Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Scripture and When A Fetus Becomes A Living Being

A relative of mine recently posted this article on my sister's Facebook feed, a claim that the Bible says babies in the womb aren't alive until they are born and take their first breath, pulled from another article by one Dr. Joe Schwartz. This is a convenient claim, but relies entirely upon misinterpretation of Scripture and cherry picking of verses. So, as this came up today, I am going to lay out a refutation based not only on Scripture but on science as well. The truth is that one can read any manner of sin as being okay when one wishes to sin. That does not make it less of a sin.

The article's first claim is pulled from Genesis 2:7 in which it states, "Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being." The claim is that since man did not become a living being until God breathed life into him, this means that man did not become a living being until taking his first breath. We find a refutation of this claim in Genesis 2:22 where God makes Eve. "Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man." At no point in that quote does it talk about breathing. God formed the woman and she was alive, apparently skipping the entire process of breathing life into her.

The article's next pull quote is from Job 33:4 "“The spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”  Now, I want you to notice that it talks about the breath of the Almighty giving Job life. It does NOT say that Job was not alive until Job took his first breath.  If you read Jeremiah 1:5 you will see that the prophet quotes God as saying, " "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."  The baby has a purpose, a mission, and is known by God well before they are even conceived.  Thus, one who destroys intentionally the life of a child in the womb has deliberately and intentionally deprived the world of that child's purpose and mission.  

According to the article, 
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.
However, let's look at that scripture passage and see what is actually being said. 
“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-
What the scripture passage states is that if the woman's child comes out but there is no harm - to either the child or the woman - then the one who hit her shall be fined.  However, if there is harm done - to either the child or the woman - then you shall pay the one who hit her in exact proportion to the harm done, no more and no less. In other words, if either the child or the woman dies, the person who hit her dies also.  Clearly, God is not of the same view as the person who wrote the article in terms of whether that little person in the womb is a human being.

Let's look at what God had to say about Rachel's twin boys, Jacob and Esau, while they were still in the womb. 
"two nations are in thy womb" (Jacob and Esau) "and two manner of people." - Genesis 25:23
God didn't just see those children as children, he saw beyond them to two different nations which would arise from their birth. Jacob would be the father of the Israelites, and Esau the father of the nation of Edom. 

God foretold that John the Baptist would receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit before his birth,  "He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth." - Luke 1:15.  We see that in Luke 1:41, John the Baptist lept in his mother's womb at the approach of Mary. "When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit." - Luke 1:41 Clearly, to receive the Holy Spirit one must first be alive.  Psalms 139:13 tells us "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb." Our innermost being is being put together by God's hand in the womb.

You can justify evil, if you like, using Scripture. We're all perfectly capable of lying to ourselves when the need suits. However, that doesn't mean that God is on your side or that you are correct.  God gave names to at least three children before they were even conceived. We don't name blobs of tissue. We name children.
God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him. - Genesis 17:19
Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. - Luke 1:11-13
She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." - Matthew 1:21

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