How pro-life is the Bible?
an article by Alliance for Life Ministries
Legalized abortion is one of the most controversial issues facing the United States and has divided our nation like no other since the Civil War. For years, information has been published describing the development of the unborn from conception to birth; illustrating the fact that before every abortion a heart beat has begun and is later silenced.
Our courts have made abortion legal in the United States, as they did slavery. But because abortion is currently legal, is that all that matters? For 200 hundred years abortion was illegal and considered morally wrong.
When confronted with complex moral issues, the first question those who believe in the Bible should ask is, "What does the Bible say?" The scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the foundation stones of all Christian churches. In the final analysis, what God has said, not what the Supreme Court has ruled, should be your standard of judgment.
God said in Genesis 1: 26-27, "Let us make man in Our image according to Our likeness." Only human life, not plant or animal life can walk with and talk with and have fellowship with the Creator. It should not surprise us then when we turn to Exodus 20:13 that we read, "You shall not murder." Why? Because we represent the image of God.
Scripture does not address the issue of abortion directly, but if one were to accept the principle that whatever the Bible does not specifically forbid is permissible, one would be in the horrible position of sanctioning everything from slavery to nuclear warfare. Scripture, however, does infer an undeniable pro-life position.
Silence in the New Testament indicates that abortion was not a serious issue of that day. There was a profound Jewish respect for unborn and newborn human life as a gift of God. The earliest Christians and the Jewish people of that day were not tempted to end or endanger the life of their children before or after birth.
Still, we do have evidence that the Early Church Fathers (the disciples of the Apostles), following in the tradition of the Apostles, were pro-life. We read in "The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles" (written AD 110) commonly called "The Didache" (lit. "The Teaching"): "The second commandment of the teaching is this: You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not corrupt boys, you shall not be sexually promiscuous, you shall not steal, you shall not engage in sorcery, you shall not abort a child or commit infanticide , you shall not covet your neighbors' possessions.' (2:2). Numerous historical references show that both Jews and Christians in New Testament times opposed abortion.
The popular Jewish wisdom of Sentences of Pseudo-Phocylides (written between 50 BC and AD 50) says that "a woman may not destroy the unborn babe in her belly." The apocalyptic Sibylline Oracles , includes among the wicked, two groups: women who produce abortion and sorcerers who dispense abortifacients. The apocryphal , (first- or second-century BC) 1 Enoch says that an evil angel taught humans how to "smash the embryo in the womb." The Hellenistic Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria (25 BC-AD 41) taught that anyone who induced abortion must be fined if the fetus was unformed and given the death penalty if formed. Similarly, the first-century Jewish historian Josephus wrote, "The Law orders all the offspring to be brought up, and forbids women either to cause abortion or to make away with the fetus." A woman convicted of this was regarded as having committed an infanticide, because she destroyed a soul and diminished the race. The Epistle of Barnabas is another example. No contradictory early Jewish texts about abortion have been discovered. At issue is when life begins and whether the pre-born are persons. Space does not allow us to list these verses as thoroughly as we would like; they simply are too numerous.
Adam and Eve were created, but Cain their first son was conceived. Genesis 4.1: "Eve conceived and gave birth to Cain." The individual conceived and the individual born are one and the same, namely, Cain.
Isaiah 44:2 states, "The Lord who made you, formed you from the womb." Psalms 139:13-16 states, "For thou didst form my inward parts, thou didst cover me in my mother's womb." Luke mentions in 1:35 that what was being formed in Mary, the mother of Jesus, was in fact, "the holy offspring, the Son of God," not mere fetal tissue. Mary was "with child" (Matthew 1-18). Luke further states in 1-41, The babe in Elizabeth's womb (John the Baptist) "leaped for joy when Mary came carrying Jesus in her womb ." Blobs don't leap and have joy, neither do tissue and tumors or things - only life leaps and has joy.
The Bible constantly refers to the unborn child precisely as that: an unborn child. The Greek word " brephos " and the term "huios," are used to describe a child in the womb or one that is born. The Hebrew words " yeled " and " geber " mean a child either inside or outside the womb. (Those wishing to check this may reference the Interlinear Greek-English New Testament by Nestle and Marshal, Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon, etc.). The personal pronouns " I ", " me ", or " thee " are always used referring to a person and not a thing. Further more, we are told in Scripture (Jeremiah 1:5) that Jeremiah was sanctified or consecrated from his mother's womb, "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born, I consecrated you." You don't consecrate or sanctify a "thing", a "blob of tissue", but a person. No, the Bible is clear, it's a person, not a thing, in the womb. The nebulous concepts of quickening, viability, or of personhood occurring at some stage after conception cannot be found in the Bible. God could not be more emphatic. "... and Rebekah his wife conceived, and the children struggled together within her..." (Genesis 25:21-23). "And the woman conceived, so she sent and told David, and said, I am with child" (2 Samuel 11:5). In today's deceptive language, "fetus" is simply the Latin word for baby. Some people quote Genesis 2:7, arguing that the time of personhood is when a child takes his first breath. But it is false to suggest this, as Professor John Davis points out, "while breathing in the usual sense doesn't begin until birth, the process of respiration in the more technical biological sense of the transfer of oxygen from the environment of the organism occurs from the time of conception. " Thus it is the mode, not the fact of this oxygen transfer, which changes at birth .
Exodus 21:22-25 in the Mosaic law refers to punishment for causing the death of the unborn, equal to the crime, a capitol offense, punishable by death.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church , prepared following the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council states, Article 5 - The Fifth Commandment - (2258) "Human Life is sacred because from its beginning it remains forever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end ." (2274) "Since it must be treated from conception as a person, the embryo must be defended in its integrity, cared for, and healed, as far as possible, like any other human being ." Abortion : (2270) "Human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of his existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person - among which is the inviable right of every innocent being to life. (2271) " Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangable . Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law."
Euthanasia : (2277) " Whatever its motives and means , direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable. Thus an act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human and to the respect due to the living God, his Creator. The error of judgment into which one can fall in good faith does not change the nature of this murderous act, which must always be forbidden and excluded."
How often couples will have sexual relations again and again - but there is no conception. Then one day God sovereignly causes life to he conceived. The couple can no more say they had the creative power to begin that life within that woman then they can say they have the final authority to end it. For the many men and women who are guilty of procuring an abortion, God is willing to forgive, if there is confession and repentance (1 John 1:9).
Justice Harry Blackmun, who wrote Roe v. Wade, appealed to religion in his decision on the matter of abortion - but he didn't appeal to Christianity. He said that if he were to appeal to religion, he would appeal to the ancient Persian or Greek or Roman religions which embraced and encouraged abortion and infanticide and many other horrors. And so he would appeal to paganism . That rips off the veneer right there! Abortion is one of the fundamental tenets of pagan religion and all those who hold to it are adopting, whether they know it or not, the basic tenets of ancient pagan religions which were horrors to say the least.
An argument often used against those opposing abortion is that we should be willing to adopt the baby that we are attempting to save. What these arguments amount to is, if you won't adopt a baby, you can't tell me not to kill one! That, of course, makes as much sense as forbidding me from intervening when I see my neighbor sexually abusing a child, unless I am willing to adopt that child. Alliance For Life Ministries would be more than willing to assist anyone interested in placing a child up for adoption. We receive calls and letters from couples as far away as California. There are couples that are very willing to pay all medical and legal fees, simply for the opportunity to offer a loving home to an "unwanted" baby.
There are churches in our area that twist God's Word regarding the subject of life so to preach a theology that suits their situation. These churches are more interested in appeasing a certain element of their church body than preaching the uncompromising word of God. The Bible says, "Woe unto those who call good evil and evil good. " What was wrong in God's eye yesterday, is wrong in God's eye today. It is scripturally clear that almost all abortions are acts of unjustified homicide. Someday, these child abusers will meet up with that Great Judge who presides over the ultimate Supreme Court, (Matthew 25:31-46) from whose decision there is no appeal.
[ View More Articles From This Category ]
[ Return Home ]