The Sanctity of Life

by Steven Waterhouse

It worries me that we have a whole generation which has grown up under a system where abortion is legal and where euthanasia may soon be legal. We now have adults born after 1973. They may not know the biblical reasons why evangelicals oppose abortion. I want to start out by giving them to you. For some of you, it may be the first time you have heard the case for the right to life using the Bible.

The first thing we're going to see is that God is interested and involved in the development of the unborn from their very beginning.

First, look at Job 10:8: "Thy hands fashioned and made me altogther, and wouldst thou destroy me? (NASB)"

Now look at Psalm 139:13-16: "For thou didst form my inward parts. Thou didst weave me in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made….Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance." Then the writer talks about the life span that God would have willed: "and in thy book they were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them."

Verse 13 in the KJV says, "Thou hast possessed my (inward parts). This is the correct translation of the Hebrew text. The Hebrew word is kah-nah. If you follow this word in the 84 times it is used in the Old Testament, you will find very often it means to acquire, to buy something, to own something. It is used of Ruth, in the Book of Ruth, when relatives were going to redeem or purchase a field.

Why do I push this? Because actually what the psalmist is saying is: "God, you possessed me, and you owned me when I was unborn. You fashioned me, but more than that, you owned me." So often in the abortion argument, the mother says "I can do whatever I want with this baby. I own it." No, you don't. God owns the children. The unborn belong to Him.

The text also says, "He formed their inward parts." The Hebrew word literally means "kidneys." But it never means the physical organ when it is used of humans. The Old Testament authors thought of "kidney" in the same way we use the word "heart." They are thinking of the place where the innermost person resides: the place of thinking, the place of emotions-the place of the soul.

Verse 13 is saying, "God, you owned me, and you developed my soul when I was within my mother." You will see the immediate significance of that point. Some part, at least, of man's non-material nature, or some part of the soul, is present from the beginning. And God owns it.

The second point in the argument is that God sees the unborn as individuals. He sees their whole future ahead of them. He does not look at them as we would. He sees their whole human potential. Jeremiah 1:5 is a fantastic passage to see that fact: "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I consecrated you: I have appointed you a prophet to the nations."

When Jeremiah was not yet born, God viewed his whole life span. Understand that God knows the entire future. He looked at this unborn baby and knew his name would be Jeremiah. He looked at the unborn Jeremiah and knew he would deliver His message.

When God looks at an unborn baby today, He sees the same thing. He does not just see tissue, bones, cartilage, and organs. He does not see, as some do, just the physical remains of an infant being aborted. God knows what name that child would have had. He knows what skills the child would have developed. God sees the entire human potential and knows everything about each person before he or she was ever born.

Now, I would like to add medical, legal, and philosophical arguments because when we discuss this issue with people, many of them have no interest in what the Bible says.

The Medical View

From the moment of conception, a child is living. It is going to grow. Is it a carrot? Is it a raccoon? No, the child has forty-six chromosomes. It is a human being. Also note that the developing child is different from the mother. The child is part father and part mother, so it is distinct.

What else is a developing child but alive? Take the common medical definitions for death and reverse them. If we say the absence of a heartbeat is death, then life begins at 18 days. If we say the absence of a brain wave is death, brain waves begin at forty-three days. Nearly all abortions take place after that. Abortion stops the heartbeat. Abortion stops the brain wave. Abortion causes pain. What else is abortion but the destruction of life?

The Philosophical View

To examine a philosophical idea, it should be taken to its logical outcome. When we do this, abortion is irrational. Every argument for abortion is the same argument for death for those that are already born. Therefore, something is wrong with pro-abortion logic.

The abortionist says, "Well, these are going to be born into poverty. They ought not live." Would this not be the same argument for killing the majority in Africa, South America, and Asia? Another assertion is that the unborn might not have high intelligence. Who defines intelligence? I have read a book which compares religious believers to wild animals who may have to be caged. Apparently I am ignorant because I am a conservative. If intelligence is to be the standard for killing unborn babies, it is just as logical to apply that rule from infants to older people.

What about logic and the concept of viability? Viability is where the child is able to live on its own. I have an article about a baby which weighed only ten ounces at birth; and doctors saved it. Also, you have this twisted logic where premature babies weighing less than a pound are being saved in one end of the hospital, and babies weighing several times more are being aborted at the other end of the hospital. This is madness! When you are saving children who are smaller than the ones you are killing, what sense is that?

The Legal View

Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun wrote the Roe vs. Wade decision. C. Everett Koop, former surgeon general, has summarized Blackmun's view this way: "We need not resolve the question of when life begins." Why not? Because a court says so? Is it okay to destroy the unborn, if one feels they cannot be absolutely proven to be human?

Let us apply the same logic to deer hunting. I see movement over there in the woods. Am I not responsible for knowing whether it is human before I shoot? And if it might be human, do you not think I ought to give it the benefit of the doubt and refrain from shooting? If there is even the slightest possibility (and they will all concede it is a possibility that the unborn are human), I should not shoot.

Whether you look at abortion through the Bible, medicine, philosophy, or law, abortion is crazy. It does not matter which angle you come from. But we don't hear these arguments every day. They somehow get set aside because those who believe them are labeled right-wing nuts. The truth is set aside.

God is very clear in what He says about the sanctity of life, whether in youth or old age. "Choose you this day whom you will serve" (Joshua 24:15).

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