I am sure that you get these types of questions in seminary all the time to answer: Why can't it be God's will that he puts it in our mind to use contraception if it is his will that we should not have children yet?
We actually haven't discussed this much in seminary thus far. Basically the dogmatics professor gave the basic OCA instruction on the issue, which is contraception is not the best thing for Christians to be using but that if there is a really darn good reason then you and your spiritual father after prayer *might* consider it and only then if it is not abortofacient (i.e. the pill is out since although most of the time it prevents fertilization, sometimes it prevents the implanation of a fertilized embryo which is already an ensouled human being).
Anyway, this is more of an issue that I struggle with terribly--not because I waver back and forth myself, but because I just get very emotional about it. I will try and keep emotions out of the discussion, but I can't promise I will be able to. Apologies in advance if I say anything judgemental and hurtful; if I offend anyone please anyone let me know.
Basically my opinion follows, and I would urge anyone swayed by my words (here I am already assuming what I say is important, forgive me!) to speak with their priest and do further reading, don't just buy my version of the story. A lot of my opinion is founded on Catholic thought, which I believe is a little better developed in this regard than Orthodox thought at this time, which is not in any way a slam on the Orthodox, but rather just "the way things are right now." Orthodox thought on the matter I believe is developing, and I again ad nauseum forward anyone interested in such matters to the Orthodox NFP (Natural Family Planning) website at http://www.orthodoxnfp.org
. They have a message board fully about this, several articles, and the webmaster, Fr. John Schroedel, wrote an excellent thesis showing the history of contraception in Christian thought and up until the modern day.
All of that preface aside, I believe that:
1) God would not put the thought to use contraception into one's mind because contraception encourages sex without responsibility. If one cannot have children they should abstain from sex. This is because:
2) Sex is both for unifying the couple and for procreation. God instituted sex to join the "two as one" and in order that man might "be fruitful and multiply". Now one does not have to rely only on scholastic theology to come to these conclusions, although Fr. John in his thesis (which I am going to ask him to put online or publish in book form) shows pretty well that there is not a good reason why a natural law argument would be foreign to Orthodoxy. Merely looking at Genesis shows these two things closely connected.
3) Contraception is a barrier. It prevents the completion of the beautiful sexual encounter which is to *always* end with the man and woman in intercourse etc etc etc (won't go into detail on the internet). Any other form of sex or masturbation is a sin precisely because it is inward turned, whereas the vaginal copulation of a loving couple ends in a sharing.
4) Contraception leads to selfishness. My observation, my judgement, I accept the criticism that surely will come. I do not judge contraceptors nor do I ask people generally if they do such, however from those who tell me they use it vs. those who do not use it I see a difference; I sense a difference. I can't put it so much into words, but I offer my observation which could be wrong and off base.
5) The reason I believe that a natural family planning routine is more acceptable is the goal of NFP is not to not have children but rather to space them, while always remaining open to the possiblility that pregnancy might come as God wills. With NFP you are recognizing the woman's natural signs of fertility that God gave the woman, and using that to gauge it and abstain from intercourse. Abstaining from sex cannot be bad except if it is for too long as St. Paul tells us, so it cannot be sinful to space children by not having sex.
6) Even NFP could be sinful if one tried to do it forever, etc.
7) In the case where the mother will SURELY die from a pregnancy I will defer to the spiritual father. As long as everyone admits that it is sinful no matter what the circumstances, but the thought its we are just trying to do the lesser sin.
8 ) My whole point is that children and marriage go hand in hand, so hence my thought is God would simply NOT will you not to have children, unless you were sterile.
Sorry for the long ramble!