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Abortion: A Surprising Biblical Response

I had assumed all my life that God was pro-life and that abortion was a sin. Not only a sin, but among the worst of all sins. I assumed that the Bible was unmistakenly clear on this topic of being pro-life with the exception of the most extreme scenarios such as rape or if the mothers life was in danger. But even then it was a hard choice against ones conscience. This is a huge political topic that is often a dividing line between Republican Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. Pro-life advocates will label pro-choice advocates with being atheists and rebelling against God and the Bible. Their whole thesis is centered around the commandment: Thou shall not murder. They say that all life is sacred and that life begins at conception. Most pro-choice liberals do not derive their view from the scriptures. But my angle with this is based purely on the morals that God sets forth in his word. I believe one of the things that prevents us from seeing many truths are the assumptions we make if we even allow ourselves to consider another viewpoint. This was definitely the case for me on the subject of abortion. So let's take a closer look at how God feels of the subject of abortion in the Bible.

Does life really begin at conception?
First of all, thou shall not murder means not to kill a life unjustly. There are justified means of killing such as self defense. In regards to abortion, we would have to assume that life begins at conception to rule it a murder of an innocent life. This will be seen to be a false assumption. The Bible teaches that God says life begins at birth, at the moment the baby receives the 1st breath of life out of the womb. That is when man becomes a living soul. Anything before that is a formulation of a soulless body. The body and the soul are different. Just as a dead body has no soul, so too does a fetus have no soul. Not yet anyways. Please dont make the assumption that the fetus does not hold value, because it does, but not the same value as a life already in the world that has received the breath of life from God and has already become a a living soul.

Genesis 2:7 "And Jehovah God formed the man out of dust from the ground, and blew into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."
So man was not a living soul until the breath of life was given. We also see that 1st the man was formed and then he became a living soul afterwards. This is consistent with a fetus being formed 1st in the mother's womb, then receiving the breath of life at birth and becoming a living soul at that point. We see in many passages that breath and life are synonymous.

Job 33:4 The Spirit of God made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.

Psalms 146:4 His breath will go out, he returns to the earth; his thoughts perish in that day.

Isaiah 42:5 So says Jehovah God, creating the heavens and stretching them out; spreading out the earth and its offspring, giving breath to the people on it, and spirit to those walking in it.

Jeremiah 10:14 Every man is stupid from lack of knowledge; every refiner is put to shame by the carved image. For his molten image is a lie and no breath is in them.

Jeremiah 51:17 Every man is brutish in knowledge, every refiner is put to shame by idols. For his casted image is a lie, and no breath is in them.

Ezekiel 37:5 So says the Lord Jehovah to these bones: Behold, I cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live,;

Ezekiel 37:6 and I will put on you sinews and will bring flesh on you and spread skin over you and put breath in you, and you shall live. And you shall know that I am Jehovah.

Ezekiel 37:8 And I watched. And, behold! The sinews and the flesh came up on them, and the skin spread over them from above. But there was no breath in them.

As you can see in Ezekiel, the sinews, flesh, and skin are not alive until breath enters into them. When we die, the breath is gone. The body remains, but the soul has departed. The baby breathes only by the mother through the umbilical cord. Once it is cut, then the baby breathes its 1st breath. It is a beautiful moment when the baby begins to cry because it just received the breath of life from God and became a living soul.

We should not of course be reckless with our decisions before this point. A beautiful thing has developed in the mothers womb just prior to birth. But if it doesn't get to breath the breath of life from God, it was never a soul, but only a body. So we will not see aborted babies in the resurrection, as these bodies never received a soul and became alive with the breath of life from God. Before we make too many assumptions, let's continue to put the rest of the pieces together.

Supposed Pro-Life Scriptures
Other than thou shall not murder, there aren't a lot of scriptures to which they can draw from. But here are a few.

Jeremiah 1:5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations."
To say this somehow infers that life begins at conception is a stretch, its reading into the text, and is making assumptions based on an already preconceived belief. God does have foreknowledge of us and can know of his plans for us in advance. That's all this verse is saying.

Psalms 139:14-15 "You did form my inward parts, you knit me together in my mother's knew me right well; my frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret..."
Again nothing about life beginning at conception. God does know what is happening while our bodies are forming.
I've seen a few other verses, but none are relevant as these. Even the above verses aren't relevant which goes to show how little biblical support the pro-life position has.

Abortion Is Mandated By God In The Case Of Adultery.
First look at Leviticus 20:10.
"'If a man commits adultery with another man's wife--with the wife of his neighbor--both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death."
Now there has to be witnesses for both to be sentenced to death. And of course if a woman just had sex she could be pregnant which was inevitably the case in some scenarios. She was then sentenced to be killed, the fetus would die with the mother. There is no law to accommodate a fetus in that situation, so the fetus would be aborted upon the mother's death.

Numbers 5: We see God mandate an abortion in the case of adultery with no witnesses.The priest shall say unto the woman, The LORD make thee a curse and an oath among thy people, when the LORD doth make thy thigh to rot, and thy belly to swell. And this water that causeth the curse shall go into thy bowels, to make thy belly to swell, and thy thigh to rot: And the woman shall say, Amen, amen. ...
And when he hath made her to drink the water, then it shall come to pass, that, if she be defiled, and have done trespass against her husband, that the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter, and her belly shall swell, and her thigh shall rot: and the woman shall be a curse among her people. And if the woman be not defiled, but be clean; then she shall be free, and shall conceive seed. -- Numbers 5:21-21, 27-28
This scenario is of a husband suspecting his wife being unfaithful with another man, although their are no witnesses and he is jealous. I imagine that there are various ways that would spark his suspicion. The wife being pregnant at a time that he wasn't around to do the deed would be one such way that this could play out. Although that is not specified in the passage and doesn't need to be. But the husband takes his wife to the priest to perform this ritual that God ordained. If the woman was guilty, she was would not die because there were no witnesses, but she would be cursed with barrenness. If she was innocent she would be able to conceive seed, or children. So this is the context of the story. These are the two ways this would play out whether she be guilty or innocent. Again, when a woman has sex, she would be pregnant in a certain percentage of these scenarios. The baby would miscarry and be aborted if guilty. So the Bible is clearly indirectly speaking on the subject of abortion. Although we do not live in a society that follows God's law like ancient Israel did, we can formulate from these laws the morals and values that God has on these issues that are quite relevant today. At bare minimum, God feels abortion is best in the scenario of adultery.

How God Values An Unborn Fetus
If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life. -- Exodus 21:22-23

Here we see how God views the status of a fetus. A pregnant woman is accidentally hurt by men fighting. Her unborn baby is miscarried due to it. The offender is not sentenced to death, but instead a fine to be determined by the husband. Now if the women dies, then a life for life. Do you see it. The unborn baby is not considered the equivalent of a human life. 

It is argued that it should be interpreted that the sentences are determined by whether the fetus dies or lives after the miscarriage based on how certain translations are rendered. In other words it's not a given that the baby dies from the miscarriage, but if the unborn baby did die then life for life. This interpretation fits the pro-life narrative because the fetus is then given the value of a human life. There are 2 issues with that interpretation. One is that a baby surviving a premature birth is new only due to modern science which makes that distinction unnecessary for the Israelites back then. Secondly we already know the penalty of life for life in regards to an unlawful human murder. If a human died accidentally such as manslaughter, then the offender was to flee to a sanctuary city. This scenario adds the variable that the woman is pregnant and it is considered an accidental death. But instead of being allowed to flee to a sanctuary city, it is life for life for the offender. God did place special care for a pregnant woman for her protection, so that does show value toward the fetus for sure, but not equivalent to human life. So there is only 1 interpretation that fits and how God views the status of the unborn is clearly revealed.

Genesis 38: God's law sometimes requires the execution (by burning to death) of pregnant women.Tamar thy daughter in law hath played the harlot; and also, behold, she is with child by whoredom. And Judah said, Bring her forth, and let her be burnt. -- Genesis 38:24Now the order from Judah was withdrawn and Tamar was not burned with her fetus in the womb. But there didn't seem to be any issue giving the order with Tamar being pregnant. There is no acknowledgment of the fetus as a human life to be considered when determining the fate and sentencing of the mother carrying the baby in the womb.

Is Life Sacred?
The view from the pro-life advocates is that life is a sacred, it is a gift, and that we should never rob a fetus of the opportunity of that by aborting the baby no matter the circumstance. We are made in the image of God and we are playing God by making any such decision to abort a fetus. While life can be a gift for some. That is not found in the Bible to be true for many. King Soloman, Job, and the prophet Jeremiah all write of a very morbid view of life. It can be for some a sort of hell on earth. It can be something to dread, despise, and not wish upon an unborn fetus coming into a world in less than desirable circumstances. If you've been fortunate enough to not be shown this side of life on earth than you have been truly blessed. But not everyone shares your view. In fact for most this is not the case. There is so much pain and misery in the world. God desires for children to grow up in loving, caring, and stable homes. So there are so many scenarios in which this is not the case. 

More-Jewish law and tradition also viewed the fetus as not a person.-Babylonian law also viewed the fetus as not a person and they often copied Hebrew law.-God ordered the killing of many woman and children, and fetuses in his judgement against mankind.- Link -
Subpages (1): Adoption