22: Does Genesis 38 Condemn Masturbation and Birth Control?

 In Genesis, Marriage, Morality, Podcasts, Sex

This episode is a response to a comment that was left on our website. The comment challenged Kenny’s thoughts on masturbation, outlined in episode 14: Is Masturbation Really Sin?

In the previous episode, Kenny outlined his opinion that masturbation is not necessarily sinful, but that it could be very harmful, therefore it ought to be avoided. Kenny also covered this in his blog article about masturbation.

However, the comment/charge (to which we are responding) sought to make the case that Genesis 38 does indeed condemn both masturbation and birth control. So, does Genesis 38 actually condemn masturbation & birth control? Or not?

In Genesis 38, God labels Onan wicked and eventually puts him to death. What was Onan’s sin? Why did God kill him? Some commentators and preachers might say it appears that God is angry with Onan for “wasting his semen” on the ground, so this has caused some people to condemn masturbation. Onan was also having sex in a way to avoid pregnancy, which has led some Christians to say that birth control is sinful.

But is that what the passage is actually talking about? In this episode of the podcast, Kenny addresses these thoughts and concerns, and he points out that Genesis 38 is actually pointing to something much larger and grander; and that is the importance of men fulfilling their responsibilities and duties as men.

Additional Resource

Is Masturbation a Sin? Is It Bad For Me? What Does the Bible Say? (by Kenny Ortiz)