Monday, August 27, 2012

The Biblical Case Against Abortion

A little while back I posted some quotes from several early church fathers where they clearly condemned abortion. I also expounded on one of those quotes on my other blog. Here I want to make the biblical case against abortion.

While the Bible does not explicitly deal with abortion, it does condemn the murder of human people and recognizes unborn children as such, seeing continuity between before and after birth.

1. The Bible condemns murder, and does so because man is made in the image of God:
"You shall not murder."
(Exodus 20:13)

"Whoever sheds the blood of man,
by man shall his blood be shed,
for God made man in his own image."
(Genesis 9:6)
2. The Bible presents unborn children as people having individual relationships with God (sometimes with personal faith), and with each other:
"...and Rebekah his wife conceived. The children struggled together within her, and she said, 'If it is thus, why is this happening to me?' So she went to inquire of the Lord. And the Lord said to her,
'Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples from within you shall be divided;
the one shall be stronger than the other,
the older shall serve the younger.'
When her days to give birth were completed, behold, there were twins in her womb. The first came out red, all his body like a hairy cloak, so they called his name Esau. Afterward his brother came out with his hand holding Esau's heel, so his name was called Jacob."
(Genesis 25:21b-26)

"On you was I cast from my birth,
and from my mother's womb you have been my God."
(Psalm 22:10)

"Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me."
(Psalm 51:5)

"Upon you I have leaned from before my birth;
you are he who took me from my mother's womb.
My praise is continually of you."
(Psalm 71:6)

"...he [John] will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb."
(Luke 1:15)

"And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit...'For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.'"
(Luke 1:41, 44)

3. Because unborn children are thus human persons with souls, the law of God provides legal protection of unborn children:
"When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman's husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe."
(Exodus 21:22-25)
In this passage even the non-intentional causing of a premature birth without injury involved is punished with a fine. If there is injury caused, then there should be civil punishment fitting to the damage (life for life, etc...). Obviously the intentional practice of causing the death of the unborn child would be very strictly punished according to biblical law. 

Some argue that the harm referred to is harm to the woman and that a miscarriage is being discussed. But the word for miscarriage is not used here, nor do the words used indicate such a meaning, and the harm is not specified to the woman, but harm to either woman or child seems to be meant. But even if they are right, the passage still shows that in an accidental case of causing miscarriage (i.e. manslaughter) there is a fine. If it was an intentional causing of the death of the unborn child, more than a fine would be expected as the civil penalty.

4. Other considerations include:

God makes and cares for the unborn baby in a personal way (e.g. Psalms 139:13-16).

The person of Jesus Christ took on human nature (added to his person) and lived His human life from conception onwards (Matthew 1:18-23, Luke 1:31-35).

Thus, the unborn child is a human person, and the child being unborn does not exempt the intentional killing of the unborn child from being murder, which is contrary to God's law and is sin. It should be resisted by individuals, families, churches, and civil governments, with their proper authority, lest our land continue to be defiled by this sin.

5. One more point. Killing children, born and unborn, is not only a sin, but a judgement upon a people:
"Samaria shall bear her guilt,
because she has rebelled against her God;
they shall fall by the sword;
their little ones shall be dashed in pieces,
and their pregnant women ripped open."
(Hosea 13:16)
See also: Deuteronomy 28:53-57, Isaiah 13:16, Nahum 3:10, Psalm 137:8-9

Thus, not only ought we to oppose abortion, but we also ought to repent of our sins, and of our nation's sins, relying on God's grace and salvation.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Coming of Christ and History

(Reflections on last Lord's Day sermon at our church)

The people who walked in darkness 
 have seen a great light; 
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, 
on them has light shone 
You have multiplied the nation; 
you have increased its joy; 
they rejoice before you 
as with joy at the harvest, 
as they are glad when they divide the spoil... 
For to us a child is born, 
to us a son is given; 
and the government shall be upon his shoulder, 
and his name shall be called 
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, 
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 
Of the increase of his government and of peace 
there will be no end, 
on the throne of David and over his kingdom, 
to establish it and to uphold it 
with justice and with righteousness 
from this time forth and forevermore. 
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this. 
(Isaiah 9:2-3, 6-7) 

There are certain similarities between different parts of history because it is still the same world, governed by the same God, but something happened that fundamentally changed the flow of history. This change was the coming of Christ.

Before Christ, the nations walked in the "times of ignorance" (Acts 17:30) and Israel struggled constantly in their tiny corner of the world to maintain some semblance of godliness for a few years before going into the next round of judgement. The Holy Spirit had not been poured out in abundance and it was pretty dark. All sorts of pagan practices were common, even among the "civilized" Greek and Romans, and sometimes even among the Israelites.

But when Christ came, with His life, death, and resurrection, He established His kingdom. Notice we call the time after Christ "A.D.," Anno Domini (In the year of our Lord), not simply "after Christ." These years after Christ belong to Him in a special way: they are the years of His reign. In the verses above, along with the many rich prophecies in the Bible, we see that with the coming of Christ comes a fundamental change in the course of history. No longer will the people walk in darkness. From this time of Christ's coming, His kingdom of justice, righteousness, peace, and joy will be established (sound like Romans 14:17?). It is certain because the zeal of the LORD has purposed this. No one else can establish this kind of a kingdom. Attempts to do this without God (i.e. United Nations) are doomed to fail.

There are some things that happened in the times of ignorance that simply will not happen again because Christ's kingdom is on the move and the world is being saved by Him (John 3:17). Never again will the world be the same. We have already been immensely influenced by the Gospel as it has spread throughout the world. While there might be an occasional report of human sacrifice today, there are no Aztec temples covered in the blood of the masses. While we have our political troubles, we are doing better than the chosen people of ancient Israel did! At least our leaders aren't putting their children into the fire. Books have been written trying to chronicle the amazing influence Christianity and the Bible have had on the world, such as one I am reading now, The Book That Made Your World by Vishal Mangalwadi. As the Bible comes to the nations, those nations are being discipled. Scenarios like The Hunger Games don't seem to take into account that Christ is on the throne, and to think that He would allow such scenarios shows a lack of faith. There might be very tough times ahead, full of battles and persecutions, but there will always be hope of Christ's victory present.

This kingdom will not only endure through all ages, but its increase will have no end. It will not stop growing. Not even today! While we don't know everything about the future, we know that Greece and Rome are dead, Hitler is dead, Darwin and Marx are dying, and the world is observing the bankruptcy of rebellion against God and the death it produces. Nietzsche does not rule the world. Jesus does, and His zeal will continue to increase His kingdom. The future holds amazing things for us and I'm excited about it.