Whatever happened to the family?

Surrogacy in the Bible

Surrogate definition from Merriam-Webster:

:  to put in the place of another:
a :  to appoint as successor, deputy, or substitute for oneself
b :  substitute

Was Christ our surrogate?

The common meaning of surrogate is: one who substitutes for another as a lesser specimen, someone who is not the perfect selection. If a woman cannot bear a child, she may seek a surrogate to become impregnated by her husband’s sperm, and raise the offspring as her own child. The ideal mother would be the natural one. When we speak of Christ as our substitute, we mean he stood in our place by virtue of being sinless. He sacrificed his life to atone for our sins. We are thereby reconciled to God when we know Christ as Savior. Only a perfect sacrifice could appease the wrath of God. The idea that a perfect type could also be a substitute confounds the meaning of the word.

Examples of surrogacy in the Bible:

  1. And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the LORD has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. (Gen 16:2)
    Hagar bore Ishmael, Abraham’s first son.
    Result: When Isaac was born to fulfill God’s promise to Abraham, Sarah insisted that Ishmael and Hagar be cast out. (Gen 21:10). This is the root of the current Arab-Israeli conflict.
  2. Now Lot went up out of Zoar and lived in the hills with his two daughters, for he was afraid to live in Zoar. So he lived in a cave with his two daughters. And the firstborn said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is not a man on earth to come in to us after the manner of all the earth. Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve offspring from our father.” (Gen 19:30-32)
    After God destroyed Sodom, Lot and his daughters lived in isolation, leading to his becoming a surrogate husband. The daughters felt a burden to preserve descendants for him.
    Result: Their offspring, Moab and Ammon, became enemy nations.
  3. And in the morning, behold, it was Leah! And Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?” Laban said, “It is not so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn.” (Gen 29:25-26)
    Leah was a surrogate wife to Jacob for a week, to avoid the younger sister marrying ahead of the older. She then became simply one of two wives, given full (half-full?) standing by bearing many sons.
    Result: Family conflicts; agitation leading to the abandonment of Joseph to slavetraders
  4. When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she envied her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I shall die!” Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel, and he said, “Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?” Then she said, “Here is my servant Bilhah; go in to her, so that she may give birth on my behalf, that even I may have children through her.” (Gen 20:1-3)
    Also: When Leah saw that she had ceased bearing children, she took her servant Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife. (Gen 30:9)
    Bilhah and Zilpah were surrogates to bear more children for Jacob
    Result: A weakened family unit and denigration of women; false imprimatur of polygamy that led to great trials in the national life of Israel.
  5. About three months later Judah was told, “Tamar your daughter-in-law has been immoral. Moreover, she is pregnant by immorality.” And Judah said, “Bring her out, and let her be burned.” As she was being brought out, she sent word to her father-in-law, “By the man to whom these belong, I am pregnant.” And she said, “Please identify whose these are, the signet and the cord and the staff.” Then Judah identified them and said, “She is more righteous than I, since I did not give her to my son Shelah.” And he did not know her again. (Gen 38:24-26)
    Judah unwittingly became a surrogate father.
    Result: Judah was exposed as an hypocrite. Tamar was abased.

There may be other examples of surrogacy in the Bible, since we have already come upon several in only 22 chapters. If we consider these, we perceive that surrogacy can lead to misery. Any Christian would be well advised to think twice before seeking a surrogate, or accepting one.

It would appear that the righteous remnant had figured that out as time went along, since Hannah did not seek one but only entreated God regarding her infertility, and John the Baptist’s parents had not sought out a surrogate to solve their dilemma either.

We do see in these examples God’s great love for us despite our wrong turns. The very nation of Israel was built in part by surrogate mothers, and we find the seed of such unions in the ancestry of the Lord. One of the twin boys Judah fathered through Tamar is a member of Christ’s lineage. For that matter, both of Lot’s sons born of incest are registered in the line of Christ, Moab through Ruth Mat 1:5) and Ammon through Rehoboam whose mother was an Ammonite. (1ki 14:21)

Conservative Christian ethicists have uncovered many reasons to avoid surrogacy. See links below.

The main reason not to obtain a child through a surrogate by way of In Vitro Fertilization where an embryo is created in a lab to be implanted in the surrogate is the prospect for birth defects such that the child becomes an object of experimentation. See News Odyssey post here.

Considering Gestational Surrogacy: Medical Marvel or Parent Trap?

What Is a Surrogate Mother

9 Things You Should Know About Surrogacy

Two Serious Problems with Surrogate Motherhood

Bioedge article

Angel fish
Public Domain, Link

...and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind ... the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind ...the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. -Genesis 1


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