Abortion: A Biblical and Theological Analysis-Part 6
|By: Dr. John Ankerberg and Dr. John Weldon; ©2003|
|Perhaps the strongest scriptural and theological argument against abortion is this: biblically, God Himself is said to create the child in the womb. If that is true, then abortion destroys an actual work of God Himself!|
- 1 Do the Scriptures Reveal That Both God and Man Are “Co-Workers” in the Production of a Human Being?
- 1.1 Fact #1: Some 40 times in Scripture the Bible refers to conception as the “start” of life.
- 1.2 Fact #2: The Scripture teaches that God both opens and closes the womb.
- 1.3 Fact #3: The Bible describes children as an added, precious gift to marriage.
- 1.4 Fact #4: God Himself actively creates and molds life in the womb.
- 2 Notes
Do the Scriptures Reveal That Both God and Man Are “Co-Workers” in the Production of a Human Being?
Perhaps the strongest scriptural and theological argument against abortion is this: biblically, God Himself is said to create the child in the womb. If true, then those who have an abortion are not merely destroying “tissue” or “protoplasm” or even “merely” a human person, but an actual work of God Himself. If true, can anyone feel this is insignificant?
Four lines of argument serve to prove the fact that it is God in conjunction with a man and a woman who is the Creator of life in the womb.
Fact #1: Some 40 times in Scripture the Bible refers to conception as the “start” of life.
- In the Genesis narratives alone, the phrase “conceived and bore” is found eleven times. The close pairing of the two words clearly emphasizes conception, not birth, as the starting point of life. Biblical passages revealing the divine role in conception simply serve to confirm that it is more than just a biological phenomenon. The start of a human life is clearly a special occurrence in which God takes part….”
Fact #2: The Scripture teaches that God both opens and closes the womb.
Consider the following Scriptures where God Himself is seen as active in the event of conception itself:
- Ruth 4:13—“… the Lord enabled her to conceive, and she gave birth to a son.”
- 1 Samuel 1:5, 10, 20—“But to Hannah he would give a double portion, for he loved Hannah, but the Lord had closed her womb…. And she, greatly distressed, prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly… And it came about in due time, after Hannah had conceived, that she gave birth to a son; and she named him Samuel, saying, ‘Because I have asked him of the Lord.’”
- Exodus 23:25-6—“But you shall serve the Lord your God, and He will bless your bread and your water; and I will remove sickness from among your midst. There shall be no one miscarrying or barren in your land. I will fulfill the number of your days” (cf. Deut. 7:13-15)
- Genesis 29:31-32—“Now the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, and he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. And Leah conceived and bore a son and named him Reuben, for she said, ‘Because the Lord has seen my affliction….”‘
- Genesis 30:2, 22-23—“Then Jacob’s anger burned against Rachel, and he said, ‘Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?’…. Then God remembered Rachel, and God gave heed to her and opened her womb. So she conceived and bore a son….”
Fact #3: The Bible describes children as an added, precious gift to marriage.
- Psalm 127:3-5—“Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.”
- Psalm 128:3-4—“Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your sons will be like olive shoots around your table. Thus is the man blessed who fears the Lord.”
Fact #4: God Himself actively creates and molds life in the womb.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the Lutheran theologian who was executed by the Nazis for his opposition to Hitler, said the following of abortion: “The simple fact is that God intended to create a human being and… this human being has been deliberately deprived of his life. And that is nothing but murder.”
Given modern man’s naturalistic and evolutionary approach to life, we suppose that the power of reproduction lies solely within the ovum and sperm and is entirely controlled by the genetic code. But the process by which a single cell is multiplied into a thousand million cells which then organize themselves into incredibly complex physical structures (an eye, brain, circulatory system, etc.) is a process that continues to completely mystify even the most devoted and brilliant researchers. Biblically, it is clear that God Himself is involved in the process. Consider the following Scriptures:
- Job 10:8—“Thy hands fashioned and made me altogether.”
- Job 10:10-12—“Did thou not pour me out like milk, and curdle me like cheese; clothe me with skin and flesh, and knit me together with bones and sinews? Thou hast granted me life and loving kindness; and thy care has preserved my spirit.”
- Job 31:15—“Did not He who made me in the womb [also] make him, and the same one fashion us in the womb?”
- Ps. 119:73a—“Thy hands made me and fashioned me.”
- Ps. 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; wonderful are Thy works, and my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from Thee, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth. Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Thy book they were all written, the days that were ordained for me when as yet there was not one of them.”
- Jer. 1:5a—“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you….” Eph. 2:10a—“For we are His workmanship….”
The above Scriptures indicate that the creation of man is not something that simply happens at a point of time but that it is a continuous divine activity from conception onward. Thus:
- The Bible makes it clear that human creation was not something that just took place in the past; rather, it continues. Eve is quoted as saying, “I have created [qanah] a man with the Lord” (Genesis 4:16, author’s translation). She was certainly not implying that Adam had nothing to do with Cain’s birth; Genesis 4:1a makes that clear: “Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived….” These examples sufficiently demonstrate that birth is considered a creative process involving man, woman, and God.
- God’s ongoing work in the creation of new life is further illustrated in statements where God reminds Israel that He “formed” them (Is. 43:1,7; 44:21) and declares, “I formed [you] for myself…” (Is. 43:21). In these passages from Isaiah, the word rendered “formed” is yasar, as it is in the oft quoted Jeremiah 1:5: “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you intimately.” The choice of yasar in these texts is deliberate, for it connects the creating of individuals to God’s “forming” activity witnessed in Genesis 2:7.
- Instead of using clay, God uses human instruments to continue the process of creation that he set in motion by his creative activity and then by his command to “be fruitful and multiply” (Gen. 1:28). On this note, Babbage (1963,15) aptly says, “God permits man to share in the joyous task of creation.”
- Does not abortion deny the holy nature of conception, the divine opening of the womb? Does not the attempt to undervalue the importance of conception for the beginning of human life go contrary to the clear teaching of Scripture? And does not the contemporary attitude toward the unborn as an inconvenience or burden fly directly in the face of their being a blessing from God?
When a child is aborted, are we not destroying a literal creation of God?
How then does God feel about abortion? In the late 1960s, John Weldon, one of the authors of this article, remembers when radical students bombed a professor’s office, completely destroying seven years of his irreplaceable research. The professor was shattered.
What right did the radicals have to destroy this man’s work? None: but then, how about abortionists? Would “pro-choice” individuals allow others to destroy another person’s artwork simply because they didn’t want it around? The answer is no. But why will they demand the right to destroy God’s “art-work,” precious human beings, which are far more valuable than mere research or paint on a canvas?
- Ultimately, the creation of new life in the Old Testament is attributed to God the Creator, who is both Designer and Artist. What would a human artist think if he was working on a masterpiece and someone destroyed his work? Even though not complete, the expected reaction would no doubt be anger and rage. If this is the reaction of the earthly artist, how much more intense would be God’s revulsion at the destruction of a fetus, his masterpiece that is being formed!
- … The reality of an artist’s hurt and anguish over the willful destruction of his handiwork became apparent to me during an exhibition of an art student at Wheaton College in the early 1970s. Someone took a can of spray paint to a couple of canvases that met with that person’s disapproval. The artist was understandably crushed. This deliberate destruction of an art object expressed a lack of respect for both the artist and the art. So, too, the indiscriminate destruction of human fetuses declares precisely the same attitude toward God and man.
The continued purposeful destruction of God’s handiwork can only provoke His wrath.
- Paul Fowler, Abortion: Toward an Evangelical Consensus (Portland, OR, Multnomah Press, 1987),
- Harold O. J. Brown, Death Before Birth (Nashville, TN, Thomas Nelson, 1977), p. 128.
- James K. Hoffmeier, (ed.) Abortion: A Christian Understanding and Response (Grand Rapids, MI,
Baker, 1987), pp. 55-56.
- Fowler, Abortion: Toward an Evangelical Consensus, pp. 139-40.
- Hoffmeier, (ed.) Abortion: A Christian Understanding and Response, pp. 56-57.