We are in the middle of a violent war on children. Do you believe that? If not, I hope this new series will demonstrate that the war is real and that you will become involved in fighting against it. If you do believe in a war against children, then my hope is this new series in the new year will help you develop a proper response.

How should Christians respond to the war on children?

Defending the Children

I’ve been training children to defend themselves against physical, emotional and spiritual attacks for decades. Our Grace Martial Arts and Faith and Self Defense programs are also designed to train parents with their children. Parents are the first line of defense for their children, so it makes sense to train the entire family.

However, times have changed since my wife and I were children and since our children were children and their children were young children. We thought of most private and public education institutions as having our backs as parents, but that seems less true today. Something has changed and it has not changed for the better.

The War On Children

The “war on children” had an unusual beginning. It started before children even existed.

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply. Genesis 1:27-28

Children were God’s plan from the beginning. He created “male and female” and told them to “be fruitful and multiply.” Genesis chapter two takes us inside the process God used to create “male and female” and how they would “be fruitful and multiply.”

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being … And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. Genesis 2:7, 21-22

The mechanics of how male and female will “be fruitful and multiply” is obvious. Adam, the male, understood and presented the process.

And Adam said: ‘This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man.’ Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. Genesis 2:23-25

Adam understood that human sexuality would lead to fathers and mothers and that children would grow up to be men and women who would marry and “become one flesh.”

So, where’s the war on children? Read the next verse:

Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. Genesis 3:1a

Satan was waiting in the wings of the garden and Adam’s words were his cue to enter.

And he said to the woman, ‘Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’? Genesis 3:1b

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. Genesis 3:6-7

To the woman He said: ‘I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children. Genesis 3:16

Then to Adam He said, ‘Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return. Genesis 3:17-19

So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life. Genesis 3:24

Satan attacked the woman first, then the man, then the family. The way Adam and Eve would live after God drove them out of the Garden of Eden changed everything. They would suffer physical and emotion pain and eventually die. They would experience great heartache with their children. We see in Genesis chapter four that Adam and Eve’s first child murdered their second child. How did that happen? We turn again to Satan’s war on children:

So the Lord said to Cain, Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.’ Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. Genesis 4:6-8

Satan knew from the moment he spoke with Eve in the garden and how she responded to his deception that his war on children and the family would be successful.

The Relentless War

The war on children did not stop with Cain killing his brother. The killing continued and the war was relentless.

Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose. Genesis 6:1-2

Humans were fruitful and did multiply on the face of the earth. However, there was a big problem.

Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually … The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.  Genesis 6:5, 11

The war that began with the first family and children continued for several generations until there were many families and children on the earth. However, Satan’s deception in the garden had done its work and the wickedness of human beings was “great in the earth” and “every intent of the thoughts” of their hearts were “only evil continually.” How did that manifest itself? “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.”

God responded by sending a great Flood to destroy those who lived on the earth. It was His earth and He had a right to respond in judgment. However, “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8). God saved one man and his family. Noah married and his wife gave birth to three sons. Their three sons grew up and married. God saved Noah, his wife, their three sons and their wives from the Flood.

So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. Genesis 9:1

Now this is the genealogy of the sons of Noah: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. And sons were born to them after the flood. Genesis 10:1

The wives of Noah’s sons gave birth to children after the Flood. Did the war on children stop? It did not.

History of the War on Children

Wickedness and violence did not end because only one family existed after the Flood. Remember that wickedness and violence began when only one family existed after the Garden. God knew that “the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth” (Genesis 8:21b). The war on children began soon after the end of the Flood.

Genesis 10 is often called “Table of Nations” because it contains a list of Noah’s descendants through several generations. Historians are able to trace those descendants to families that built nations around the world. So, how did the descendants of Noah do in protecting the rights of children? Not well.

The descendants of Noah eventually built kingdoms that controlled the lives of families. As we follow the lineage of each of Noah’s sons (Japheth, Ham, Shem), we find civilizations that treated some children well and some poorly. While the children of nobility, wealth and higher rank were given property and other civil rights, children of poor families and slaves had few rights if any. Many of them were physically abused and even murdered.

It is difficult to know the exact number of children killed through infanticide (child murder), neonaticide (child murdered within 24 hours of birth), and filicide (murder of child by parent) since the days of Noah, but it is most likely in the hundreds of millions if not billions.

People living in ancient civilizations viewed children as omens from the gods. Parents sacrificed some of their children to appease the gods. We see that among so many of the ancient civilizations. Infants were often murdered because of physical deformities, being sickly or just being the wrong sex.

Sickly children were often left outside to die from exposure or be eaten by animals. Healthy children were sometimes entombed with their dead parents to provide them (the dead parents) with companionship. Many civilizations viewed children as a financial burden and allowed parents to murder some of their children soon after birth. Governments often gave fathers the legal right to make the decision about whether a child lived or died. It was common in many civilizations for a midwife to ask the father if he wanted to keep a newborn baby. If the father did not want to keep the child, the midwife would murder the child. In some civilizations, newborns were placed on the floor of a house. The father looked at the child and decided whether the infant would live or die. The father’s decision was final and legal.

You might remember that one of Egypt’s pharaohs told the Hebrew midwives to let the female children live but murder the male children. However, “midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the male children alive” (Exodus 1:17). That upset the pharaoh so he commanded all his people, saying, “Every son who is born you shall cast into the river, and every daughter you shall save alive” (Exodus 1:22).

We find evidence of legalized infanticide in every part of the world – both in the past and the present.

Today’s War on Children

Civilized people can point to the ongoing war of murdering children in many parts of the world, but they are often not able to see their own culpability in the murder of millions of children now.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that about 125-thousand children are aborted every day around the world. That’s about 875-thousand a week, 3.8 million per month, 45.625 million per year. That’s based on countries, states and territories that are willing to report abortion numbers. Estimates from other organizations are even higher based on women who use abortifacients (drugs, chemicals that cause abortion). Those abortions are often not included in official reports.

Another issue in counting the number of abortions is that organizations that count often come up with different numbers. For instance, the Guttmacher Institute listed more than 926-thousand abortions in the United States for 2014, while the Centers for Disease Control listed less than 653-thousand abortions for the same year.

The Guttmacher Institute is a pro-choice research organization. Their estimate for annual abortions worldwide is much higher than the World Health Organization. While WHO estimates 45.625 million abortions per year, Guttmacher estimates 73 million abortions per year.

That leads us to the next question. Which countries are responsible for the most abortions?

If we talk about abortion “rate” (abortions per 1,000 women), these countries are in the top ten:

CountryAbortion Rate 2021 Population
Credit: World Population Review

The United States ranked 15th with a rate of 20.8 per 1,000 women.

As for the sheer number of unborn children aborted, the United States is second only to China. China legalized abortion in the 1950s and has reported hundreds of millions of abortions since that time. While China’s reported numbers are about ten million abortions per year, the actual number may be closer to 23-million per year. More than 63-million children have been aborted in the United States since abortion was legalized in 1973.

Next Time

How should Christians around the world respond to this kind of violence against unborn children? We’ll look at how to develop a reasoned response in the next part of our new series, The War On Children: A Christian Response.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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