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What does the Bible say about abortion

Where does the Bible say abortion is immoral?

Postby The Edge » Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:12 pm

Where does the bible state that abortion is immoral?
The Edge

Re: Where does the Bible say abortion is immoral?

Postby jimwalton » Sun Dec 31, 2017 5:17 pm

It doesn't. The Bible is relatively silent on the issue of abortion, which has resulted in well-meaning Christians taking a variety of positions on the matter. But the Bible speaks strongly that a fetus is considered of value and regarded as human from conception, and therefore abortion is murder.

In the ancient Near East, abortion was one of several methods of birth control, among castration of the male, self-restraint, contraception, withdrawal, and infanticide. If a woman was pregnant, however, most ancient civilizations, via laws about assault and accidents leading to miscarriage, sought to protect the unborn child. The Old Testament likewise contains no laws about abortion, though it also has protections for the woman and child in pregnancy. To the best of our current knowledge, abortion was not practiced in Canaan, as it apparently was (by potions of various sorts) in Egypt and Mesopotamia. The Egyptians, however, placed a high value on prenatal life, as evidenced by their practice of mummifying miscarried fetuses and stillborn babies, indicating their belief that the fetus would carry on to the next life in the afterworld.

In Canaan, however, infanticide was practiced through child sacrifice, which may have been their counterpart to abortion (birth control). This may explain the silence of the prophets and the Law on abortion, and their outrage against child sacrifice.

What is the teaching of the Old Testament?

1. God created humans as a species in his image, and blew into them as a species the breath of life (nephesh). The other vital life forces that makes a person a "living being" is blood (Gn. 9.4-7) and breath (ruach). It is these three that biblically makes someone "a living being." Such creation of humans is not just about Adam & Eve, but continues with the human species (2 Cor. 4.7; Eph. 2.10; Rom. 9.20-21).

2. Humans bear God's image, marred by sin, from conception on (Ps. 51.5; 58.3).

3. Birth is considered a co-creative process involving man, woman, and God (Gn. 4.1; 16.2; 21.1-2a; 29.31, et al.). In the process of childbirth, humankind is granted a share in the joyous task of creation.

4. The OT Law sought to protect the life of the mother and of the fetus (Ex. 21.22-25). A high value was placed on both. The fetus is given both "image of God" (Gn. 9.6) and nephesh status (see also Lev. 24.17-18). Furthermore, the fetus was not considered "a potential life or person." From the perspective of Heb. 7.11, "potential life" is in the loins of the father. See also Amos 1.13b.

4. The Old Testament elevates human life as a precious gift from God (Ps. 139.13-18).

What is the teaching of the New Testament?

Certainly the Greco-Roman and Jewish cultures of the 1st century were familiar with the practice of abortion, though it never became a practice in Jewish society.

1. There are several passages that express condemnation of infanticide (Mt. 2.16-18; Acts 7.17-19). That does not imply that they also prohibit abortion.
The NT paints a pictures of the value of babies and children (Mt. 11.25; 19.13-15; 21.16), but these passages speak of already-born babies or children, not fetuses. Luke, however, uses the same Greek word, brephos, of the fetus in the womb (Lk. 1.41, 44) as he does of the newborn child (Lk. 2.12, 16; Acts 7.19; cf. 1 Pet. 2.2).

2. Conception is seen as a blessing (Mt. 1.20; Lk. 1.24-25, 30. 31; Jn. 16.21; 1 Tim. 2.15; 5.14). Pregnancy is viewed in a positive light.
The New Testament elevates human life as a precious gift from God. Acts 17.25b. The OT prohibition of murder is reaffirmed many times (Mt. 5.21-22; 15.19; 19.17-18; Rom. 1.29; Rev. 22.15).

3. Humans are seen as being in the image of God. James 3.9; Rom. 8.29; 2 Cor. 3.18; Eph. 4.24; Col. 3.10; 2 Pet. 1.4; 1 Jn. 3.2.
God took on human flesh, which removes any doubt as to human dignity (Jn. 1.14; Phil. 2.6-7). He was who he was from the moment of conception.

4. The NT teaches personal continuity from womb to grave.

5. Paul makes it clear that a Christian woman (at least) does not own or rule over her own body (1 Cor. 6.15-7.5). The claim that “I can do what I want with my own body” is not a biblical teaching.

Concluding theological Perspectives:

1. Humans are unique creatures in being in the image of God.

2. The woman does not have exclusive rights over the developing human inside of her body. Theologically, that life inside her is a gift and a trust from God. It is inappropriate to set up the issue as a conflict of "rights": the rights of the woman vs. the rights of the unborn child. In Scripture, there is no "right to life." Life is a gift from God and a sign of grace. No one has a presumptive claim on it. See also 1 Cor. 6.19-20.

3. The destruction of human life in any form is the antithesis of God's primary purpose in creation. Satan is perceived as the destroyer of life; God is the giver of life.

4. It in inappropriate to create lines by asking "When does human life begin?" or "When does the soul enter a human being?" Neither biology nor theology know the answer, and they never will. These are attempts to justify abortion by defining marginal cases out of the human race; Jesus's persistent teaching was to define the marginal cases with which he came in contact as "in."

5. The Bible speaks strongly against the shedding of innocent blood (Gn. 4.10; Ex. 23.7; Dt. 21.8; Prov. 1.10-11, 15-16; 18-19; 6.16-19; 28.17; Joel 3.19; 2 Ki. 24.3-4).

6. The Bible teaches us to help those who are helpless.

7. There is nothing in Scripture that even remotely suggests that the unborn child is anything less than a human person from the moment of conception.
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Re: Where does the Bible say abortion is immoral?

Postby The Edge » Mon Jan 01, 2018 3:29 pm

If you expect me to read all of that, then you're crazy. I read the first paragraph, though. Cum, zygote, and fetuses are all the potential for human life but they don't count as actually living humans.
The Edge

Re: Where does the Bible say abortion is immoral?

Postby jimwalton » Sun Feb 04, 2018 9:32 am

It's up to you. I was just trying to answer your question about why abortion is considered immoral according to the Bible. It's odd that you ask a question best addressed by a thorough answer, but then you're not interested in reading the answer. But that's your choice.

> zygote, and fetuses are all the potential for human life but they don't count as actually living humans.

Then you didn't read the rest of the case. But that's up to you.

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