Abortion: The answer’s in Genesis
First published in Prayer News (Australia), May 1998, p. 4
Many people, sadly including many Christians, think abortion is a difficult and controversial issue. But just like the ‘days of creation’ issue, there is no difficulty or controversy at all — providing we allow the Bible to teach us, and not impose the ideas of fallible people on to its plain meaning.
There are only two issues to consider:
- Is the unborn child (‘fetus’) a human being?
- If so, is it ever acceptable to kill the unborn?
The answer to both questions is in Genesis. Genesis 25:21–22 states: ‘and Rebekah his [Isaac’s] wife conceived. And the children struggled together within her; …’ Note that Rebekah’s unborn twins, Jacob and Esau, are referred to as ‘children’ (the Hebrew word used, banim (plural of ben), commonly refers to children after birth, and often has a more specific meaning ‘sons’. The New Testament uses the usual Greek word for baby, brephos, to refer to the unborn John the Baptist, who ‘leaped in her [Elizabeth’s] womb’ because of the presence of the unborn Christ Luke 1:41–44). Unborn babies are not disposable clumps of tissue, despite the claims of many pro-abortionists. And they are always human right from fertilization, because all the DNA coding needed to build each individual’s physical features is there in the fertilized egg. It is absolutely false that the developing human goes through any fish or reptile stage, despite some blatantly fraudulent evolutionary claims (see ‘Fraud Rediscovered’, Creation 20(2):49–51, March 1998 for the shocking truth, with photographic documentation). No, the Bible, supported by science, teaches that the unborn baby is a human child (see also Psalm 139:13–16, Jeremiah 1:5).
The second question is also answered in Genesis. Genesis 1:26–29 and 2:7–23 make it clear that man was created distinct from the animals, made in God’s image. In Genesis 3 we read how this image was corrupted by the sin of the first humans, Adam and Eve. Only one generation later, Cain committed the first murder, a destruction of this image, thus a grievous affront to God. Violence (and other evils) spread throughout the world, so God destroyed all people apart from the Ark’s passengers with a globe-covering flood (Genesis 6–8).
Right throughout Scripture, murder — that is the intentional killing of innocent humans — is regarded as a heinous sin (Exodus 20:13, Matthew 19:18, Romans 13:9). Since abortion kills an innocent human being, it is nothing less than murder. So all the usual ‘hard cases’ pushed by pro-abortionists, e.g. ‘What if the woman was raped?’, ‘What if the child is deformed?’, ‘What if she can’t afford to keep the child?’ are completely irrelevant. We should also remember Ezekiel 18:20, which prohibits executing a child for the crime of his/her father — this means that even the tragic cases of pregnancies due to incest or rape are no justification for killing the innocent child conceived.
Besides, these are very rare cases — the vast majority of abortions are done for sheer convenience — if we can get rid of unwanted kittens, why not get rid of unwanted kids?
So what can we do as Christians? We should note that after the Flood, God made a provision to restrain murder — anyone who murdered would forfeit his own life (Genesis 9:6). So Genesis contains the origin of civil government, because this command to dispense justice carries with it the concept of authority. We see in the New Testament (Romans 13) that the main function of government is to protect the good and punish the guilty.
Since abortion is a type of murder, it should be prohibited by governments. So a nation that allows unborn babies to be killed is shaking its fist at God, and cannot prosper in the long run. Sadly, this is epitomized by the recent decision of the Western Australian parliament to decriminalize abortion.
Also in Genesis we read about Lot, sadly a prototype of many Christians today. Although Lot was a ‘righteous’ man (2 Peter 2:6–8), he chose to pitch his tent towards Sodom (Genesis 13:11–13), and was soon engulfed in it. It appears he was attracted to its material prosperity, but ignored the corrupting effects its sin would have on his family. He lost the fiancés of both his daughters when God destroyed the city, and lost his wife when she looked back wistfully.
Christians who attach more importance to economic than moral issues are acting like Lot. While issues like interest rates, employment, housing and education are important, babies who are murdered in their mothers’ wombs will not be able to enjoy these benefits.
Finally, although we should uncompromisingly point out the grievous sin of abortion, we must also point out that no sin is unforgivable. Women who have had abortions, doctors who perform them and politicians who vote for abortion liberalization can all have forgiveness — if they come to Christ in repentance and faith.
For more biblical arguments against abortion, and answering various justifications, see What does the Bible say about abortion? (American Right to Life, which is off site, so we cannot vouch for everything that might be on this site).