Many people think that a human being is created at the time of conception but this belief is not supported by the bible. The fact that a living sperm penetrates a living ovum resulting in the formation of a living fetus does not mean that the fetus is a living human being. According to the bible, a fetus is not a living person with a soul until after drawing its first breath.
After God formed man in Genesis 2:7, He “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and it was then that the man became a living being”. Although the man was fully formed by God in all respects, he was not a living being until after taking his first breath.
In Job 33:4, it states: “The spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”
Again, to quote Ezekiel 37:5&6, “Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord.”
In Exodus 21:22 it states that if a man causes a woman to have a miscarriage, he shall be fined; however, if the woman dies then he will be put to death. It should be apparent from this that the aborted fetus is not considered a living human being since the resulting punishment for the abortion is nothing more than a fine; it is not classified by the bible as a capital offense.
According to the bible, destroying a living fetus does not equate to killing a living human being even though the fetus has the potential of becoming a human being. One can not kill something that has not been born and taken a breath. This means that a stillborn would not be considered a human being either. Of course, every living sperm has the potential of becoming a human being although not one in a million will make it; the rest are aborted. .
God has decreed, for one reason or another, that at least one-third of all pregnancies shall be terminated by a spontaneous abortion during the first trimester of pregnancy and that a number will be terminated after the first trimester. It would appear that God does not have any more regard for the loss of a fetus than he does for the loss of a placenta or a foreskin despite the fact that these were living tissue as the result of conception.
In a number of versions of the bible, one of the commandments in Exodus 20 that was spoken by God to Moses states: “You shall not kill”. According to the Mosaic text, this should read “You shall not murder” since the bible has commandments stating that people shall be put to death for a number of different offenses. Exodus 21:17 states: “Whoever curses his father or mother shall be put to death.” There are other capital offenses in Exodus 21. Of course, the commandment “You shall not kill” is not present in the commandments written by God on the stone tablets. For those who are not familiar with the commandments on the stone tablets that were placed in the Ark of the Covenant, they are enumerated in Exodus 34. The popular ten commandments that are enumerated in Exodus 20 were spoken by God to Moses who then relayed them to his people; they were never written.
There is nothing in the bible to indicate that a fetus is considered to be anything other than living tissue and, according to scripture, it does not become a living being until after it has taken a breath.
Source: "The bible tells us when a fetus becomes a living being," by Dr. Joe Schwartz
Many cite the scripture Jeremiah 1:5, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." God is omnipotent. He has known all of us since before creation. This scripture is irrelevant as it pertains to when a fetus becomes a living being. The same reasoning applies to Psalm 139:13-14.
Numbers 5 describes "the Lord" ordering an abortion. Many argue that this is a misinterpretation. It is clearly stated in verse 22, "May this water that brings a curse enter your body so that your abdomen swells or your womb miscarries."
Before extremists turned the issue of reproductive choice into a political football, views on this matter were weren't nearly so drastic. For some history, read "The ‘biblical view’ that’s younger than the Happy Meal" Then check out, The Not-So-Lofty Origins of the Evangelical Pro-Life Movement. and How I Lost Faith in the “Pro-Life” Movement.
In 1973, Wallie Amos ‘W. A.’ Criswell, President of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1968 to 1970, said this:
“I have always felt that it was only after a child was born and had a life separate from its mother that it became an individual person, and it has always, therefore, seemed to me that what is best for the mother and for the future should be allowed."
If you don't like abortion, don't have one. But don't judge others who may be in terrible circumstances that you can't possibly understand. Especially when your judgements are based on a politically motivated and questionable interpretation of the Bible (at best). When women don’t have personal choice over their own reproductive decisions they end up butchered in back alley abortions or thrown in jail for having a miscarriage. Certain types of birth control are outlawed when a fertilized egg is classified as a “person” as well.
Those who say, "If you're a Christian, you have to be against abortion, and therefore you must vote republican," are simply reciting talking points from false teachers.
In the end, if abortion was such a grievous sin Jesus would have mentioned it. He said nothing.
“She heads for the clinic and she gets some static walkin' through the doors;
They call her a killer, and they call her a sinner, and they call her a whore;
God forbid you ever had to walk a mile in her shoes;
'Cause then you really might know what it's like to have to choose.”
~ Erik Francis Schrody (Everlast), from the song, “What It’s Like.”
For those looking for additional in-depth analysis of abortion and the Bible here's another great article.
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We’re not about Dogma here. We’re just Christians who think the political and Christian right-wing have their priorities wrong.
Charles Toy is the founding member of The Christian Left. We're sure you will enjoy his passion as well as his wit. Guest bloggers featured often.