The Bible doesn’t directly address abortion anywhere. There is no Hebrew or Greek word used for it. However, God’s position on abortion is evident from how He addressed other related issues. In addressing these issues it becomes clear that abortion was not an option during the time that the Bible was being written. It simply didn’t happen. True, medical knowledge was rudimentary at best in those days, but God’s position on, and His relationship with us, precludes the removal of a fertilized egg, and the killing of an embryo or a fetus. There are exceptions, of course, and I’ll get to those later.
First, God’s fifth commandment is that you shall not kill ( Deuteronomy 5:17; Exodus 20:13), and whoever murders is in danger of judgement ( Matthew 5:21). The word translated into English as kill actually means murder. The fertilization of the egg begins a new life separate from the life of the mother, even though she carries that life for about nine months. God created Adam and instilled a human spirit at creation, and Adam became a living being. More importantly, God created humans in His image ( Genesis 1: 26-28). We are the highest of God’s living creatures to whom He gave dominion over all the other animals. He so loves us that He was willing to die on the cross as a to provide the gift of salvation to us if we accept His gift to us ( John 3:16). It is inconceivable then that He would condone the arbitrary murder of one of His highest creations.
Barren Jewish women had a reproach among the nation. Barrenness was considered a type of curse from God, a divine punishment. The Hebrew word for barren, herpo, means a severe expression of censure or blame. It also was used as the object of scorn, ” I am a worm, and no man; A reproach of men, and despised by he people” ( Psalm 22:6; see also Psalm 79:4; 1 Samuel 1:6; Isaiah 4:1). When Rachel was delivered by God from her barrenness the reproach of others was lifted. She was no longer a reproach among the Hebrews ( Luke 1:23-25 ). Barren women were not allowed to attend the first and general blessing of fruitification given to all people everywhere, and from the special blessing given to Abraham for the multiplication of seed, and from the hope of being in the linage of the Messiah ( Genesis 1:28). Having many children was a sign of God’s grace being bestowed upon the woman ( Deuteronomy 28:4; Psalm Ecclesiastes 6:3 ).
Conception and child bearing was a joy among the Hebrew women, and bearing many children was a special blessing ( Genesis 24:60; 30:1; 1 Samuel 1:11; Psalm 113:9; 144:12 ). The foundation is the double blessing associated with creation and the covenant promise (Genesis 1:28; 12:2,7; 13:16 ). It is from children that the family is built. It was unthinkable that a Hebrew woman would murder her unborn or recently born child simply because it was inconvenient to her at that time.
Children created a condition of reverence for the parents ( Exodus 20:12; Leviticus 19:3; Deuteronomy 5:16). And a mother is preserved through having children if she continues in faith and love (1 Timothy 2:15). Faith and love are antithetical to the concept of abortion. Abortion without a legitimate, serious, justification is not compatible with God’s will for His highest creation. To the biblical Hebrews, today’s Jews and Christians unwarranted abortion is not an option. And it invites God’s retribution on the woman. That’s a scary thought!
The excuses given by the pro-choice contingent to justify abortion as simply a choice are not valid. They claim that a woman has the right to decide what happens to her own body. That is correct, she does. But she has no right to murder another human life that is separate from her life even if she is carrying that life. She made the decision, deliberately or otherwise, about what was going to happen with her body when she committed the act that caused the pregnancy. That was her choice. Once a pregnancy occurs she has the responsibility and obligation to be accountable to that life. She is responsible to that child to see that it has the best possible chance for surviving. If it is unwanted it can be adopted after birth, but it may not be murdered.
This leads to the claim that abortion laws make criminals of women. It’s analogous to the claim made by the immigrants that no person is illegal, meaning that a person, in and of his or herself, is not an illegal entity like illicit drugs. That’s also true. No person in our society is the subject of “reproach”. Rather, it is his or her actions that are illegal. In the case of abortion, the conscious, deliberate act of terminating another human life without just cause is a criminal act if the law prohibits that act. If the law in the jurisdiction where the woman seeking abortion prohibits abortion without just cause, lives, and she makes the decision to have an abortion,then she is making a conscious, deliberate choice to violate the law and become a criminal. The criminality lies in her deliberately violating the law. That is her choice, and she will have to suffer the consequences of her choice if found out. An oversimplified example is deliberately exceeding the speed limit. If caught, the consequence is receiving a ticket that will cost you money, and will be a mark on your driving record. As career criminals say, if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.
The argument that an embryo or fetus isn’t human is patently absurd. The father supplying the sperm is human. The mother supplying the egg is human. Therefore, the resulting embryo is also human. No other explanation is valid. Lets put the cards on the table face up: Rationalizing away the humanity of a fertilized egg, embryo or fetus is simply semantic contortions designed to make murder legal. Women know this. Legislators know this. Prosecutors and police know this and doctors know abortion flies in the face of their primary oath as doctors to do no harm. So, the powers that be simply call it something else. What, they don’t say. It’s simply not human life, they say, so they have no obligation to prosecute for murder.
Exceptions do exist. The primary exception to the prohibition of abortion is the health and welfare of the mother. This is absolutely a justification of abortion because the health of a mother is the primary concern. In the use of lethal force class in police academies, recruits are taught that lethal force may be used only if there is a high probability that the officer or another citizen is in immediate danger of suffering serious bodily injury or death. And then the force is used not to kill, but simply to stop the aggression of another. The potential of the force being lethal is why it’s called lethal force, not because the officer’s intent is to kill. Citizens may use lethal force in defense of their life. The legal term is justifiable homicide. It’s the same with abortion to preserve the well-being or life of the mother. Sometimes, if the pregnancy is far enough along and conditions are favorable, doctors may remove a viable fetus and save its life and the life of the mother. If this isn’t possible, then the physical well-being and life of the mother is of primary importance.
Carefully considered exemptions should make abortion an option to be considered by the mother in cases of rape and incest. Many women have opted to have the child conceived in a rape and either keep the child or place the infant up for adoption. I have the highest regard for these mothers. I, as a man, cannot understand the physical, emotional and psychological trauma suffered in a rape. Many women, though, cannot deal with this constantly growing reminder of the insult and intrusion foisted on them. In this case, abortion should be an option.
Incest is another exemption to the prohibition against abortion. Very often the victim of incest is a minor preyed upon by a parent or other relative. And, there are medical issues concerning the fetus when the parents are closely related. Space does not allow a detailed analysis of incest and rape, but carefully considered abortion should be a legal option in these cases.
The underlying cause of society’s callousness about abortion is systemic and involves more issues than just abortion. It also involves euthanasia, for example. It also includes the high murder rate in today’s society. A convicted murderer in New Mexico said recently, “I killed a man. But he wasn’t human to me, he wasn’t a person”. The devaluation of human life is directly derived from society’s loss of the reality of God. The Lord was very real to the biblical Hebrews, and abortion wasn’t an option in their society. Early Christian societies didn’t consider abortion an option. It is only when a society loses the sentience of God that unjustified abortion raises it head. Sentience here means the response to an awareness, perception and acceptance of God as our Creator. This loss is understandable. The apostle Thomas wouldn’t believe Jesus rose from the grave until he physically placed his hand on the wounds on Christ’s body. The other apostles went back to their old jobs until confronted by the risen Christ. And they were the ones with Him during His ministry on earth. It is ever more difficult to have a sense of the reality of God today when He isn’t visibly personally involved with individuals or society as a whole.
Christ told Thomas that he believed because he saw and felt Him. But, said the Lord, “blessed is he who has not seen, yet believes”. The paradox here is that Christ is not evidenced in our lives until we accept Christ on faith. It is only then that God is seen in all the Christian does. To have evidence of the reality of God in life today one has to first believe. Therefore the majority of people do not have a belief in the reality of God.
It is the loss of the reality of God that is the root cause of society’s problems. With no sense of God there is no sense of who we are as His highest creation. We have no sense of His love for us both corporately and individually. The loss of the reality of God also leads to the loss of the reality of Satan, and thus consequences become unimportant. The loss of who we are causes a perceived devaluation of human life, as explained by the murderer above. When human life seems unimportant it is easy to rationalize the murder of others, including unborn persons, because then it is self that is all important. I’m not going into this topic in detail here as it will be the subject of a separate blog or blogs.
The biblical position on abortion is that, except for a few well defined exceptions, abortion is not a viable option to unwanted pregnancies. All our actions have consequences either good or bad whether or not we’re willing to accept them. And, we have the obligation to others to accept responsibility for our actions and to be accountable for them. It is this shirking of the responsibility for our actions and to be accountable to others for how we effect their lives-or create their lives- that causes the commotion over abortion. And as Jesus warns, those who murder are in danger of severe retribution from God. This could be partially why the suicide rate for women who have convenience abortions is higher than for other women.
The answer to the abortion debacle and the general devaluation of human life is for society to regain a sense of the reality of God and of our obligation to Him, Only then will the ills of our society, including abortion and murder, be reduced. That’s why Christians need to actively apply the Great Commandment to spread the gospel to everyone. What better time to start than now on Son-day morning?