There was a story in the paper this week, about “the High Court being asked to decide whether sperm donors who intend to be involved as fathers, and are known to their biological offspring as dads, should be recognised as legal parents”. https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/high-court-test-case-on-sperm-donor-who-helped-raise-child/news-story/98f6ec9e2166827068984e3fe7d21874
Did you get that? We’ve reached the point where it is getting too difficult to work out who is a parent and who is not. Or we’ve reached the point where what the law says no longer makes sense when it comes to what makes a person a parent.
We got to this point because people (and our culture) have decided that a family shouldn’t be a mother, father and their children. Instead, you can make a family be whatever you want to be, and obtain children any way you can imagine them.
So we get to the strange situations we find today, where same sex couples involve other people to obtain children for themselves, and then have all sorts of permutations about whether or how those people will be involved in the children’s lives. This isn’t a case of an infertile couple seeking help to have a child. This is a case of people intentionally creating a completely new family structure. And it seems as if the only nod to what is good for the child comes by what some of the adults involved think might be nice.
Family is being defined by contract (formal or informal) that then changes over time depending on how the adults feel at different points in their lives. There isn’t a commitment to unity, for the good of the child, other than life-stage feelings and what the adults want for themselves. And in the end it comes down to a legal fight for what the adults want.
This is bad enough when a naturally defined family (father, mother and their natural children) splits up, and our society is still coming to grips with how to make these things fair on everyone involved. But when people exercise their creativity in inventing new family structures, it becomes much worse, and an argument about what is best for the children becomes more a battle for who actually has rights here. Sperm donors? Same sex partners who didn’t bare the child? Whoever appears on the birth certificate? Later partners of either sex who aren’t biologically related?
This situation is revealing the problems that occur when we move further and further from God’s intention for human relationships. As a culture, we are enamoured with our ability to do whatever we want, and it is creating all sorts of very foreseeable problems what people didn’t appear to foresee.
This will be the case in every area of life. The more we decide we can relate to other people the way we want to, the more problems, and the bigger the size of the problems, we are going to encounter.
The only solution is to go back to the owner’s manual. To see what God created us for, and to seek to live according to the directions. This is something that Christians should seek to do, not just when we encounter problems with the way we live, but to inform ourselves how we live so we aren’t creating greater and greater problems for ourselves. Humans are not infinitely malleable, and while some ideas might seem good, and may work for a little while, the further they depart from God’s intent and design, the faster they will go bad, and the worse the fall out will be.
Stories like this one should remind us to be humble, to recognise that we aren’t completely independent agents, and what is possible isn’t the same as what is wise and good. We can only find true and eternal wisdom and goodness in God, and we need to seek him through Jesus in order to have lives that will satisfy us.