Sacred Life - When Does It Begin?
In our previous article, we briefly considered the importance of life itself, and how God regards that life. It is the focus of this article to Biblically define abortion and propose solutions to avoid or mitigate violence. Defining abortion requires answering this question: when does life begin? We can find many opinions, but very few real answers. What does the Bible say?
The Bible suggests that life begins at conception, or very soon afterwards. Psalm 139:13-14 says, “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, And that my soul knows very well.” Jeremiah 1:5 says, “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.”
Further, we find abortion condemned among God’s People. In Exodus 21:22-23 we read, “If men fight, and hurt a woman with child, so that she gives birth prematurely, yet no harm follows, he shall surely be punished accordingly as the woman’s husband imposes on him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if any harm follows, then you shall give life for life” - Here the Septuagint specifies the baby as the one receiving the harm. Many of the early church "fathers" wrote strongly against the practice of abortion (Didache, Basil, Augustine).
God says that life is GOOD, and that violence is EVIL, so we must conclude that something that takes life away from a human being is not a good thing! So, what can we do about it?
Many will suggest to simply abstain! This is indeed Biblical, as Hebrews 13:4 states, “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” We could let the Scripture say it, and expect others to comply, but we must be realistic. The world will always be worldly. We will always have our physical desires, and many will give in to that temptation, especially those who have not been taught. We must accept that there is no perfect solution except what God intends and gives.
In Malachi 2:15 we read, “But did He not make them one, Having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. “Therefore take heed to your spirit, And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.” Every child is intended to have a home that rears him/her toward Godliness. God not only wants us to LIVE, but live to be like HIM! And thus, the babies who are born need to be cared for by those who will encourage him/her to a life of Godliness.
God has given us an alternative to abortion: adoption. Will this totally fix the problem of abortion? No. Remember - abortion is only the symptom of the bigger issue of sin and violence. We will never save every child - but this author believes we should save the children that are able to be saved!
The basic concept of adoption is that NO child is "unwanted". God wants ALL of us. Consider Galatians 4:4-5: “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” Adoption is not "giving up" a baby, but ensuring that that baby is provided for, physically and spiritually. Of course, most children will not have this blessing. However, Christians have a duty to help those in need, and a refusal to provide that help is going to negatively impact our souls, because we are willfully disobeying the commands of God (James 1:27).
Many brethren understood the problem in the 1950s and 1960s. In seeing the opportunities to help children who did not have homes, they pushed to use the local church treasury in order to provide these homes. The simple problem is that they constructed an apostate solution for it in the orphan home business model. Dealing with this topic in full is not within the purview of this article, but suffice it to say, nearly every adoption agency today recognizes that the orphan homes are NOT a solution to the issue. Often, children grow up in these institutions without the particular love and care that they need which can only be found in a real, loving home with parents who are faithful Christians.
Thus, not only did Christians misuse church funds for what is an individual responsibility, they truly did not help the situation, and in some ways have made the situation worse. Adoption is inherently superior to what these Christians have done, and continue to do. This author is blessed to have grandparents who were willing to adopt two children, welcome them into their home, rather than creating some organization to do the work that individual Christians ought to be doing.
Again, there is no perfect solution for abortion, but if you oppose abortion, you are automatically obligated to support adoption. This does not necessarily require that you adopt a child, only that you find some way to support adoption. Consider donating to Sacred Selections, or supporting a yard sale to raise funds for Christian parents to adopt. There are many ways to help!
When I mention adoption here and in the following statements, I want us to assume this is adoption to the type of home that God wants children to be raised in - a home of Christians. When a woman lacks the resources to care for her baby, adoption is the most effective answer. The young woman who is raped never asked for the child. If such happened to our daughter, we might decide she cannot raise this child on her own. In such situations, adoption can be the best solution. Consider also the older family who already has a multitude of children and cannot financially provide for the new baby’s care. Adoption is the best solution.
For proper motivation for the help we can provide for adoption, we must be willing to plead for the fatherless and the widow. Read Exodus 22:22; Deuteronomy 24:17; Job 6:27; Psalm 68:5; Isaiah 1:17,23; James 1:27. Think about how God views these children who are born into horrible conditions and situations. Can we go before God in judgment after having never done anything to help them?
The sad fact is that nothing is likely to ever change concerning the practice of abortion; neither political party in America seems intent on bringing about a positive solution, and it is this author’s personal conviction that a national solution does not exist. Like Jesus told his disciples about feeding the multitude (Mark 7), we must ask ourselves, “What can I do to help?” We need not wait for governments to do what God is calling upon us to do now as individuals. Remember that if you are a Christian, the Lord adopted YOU! -Steven McCrary
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