Abortion And The Bible

human_fetus_10_weeks_-_therapeutic_abortionI’m not quite sure why some people think abortion is so different from killing babies. The claim is that a baby, to be recognized as human, must be “viable,” meaning that it can live outside the womb. But “live” by what means? A newborn is still helpless. He can’t feed himself. She can’t tell anyone what she wants. She can’t acquire covering or run from danger. He is as helpless and dependent as a newly formed life in his mother’s womb. And science has left no doubt that the fertilized egg is a life.

For hundreds of years, perhaps thousands, killing babies was the culturally accepted way of dealing with unwanted children. Take China for instance. [China has] “a history of female infanticide spanning 2000 years.”

During the 19th century the practice was widespread, readings from Qing texts show a prevalence of the term ni nü (to drown girls), and drowning was the most common method used to kill female children. Other methods used were suffocation and starvation. Leaving a child exposed to the elements was another method of killing an infant, the child would be placed in a basket which was then placed in a tree. Buddhist nunneries created “baby towers” for people to leave a child. In 1845 in the province of Jiangxi, a missionary wrote that these children survived for up to two days while exposed to the elements, and that those passing by, would ignore the screaming child.[13] Missionary David Abeel reported in 1844 that between one third and one fourth of all female children were killed at birth or soon after. (this and the previous quote from “Female Infanticide In China”)

With the one child per family rule instituted in 1980, infanticide is once again on the rise in China, though many babies—girls or ones with birth defects—are also aborted.

So what does the Bible have to say about abortion? Some professing Christians have taken a stand that the Bible is silent on the subject. But that’s not true. The Bible actually says a great deal about life in the womb. For instance, God speaking to the prophet Jeremiah, said

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
And before you were born, I consecrated you. (Jer. 1:5)

So God not only made Jeremiah, He also set him apart to be a prophet “to the nations” before he was viable.

Other Bible writers call attention to the fact that God creates life in the mother’s womb: Job (31:15), David (Psalm 22:10), Isaiah (45:24; 49:5).

Others also mention God’s call on their life before they were born. Isaiah, speaking prophetically said this, likely about the Messiah:

The LORD called Me from the womb;
From the body of My mother He named Me. (Is. 49:1b)

The writer of Judges recounted Samson’s prophesied birth. The angel who met with his mother before his conception, told her to follow certain guidelines because “the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb.” The Nazrite was someone set apart and dedicated to God, but usually this was to fulfill a vow and was for a short period of time. Samson was different. He was to be a Nazirite from the womb throughout his life.

The Apostle Paul was similarly aware of God’s call on his life before he was ever born:

But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles . . . (Galatians 1:15-16a)

Perhaps the most dramatic example of life and spiritual activity in the womb is John the Baptist who was filled by “the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb” (Luke 1:15). Not only did he have the Spirit in his little life, but his spirit responded to the presence of the life of the Messiah in Mary’s womb, and as a result the baby “leaped for joy” in his mother’s womb (Luke 1:44).

Just as compelling, for me is the statement David made, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, in Psalm 58. This is one of those imprecatory psalms, “those psalms that contain curses or prayers for the punishment of the psalmist’s enemies” (from Theopedia). They can be hard to read for those of us used to an emphasis on God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness. But the significance here is that God identifies the spiritual life of individuals before they are born:

The wicked are estranged from the womb;
These who speak lies go astray from birth.
They have venom like the venom of a serpent;
Like a deaf cobra that stops up its ear,
So that it does not hear the voice of charmers,
Or a skillful caster of spells. (vv 3-5)

The point seems clear: not just certain special individuals are alive and fully formed spiritually as they grow physically, but even the wicked have their spiritual direction set in the womb.

Of course, man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart (1 Samuel 16:7)—and apparently He does so from the womb on, throughout a person’s life.

What does all this mean for abortion?

Throughout Scripture, God informs us of the value of human life. In particular He came down hard on people groups, including Israel, which incorporated child sacrifice as part of their worship of false gods.

[Jerusalem] should be removed from before My face, because of all the evil of the sons of Israel and the sons of Judah which they have done to provoke Me to anger—they, their kings, their leaders, their priests, their prophets, the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. They have turned their back to Me and not their face; though I taught them, teaching again and again, they would not listen and receive instruction. But they put their detestable things in the house which is called by My name, to defile it. They built the high places of Baal that are in the valley of Ben-hinnom to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire to Molech, which I had not commanded them nor had it entered My mind that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin.

Abortion is today’s version of child sacrifice. We don’t offer children on an altar; we don’t make it a ritual incorporated into worship, but we certainly take the lives of helpless humans for the benefit of the mature adult making the decision. Those we should protect, we destroy for our own purposes.

What’s more, we violate God’s first command: Be fruitful and multiply.

Ah, some will say, it’s the multiplying that is the problem. We need to curb human reproduction because the planet can’t sustain us all.

But now we come to the real issue: humans think we know better than God. We don’t know how He could possibly have dealt with overpopulation if we didn’t step in, violate His command to be fruitful and multiply, and solve the problem ourselves.

That’s been the issue from the beginning. Man doesn’t think God is capable of dealing with the problems. God, in His infinite wisdom, says, OK, we’ll try it your way for a while, and when you’re ready, you can come back to me and we’ll get things straightened out.

I don’t see the problems of our times reversing themselves, but who knows? We can only walk in the light of the knowledge we have, and that knowledge points to babies, alive both physically and spiritually in the womb, and God who wants us to protect the vulnerable and to preserve life. To me that’s a pretty clear case against abortion.

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Published in: on January 26, 2017 at 6:12 pm  Comments (17)  
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  1. As a follower of God and also as a father who has lost 3 children and also have 3 beautiful children I can say that abortion is something I find vile and unacceptable. I have used your same arguments when debating pro-choice people. Infants don’t survive on their own so they are just as helpless and “unviable” as the unborn. We are also commanded to not commit murder, yet we do it to the helpless children within because it’s easier when you don’t see the result. We pretend like it never happened. We need to remember that every life is precious and a gift from God. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Reblogged this on emotionalpeace.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. “I’m not quite sure why some people think abortion is so different from killing babies.”
    Because babies have awareness, can feel pain, and can survive with the aid of other humans. If abortion is such a sin, what about all the millions of miscarriages every year? You believe your god creates life then destroys millions of beings before they can exit the womb? Knows and loves people but created a mechanism to deny them the chance to live? If your god did exist and was responsible of our existence, he would be fine with women making the same decision he clearly does – to terminate unwanted pregnancies and plan for families in a way they can best support truly loved, wanted and cherished children.

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    • Hey, violetwisp, thanks for stopping by and for leaving a comment. Once again you do a great job of presenting an opposing view.

      You say that babies have awareness and by implication that fetuses don’t. That conclusion has a couple of problems. For one, the fetus sleeps a good part of the time. When I’m asleep, I’m not aware either, but of course that doesn’t say anything about why I should not be killed. Second, science has been doing some interesting research—inconclusive, because babies in and out of the womb can’t talk—but nevertheless, facts that challenge the assumption that the fetus is not aware:

      The preterm infant, ex utero, may open its eyes and establish minimal eye contact with its mother. It also shows avoidance reactions to harmful stimuli.

      Why ex utero but not in utero? Lack of stimuli, perhaps, but not lack of awareness.

      Further, studies show that babies apparently have a memory of their mother’s voices and of smells–yes, the smell of amniotic fluid. They also experience pain at a certain point of their development, though researchers are inclined to attribute that to an instinctive response rather than a conscious response. But do we know? How can we?

      The other point is one science can’t address—the presence of the human soul in a child. That is not something you believe even adults have, if I understand your thinking, violetwisp. So of course that isn’t a convincing argument to you. But it certainly is to me.

      You make another observation—about miscarried babies. The idea that God has denied them life does not take into account eternity—life after this life—which as I understand it, you also don’t believe in. This life is certainly great, but it isn’t all there is. There’s every indication to believe that God has, in His sovereign plan, a different destiny for a miscarried baby, other than the life here that we know.

      But whether it’s OK for women to make that decision—women who don’t have God’s omniscience, or love for the fetus (and I’m sure, because you’re an intelligent woman, violetwisp, you recognize that a woman aborting her child doesn’t love in the same way that God who died on our behalf loves)—women making that decision, essentially in rebellion against God, is the real issue. We’ve taught in our culture that humans have the right to determine our own fate, not God. In other words, we reject God’s authority over us, even to the point that we think we can determine whether another individual lives or dies. That’s at the heart of the problem with abortion.

      Not a problem, I might add, that also doesn’t fall under God’s grace and forgiveness. In other words, abortion is NOT an unforgivable sin. It’s a point some pro-life people seem to lose sight of at times.

      Becky

      Liked by 1 person

      • “Further, studies show that babies apparently have a memory of their mother’s voices and of smells–yes, the smell of amniotic fluid.”
        You’re confusing several things here Becky. They don’t even have the structure to start to hear anything at all until around 16 weeks, and there is only a response from around 24 weeks. The vast majority of women who choose to have an abortion do so well before either of these developments. Those who seek abortion in later terms are often faced with health problems, violent partners, or simply haven’t been able to access abortion earlier. This will be an increasing problem in the USA if your country continues to pull funding for providers – you and people like you are forcing desperate women to have later terms abortions when there’s a greater chance of harm, you are forcing women in violent relationships to continue with pregnancies they don’t want.
        http://www.livescience.com/17529-trimester-abortions.html

        You know, it’s all very well for your readers to spread ‘happy stories’ of people who considered abortion but didn’t go through with it – are you so naive you think that tells the whole story? Everybody’s situation is unique, and every woman can make her own decision. Abortion isn’t wrong or evil – it’s a medical procedure that saves lives.

        You believe your god gives you the authority to choose if you eat today, you don’t wait for food to fall in your mouth. You believe your god gives you the authority to ask a doctor to remove malignant growths from your body, and presumably don’t assume that because some people mysteriously get better without medical intervention that you should just pray about it. You believe your god gave every woman a batch of eggs (millions of half souls?) that can be used to breed when and if they choose – it is okay for women to make the decision who they choose as a partner, when they have sex and if they use contraception. They can also surely evaluate if accidental or potentially harmful pregnancies should continue.

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        • Violetwisp, this post is entitle Abortion And The Bible, so I wouldn’t expect you to agree with the particulars that deal with what Scripture says about the matter, but some of your comment above is surprising.

          “it’s a medical procedure that saves lives.” Violetwisp, you’re an intelligent woman. How can you say abortion saves lives? Since Roe v Wade passed in 1973, there have been over 53 million babies whose lives ended because of abortion. How many pregnant women’s lives have been saved through abortion during that time? Even if it was a million or two million or six million, we’re nowhere near the number of lives lost because of abortion.

          A baby is not a malignant growth. That’s again an analogy I wouldn’t have expected from you.

          Of course a woman can choose when and with whom she will engage in sexual intercourse, but by doing so she should not be free to kill the child that results from such a choice. Her choice, and the baby has to pay? How does that make sense? Why aren’t we talking about the choice of all those unborn little girls who will never grow up to enjoy the efforts of feminists?

          Everybody’s situation is different, but that doesn’t mean it’s OK for a driver to drive drunk, for an unjustly fired employee to kill his former co-workers or boss, for a person of a minority who experienced prejudice to open fire on police, for a person who’s been robbed to stalk and kill the robber, or any other scenario we can think of in which different situations make life harder for the one who has suffered. None of those justifies the ending of a life of someone else.

          And Violetwisp, I’m not the one confused. The link you posted has nothing to do with the timeline of fetal development. In addition hearing is in process of development as early as week 6:

          Throughout your first and second trimester, your baby’s ears continue to develop: The inner ear connects with neurons in the brain responsible for processing sounds, and the miniscule bones of the middle ear (which sense the vibration of sound waves) form.

          See http://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/fetal-hearing/

          You’re right to say the process isn’t complete until week 16 and that response to sound isn’t measurable until week 24, but I don’t know why that’s relevant. Because a person isn’t completely developed doesn’t mean they are less valuable.

          Look at it from the side of deteriorating abilities. Would you approve of euthanasia based on whether an elderly person has hearing loss? Or a soldier lost his hearing in war?

          The fact is, we know that babies can recognize their mother’s voices and even “that experiences in the womb help shape newborn preferences and behaviour.” https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/05/030513080440.htm

          I don’t see how people who see the science can believe it’s OK to prematurely stop someone else’s natural development.

          Becky

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          • Why is it wrong to harm other people? Because they feel pain, because they suffer, because they have connections in the world that suffer. A fetus before 24 weeks categorically cannot feel pain, has no awareness, does not suffer. The fact that you compare this to someone who is living a full life and loses their hearing shows you just aren’t following the simple facts of the situation.

            The study you link to relates to the final stages of pregnancy. As I stated, when the vast majority of abortions are carried out, the fetus isn’t developed enough to even start to hear, never mind process anything.

            I actually agree that it’s sad to halt the development of a potential human being, but please don’t get so immersed in this polarised debate that lose sight of what is terminated. You also seem completely content to ignore the fact that a fully developed human being (who can suffer, and has connections in the world) is completely capable of deciding if they want to continue developing other humans within their body.

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          • I’m afraid I don’t agree with your idea that it’s wrong to harm other people because they feel pain, because they suffer. I think it’s wrong to harm other people because I don’t have the right to harm them. They are independent of me, not my play thing, to do with them whatever gives me pleasure or benefit. Essentially you’re saying, if a slave, for instance, felt no pain and did not suffer and had his or her family with him his whole life so that he was connected to the world, then slavery in his instance was not wrong.

            You know that’s not the case.

            Why, then, should taking someone’s life be acceptable as long as they don’t feel pain or suffer? Again, euthanasia. Let’s give the old people a drug to put them painlessly to sleep because they won’t feel any pain, they won’t suffer.

            You said something about them having connections in the world that suffer, but the truth is, no one knows what connections in the world an abortion prematurely ends. That simply is an unknown. Essentially you’re saying, if we know their connections, then we shouldn’t kill, but if we don’t know their connections, then we can kill at will.

            We’re right back to slavery. Those plantation owners who bought slaves had no knowledge of their connection i the world, so it must have been fine for the to have bought the slave. What you don’t know, past or future, immunizes you from responsibility.

            Violetwisp, you know that isn’t so.

            As far as my concern for the women who make the choice to have an abortion—I’m fully aware that they have a choice: they can choose their sexual activity, with a more serious understanding of what sex is. We (western society) have made sex little more than the first-choice form of recreation. That’s sadly demeaning, of sex and of the man and woman engaged in it, but especially to women as a whole. I’m sure InsanityBytes can speak on this subject more eloquently than I, but abortion, as horrible as it is for the lives that are lost, is also damaging to women, to our culture, to what we understand regarding the purpose of life.

            Becky

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  4. I was just watching the Pro-Life March pictures on TV. And I was thinking to myself what does the Bible really say about the issue of abortion? Then I remembered seeing the title of your post in my mail this morning. So here I came reading through.
    Great truths of the Bible you have here and I had never really looked at the issue from the perspectives you shared here.
    So it is clear that we should protect unborn children because God has great plans for them as well. Our human rights should also extend to their right to live.
    However, there are some tough issues that some people have to deal with: E.G a woman who becomes pregnant because she was raped by many men…she is caught between making a decision to keep a child she doesn’t want to explain to in future about the circumstance of his or her birth
    Modern day science enables expectant mothers to know if their unborn baby would not be a healthy baby. This gives them the option of flushing the baby out instead of allowing him or her to come into the world suffering.
    What is your take on this?

    Like

    • I’m glad this post proved timely, bismodupe. As to your question, I think it’s interesting that the next commenter mentioned someone who conceived a child after a rape, and that child proved to be a blessing.

      I think you’ll find the same to be true for many parents who have chosen to give birth despite the fact that they know ahead of time their baby has some kind of birth defect.

      But the thing is, it really isn’t our decision as humans. God the Creator of life knows these circumstances and He is able to turn darkness to light. He can and does give grace to parents who wanted a whole and healthy baby, only to find their lives turned upside down by having a special needs child instead.

      We simply don’t know what God will do and we shouldn’t presume by taking a life simply because we think it will be hard. I don’t see any exceptions clause in Scripture when it comes to preserving and protecting the life of the unborn.

      Becky

      Liked by 1 person

  5. As I Bible believing Christian, mother who was with my daughter when she gave birth to both grandsons, i can only say I can’t second guess God! I know the pain and agony of many couples who suffered through a miscarriage-I acknowledged the husband’s pain to which he was so appreciative l as it was his child, too. Several close friends choose to either abort or just not have children regretted it one their friends became grandmothers. They were too focused on their careers. In fact, I’m thankful to my barren Aunt-I was also career focused and she shared with me her biggest sadness in life was not being able to conceive-She encouraged me to have a child! I’m so sad I didn’t name my daughter Esther after her! She has been my Esther!!! And then I’ve listened to several mom’s and their now grown children-conceived in rape, share how the baby became the blessing from the horrid event. And the child so grateful for their life! And then one of the most compelling testimonies is by Gianna Jesson, a precious young woman who survived life in spite of being the victim of a saline abortion. You can hear from her why she agrees abortion is an abomination to our God, the creator of our world: http://giannajessen.com

    Liked by 2 people

  6. AMEN! Great research. Thank you for writing this piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is fantastic, Becky. I think the other aspect that makes abortion so heinous is that those who clamor for pro choice and some of those who have abortions do so, claiming that their bodies are their own. “Don’t tell me what to do with MY body.” Scripture tells us that’s not the case at all. Our bodies are temples of the Lord. We are not our own, we were bought with a price. “19Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God with your body.…” 1Corinthians 6:19-20. I could understand an atheist or naturalist who rejects God saying, “So what?” But for Christians, we’ve gotten the issue of whose body is it anyway—made pretty dang clear. And that leads to, even if your body is your own (which God says it’s not), that little body in your body is not your body. The baby’s body would belong to him/her and, therefore, destroying that body undermines the philosophy of the whole choice movement. The little unborn baby gets no choice.

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    • Wayne, you’ve made a great point—several, actually.

      The choice is not the baby’s, not even the father’s, and certainly not God’s. That means the woman is putting herself up as the sole judge of whether or not someone else should live or die.

      That’s where Satan wants us—demanding that we be equal with God, the very thing he wanted for himself and has set out to infect God’s creation with.

      For Christians—those who think through what the pro-abortion movement is saying—this should be a foregone conclusion, not a topic up for debate.

      Becky

      Like

  8. […] Becky Miller – please read the post by Beautiful Kingdom Warriors. Other Christians can read the Bible and come to similar but different conclusions. […]

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