you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my motherís womb. I
praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are
wonderful, I know that full well." (Psalm 139:13-14)
"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." (Jeremiah 1:5)
Less Than Human?
When does life
This article was originally written as emails in response to a reader's
message in which I was asked to comment on some opinions that he had found on the
Internet regarding the beginning of human life and the issue of abortion.
The first remarks came from a personal web page of a Dr. Joe Schwartz (http://joeschwartz.net/life.htm). Be advised, reader, that the home page of this website starts with the warning: "This website contains some R rated pictures and videos as well as some rather depraved humor." That is an understatement. To grasp the extent of this depravity, first read some of the
concepts proposed by Dr. Schwartz (in blue text below). My responses follow
afterward (in white text).
"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
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
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.
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.
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."
(Dr. Joe Schwartz, 1922-2010)
Firstly, reader, well of course, breathing is an absolute requirement for human life. If we stop breathing we die. But a baby in the womb already receives oxygen from the mother. When that is cut off at birth, the supply switches to independent breathing. One cannot possibly deduce that before that first independent breath a baby is either a) not really alive or b) not a person.
There are no valid parallels between an unborn child and Adam's creation because a baby is already alive in the womb, while he was formed directly from
lifeless dust, therefore he would not have had any organic activity, any moving fluids or any neural activity before being brought to life by God's breath, and God's breath (as in Job) is synonymous with His Spirit. Likewise with Ezekiel's bones. They were absolutely stone dead before receiving spirit/breath, not like a living baby already receiving air and other sustenance necessary for life via a cord.
Note that Schwartz constantly use the word fetus (a man made term and definitely unScriptural) in its popular and very pagan form, as though it means something that is not a person. I can assure you, reader, that
belief will meet with wrath when the Day comes. A human being, made in the
image of God, does not have to be fully formed to be a person. We are born with un-joined skulls and without kneecaps, so even after birth we are not yet fully formed, but we are still the same person who was in the womb, a living human being, not an "it". There is no way one should ever say that an unborn is an" it", not to anybody in this world and certainly not to the Creator on the
Last Day. My wife has worked extensively with children who had serious
developmental problems, retardation issues and even genetic codes missing.
They are still persons. They are not "its" as the Nazis taught, hoping that could justify their policy to annihilate them.
The causing of miscarriage in Scripture is describing an accident, like manslaughter, neither of which is a death penalty offence. And yes, there are many natural miscarriages, mostly because in this fallen, diseased and corrupt world there are babies malformed that are simply not going to survive.
Some of my close relatives have had several miscarriages, and it devastated them, mainly because they believe in the Lord, and know that a person was lost, not a thing. Those experiences happen, as do miscarriages due to physical accidents. But abortion is not an accident. Anyone who deliberately causes a baby to be miscarried or
takes part in an abortion is committing a planned murder, the pre-meditated killing of a person. See how easy it is to justify murder, reader? All you have to do is define the person as
a "thing", something less than
human, and then you can kill "it".
It is not just
breath that carries life, but also blood, because "the life of the
flesh is in the blood." (Genesis 9:4; Leviticus 17:11,14) This makes
perfect sense now that we know blood supplies oxygen to the flesh,
and that is how a person in the womb receives life. In the Scriptures,
spilling the blood is the taking of a life, reader, and that is
exactly what happens in an abortion.
I agree with the words in Jeremiah, before YOU were born I knew YOU (not I knew IT). There is nothing in Scripture that says the
not quite human, or just "living tissue", a disgustingly abhorrent concept.
Life most certainly does begin at conception, reader. That is the genesis of
a person, a fertilized egg that immediately begins to proliferate cells in
accord with its genetic code, the complete and unified seed that multiplies
"according to its kind" (a phrase so important that it is
repeated ten times in Genesis Chapter 1 to make sure that we get it
right). Those human creations in the womb,
made in the image of God, respond to voice and music. I talked to my son for
months before he was born, and when he emerged in the hospital room the nurse was
astonished that he made no cries and would not take his eyes off me. She
said she had never seen anything like it, that he so obviously already knew me.
I believe this was also why he was so advanced in speech and literacy at
an early age and had to be forwarded in school grades several times.
The "pro-choice" (to kill) adherents have got the time of the "right to choose" absolutely wrong. They chose when they had sex and took the risk to conceive, and it is a risk even with contraception, and now they want to make that decision go away, and the easiest way to justify that is to redefine the person that has been formed as a mere thing, as discardable as a steak from the supermarket. There is nowhere in Scripture that the unborn are described as a mere mass of "living tissue".
Just so, a stillborn child may be dead, but it is a dead person that comes out, not an "it". A stillborn calf is a dead cow; a stillborn foal is a dead horse. A stillborn baby is a dead human
* * *
Here is another opinion,
stated in 1973, that was sent to me to consider.
"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."
(W. A. Criswell, 1909-2002, President of the Southern Baptist Convention, 1968-1970)
I do not really care what Christians of any persuasion or political leaning will say,
reader, since the vast majority are going (or have already gone) to the
wrong place through the wide and easy
gate, as Schwartz and Criswell have already found out. Those who are so in love with the word fetus (to conveniently imply
something less than human) or who consider the unborn to not be individual
persons, and who use this sly reasoning to condone abortions are usually those who have
had some part in causing them, and who are looking for some justification for that horrendous act.
Jesus said that,
when the End comes, multitudes will approach him claiming to have believed
and done things in his name, to which he will reply that he never knew
them. (Matthew 22:11-14; 7:21-23) To whom was this chilling reply
directed, reader? To Christians. Hindus and Buddhists and Muslims do not
claim to speak or perform things in Jesus name. It is Christianity that is
the mother of all fakery, and falsehood in the name of the real Lord is
what invokes the greatest penalty.
* * *
consider these comments directly from the person who asked for my response
to the statements made by Schwartz and Criswell. I know that he was deliberately
throwing it out hard and rough to see if the remarks could be countered or
"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."
I still believe that If you don't like abortion, don't have one. But don't judge others...
In the end, if abortion was such a grievous sin, wouldn't Jesus have mentioned it? He said nothing."
Numbers 5 certainly does not describe "the Lord ordering an abortion" (that is an incredibly risky statement incidentally) any more than Genesis describes the Lord ordering Adam's disobedience. In both cases Scripture describes the effects of a curse they brought upon themselves, in Adam's case, spiritual death. In the very day you eat of it you shall die, says the Lord. So Adam died. And guess what? He was still a
person, still a human being.
In the woman's case in Numbers 5, the physical curse is invoked because of her
alleged cheating, and there is
no pregnancy or miscarriage mentioned at all. I suspect this
reader had one of the non-Bible paraphrases like the New International Version,
which should be tossed into the garbage bin. Unfortunately they are very popular, and most Christians have no idea that they are
reading mistranslations which take huge liberties in loosely messing with the Word.
And that, by the way, reader, is a death penalty offence, so flagrantly committed by Christians who have no fear of the Lord, which is the beginning - literally infancy - of
wisdom. (Proverbs 9:10; Psalm 111:10) The literal words in Numbers 5:22 are, "her belly shall swell, and her thigh shall rot," and this will only happen if she is guilty of adultery.
This reader was also making the same false assumption regarding abortion that
he had made in a previous message to me regarding sodomy, namely that if it was so critical then why didn't Jesus talk about it, and since he didn't then maybe that somehow makes it okay.
This reasoning is a common fallacy amongst Christians. We do not know
whether or not Jesus talked about abortion, or that it was simply not written down by the
apostles. There is no way that they recorded every single thing he said in
those very concise histories and letters. According to those documents it
would appear that Jesus did not talk about a host of things, like sex with
animals. And why would he? It is so obviously gross and sinful, and already
spelled out in the existing Scriptures which he verified as being the Word
of God. He didn't need to go over that ground. And if you wish to read the
critical and definitive verses regarding the subject of sodomy, you will
find them in this Destiner Topic: Sodom and Tomorrow.
God wreaked destruction on the Canaanites precisely because of their unthinkable sin of sacrificing
children, both male and female, especially firstborn babies. I wonder how they justified that to
themselves? Maybe because they seized them from the mother and killed them before they took a first breath, so they could claim that were just killing a soul-less
piece of "living tissue". Perhaps they also defined them as unformed
"its" because they did not yet have any kneecaps.
Time and again in Scripture, the Israelites were told to separate
themselves from the gruesome customs of these hell-bound peoples, and in
particular to avoid this terrible sin. (Leviticus 20:2; Deuteronomy 12:31; 2 Kings 16:3; 17:31; 23:10; Jeremiah 7:30-32; 19:3-5; Ezekiel 16:20-21)
People can argue all day long as to when, or after how many days or weeks, it is okay to kill a baby in the womb because it is still just a "thing". There is nothing in Scripture that says the unborn have no soul or spirit, or that there is an acceptable time to kill them, and I
can assure you, reader, that you really do not want to be standing close to anyone who tries to tell that to the Lord's
face when the Day comes.
Do not walk where angels fear to tread. Before the eternal sentences to the outer darkness are passed out, there is going to be a lot of fire and thunderbolts over this matter on that great and terrible
Day - great for a tiny minority, terrible for a vast multitude.
In closing, I would like to quote the last
email I received from the person who asked me to address this issue, because
it was these words that prompted and encouraged me to publish it as a
Outstanding answer to my rhetorical inquiry! Thank you for taking the time to answer.
Your reply definitely moved me to pray about and reconsider my current stance on the matter.
Thanks again. J."