A major cultural problem for those of us who follow the Bible is that many people do not recognize the authority of the Bible. We believe, for example, that the Bible clearly supports the pro-life position. Occasionally, someone comes along who claims otherwise.
Our local newspaper, The News-Press, carried a guest commentary today advocating that “there is nothing in the Bible to indicate that a fetus is considered to be anything other than living tissue,” and that the fetus does not become a living being until after it has taken its first “breath.” The author claims biblical support for this position. The author further claims that the Old Testament provides for a “ritual” abortion.
Nothing could be further from the truth – if you believe the Bible (as I do).
Jeremiah 1:5 clearly ascribes personhood to the fetus: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”
Likewise, Psalm 139:13-16, gives personhood to the fetus: “For you formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works…My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed…”
Then Proverbs 6:16-17 makes it clear that to shed innocent blood – such as abortion – is an abomination in the eyes of God.
There are multiple Scriptures which refer to a “child” moving in the womb – Gen. 25:21-22, Hosea 12:3 and Luke 1:41. In Psalm 139:13, the word “reins” (KJV) refers to inner personality for the unborn. Psalm 139:16 is a clear reference to the embryo (fetus) and ascribes it as a person (“me”).
The idea that God gave man the “breath of life” in Genesis 2:7, Job 33:4 and Ezekiel 37:5-6 is an accurate figure of speech which has no reference to when life begins. In fact, the author apparently quotes the King James Version. A more accurate rendering of Job 33:4 literally says in the Hebrew that the breath of God “inspired me” – not gave me life.
The trial for a woman accused of adultery in Numbers 5:11-31 is similar to the modern “lie detector” and has nothing to do with pregnancy. It is to prove guilt or protect her from false accusation. It is not an “abortion ritual” as there is no pregnancy involved. Likewise, the penalty for a man who harms a woman in Exodus 21:22 has no reference to causing an abortion. An accurate translation clearly refers to causing premature birth – in which case the man is penalized not for murder because there was no death.
An accurate understanding of Scripture clearly gives life and personhood to a fetus.