September 30, 2010 (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, firstname.lastname@example.org)
The following is one of the 52 lessons from the new Way of Life discipleship course Fundamentals of Christian Living.
God’s people are obligated to honor God’s Law more than man’s. Though abortion is legal in most countries today, that does not mean that it is right in God’s eyes.
The Bible forbids the abortion of an unborn child. Consider the following truths:
- The Bible says that man is created in God’s image (Gen. 1:26). Man is not the product of blind naturalistic evolution and he is not an animal that can be killed for convenience.
The doctrine of evolution has been a moving force behind the abortion industry, because it teaches that man is only an animal. In fact, the evolutionary doctrine of “recapitulation” claims that the embryo is not fully human until late in its growth stage.
This theory was popularized by Ernst Haeckel, Charles Darwin’s most prominent supporter in Germany. Haeckel taught that “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.” Ontogeny is the growth in the womb, and phylogeny is evolutionary development. The unborn child supposedly goes through a series of evolutionary stages from single cell to fish to amphibian to reptile to mammal to ape to human. Thus, the fetus only becomes human in its later stages. Haeckel produced drawings that showed that the human embryo is the same as that of animals such as a fish, a pig, and a monkey, but the drawings were fake. Haeckel mislabeled embryos; he changed the size of embryos; he deleted parts; he added parts; he changed parts. For example, he took a drawing of a monkey embryo and removed its arms, legs, navel, heart, and yolksac to make it look like a fish embryo. He then labeled it “Embryo of a Gibbon in the fish-stage.” Haeckel’s theory has been totally disproved, but his drawings are still used in textbooks today. Haeckel’s myth has encouraged the modern abortion industry. In 1957, child psychologist Benjamin Spock wrote, “Each child as he develops is retracing the whole history of mankind, physically and spiritually, step by step. A baby starts off in the womb as a single tiny cell, just the way the first living thing appeared in the ocean. Weeks later, as he lies in the amniotic fluid of the womb, he has gills like a fish…” (Baby and Child Care, p. 223). In 1990, Carl Sagan and his wife argued that abortion is ethical on the grounds that the fetus is not fully human until the sixth month. Taking Haeckel’s recapitulation theory as fact, they claimed that the embryo begins as “a kind of parasite” and changes into something like a fish with “gill arches” and then becomes “reptilian” and finally “mammalian.” By the end of the second month, the fetus “is still not quite human” (“The Question of Abortion: A Search for the Answers,” Parade, April 22, 1990).
- God forbids man to shed innocent blood. Twenty times the Bible forbids the shedding of “innocent blood” (e.g., Deut. 19:10-13; 2 Kings 21:16). This refers to killing a person without a just cause (1 Sam. 19:5). To put a murderer to death, for example, is a just cause, but to kill an innocent person is unjust. God hates those who shed innocent blood (Prov. 6:16-17). What person is more innocent than an unborn child?
- Modern science calls the unborn a “fetus,” but it is called a “child” in the Bible (Gen. 25:22). The child that dies before it is born is called an “infant” (Job 3:16). Therefore, to kill a “fetus” is to kill an infant child. The Bible says that children are distinct individuals even when they are in the womb. This was true of Esau and Jacob (Gen. 25:23). Jeremiah was called to be a prophet while he was still in the womb (Jer. 1:5), and John the Baptist was filled with the Spirit and responded to Christ while in the womb (Luke 1:15, 41-44).
- The Law of Moses demanded punishment if an unborn baby was harmed (Ex. 21:22-23). The injury or death of an unborn child was treated as a serious crime.
- The Bible says that God is in control of conception (Genesis 20:18; 29:31; 30:22). The Bible says children are the heritage of the Lord (Psalm 127:3). The child in the womb does not belong to the mother; it belongs to God.
- The Bible says God forms the child in the womb (Psalm 139:13-16).
a. God possessed or fashioned David’s reins (Psa. 139:13). The word “reins” refers to the immaterial part of man, his heart, soul, and spirit. The term “reins” is closely associated with the “heart” and refers especially to man’s will, the seat of his desires, affections, and passions. See Psalm 16:7; 26:2; 73:21; Proverbs 23:16; Isaiah 11:5; Jeremiah 11:20; 17:10; 20:12; Revelation 2:23. Man has no right to mess around with the process of conception. When there is conception there is new life, and that life is a man or woman made in God’s image. This is God’s realm. Man doesn’t know enough about this to interfere. If an egg is fertilized for scientific research and the new life begins to grow and then is cut off, this means that a life made in God’s image has been extinguished. According to Psalm 139 it appears that the reins are already present in that newly conceived person even though its body has not yet formed. The Psalms teach us that man’s reins are possessed of God. They are formed by Him and owned by Him and return to Him at death (Ecc. 12:7). Let man beware!
b. God fashioned David’s body (Psa. 139:13-16). Here David thinks about the amazing complexity of his body and states that God is the author and should be praised for His works. “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well” (Psa. 139:14). No other evidence for the existence of an almighty, all-wise Creator is needed than the fact of man’s miraculous makeup.
(1) David was curiously wrought and fashioned in continuance (Psa. 139:15, 16). This is a wonderful description of how the infant grows in the womb, beginning with the microscopic fertilized egg. The statement that David was made “in the lowest parts of the earth” does not refer to places under the earth but to the womb itself. It is a poetic description of the womb as a dark, inaccessible place where man’s eye does not penetrate. The Hebrew word translated “curiously wrought” (raqam) means “to variegate color, i.e. embroider; by implication, to fabricate” (Strong). It is elsewhere translated “needlework” (Ex. 26:36) and “embroiderer” (Ex. 38:23). Barnes comments: “It refers to the act of ‘weaving in’ various threads–as now in weaving carpets. The reference here is to the various and complicated tissues of the human frame–the tendons, nerves, veins, arteries, muscles, ‘as if’ they had been woven, or as they appear to be curiously interweaved. No work of tapestry can be compared with this; no art of man could ‘weave’ together such a variety of most tender and delicate fibres and tissues as those which go to make up the human frame, even if they were made ready to his hand: and who but God could ‘make’ them? The comparison is a most beautiful one; and it will be admired the more man understands the structure of his own frame” (Barnes). Alan Gillen, M.D., says, “The body is woven together just like a tapestry. For example, look at the interwoven complexity of a single skeletal muscle. … Under the microscope, the amazing interwoven design manifests itself” (Body by Design, 2001, p. 8).
(2) A description of David’s body was written in God’s book before he was formed (Psa. 139:16). This amazing divine book of human blueprints apparently exists in heaven.
c. In light of this Bible teaching, abortion is certainly murder. That child does not belong to the mother; it belongs to the Creator. A woman is not free to do with her body as she pleases because she is a created being and is accountable to God, and further, that infant in her womb is a separate body and a separate individual.
- Idolaters killed their sons and daughters, and this was something that God hated (Psalm 106:38).
Modern science has learned that at the moment of conception the fertilized egg has its own individual life distinct from the mother and father. Those who support abortion say that it is the mother’s choice, but the new life is a separate person. By 21 days the heart begins to beat and the blood flows through the body. At 45 days the tiny baby’s brain waves can be detected. By 12 or 13 weeks the baby has fingernails and its own unique fingerprints, sucks its thumb, and recoils from pain.