A biblical defense of Life

Participants at the Topix forum have asked for biblical mandate opposing abortion. Of course, the very simplest would be the fifth Commandment: Thou shalt not kill; however, some of the pro-“choicers” on that site are adamant that the preborn child is not a person (she is human, she is alive, they acknowledge, but they insist that she is deprived of personhood until she is born), and so they are not satisfied with those four direct words. Therefore, it becomes necessary to take a deeper look into the Christian scriptures to examine how we come to the conclusion that abortion is never justified

Our respect for the sanctity of human life finds its provenance in Genesis 1-3, where God creates man(kind) in His own image – male and female. This creation, this “Theology of the Body” gives an inherent dignity and worth to every human being, from the moment of conception to natural death.
With this creation, too, comes the command to “be fruitful and multiply” (Gen. 1:28) From this, in the very early history of humankind, pregnancy is recognized among the righteous as a sign of God’s favor and blessing; infertility, childlessness, is seen as a rebuke and a sign of reproach and judgment. –  (Ex. 23:26, Deut. 7:14, I Sam. 1:18-20, II Sam. 6:23, II Kings 4:14-17, Hos 9:11, Lk 1:7, 13. 57)

Sarah, wife of Abraham, laughs when she overhears the messenger of the Lord telling her husband that within a year she will bear a son, after many, many years’ childlessness – and it is important to note that conception is associated with sexual pleasure, here (Gen. 15:13) Other women who are grieved in their infertility are Rebekah (Gen. 25:21), Rachel (Gen. 30), the unnamed wife of Manoah (Samson’s mother – Judges 13), Hannah (I Sam. 1:18-20), the Shunamite woman (II Kings 4:14-17), and in the New Testament, Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist (Lk 1)

Jewish law recognized the dignity of the unborn, in providing legal remedy for the loss of a child through miscarriage, when said miscarriage was the result of others’ actions (Ex. 21:22-25)

Now – it is critically important to recognize this: the deliberate killing of one’s children, including abortion, is identified throughout Scripture as a pagan practice.  When the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob repeatedly tells Israel in the Law, “I am the Lord your God…” He is reminding them that, as His people, they are to live in such a way as demonstrates His distinctive identity from the myriad of gods worshipped by all the world around them.

In fact, there were two major distinctives that set Israel apart from the pagan world: the restriction of sexual activity to heterosexual monogamy (in which Israel, even her kings, failed terribly, but this becomes the standard against the pagan civilizations which practiced all manner of sexual licentiousness, which was expressly forbidden to Israel) and the prohibition of human sacrifice – violations of both being identified by some of the strongest condemnation in the Scriptures: an abomination.

The practice of human sacrifice associated with worship of false gods and prohibited by the God of the Hebrews is noted in Lev. 20:1-5, Deut. 12:31, II Kings 3:26-27 and 23:10, II Chr. 28:3, and Jer. 19:5.

Some of the posters at Topix are insisting that Christianity never prohibited abortion. This will take other research into the writings on the topic by the Apostolic Fathers and others, and will have to wait.

However, we have a keen example of how abortion is not an acceptable course of action in the story of David and Bathsheba  (II Samuel 11). Bathsheba is the wife of Uriah the Hittite, a commander in David’s army and his friend. David gets the hots for Bathsheba, seduces her and she becomes pregnant. What David does is despicable – he calls Uriah home from his military duties, hoping Uriah can be persuaded, later, to think the baby is his own. But Uriah – that noble hero – refuses even to go to his own house, saying it is not right (read the chapter to find out why). David’s desperate – he tries everything, even getting Uriah drunk,  and when he fails to get Uriah in his marital bed, he sends Uriah to the very front lines, where in the heat of battle that man is killed.

Now – had abortion been an acceptable alternative, as some of the Topix posters have insisted, it would have been a simple matter for David to arrange it, yes? After all, he is the king; he gets to dictate whatever he wants and no one dares to question him. No one would ever have been the wiser. A simple, tidy remedy for a sticky, humiliating situation. But an abortion is not pursued.

We also have the Psalmist’s sense of being known by God from the time before his birth – Psalm 139: 13-16

... my frame was not hidden from Thee…
Thine eyes have seen my unformed sbustance;
and in Thy book they were all written, the days that were ordained for me,
when as yet there was not one of them.

But the single most important reason for Christians to oppose abortion is the Incarnation. In Isaiah 7:14, we see the prophecy, “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and thou shalt call his name Emmauel: God with us.” – “And the Word was made flesh…” (Jn 1:14) That prophecy, we believe, was fulfilled and noted in Luke 1.  God, in the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, was conceived by Mary. He grew in her womb as all babies do, and this Incarnation – this taking on of human flesh – so greatly dignifies our humanity, even before we are born, that it is impossible for us to support the termination of life through abortion.

Even Mary’s cousin, Elizabeth, gives witness to the unique personhood of the life in the womb. Hers has been a miraculous conception, occurring at an age where she had given up all hope. And when Mary comes to visit her, when she is late in her pregnancy, she greets Mary with a profound affirmation.

She recognizes Mary as “The Mother of my Lord” and says, “When the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy.” The pre-born John the Baptist demonstrates his own personhood in recognizing the voice of the Mother of God and the approach of her Child –


11 Responses to A biblical defense of Life

  1. Chicky says:

    It is interesting to note that the bible also shows several instances where pregnant women and their fetuses are slaughtered by or for god, and were obviously expendable in war or for revenge:

    Genesis 38:24 (New American Standard Bible)

    24″Now it was about three months later that Judah was informed, “Your daughter-in-law Tamar has played the harlot, and behold, she is also with child by harlotry.” Then Judah said, “Bring her out and (A)let her be burned!”

    Hosea 13:16
    “The people of Samaria must bear the consequences of their guilt because they rebelled against their God. They will be killed by an invading army, their little ones dashed to death against the ground, their pregnant women ripped open by swords”

    Where did god say, “DO NOT slaughter the unborn, as they are sacred life”?

    In addition, Numbers 5 shows where an abortion was used on a woman who may have committed adultery.

    Exodus 21:22 “If men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she gives birth prematurely, yet there is no injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman’s husband may demand of him, and he shall (A)pay as the judges decide.”

    “But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life,

    If the fetus is expelled, there is a monetary award, NOT a murder charge. If the woman dies, it is a life for a life.

    Exodus also says
    “He who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death.”

    “He who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.”

    It does not say, “if someone causes a fetus to die, he shall surely be put to death.”

    One can spend an entire day picking out bible verses to show that the fetus was never considered to be alive in the bible, and was not equal to the woman that carries it.

    As for the fifth commandment, Thou shalt not MURDER, Jewish law believed that life began with breath, after birth,

    “7Then the LORD God formed man of (H)dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”

    Therefore a fetus was not considered to be alive to murder.

    The statement above is an interesting attempt of a Topix poster, to attempt to use her own opinion as proof of her own opinion.

    So far, there is still no biblical proof that abortion is murder, or that it is a sin, or even wrong.

    I have always heard that it IS wrong to take the bible out of context and make it sound as if it is saying something that it isn’t.

    One does not get to control other women based on their own private religious beliefs. Especially religious beliefs that are not supported by the bible.

    Stop trying to interfere with FOCA, which is a LEGAL, governmental issue, that governs ALL women and not just those that share your belief system. If you are against abortion, you will never have to have one.

  2. Laura says:

    Numbers 5 is about marital infidelity, not about abortion; the ending of the chapter, with the promise that the woman, if she has been faithful, shall bear children, demonstrates that. Prior to the promise, there is no mention whatsoever about the woman’s supposedly being pregnant via infidelity.

    Judah was willing to have Tamar killed for her supposed prostitution; the baby, supposed to have been the child of harlotry, would have been an unfortunate victim, but not the principal target. (Paternity counts in the Bible.)

    Hosea: this is a prophecy of how an opposing army is going to violate Israel. It is not about good Jewish or Samaritan people obtaining voluntary abortions; it is about the mass murder of pregnant women and their unborn children.

    The “breath” thing is metaphorical. Unborn children undergo the respiratory process.

    Sorry, Chicky. You’re still wrong, and it’s you who are manipulating prooftexts.

  3. Matt says:

    I will tell everyone here publicly that I marvel at Laura’s charity. I would never have approved writer “Chicky”‘s post. Its full of hate and uninformed vitriol.

  4. Matt says:

    You’re right.
    Your post is full not of hate and uninformed vitriol.
    It full of sadly misinformed biblical scholarship and vitriol.

  5. Chicky says:

    Still incorrect, Matt, but you are excused. You can’t help yourself and do not know any better.

    Are you and Laura enjoying your little experiment?

    I know I am.

    Why don’t you help her find those biblical references to abortion? Thanks.

  6. Matt says:

    Tut tut Chicky,
    I’m working on it right now. You won’t be happy. but I hope you’ll be informed….

    If you catch an error please do point it out. I don’t want excused; I want you convinced.

    This is not an experiment. Its a labor of social engineering and of love. Welcome to the party.

  7. Mary says:

    Is Chicky Christian? Is that why she requires Biblical references to abortion?

    I’m fascinated by the logic (or lack thereof) of those who believe abortion is a human right (as long as that human is female, of course). A woman who is pregnant and wishes to have children refers to the unborn human living inside her as “my baby” or “Jeremy” or “Emma.” A woman who is pregnant and does not with to have children refers to the unborn human, which she has invited to reside in her womb (by having sexual intercourse) as “it” or “the fetus” or “the blob of cells.”

    Scientifically, what resides in her womb is a human from the time of conception. The difference is the fear and insistence that the human residing therein is removable. In order to make him/her (yes, the gender is already determined) removable, it is necessary to make him/her inhuman.

    Once a Mother and Father invite a human to be conceived (by having sexual intercourse), neither has the right to evict that human from the crib or from the womb. Parents are obliged to support and protect their preborn children as well as their born children.

    I mentioned “making him/her inhuman” above. That is precisely what the Nazis did. That is precisely what slave traders did. This is human nature. It’s innate in our psyches that we must never kill an innocent human. We know that. So, in order to kill an innocent human, we make him/her inhuman. It’s easy to do if that human is captive, and small.

    Did you know that, for every two African American women who become pregnant, one will abort her preborn child? On average, over 1800 African American humans are aborted each day in the U.S.

    I invite you all, if you haven’t already, to do a bit of research on the gravity of this situation. Here’s a good place to start:


    Thank you for considering those humans who have no voice, who are captive and small.

  8. Chicky says:

    Mary, you are certainly allowed to have whatever opinion you like on the subject of YOUR fetus and YOUR pregnancy.

    You are not, however, allowed to let that opinion interfere with others civil rights, like privacy, freedom of or from religion, equal protection under the law, etc.

    If you are against abortion, you will never be forced to have one. What other women do is simply none of your business.

  9. Chicky says:

    Matt, don’t delude yourself in to thinking that there is any way you will be convincing me of your position.

    I know it is difficult for folks like you to accept that what you believe is not relevant to other people.

    However, it is true. Your catholic belief and anything based on it, will be as convincing to me as, well, Rush Limbaugh would be to my politics.

    Sometimes I crack myself up! Like actually saying the words “Rush Limbaugh” in a serious sentence.

    Good luck!

  10. Matt says:

    I’m not deluded. You’re like what we called in the army an aiming stake. I’m addressing others who sort of think like you without the anger, hostility, closed-mindedness and bias. They ask good questions and teach me what I don’t know.

    However, the one true God is just POUNDING on the door of your heart. I don’t see that as delusional but hopeful. When you’re so tired that you can’t fight anymore you’ll hear Him. Your healing and conversion will come from God; not from a dummy like me.

    See 3 Kings 19:11

  11. Mary says:

    Reply to Chicky:

    You wrote: Mary, you are certainly allowed to have whatever opinion you like on the subject of YOUR fetus and YOUR pregnancy.

    Do you feel the same way about MY children and MY homelife? Of course not. I’d like to know, too, how you feel about Mothers who take drugs while pregnant.

    You wrote: You are not, however, allowed to let that opinion interfere with others civil rights,

    The right to kill an innocent human is not a civil right, which has to do with political and social rights and equality, not abortion. That is, unless you’re speaking about the overwhelming abortion rate in the Black community, where half of all unborn Blacks are aborted.

    You wrote: like privacy,

    Again, you must believe it’s my right to privacy that says I can do what I like with MY children within MY home. Of course not. My privacy has nothing to do with the harm I inflict on another human.

    You wrote: freedom of or from religion,

    I didn’t mention religion.

    You wrote: equal protection under the law, etc.

    I agree. All humans, especially the innocent, must have equal protection under the law.

    You wrote: If you are against abortion, you will never be forced to have one.

    It’s important to assume that the unborn human also is against abortion, as it’s his life that’s being considered for destruction. Does he have the right to protest his demise?

    You wrote: What other women do is simply none of your business.

    Fortunately, in this country, what others do IS my business if it does harm to other humans. I’d like to offer, too, that what a woman does to her own body is surely her business (although suicide is actually against the law in most States), but she may not do what she likes to another human. The unborn human is a genetically unique human, not part of the Mother’s body. If he/she were part of the Mother’s body, then there would be no reason to distinguish between the two. There would be no obstetrician called upon to care for the separate human residing in her womb.

    I find it sad that those who are most adamant about the right of a Mother to kill her unborn child have usually had an abortion. They’re usually under duress from boyfriends or parents and feel as if they don’t have the ability to financially care for a child. They also don’t have the emotional support they need from boyfriend, family, and friends. Women who have abortions feel as if they have no choice at all. 57% of women who have abortions are economically disadvantaged. At first those women are silent about the abortion. Then they attempt to feel better about the killing of their unborn child by becoming advocates for abortion. It’s a natural human response to trauma.

    Men who are pro-abortion usually go the other way. They want to forego financial/emotional responsibility, so they urge their girlfriends to abort their unborn child. It’s a matter of selfishness. They, too, suffer, though.

    And the men whose girlfriends/wives abort their unborn children without a say in that decision? Those are the saddest of all. I’ve known several of these men in my family and among friends, and they never get over the deaths of their children, deaths which they could not prevent. It’s a man’s natural tendency to protect his family, and when he can’t, when his wife or girlfriend kills his child? Those men suffer irreparable damage.

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