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What Does The Bible Really Say About Abortion And When Life Begins?

ultrasoundLast month CNN host Wolf Blitzer pressed Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz regarding whether she thought it was OK “to kill a 7-pound baby in uterus” during the third trimester.

Schultz, though, dodged the question saying, “The Democratic Party’s position is that it is best left between a woman and her doctor.”

Blitzer was asking her a question that had been raised by GOP presidential candidate Rand Paul, who said he was tired of Republicans being the only ones asked tough questions on abortion.

Blitzer asked her again: “Is it OK to kill a 7-pound baby in uterus?”

Schultz again refused to answer, responding, “We have very different definitions of personal liberty. I made that clear in my response. The Democratic Party’s position is we are pro-choice. We believe a decision on a woman’s reproductive choices is best left between a woman and her doctor.”

Her responses were nothing short of frightening, and show us how far we’ve falling in America when we can’t even agree to give protections to a full-term, viable, healthy baby who just happens to be inches from delivery – and who apparently can be killed if two people (a woman and a doctor) say so.

But what does the Bible say about abortion? Scripture actually has a lot to say about life, and when and why God places worth on a person.

When God created man and woman, He created them in His image and likeness (Gen. 1:26-27). This was a unique trait that only human beings were endowed with and it set them apart from all of creation. In fact, mankind was set apart from creation and put in charge of creation (Gen. 1:28-31). This is significant because God entrusted mankind with the responsibility of being His representative to creation: bearing His image and stewarding His creation. People have an inherent worth that no other living thing possesses because only human beings bear the image and likeness of God.

When it comes to human life, Scripture is clear about two things: (1) God gives life and; (2) God sees a human being as a living person not only before they are born, but before they are even conceived. These two truths should shape the way Christians view the issue of abortion and should cause them to view it as an unacceptable option.

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First, in the creation account, God is shown to be the one who gives life when one reads, “Then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature” (Gen. 2:7). Many scholars agree that this “breath of life” is not simply the oxygen in one’s lungs, but it is also the spirit that resides in the human. God gave life to the man and the woman and their humanity was based in His creative design. It was not a matter of whether or not they were born that made them human; it was the fact that God created them and gave them life. Each person that is conceived bears the same image of God and is given the same life as everyone else; therefore, they are just as much a person and are just as valuable, whether they are in the womb or out of the womb. Ironically, those who bear the image of the God who gives life are seeking to end the lives of those who also bear his image through the act of abortion.

Second, the time in which God sees someone as a person is drastically different from the time when we might recognize them as a person. God told the prophet Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you…” (Jer. 1:5). We must notice two things in this verse: First, God formed Jeremiah in his mother’s womb. To interfere with that would be to interfere with the creative work of God. Second, God personally knew Jeremiah before he was ever conceived. An unborn child is not just tissue and organs developing into an impersonal object that becomes a person when it is moved one foot from its mother’s womb into the open air. An unborn child is a created and personally known human being who is loved by his or her Creator and bears the image of God.

Additionally, the psalmist writes, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps. 139:13-14). The creative work of God in the womb of a baby’s mother is something that should be looked upon with fear and reverence, not contempt. What a tragedy it is that someone would say that the death of a child who bears the image of God and has been knit together by God in a miraculous way is merely a choice to be made between a woman and her doctor.

The Bible makes clear that human life is something valuable to God and greater than a mere choice. In fact, the first-century church actively opposed abortion – yes, it existed back then, too – as is evident in an early document known as the Didache. “Do not murder a child by abortion or kill a newborn infant,” it reads.

Each person, born or unborn, bears the image of God and is personally known by God. Do not stand in the way of God’s creative work. Instead, stand in awe of it and celebrate every life with the same zeal with which you would celebrate your own life or the life of someone you love. They are all just as valuable and precious.

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