The writers of the Book of Psalms believed that God caused barren women to become pregnant, that children are a “heritage from the Lord” and “a reward”. David believed he was “knitted together” in the womb and “fearfully and wonderfully made” by his all-powerful God.
He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children. Praise the Lord!Psalm 113:9
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.Psalm 127:3 (Solomon)
You fill their womb with treasure; they are satisfied with children, and they leave their abundance to their infants.Psalm 17:14 (David)
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.Psalm 139:13-14 (David)
I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession,1 Timothy 6:15
The meaning here is not necessarily limited to birth, it can certainly include birth. The word, “zōopoieō” is used throughout the New Testament for spiritual or physical existence. The word here for giving life is the same word used in John 5:21, Romans 4:17 are some of those “physical” examples, where it is being contrasted with physical death (raising the dead).
Spiritual life here wouldn’t make sense anyway since we know that God does not give spiritual life to “all things”.
One last note is that this is active. Paul isn’t simply referencing the fact that God created everything at one point in time and from that everything has sprung. He is saying that God actively gives life to all things.
In the births of Cain and again with Seth, Eve is recorded in scripture giving God credit.
Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, ‘I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.’Genesis 4:1
And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, ‘God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.’Genesis 4:25
God didn’t simply predict or foresee that Sarah would have a child. He caused it. God himself spoke to Abraham saying “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”. Later we see that “…the Lord did to Sarah as he had promised. And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son…” and Sarah herself credits God when she says, “God has made laughter for me”. During the story, God also made Abimelech’s female servants unable to conceive.
Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years. The way of women had ceased to be with Sarah. So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, ‘After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?’ The Lord said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.’Genesis 18:11-14
Then Abraham prayed to God, and God healed Abimelech, and also healed his wife and female slaves so that they bore children. For the Lord had closed all the wombs of the house of Abimelech because of Sarah, Abraham’s wife.Genesis 20:17-18
The Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did to Sarah as he had promised. And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him… And Sarah said, ‘God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me.’ And she said, ‘Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.’Genesis 21:1-2,6-7
See also: Hebrews 11:11
In an answer to prayer, Rebekah is able to conceive.
And Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren. And the Lord granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived.Genesis 25:21
Leah repeatedly attributes her fertility to God. We also know that God granted Rachel the ability to conceive after years of being unable to. Jacob also made it clear what he believed. We are not explicitly told that God caused Rachel’s infertility (as we are with Leah’s situation). What we do know, is that Jacob, Rachel’s husband believed that God had caused her to be barren. When Rachel pleaded with Jacob, “Give me children!”, his response was, “Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?”
When the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. And Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben, for she said, ‘Because the Lord has looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me.’ She conceived again and bore a son, and said, ‘Because the Lord has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also.’ And she called his name Simeon. Again she conceived and bore a son, and said, ‘Now this time my husband will be attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.’ Therefore his name was called Levi. And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, ‘This time I will praise the Lord.’ Therefore she called his name Judah. Then she ceased bearing.Genesis 29:31-35
When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she envied her sister. She said to Jacob, ‘Give me children, or I shall die!’ Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel, and he said, ‘Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?’Genesis 30:1-2
And God listened to Leah, and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son. Leah said, ‘God has given me my wages because I gave my servant to my husband.’ So she called his name Issachar.Genesis 30:17-18
And Leah conceived again, and she bore Jacob a sixth son. Then Leah said, ‘God has endowed me with a good endowment; now my husband will honor me, because I have borne him six sons.’Genesis 30:19
Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb. She conceived and bore a son and said, ‘God has taken away my reproach.’Genesis 30:22-23
Jacob knew that his children were “graciously given” to him. He doesn’t credit his own health or sexual prowess. Rather he humbly acknowledges that the growth of his family was God’s doing.
And when Esau lifted up his eyes and saw the women and children, he said, ‘Who are these with you?’ Jacob said, ‘The children whom God has graciously given your servant.’Genesis 33:5
As a result of their acknowledgment of God’s support of the Hebrews, God rewards them with “families”, that is, pregnancy and children. Also, notice in the verses leading up to this (Exodus 1:19-20) where we see that God’s involvement in the unstoppable prosperity of the Hebrew people.
And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families.Exodus 1:21
So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife. And he went in to her, and the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son.Ruth 4:13
Although “he loved her” God “closed her womb”. When she did finally have a child, she said, “the Lord has granted me my petition”.
But to Hannah he gave a double portion, because he loved her, though the Lord had closed her womb. And her rival used to provoke her grievously to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb.1 Samuel 1:5-6
And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, ‘I have asked for him from the Lord.’… ‘For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to him.’1 Samuel 1:20,27
Job believed that he was “brought out of the womb” by God. He also believed that God formed him in the womb. This wasn’t something that was specific to him only, however. He believed that this truth applied to any of his servants as well (Job 31:13). Then, in chapter 34, as part of a rhetorical question, he says that all people (from the rich to the poor) “are all works of his hands”.
Why did you bring me out from the womb? Would that I had died before any eye had seen me and were as though I had not been, carried from the womb to the grave.Job 10:18-19
Did not he who made me in the womb make him? And did not one fashion us in the womb?Job 31:15
who shows no partiality to princes, nor regards the rich more than the poor, for they are all the work of his hands?Job 34:19
Here, God is speaking through Isaiah about his chosen people.
None shall miscarry or be barren in your land; I will fulfill the number of your days.Exodus 23:26
When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom.2 Samuel 7:12
Thus says the Lord who made you, who formed you from the womb and will help you: Fear not, O Jacob my servant, Jeshurun whom I have chosen.Isaiah 44:2
Remember these things, O Jacob, and Israel, for you are my servant; I formed you; you are my servant… Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb…Isaiah 44:21,24
Isaiah himself (separate from the message above about Israel as a whole), like the prophets Job, David, and Jeremiah – speaks of being formed in the womb by God.
…The Lord called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name. He made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me a polished arrow; in his quiver he hid me away… he who formed me from the womb to be his servant…Isaiah 49:1-2,5
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.Jeremiah 1:5
“Your wife will bear a son… because your prayer has been heard.” Elizabeth herself certainly saw God’s hand when she is quoted as saying, “The Lord has done [this] for me…” Then, when the angel is speaking to Mary, he echos what God told Abraham many years earlier, “For nothing will be impossible with God.”
But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.’Luke 1:13
After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying, ‘Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.’Luke 1:24-25
And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.Luke 1:36
And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus… And Mary said to the angel, ‘How will this be, since I am a virgin?’ And the angel answered her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.’Luke 1:31,34-35
See also: Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:18-24, Luke 1:49