talmudand other ancient Rabbinical texts not every sexual encounter between husband and wife had to have the intent of creation, but the marriage needed to remain with the possibility. In addition, it was expected that the man ensure that the woman was srxusl sayisfied. Contemporary Rabbis has explainef that this expectation did not place a restriction on the sexual act as long as it was mutal and did not degrade or was forced upon the partner. (this leads to another question relating o mutal masterbation, oral sex, anal sex, etc. . . Apearing here that unnatutal in the originte concept was any sexual act performed outside the bonds of male/female marriage. . . The natural state of sex is wothi marriage and not actual the specific deed performed). Now back to birth control.
I do not see how prevention of fertilization by condoms, pills, etc. . .is any different than NFP? I know the quick response is that it kills the sperm and thus makes you unopen to life, however, NFP in essence has the same effect. The goal being to prevent conception, lets face it, that is why you practice it. In NFP we time intercourse to times when the viginia is hostile toward sperm thus killing them in addition to the mucus plug acting as a barrier that prevents sperm entering the cervix. This has the same effect as most birth control right? And both intention are to prevent pregnancy at least for a period of time right? If your intent is only temporary in both cases what is the difference? I know most respond that artificial opens up people to have sex more freely outside of marriage. Well the wrong here is sex upside of marriage, and if what speed you was fear of pregnancy than guees what NFP just gave you a means as well being that it is just as effective when properly practiced correct?
Further I realize that most weil say the bible condemns it based on Onan and Tamar. But I dont see this. . . The bible said he was told to marry Tamar and raise up a child for his brother. Them it says Onan knew the seed would but be his own and that it came to pass WHENEVER he went into his brothers wife he emitted his semenon the ground, lest he should give seed to hi brother, but the thig he did appeared evil in the sight of the Lord, and he was put to death.
What stands out here is that the whole thing was an encounter that was one commanded to occur, to eppected by Jewish law to occur so that the family line could continue(in Det), and that Onan didnt like the fact he had to beat a son tjat would not be considered his own, but of Er. What signifficance is this, well for one if Onan fullfillef his duty the resulting child would receive Er's inherritence. If the child did not occur then it would have all went to Onan. Wh would I think this is posdible? Well it says, he knew he seed wouldnt be his so when he had sex he spillef his seed on the ground, and for what reason? So he would not give seed to his brother. It does no say that he wasted the seed, and given that sexual laws were given in scripture and this wasting of seedis never mentionef, it seems more likely that the evil before God wad greed, disobidence, and contempt for brother. Also in light of tradition and pracicead stated earlier sex wad somethig that could have been done for pleasure the occasional prevention of conception would not have been offensive. However tje intent was continual prevention and self gratification without regard to Tamars wamts amd wishes.
We must remember God doesnt just look at the action but intent and you heart behind that action ad with Cain and Able. If it was the action itself that wad judhef tjere would habe been no isdue because both offered sacrifice, the diffetence wad the intent..... It is obvious that Onan actions was more than a one time thing, and that it wasnt a temporary action like NFP, but is a permanent action intened not to have children for the sole reason of not giving seed to his brother. The consenqunce being by the custom amd laws not discussed that Onan would receive all the inheritance.
If the action wad as I see taught now simply because it ws birth control we would all be struck dead because in tje end NFP is a form of birth control, so if the bible condemned it then NFP shouldn't be taught. I have read alot of arguments for and against all through church History, concerning birth control and acveptable marital sexual acts. Ceryaonly there is a time to anstain, but when that period is over wouldnt it be the intent of the avt vice the avt itself. Ad.long ad the avt is not for self-gratitification and mutual agreeded upon. I know one may say that certain acts are only self-gratification, but that would be your opinion. Some people sincerely enjoy some things othet consider degrading to themselves, and engoy them on a dual level of satisfying a spouse and themselves.
Please note that all things mentioned are in context of a momogomoos male/female marriage not to be enfeveroued on witjout the others participation.
Thoughts and concerns please without judging or belitteing