Abortion & Judgement of the Unborn

Happy Friday to all who read this,

This is my first question/topic, and I’m not sure if its been asked on here before, but the topic of abortion is something that has popped into my mind only recently, mostly due to its recent subtle political relevance in the States (i.e. Amy Coney Barrett’s hearings, and her moral stance).

Personally, I’m pro-life - I believe that our choices ought not usurp the sanctity of life, and that innocent life ought not pay for the ramifications of something that was done, either unintentionally or irresponsibly (with the rare medical cases I’d still be pro-life, but open-minded for sure). My reasoning is founded on the sciptural fact that God has fearfully and wonderfully made us all (Psalm 139; 14), and that He knew us before we were even formed (in the womb) (Jeremiah 1; 5). And I believe that a foetus ticks all the criteria for physical, biochemical life, regardless of pre-or-post-natal viability.

But when it comes to death before the birth (regardless of whether it was through an abortion or miscarriage), I know that God is a just God, and will judge everyone perfectly - from the old, to the unborn. But I guess my questions are these:

  1. Although each living individual is first destined and created for existence in the womb by God, does that necessarily mean that the unborn child has acquired a soul, and/or is to be considered equally to a human being, both physically and spiritually? (and if so, is that soul acquired at the moment of conception?)

  2. Does the actual physical birth have any implication on the nature of that newborn’s heart, i.e his/her spiritual state, specifically when it comes to sin?

Or to rephrase/suggest:
Is it only after an individual is physically born (or even reaches the age of self-awareness/conscience) that they are considered to be born into sin, or carry original sin?

I’ve heard it said that those who die before birth, or before the age of acquired conscience that they return back to the presence of God, which to me sounds nice and perfectly just, but I’m open to know if this is scripturally valid, and not just tossed around for reasons of comfort.

Apologies if my question is confusing or silly, but I’m just mainly looking for clarification over the underlying spirituality and philosophy when it comes to foetal development. Many thanks in advance, and God bless!

Leon

Hi leonoxley, I’m somewhat familiar with the subject and hope my answer is of help (I pray the wisdom of the Lord is in it):

My answer applies to both of your questions in some sense, what I would say to prepare you for the answer is that I believe the Lord is calling us to Holyness, Because it is written [in 1 Peter 1:16], Be ye holy; for I am holy. There are two foundational verses that support my answer:

1 John 3:15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.

Matthew 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Lust and hatred flow from the heart, if one can bring about death right from the heart, can one bring life right from the heart as well? I believe the answer is yes, I base myself in the two verses above. Therefore, since God is the creator of life, the value of a human life, in terms of equality as mentioned in your first question, does not begin with the existence of a soul, but rather with the intention of creation in God’s heart of that soul, that’s where the equality begins. My answer applies to the second question in terms of “spiritual state”, but not when it comes to sin. When it comes to sin, there are two elements, the blood of Adam and the blood of Christ Jesus, the first one is our “Inheritance”, as soon as the soul is in the flesh, man’s inheritance takes place (Adam’s), I do believe that the justice of God is perfect without blemish, so when it comes to abortion, I would refer you, as I have heard in the past, to King David’s experience in the 12th chapter of 2 Samuel, many pastors put forward the contrast between the death of the unborn and the death of Absalom, to imply the destiny of the soul given their situations. So we’re not told specifically in the scriptures at what point the flesh acquires the soul, but why would we need that information if it wasn’t to determine value/importance of a human life? If my answer is accurate, then it would not matter to know at what point the soul is given, what would truly matter, and I believe it does, is that God decided in His heart to create a human life, and that, may have the exact value, if not more, than a human life.

Perhaps that’s one of the reasons we can’t find answers to certain questions, we’re just looking horizontally instead of bringing God, the author and creator of life into our questions (referring to our law system), “let us reason this together”, says the Lord.

To wrap up the answer for your second question, seems to me there are two types of sin, the original and the “thought of the heart”, the question of when does a child acquire the original sin, as mentioned before, is when his soul enters the flesh, is my thinking. The question of when does a child begin to sin, is when falsehood is thought in his heart. The time at which both sins begin, I believe, is totally unknown to mankind, and only God in His perfection knows the two.

I hope the answer helps, though it may not be complete without saying that regardless of our inheritance and the value we give life, God has given us a greater inheritance in the Lord Jesus, one in which our value is restored to that which He had determined in His heart, the Blood of Christ Jesus is our new inheritance, the flesh has nothing to offer; however, instead of abortion, adoption is the better option, ye must be born again, I verily verily say unto thee, ye must be born again! And I’ve been adopted by God through Christ Jesus, my Lord and Saviour. If we remain in Adam’s inheritance, in a sense we’re facing abortion, but if we come to the inheritance of Christ Jesus, we rest in joyful life!

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Hi @jboat,

Thanks for your insightful and helpful response; it’s definitely cleared up a lot for me. So I guess what you’re saying is that the presence, or existence of a soul is not dependent on any of the developmental stages of an individual, nor the acquisition of sin or a conscience, but rather the spiritual implications of both the parents’ emotions or free will to initiate or spark that life, and hence behind the scenes, the will of God Himself.

What you’ve said has also made me realise both the power of man’s heart, and the raw, concentrated effects that it can have on ourselves, other people, and ultimately our relationship with God. All it truly takes is what we feel in our heart, to commit a spiritual act - and ultimately piece together the timeline of behaviour that God sees so crystal-clear within us all.

Once again, I appreciate the immense depth of knowledge, so many thanks to you, and glory to God. May He bless you!

Leon

Thank you for your reply @leonoxley, the existence of a soul depends on God only, our free will does not override His sovereignty, yet our free will does have an impact on our destiny. Feelings can be dangerous if they’re attended in the wrong sequence, here’s an analogy: a worker makes a comment about changing the workflow, he feels there’s a better way, another worker hears it and makes the change. Feelings, although they can sound good and sometimes are valid, they have to be routed properly, first through verification in God’s Word, then through other authority channels, where appropriate, and ultimately “count the cost”; I believe many world problems take place because of the attending to feelings, prior to following proper protocol. Feelings are truly a catalyst to instant gratification, but as it is written, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge:…” I’d recommend you to read Romans chapter 8, just like light passes through a prism and we see many beautiful angles of light, so are many verses in this chapter, I sometimes have to read a verse two or three times, the appreciation potential seems endless.

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Hi Leon,
Thanks for your thoughtful question, which is a tricky one. I can’t offer a full answer, but here is what I would say:

  1. I agree that in this area claims are often made without very clear scriptural justification. I don’t think scripture tells us a great deal about anything like an age of accountability or relevant concepts.
  2. Some things God does not tell us yet - that is partly because he is a person, not a textbook! In relationships, we are normally given enough reason to trust someone (in this case, his offering of his only Son to die for us), without being told absolutely everything. That’s just how relationships work! But it doesn’t mean that there’s no reason to trust.
  3. On the specific question, I would say two things: the Bible does not give us any reason to make assumptions, but on the other hand, it does not give us any reason to fear or despair. I think it would read too much into Biblical texts to assume any particular fate for unborn children (though I do think the Bible is clear that they are human beings, like the rest of us). But precisely for this reason, it does not give us any reason to fear or despair: in my view, there is no reason within the Bible to think that they must be lost to sin, or that God has no way of saving them. In my view, the Bible is simply silent on these sorts of questions.
  4. While the Bible’s silence might be discomforting, especially for those of us with specific personal experiences, I think this silence is significant: it points us towards trusting God himself, rather than trusting his policies. If we had to know every one of God’s policies and that they lined up with our own in order to trust him, it’s hard to see how we would actually be trusting him. We’d be in some ways like an untrusting spouse or parent who constantly checks the behaviour of their other half/child to make sure they were doing the right thing. That, to me, isn’t what a healthy relationship looks like in the normal case. So I really do think that it makes sense for us not to know everything - this is in fact the only way we can really trust God, rather than trusting ourselves and expecting him to fall in line. I hope that makes some sense.
  5. What we do know is that God loves unborn children, and the word he uses for them in the New Testament (brephos) is the same word used when people brought infants to Jesus, Jesus’ response being that the kingdom belongs to ‘such as these’. While I wouldn’t want to read this too literally and assume that everyone of a certain age must be saved, I think it is enough to give us confidence that the ‘judge of all the Earth will do right’, and that his love for unborn children is perfect and complete.
  6. Martin Luther wrote a short tract for those grieving miscarried babies, which I think makes for some more helpful reading: https://blogs.lcms.org/2016/miscarriage-comfort-in-a-time-of-loss/

Hi @jboat,

Yes, you are right in that nothing can usurp God’s sovereignty over anything, and I think my wording wasn’t clear, so my apologies for that. One such small example I could use to verify that is just because a couple both want a child and try for one, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they surely will have one - it is ultimately the sovereignty and will of God that holds everything together in the background - in fact, it does so in the foreground as well. And as you’ve said, it makes sense that if we “will” for something to happen, or want something, then we have to first align our behaviour according to the sensible route, i.e the living word of God. That’s something I personally ought to remember and practice each day. I also appreciate the reading suggestion of Romans 8, I will read through and meditate on it. Thanks again, and God bless!

Leon

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