God’s active will and His passive will in conceiving babies????

Is it really true that God plans every pregnancy? Is every baby ever conceived done with Him, actively willing it? Or are babies conceived in His permissive will? I don’t know – but it’s bugging me.

I’ve been reading Simcha Fisher’s thoughts on NFP, providentialism and how to get NFP very wrong (tongue in cheek) and make marriage a bit of a nightmare. I only learned about NFP and all it’s joys and hurdles relatively recently (about 11 years) but I remember back then as I was learning hearing the words “there’s no such thing as an unplanned baby,” for the first time. Even then, in the first blush of new and freedom giving information the words hit a nerve somewhere. I couldn’t quite accept that. The idea is that every baby conceived is willed by God. He plans the baby even of the parents don’t.

I know that God ensouls every child. I know that the time of ensoulment isn’t revealed, but that the two cell zygote is fully human carrying all the DNA information that will make the baby’s features, and all else right from conception. That means that the baby is a person from the get go and so has an inherent right to life. But I am not sure I accept that this means God actively willed that baby’s existance.

The question for me is just how bound is God to the laws of nature He invented? Obviously Scripture tells us He can bypass those laws and have couples conceive a baby even when all seems lost. Examples of that abound in Scripture from Sarah and Abraham, through Rachel and Jacob-Israel to Elizabeth and Zachariah and there’s more I know. But those are special cases. Most of us conceive our babies in the natural way. Nature has made a woman ovulate once a month with an egg that lives an average 24 hrs. The man makes sperm every days and a sperm can live up to five days in good conditions. Now, I have seen ana amazing NFP chart where the only explanation for the conception of the baby was that the husband’s sperm had lived for an astonishing 8 days. It’s a good chance God had a plan there 🙂

I tend to lean to the idea that babies are conceived – mostly- by God’s permissive will. That is He abides by the laws of nature He has made and only interferes in  special circumstances.  You see, I can’t quite accept He ACTIVELY wills for babies to be conceived to abusive parents, rape victims, children who have got drunk and had sex in a park, girls who are so utterly alone and unsupported that they are almost bound to seek an abortion, babies in petri dishes or any of the other horrible and terrifying ways children are brought into the world or denied life in it. How could He actively will any of that?

Children are conceived – as far as I can see- because either a man and a woman or sexually capable children have sex, or because some scientist does it in a dish in a lab. Then God pours out His graces and gives us His Mother to turn to so that we can choose then to be good parents to the children we have. A parent can turn their back on God and kill the child, or have the child and neglect or abuse them. All these things are allowed in God’s permissive will because He has given us Free Will and we can love Him and live His way, or reject Him and wreck our children’s lives as much as possible.

I can’t believe that God would will a child to be given to abusive parents, while good, loving couples are left unable to conceive.

So help me out here. Is every baby planned? And if so how?

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3 responses to “God’s active will and His passive will in conceiving babies????

  1. Really fantastic question and I’ve often pondered myself. Not sure of the answer though, probably one for a theologian.

  2. sanabituranima

    I have also struggled to understand this – thanks for articulating it so well.

  3. Glad I’m not the only one who gets these questions stuck in m’head.

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