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Abortion and Christianity

Let's take a look at the whole abortion issue. I've purposely avoided it in the past on my sites because I don't like hate mail any better than anyone else. You can rarely write on this topic without being ripped to shreds by one body of people or another.

I'd like to make a few things clear right from the get-go.

  • God loves His creation.
  • Christ loves His creation.
  • The Holy Spirit loves His creation.
  • His creation includes every single child that was ever born. There are no exceptions. If you are a person who feels that your parents didn't love you, you can rest secure in the knowledge that God does love you. He always has loved you and He always will love you. That cannot be debated. He may not like some of the things you've done, nor some of the things you're doing, nor some of the things you're making plans to do, but He absolutely loves you. (John 3:14-21). His love, by itself, does not make you heaven bound.
  • Christ died on the cross to be an eternal sacrifice for the sins of the world. Whether you accept His sacrifice or not, He has already paid the price for everything you ever did that was wrong and everything you are ever going to do that will be wrong. Don't construe that as a license to do wrong (Romans 6:15). If we ask, repent, believe and seek His guidance and direction, He will call us His when this life is over (Mark 16:16; Matthew 7:21-29). When the enemy accuses us for something we have done wrong, confessed, and repented of, we can safely say "Get thee behind me Satan" for Christ's blood is our sacrifice for sin, regardless of what we have done. If you need more help on this subject, read The Message of the Gospel.
  • God has the ability to fix anything that is wrong in your life (Matthew 21:18-22). He may not make your life perfect, but He can make a substantive difference if you have faith and ask Him. His thoughts are always good toward His children (Jeremiah 29:11). He has a direction for each of His children to follow. When we walk in His footsteps (when our steps are ordered by Him), things will go better for us (Psalms 37:23).
  • God also has the ability to fix anything that is expected to be wrong in your unborn child's life. That's scripture. You can't believe in the scriptures concerning salvation and accept them without question, without also believing Christ's promises about the works He expected His children to be able to do through the selfsame Holy Spirit that worked in His life. He told of great things we would do in His name (John 14:1-21). Jesus promised healing of mind, body, and soul, and the deliverance from the forces of evil and put His words into practice as He walked among us. The Baptism in the Holy Spirit is what allows us to do likewise. Keep in mind that He has His own timing and He may put you through some things that you don't think He should before doing what you want.
  • Miraculous works of healing depend on the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Sadly, many otherwise Christian churches and denominations don't give God the freedom to work according to the plan He laid out in the New Testament and few Christians seek the free gift of the Holy Spirit baptism due to the responsibilities and duties that come along with it (Acts 1:5,8-11,2:1-21;1 Corinthians 12:1-11).

    Finding Spirit filled believers who have made themselves available for Him to use and who He will use knowing their nature may be more difficult. That isn't God's fault. He could always intervene directly, but the New Testament plan seems to include using the members of His church in order to ensure the glory goes to the proper place - God. Nonetheless, those who have accepted the baptism promised in Acts and allow themselves to be used to do the works recorded in 1 Corinthians are out there if you search. Seek out Assemblies of God churches as a starting place. Don't get discouraged.

    One of the key ingredients for God to work in a supernatural way is that we need to be seeking miracles and healing for people in the Will of God and not out of selfish motives or for other bad reasons. Christ was successful because He both knew and followed the Will of the Father (John 5:17-47). I believe there were many in the crowds that flocked to Jesus who needed healing, yet did not receive healing, for one reason or another. Yet those who came to Him and asked to be healed were healed. If you are healed, be prepared to tell others of the glory that God has worked in your life.

When life starts

Next, let's be clear about a few other basics about the whole life process. Physical life begins at conception. When a woman becomes pregnant, she's not having a puppy. She's not having a kitten. She's not having a monkey. She's having a human being. There can be no debate that physical human life begins at conception. The Bible records particular individuals that God says He watched, guided the formation of, or had foreknowledge of in the mother's womb (Genesis 25:23; Judges 13:5; Psalms 139:13; Jeremiah 1:5; Luke 1:15, 31 for example). You cannot deduce from this that He does this for every single pregnancy. Neither can you say He does not. These are simply particular individuals (or nations to be) that bore specific mention in the Bible.

Using conception as a standard for all beginning of life questions, however, has problems. For identical twins, the twinning process occurs between the 7th and 14th day following fertilization. Can a unique person be split in two? I would tend to say no. When do we assign the fetus full value with full rights in the case of twins? You really can't take the fertilization time frame since twinning occurs one or two weeks later. So how far should it be moved?

All murder is wrong. Isn't it?

It is certainly safe to say that if God didn't send you to war and you killed someone, the Bible is against that and calls it the sin of murder. In both Testaments, murder is clearly spelled out as wrong (Exodus 20:13; 1 John 3:15). In the Old Testament, there were severe penalties for both murder and for accidental murder. Murder wasn't the only sin that carried the death penalty. There were several others.

The Old Testament gave punishments, examples, and rationalizations for the punishment for intentional murder in Numbers 35:16-21,30-32 (and other spots). What types of killings qualified as murder? Hitting someone with a piece of iron, a wooden weapon, or a big rock, ambushing, or striking in anger for example, met the intentional murder criterion. This section of the Law clearly says that murder pollutes the land (Numbers 35:33-34). It declares that murder is not to be tolerated in the nation because God was planning on dwelling there.

The "But it was an accident" gambit

Numbers also gave specific recourse when the murder was not intentional to protect the perpetrator from relatives who could try to kill him or her (Numbers 35:22-29). Specific Cities of Refuge were established where a person who had killed someone accidentally could stay where they could be safe. When the high priest died, their sin would be expunged and they could freely move about again. Before that, they could be killed if found outside a City of Refuge. The restriction on general freedom of movement didn't go away until the death of the high priest. The Cities of Refuge just gave a safe zone or refuge.

So where does the death of unborn children fall?

So where does an abortion fit into all of this? The only place that the death of an unborn baby is mentioned is in Exodus 21:22-23. If two men are struggling and hurt a woman with child so that she miscarries, but doesn't die herself there is only a civil fine, and that is imposed only if the father takes the person to court. If the woman dies too, then the normal death penalty is incurred by the person that caused her death.

The Living Bible does a good job of translation here to modern terms. This section of scripture is subject to debate in interpretation. It does get debate because it is inconvenient for the anti-abortion Christian majority. It is at least enough to raise the possibility that although physical life begins at conception, there might be a different standard applied for deaths that occur before and after birth.

Could souls still be created and joined to a physical body today at birth just as when Adam was formed physically and became a living soul when he took his first breath (Genesis 2:7)? After all, it is the soul that differentiates us from the rest of God's living creation. Should birth be the standard that is used since the Bible doesn't mention the interval when the embryo is "quickened" or starts to move on its own? That would at least be consistent with the twinning problem. For what it is worth, I am told that the Talmud said that a fetus was not a person till born.

Having said that, I would be remiss if I did not also mention that many times Jesus said something like "You have heard it said that X, but I say Y", where X was an Old Testament prohibition and Y was his own generally much tougher standard. Don't just read the Old Testament and let it go at that, but also pray about whether Jesus would have had a higher standard in this case. Pray about it and ask for the Holy Spirit to guide you because it isn't directly mentioned. Judge for yourself what the Bible says.

No condemnation - show love instead

It's pretty hard for me to condemn abortion, look down on women who have had abortions, or certainly to advocate legislation that would ban abortions given the gray areas that I read from Exodus. Yet that is clearly not the popular Christian Right position to take.

I can certainly condemn the actions of Christians who harass, bomb, or murder abortion doctors. The Bible may be gray on when life becomes important to God, but it is very clear on His views of the importance of people after birth. How many psychological problems that women have post-abortion are caused by the abortion itself and how many are caused by the condemnation by people who should be giving love instead? That was free. Think about it.

Where we should be able to agree

We should be able to agree that there are too many unwanted pregnancies among teens today and work together to try to solve that problem. "Abstinence only" was doomed from the start. It might work fine if you have a strong Christian moral upbringing and a lot of love in your home to start with. Having those basic ingredients doesn't give 100% protection either, but they certainly help. For those families where that isn't true, it is a recipe for a climbing teen birth rate. Sadly, there are more families where lack of family love, time, and attention is true than where it isn't true.

Teach your kids about sex or have the school system teach your kids about sex. Be comprehensive. Hopefully your children won't put the information to practical use until they're married. It doesn't hurt to mention the Bible's position on fornication, lasciviousness, and lust, among other things (2 Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 4:19; 1 Peter 4:3). But anything they learn from you or the school system will hopefully make them better prepared for eventual marriage and if they do stray, they just might protect themselves better than with an abstinence only curriculum.