In the contemporary world, technological advancements have revolutionized many aspects of human life, including procreation. One such development is surrogacy, a practice that has sparked intense debate, particularly within Christian and conservative circles.
By definition, surrogacy is an arrangement, often supported by a legal agreement, whereby a woman agrees to be artificially inseminated on behalf of another couple or person, carry that baby to full term and deliver it, and then hand the child over to the purchasing party, who will become the child’s “parents” after birth.
Recent high-profile surrogacy announcements by homosexual political commentators Dave Rubin and Guy Benson (who some argue are on the “Right”), celebrity Paris Hilton, and other high-profile figures have brought the topic to the forefront of the conversation.
What should Christians think about surrogacy? What does the Bible teach us about the nature and value of human life and the creation order process of natural reproduction? As with every other ethical or moral question, Christians must make sure to allow God’s Word to inform and shape their beliefs. We are, first and foremost, Christians, even before we are conservatives and modern Americans.
This article explores surrogacy from a conservative Christian perspective, making four main points. First, surrogacy supplants God’s intended context for the creation of children; second, it subverts the creation order process of natural reproduction; third, surrogacy deprives a child of being raised by both their mother and a father; fourth, it devalues humans made in the priceless image of God by making them a commodity. Given these consequences, a biblically informed worldview will lead Christians to oppose surrogacy.
To frame the conversation about surrogacy, Christians need to think clearly about the “first principles” that we can learn from Scripture about procreation — the act of having children and creating new image bearers in God’s world..
From the very beginning, the Bible makes it clear that the only appropriate context, the God-intended context, for the natural process of procreation is within the marriage union of one and one woman. God made humans, and then He made humans to be able to make more humans, and thereby fill the world with more image-bearers. We see this clearly in Genesis 1:28: “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.’”
This verse underscores the divine context for procreation. When God made the world and put humanity in it, He made it clear that more human beings — children — should be the product of a one-man and one-woman union, that is, marriage. As the Creator, only God has the right to create life, our first parents, out of the dust of the ground and a rib from Adam’s side.
Bear in mind that having children outside of wedlock also forsakes the creation-order context for childbearing. But surrogacy supplants it even further. Supplant means to “supersede and replace.” Surrogacy tells humanity that they can try to make babies anywhere, at any time, and for anyone — and whether or not that child is going to be both the product, and placed in, a man-woman marriage becomes irrelevant.
This means that single people should not be pursuing the acquisition of children, whether through adoption or surrogacy, with allows them to circumvent placing themselves in the marital context.
In the words of Dr. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, “Children are gifts of God to be received and welcomed within the marriage bond.” This perspective aligns with Psalm 127:3, which states, “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.”
From a biblical worldview, surrogacy should also be seen as an effort to subvert the natural order of human reproductive processes with technology. In Genesis 2:24, the Bible states,
“That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”
This verse implies a natural process of procreation, which surrogacy circumvents by introducing a third party into the equation.
In other words, a biblical worldview of the nature of the reproductive process rejects artificial reproductive technologies — including surrogacy. It’s important to speak with clarity and chastity here on this point. But the biblical teaching is that children are meant to be the natural outcome of the natural process of the “one flesh” union between a man and a woman that is reserved for marriage.
Any efforts to produce children outside of the marital union are fraught with serious ethical and moral questions. Christians should rightly view the vast majority of assisted reproductive technologies, including in vitro fertilization and surrogacy, which rely on these processes, as an effort by man to “play God” over the reproductive process.
In We Cannot Be Silent, Dr. Mohler explains how the advent of some of the first sexual technologies, like birth control, ultimately led to surrogacy:
“So the Pill allowed sex without babies, and the modern reproductive technologies allow babies without sex. But this is not where the revolution ends, because in allowing babies without sex, the advanced reproductive technologies also allow persons who are biologically unable to have children to ‘have’ children by some other means — and that goes far beyond heterosexual couples desiring children. It has enabled same-sex couples and single persons to ‘have’ children, but not by moral means of procreation.”
The Bible also teaches that children are a blessing and a reward from God. Proverbs 127:3-5, for example, says,
“Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate.”
Rightly viewed, children are a blessing, a reward, given by the Lord to a married couple. God is the author and giver of life, not modern technology. Dr. Andrew Walker, associate dean of the School of Theology and an associate professor of Christian ethics at Southern Seminary, echoes this sentiment when he states, “The natural order of creation is for a child to be the fruit of love between a man and a woman. Surrogacy disrupts this order.”
Surrogacy, particularly for homosexual couples and single couples, intentionally deprives children of a mother or a father. And almost every single surrogacy contract denies the child of his biological mother and father as well. This is contrary to the biblical model of a family, which comprises a father, a mother, and children. Ephesians 6:1-4 and 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 underscore the distinct roles of both parents, implying that children benefit from the complementary nurturing of both a father and a mother.
In Ephesians 6:1-4 we read:
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth. Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
Paul here teaches that children are by nature raised by a mother and father and therefore are called to honor them. But he notes a particular role for the father — bringing them up in training and instruction (that is, discipline), but with care to not exasperate the children.
Then in 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8, Paul says:
“Instead, we were like young children among you. Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.”
Here Paul speaks to the complementary nature of women in childrearing, that of nurturing and tender care.
As Katy Faust, founder and president of Them Before Us, a child advocacy organization, argues, “Every child has a right to a mother and a father. Surrogacy, especially for same-sex couples, intentionally denies this right.”
Yes, in a fallen world, some tragic accidents and occurrences deprive children of a mother or a father or both. But surrogacy does this intentionally — and Christians should not support that. God made children to need both a mom and a dad, and we should honor God and His good creation order.
Finally, surrogacy commodifies human life, which degrades the image of God in man. Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” This verse affirms the inherent dignity and value of human life, which surrogacy risks reducing to a mere commodity.
When children become the product of contractual arrangements, rather than the natural outcome of marital love, the sanctity of human life is compromised. Such commodification is incompatible with the biblical understanding of human dignity and the value God places on every individual. Dr. Mohler again warns, “When we commodify human life, we diminish the Imago Dei, the image of God, in humanity.”
How can mankind presume to put a price tag on a living human being that God Himself knit together in the womb? In Psalm 139:14, the Psalmist praises God because he is “fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
Surrogacy reduces the fearful and wonderful work of the Lord in the creation of new life down to a business contract. It is, in short, nothing more than a modern-day, socially acceptable form of human trafficking that puts babies up for sale and by doing so reduces their real value to a dollar sign.
While surrogacy may offer a solution to infertility, it raises significant ethical and theological concerns from a conservative Christian perspective. As Christians, we are called to uphold the sanctity of life and the biblical model of family, even as we navigate the complex issues presented by modern technology.
In this biblical worldview, I argued that Christians should see surrogacy as immoral, unethical, and sinful because it 1) supplants God’s creation-order context for reproduction, which is within a marriage; 2) subverts God’s intended process for reproduction, which is the product of natural relations between husband and wife; 3) intentionally deprives children of growing up with their biological mother and father; and 4) devalues human life made in the image of God.
While infertility and even loneliness can be real challenges, the answer is not to use technology to supplant, subvert, and disrupt God’s good creation plan for the reproduction of precious children made in His image. Because at the end of the day, the child conceived in surrogacy and then sold to its buyers has no voice in the process. Christians should both defend God’s wisdom and speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves. To be against surrogacy is to be pro-life, life lived in God’s good world, and one that respects Him as the true author and giver of life, both big and small.
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