Original Research

Christian theological understanding of the handling of infertility and its relevance in the Indonesian context

Yohanes K. Susanta
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 77, No 4 | a6508 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v77i4.6508 | © 2021 Yohanes K. Susanta | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 January 2021 | Published: 07 July 2021

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Yohanes K. Susanta, Department of Theology, Institut Agama Kristen Negeri Toraja, Tana Toraja, Indonesia

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Infertility is one of the key themes in the Old Testament narrative. This infertility was experienced by the Israelite matriarchs Sarai, Rebekah and Rachel as well as several other women. This article argues that the concept infertility has given rise to injustice and discrimination, especially against women. For this reason, a constructive and a contextual dialogue between the biblical context and the context of the present is required to offer a new understanding and a liberating spirit to women and men. It is crucial because there is a traditional assumption that infertility is a disgrace and misfortune for a family. The inability to have children can create problems in the home, such as divorce or polygamy for the sake of having children. Infertility constitutes a severe problem for couples in a culture that emphasises the importance of producing descendants.

Contribution: This article offers a theological contribution from the Old Testament as a critique of the culture in terms of how infertile women are treated, that is, infertility as God’s grace. Also, this article offers a Christian theological understanding of the handling of infertility in an Indonesian context. It aims to redefine infertility and bring each couple to the realisation that the plight of infertility or having no children should no longer be seen as a burden for a couple but rather as part of God’s grace for their lives.


infertile women; descendants; ancient Israel; God’s grace; Indonesia


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