Most recently I was on another blog http://pilgrimsdaughter.blogspot.com/ discussing reproductive issues as it relates to Christianity with fellow Catholic and Protestant believer friends. The question of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) came up, and a Catholic blogger was against IVF because it dissociates the unitive aspect of reproduction (copulation) from procreation, which is a sin for Catholics. For Catholics, sex and procreation go together, and must not be separate. One blogger who was not Catholic, cited the passage in Genesis 38 as proof that copulation without procreation was forbidden in scripture - the sin of Onan. Below is the scriptural account:
Genesis 38:6-10, NIV:
6 Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. 7 But Er, Judah's firstborn, was wicked in the LORD's sight; so the LORD put him to death.
8 Then Judah said to Onan, "Lie with your brother's wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to produce offspring for your brother." 9 But Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so whenever he lay with his brother's wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from producing offspring for his brother. 10 What he did was wicked in the LORD's sight; so he put him to death also.
My question is this: Did God strike down Onan because he practiced contraception (withdrawal method) or did God strike him down because he disobeyed the law regarding raising up seed for the dead? What are your thoughts?