The Abortion Debate: When does life begin? I know… Let’s ask God!!
By Vince Latorre
Anyone who has been following the news lately knows that the abortion issue is front and center like never before. After New York State recently passed the law allowing an infant to be aborted right up until birth, the heat has really been turned up on the question of when human life actually begins. The controversial law passed with smirks and smiles on the faces of the governor and legislators who attended the signing of the bill, as well as thunderous applause cheering the supposed protection of women’s “reproductive rights.”
But many are aghast at this new law and the precedent it sets. How can it be that the same nation that abhors violence, rightly condemning terrorist attacks that kill hundreds or thousands of people, or mass shootings where dozens of innocent people are gunned down in cold blood, celebrates with accolades and cheers the right to take an innocent baby’s life at any time in the womb, where since the early 70’s over 60 million infants have lost their lives? How is this apparent glaring hypocrisy justified?
The answer is actually quite simple. We have taken it upon ourselves to define that the life of a human being only legally begins outside the womb of its mother, or as in the past before the new law, at a convenient point in a pregnancy before birth, so when an abortion happens, we see it as only destroying a “clump of cells” or “fetal tissue.” But many people claim that life begins long before birth, at conception, and so when a baby is aborted, a human being is murdered. So with this heated debate going on in our country, I have come up with a novel idea, that apparently even the ”progressives” haven’t considered:
Why don’t we ask God?!
Let’s see what God thinks!
While these days people seem to think that they can just tell God what He should think, the way to actually hear His thoughts on the subject of when life begins is to consult His Word. Another novel thought these days! So let’s see just when life began for several prominent human beings mentioned in the Bible.
First, let’s look at what is likely the oldest book in the Bible, the book of Job. Job 31:5: “Did not he that made me in the womb make him? And did not one fashion us in the womb?” (this is Job speaking of his servant and himself). Notice that Job and his servant were made “in the womb” by God. It does not say that God made some cells or fetuses that would later become Job and his servant. They were equal in God’s eyes, made in the same way, in the womb.
How about David? In Psalm 22:9-10, David was also identified as a person while still in the womb: “Thou art he that took me out of the womb, thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts. I was cast upon thee from the womb, thou art my God from my mother’s belly.” Here David is spoken of as being just as much of a person in the womb as he was when he was born and in his mother’s arms. In verse 10, God is the God of David the person from his mother’s womb. God is not spoken of as the God of a fetus or a clump of cells.
While in the Psalms, let’s go to Psalm 139, a chapter that speaks of the omnipresence of the Lord and how marvelously He has created us. Psalm 139:13: “For thou hast possessed my reins, thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.” (In the Hebrew,the phrase “possessed my reins” means “formed my inward parts.” The word “covered” is equivalent to “shielded”.) This verse is speaking of how the embryonic child is protected while growing in the womb. In fact, the next verse (14) points to the amazing design in the making of a human being by God: “I will praise thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made, marvelous are thy works, and that my soul knowest right well.” Marvelous indeed. For an article by a medical doctor detailing the irreducibly complex design of the conception, embryonic development, and birth processes, see :Made in His Image: Human Gestation also see Made in His Image: Baby’s first breath. It is hard to read these articles and not be totally in awe of the complex ways that the Lord has designed for the baby to survive in the womb, and how the baby even influences the mother’s body to prepare for its own birth.
There is one more nugget to dig out of Psalm 139, found in verse 15, where God’s plan of design for us is revealed long before we come out of the womb: “Thine eyes did see my substance yet being unperfect, and in thy book all my members were written…” The phrase : “Thine eyes did see my substance yet being unperfect”, is one word in the Hebrew, and simply means “embryo!” God is watching over each embryonic human being from the moment of conception.
Let’s go on in the Old Testament. The prophet Isaiah was spoken of also as being himself a person from the womb: “Thus saith the Lord that made thee, and formed the from the womb.” (Isaiah 44:2, also see v 24, and Isaiah 49:5.) Look at Isaiah 49:15: ‘Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet I will not forget thee.” God points to the love of a mother for her child as an example of faithful love, and says that even if she fails, God won’t fail to remember and love us. The mother is pictured as the best earthly example of compassion and love, with not a hint that her love and compassion only should start once the baby is born.
One more example from the Old Testament. Jeremiah the prophet is spoken of as being known by God as a person, being planned even before he was born and known by God while still in the womb: “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee, and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee.” (Jeremiah 1:5) Again, Jeremiah was Jeremiah, not a lifeless clump of cells, before he came out of the womb.
Finally, Paul speaks of himself as being chosen by God while still in his mother’s womb, and therefore a person at that time: “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb…”(Galatians 1:15). Notice that he was “me” in his mother’s womb.
Now let’s look at the New Testament. When did John the Baptist begin his ministry? Actually, when he was about six inches long, and weighed about a pound and a half! Luke 1:15, speaking of John the Baptist: “He shall be filled with the Holy Ghost even from his mother’s womb.” And see Luke 1:41 and 44: “And it came to pass that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb…Elizabeth said, ‘as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the babe leapt in my womb for joy.” While for sure something very supernatural was going on here, the question nevertheless remains: Could a lifeless clump of cells leap for joy?
We have looked at 6 different individuals spoken of in the Bible, and we have seen that in all cases they are considered by God as persons, not things, while still in their mother’s womb, from conception. All the word games that “progressives” try to play can’t change the fact that the human being has personhood while still in the womb, and so it is therefore a human life that is taken when an abortion is performed.
Further, we claim to stand for those who are marginalized and cannot speak for themselves. Yet we have failed over 60,000,000 of our citizens in this regard!! (notice that all these points again depend on the personhood of the human while still in the womb.) That person in the womb, who has no voice yet in the world, doesn’t get a choice to speak for themselves, and say, “I want to live!” How can we hypocritically call this view “pro-choice?” This view is not even consistent with the values of an atheistic society, which American is fast becoming. After all, an atheist doesn’t believe that a baby born has any chance for a life other than this life on earth! You would think then, that life would be protected as precious at all costs. But again, the baby has no voice to protect its own right to life.
Some further points need to be brought out about the abortion issue. The sad truth is that today in America, the most dangerous place statistically for a person to be is not in a car, or plane, or in a crowd of people, or college campus, or elementary school. The most dangerous place for a person to be in America is in their mother’s womb! We have transformed for so many what was designed by God to be a place of protection and security, into a death chamber. We make the claim that a “hard” life for the child is better than no life at all. Yet how many who have had a “hard” life, if they were asked to choose between being alive and being killed on the spot, would say, “go ahead and kill me ?” And how do we foreknow that God will not take care of that child that is born even though the present circumstances look bleak? It is simply a lack of trust in God that shows here.
Is abortion really “pro choice?” Maybe pro-convenience would be a better label. By the time a baby is conceived, the choice has already been made to have sex with someone, knowing that it is possible a new life may be conceived. If there is a time of choice, it seems like it needs to be made before hopping in bed with someone. But it is argued that having sex anytime with anyone we want is our “right”. We also say that a woman (or a man) has the right to do what he or she wants with their own body. But again, let’s ask God what He thinks about this idea.
What does God’s Word say? “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, and you are not your own. For you are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
God says that our bodies aren’t owned by us to do as we please, after all. God, in the person of Jesus Christ, paid the price for our redemption when He died on the cross, to purchase a place with Him for eternity. This is what is meant by us being “bought with a price”. He offers this eternal life and forgiveness He purchased for us as a free gift, which if we rebel in unrepentance and refuse the gift, we will be separated from Him forever, by our own choice. Separation from God forever is called hell, and will be our destiny if we decide to go our own way and be our own little god and do what we want with our body. He does not force us to go His way. (If I just held back and pretended that this wasn’t true just to be politically correct, I would be worse that someone who sees a person in a house who is unaware that the house is on fire, and doesn’t warn him because he might be upset with me.)
But for those who have rebelled and had abortions, and for those doctors and other workers who have performed abortions, and are now repentant and sorry for what they did in the past, there is also good news, which is what the word “gospel” means. Even if we have aborted our baby and therefore committed murder, God can completely forgive us if we come to Him in repentance and faith in what He did for us when He died on the cross to pay our debt of sin for us. There is no sin that cannot be forgiven. Even Paul, who also was a murderer, used himself as an example the worst of sinners, that God could still forgive since He paid Paul’s and our debt in the person of Jesus Christ : “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.”( 1Timothy 1:15) (see also Acts 26:10-18)
All of us are in the same need of a savior, whether we have had an abortion or not. See Romans 3:23-24: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” And God shows his love for us: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
Jesus rose from the dead and defeated sin and death for us. Jesus, also called Emmanuel ,“God with us” who came to earth as a baby in the womb, has provided a way to rescue us from our own sin and rebellion and give us all life, not just here on earth, but for all eternity with Him.