Is Abortion Murder?

Discussion for Christian perspectives on ethical issues such as abortion, euthanasia, sexuality, and so forth.
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Is Abortion Murder?

#1

Post by Shirtless » Tue Jan 11, 2005 6:45 pm

Is abortion immoral in God's eyes? Is it murder?

Before I became Christian, I didn't want to give it any thought, because when you don't have a divine judge watching over you, you make excuses. But when I became Christian, I realized I had to confront the issue. I realized that humans have a spirit, and that abortion could very well be murder. I could go to hell for sitting around while millions of babies are being killed!

Okay, but what about killing an animal? Isn't swatting a fly "taking a life"? Yes, it is taking life, but not human life! That's where morality comes in: Is it human? Whether atheist or believer, saying that a fetus is not a person seems like a nasty thing to say. Of course a fetus is a person! They have arms like a person, a brain like a person, and they even move like people do! This is clear indication that a fetus is a person, and that aborting a fetus is murder...


...right?


If killing a fetus is immoral, what about stem cells? They don't have any of these features, but they have the possibility of becoming a human...but stems cells are thrown away all the time, does that mean we're killing thousands of humans when we throw away umbilical cords? What are we supposed to do with them? I sometimes wondered why God would leave us with these questions that drive us nuts. But maybe God didn't leave us empty handed.

The Bible often uses the term the "breath of life". Could the Bible be telling us that a human isn't a human until it takes it's first breath? Many times the Bible refers to anyone who is a human, as anyone who breathes (1 Kings 15:29, Joshua 10:40). The words of Ezekiel 37:5-10 (KJV) use the breath metaphor a lot.

5 Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live:

6 And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.

7 So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.

8 And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.

9 Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.

10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.


Of course these could be merely metaphors--some have suggested that these passages refer to the creation of the state of Israel, so it's not necessarily a human's flesh.

Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust(mud) of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

So Adam was a living soul after he was given the "breath of life". Maybe this means that everyone is only a human after they take their first breath. It certainly makes sense. The Bible never says that you're a human when in the womb, but it makes references to being formed in the womb:

Isaiah 44:24 Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb...

Is your body your soul? Is your skin, or your bones your soul? Most would say no. I believe that a fetus is potential human life. Is a fetus alive? Yes! Does it move? Yes! Is it a person? In my opinion, no. In Exodus 21:22-23, the death of an unborn fetus is a matter that can be solved with a fine, so the Jews felt that abortion is not murder (and this was in the days of an eye for an eye). Having as many children as possible was very important at the time, so killing a potential child would surely demand the death penalty; apparently God didn't agree.

I believe a fetus is a body, nothing more. Once a new born baby has breathed air, he is a person, and killing him is murder. A woman who buries her new baby under the snow to die, is guilty of murder.

Brainwaves, heartbeat, movement--it's all mute if there's no soul. After all, we celebrate Jesus' birth, not his conception.

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#2

Post by August » Tue Jan 11, 2005 7:18 pm

Psalm 139:13 (NIV)
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.

Isaiah 44:2 (NIV)
This is what the Lord says--
he who made you, who formed you in the womb,
and who will help you."

Isaiah 44:24 (NIV)
"This is what the Lord says--
your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb:

I am the Lord,
who has made all things,
who alone stretched out the heavens,
who spread out the earth by myself,"

Isaiah 49:5 (NIV)
And now the Lord says--
he who formed me in the womb to be his servant
to bring Jacob back to him
and gather Israel to himself,
for I am honored in the eyes of the Lord
and my God has been my strength-- "

Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV)
"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."

Jeremiah 20:17 (NIV)
For he did not kill me in the womb,
with my mother as my grave"

Womd is translated from Hebrew 'beten', meaning belly, or inside. Wj=hat this says is that God is putting a person together, and knows that person, even inside the mother. If you have an abortion, you are destroying Gods work he's busy with in the womb.
In my opinion, no. In Exodus 21:22-23, the death of an unborn fetus is a matter that can be solved with a fine, so the Jews felt that abortion is not murder (and this was in the days of an eye for an eye). Having as many children as possible was very important at the time, so killing a potential child would surely demand the death penalty; apparently God didn't agree.
Did you actually read this?

Exodus 21:22 (NIV)
"If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman's husband demands and the court allows.Exodus 21:23 (NIV)
But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, "

Nowhere does it say that the injury applies only to the woman.

The breath of life to Adam was given to him in that fashion only because he did not come from the womb, he was created by God.

Kurieuo, maybe you can weigh in on the dualism part here?

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#3

Post by Kurieuo » Tue Jan 11, 2005 8:33 pm

shirtless wrote:So Adam was a living soul after he was given the "breath of life". Maybe this means that everyone is only a human after they take their first breath. It certainly makes sense. The Bible never says that you're a human when in the womb, but it makes references to being formed in the womb:
In the same way Adam was created, are we created? No. There is an obvious distinction in that we aren't created by God directly, rather our physical form (unique human DNA code) is a fusing of our parent's gametes, at which point "we" become conceived. What is our conception, if not the conception of a new biological human life? Life is biologically inherent at our conception. Now reflecting upon Adam's creation, Adam's physical body was fully formed "lifeless," before it became infused with the life. Thus, there is a big distinction between our individual formation where human life exists at every stage from conception, compared to Adam's who is given life only upon the completion of his full physical form.

Now the moment Adam's physical body could support the full human capacities of the soul (i.e., self-reflection, thinking, vision, sounds, tastes and other phenominal qualia), is the moment God breathed his life essense (which includes his spirit/soul) into him (compare Ecclesiastes 12:7 with Genesis 2:7). This "breath of life" is not strictly speaking "breathing" alone, but rather represents God's imparting the vitality of man into Adam, that is his life essense. The word translated for "breath" has the following Strong's definition: "a puff, that is, wind, angry or vital breath, divine inspiration, intellect or (concretely) an animal: - blast, (that) breath (-eth), inspiration, soul, spirit."

Unlike Adam, at every stage during our development there is life! And there is no reason not to assume there is no human soul when we have human life. Infact at about six weeks when brain activity begins to function, this is perhaps the first sign that a soul is present! It does not mean the soul did not exist before this point, it simply means the body finally developed the functionaly to express a rational capacity of the soul. There is no reason to think the soul is ever separate from the living body.
shirtless wrote:Brainwaves, heartbeat, movement--it's all mute if there's no soul. After all, we celebrate Jesus' birth, not his conception.
Do you think without a soul? Are we purely physical substances. I think there "may" be a mixed clash of ideas in your thinking, specifically around what qualities of the soul become expressed.

Also, we celebrate the "birth" of everyone, but so what? This has no impact upon what constitutes the unborn. Do you honestly believe that the baby a few moments before coming out of the womb, is different from what is was the moment it is birthed? Can location change who we are?

Kurieuo.
"Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13)

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#4

Post by Felgar » Wed Jan 12, 2005 9:36 am

Really the key is this: At which point does an unborn child have a soul? It is at that point that an eternal being comes into existance, and it's at this point that the life becomes human. It's at this point that the life's purpose is to love God. It's after this that to kill that life is a travesty.

Note in Genesis 25 Jacob and Esau were struggling with each other inside the womb, as only one could be firstborn. That represents a thought process and would indicate the presence of a soul. Kurieuo's verses also support that a person has a soul at some point before being born. Unborn infants will respond to music, etc too.

But still, perhaps it it does happen at the moment of birth, though I think this is unlikely. Perhaps it's that first moment when brain activity begins. Perhaps it's when the first cells begin to differentiate. Or perhaps it's right at conception.

Were it right at conception, there are probably more souls created than ever born which seems strange to me.

I would support abortion before the point at which an infant has a soul - but since we don't know (and probably can't know) exactly when that is, the best option is to never abort.

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#5

Post by Shirtless » Wed Jan 12, 2005 1:17 pm

Good point. I wouldn't support abortion so much, unless it was best for the baby. I think people should give it more thought if they just forgot to take their pill.

About Adam: I think that their are more similarities of Adam's formation, to your average human's formation. For example, the word "formed" (yatsar) is the same word used for every reference of a fetus in the womb. Adam was created from mud, so picture a pile of warm mud. Enzymes, and proteins are slowly coming together, forming a complex organism. Over time the living thing deep inside the mud developes into a body, and the body developes skin. The body is probably in the fetal position. The mud clears enough for the body to be exposed to the air. Then, the breath of life enters his lungs. The man yells, and is confused and cold during a thunderstorm that washes away the mud.

(author's note: damn! This is so epic! I hope I get to make a movie about genesis someday!)

Anyway, the word "breathed" (naphach) means "to breathe, puff, inflate, blow." So it indicates that air literally went into Adam, and that is what made him live. In my opinion, Genesis 2:7 is a direct reference to a child being created in the womb, and being born. But since a human female doesn't exist yet, a pile of mud will have to do.

The Bible makes no direct reference to life begining at conception. But you hear the term "breath of life", "breath of life", "breath of life". Maybe this is God trying to tell you something--maybe God wants you to understand something. Let's talk about the passage in Exodus:

Exodus 22 If men fight, and hurt a woman with child, so that she gives birth prematurely, yet no harm follows (other than the death of the baby), he shall surely be punished accordingly as the woman's husband imposes on him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.

So, if you kill an unborn baby, the punishment is a fine. It's a loss of property.

23 But if any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, 24eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,

In other words, harm to the wife is far more serious than death to a fetus. "Life for life" does not apply to the baby, because a fetus is not considered a life.

What about the enemies to be, Jacob and Esau, when they fought in the womb? Well, insects fight all the time. I think the fighting was just instinct on the part of the babies; it's human instinct to push what is pushing you. Besides, do you really think that a fetus is mature enough to have personality?

I personally don't think that God holds anything back from us. He wouldn't leave us with such a complex problem of trying to figure out when life begins. I think every problem in the world can be answered with the Bible. People have long assumed that slavery is considered a good thing in the Bible, but if you set aside your own personal feelings, you can see that Jesus said to love your neighbor, and your slave is your neighbor.

(author's note: Biblical slavery was far less severe than the North American "New World Slavery", which probably explains why Jesus didn't mention it. Some even gave up their freedom in exchange for a better life as a slave.)

We are having a population control crisis. Unwanted pregnancies are causing the world to starve. In some ethnic groups in this country(the richest country in the world), 80% of babies are born into poverty. We have to ask ourselves, by "playing it safe" as far as abortions go, are we guilty of a greater sin?

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#6

Post by Mastermind » Wed Jan 12, 2005 2:32 pm

Personally, I don't care when the soul enters the body. If it is human and alive(it is both at conception), it has a right to go on living. Unless the mother's life is in danger, abortion will always be murder to me.

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#7

Post by Felgar » Wed Jan 12, 2005 3:06 pm

But without a soul can something be said to be human MM?

I would argue that our soul is the very thing that makes us human.

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#8

Post by Mastermind » Wed Jan 12, 2005 3:15 pm

Perhaps. But that is your opinion. The Bible doesn't give us an exact definition of what "Human" is, or when the soul enters the body so I'll go with the scientific one.

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#9

Post by Anonymous » Wed Jan 12, 2005 5:10 pm

There's no such thing as greater sin, sin is sin. As for abortion well it can happen. I think it would be best for people to avoid having abortions to the best of their ability, but mistakes will be made. You can't play safe... We do what we can to avoid sin and temptation but ultimately we know we will fail and our trust in Christ will save us.

I believe your right shirtless that the Bible has all the answers, but the problem is that it will just be your interpretation against anothers.

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#10

Post by August » Wed Jan 12, 2005 7:43 pm

Exodus 22 If men fight, and hurt a woman with child, so that she gives birth prematurely, yet no harm follows (other than the death of the baby), he shall surely be punished accordingly as the woman's husband imposes on him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.

So, if you kill an unborn baby, the punishment is a fine. It's a loss of property.

23 But if any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, 24eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,

In other words, harm to the wife is far more serious than death to a fetus. "Life for life" does not apply to the baby, because a fetus is not considered a life.
You added in the part about the unborn baby in there, what makes you believe that 'no harm follows' only applies to the woman?

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#11

Post by Felgar » Wed Jan 12, 2005 8:44 pm

August wrote:You added in the part about the unborn baby in there, what makes you believe that 'no harm follows' only applies to the woman?
There are footnotes in some versions that replace 'deliver prematurely' with 'miscarriage'. A miscarriage would imply death to the child right? And then the verse goes on to say if no harm is done.

I'm not supporting Shirtless' position, but it is an interesting verse. Maybe someone who knows Greek can comment on the original wording...

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#12

Post by Shirtless » Wed Jan 12, 2005 9:05 pm

It was written in Hebrew.

I'm glad to see that everyone is being civil, this is after all a serious issue. :)

August and Felgar,

Some translations have it written certain ways. Some versions say "...and she has a miscarriage...", or "she miscarries", instead of "...she gives birth prematurely..." I used the NIV version of Exodus 21:22, which has:

If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely *

And the footnote says

*Or she has a miscarriage

Also, vvart: A good example of one sin outweighing another, is in John 19:11, when Jesus says to Pilate:

You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.

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#13

Post by Prodigal Son » Wed Jan 12, 2005 9:09 pm

i think adam (and eve)were a little different than the rest of us because they were formed fully grown...God had to "breathe" adam's soul into him after he was created.

i think that once a sperm and egg join in the womb naturally, you have a human being with a soul. i think the soul is created by the joining of a fetus' parents' souls. there's a name for this belief--sorry i forgot what it was...traducianism?

i don't think stem cell research is wrong if taken from babies that have died naturally (umbilicalcords, etc.).

i don't think that you will go to hell if you don't fight abortion. the woman who choses to have one and the person performing the abortion are to blame for that (and anyways, it's God's decision what he does with them).

so, i also don't think that i have the right to stop someone from having an abortion. i think people who lean towards it should be counseled against it and given other options. condoms are awesome because they prevent the joining of the sperm and egg. other types of birth control allow this joining and then destroy the "fetus".

human beings have no instincts so esau and his brother were definately fighting.

newborns do have personality, so if they don't acquire it as they are "popping out" it is logical to deduce that they had it in the womb before birth.

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#14

Post by Mastermind » Wed Jan 12, 2005 9:44 pm

One comment.
so, i also don't think that i have the right to stop someone from having an abortion.
I disagree. If we were to follow this philosophy, then murder and rape should also be legal. If somebody wants to sin, it's their business. But when they're harming another human being, I'm not going to simply sit back and watch if I can help it.

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#15

Post by Shirtless » Wed Jan 12, 2005 11:03 pm

I would also like to disagree on something. I think it's safe to say that humans definitely have instincts. Our fight or flight instinct, our instinct to hunt, our instinct to be social, our instinct to be scared of the dark, and our instinct to spread our seed to as many girls as possible. When you burn yourself on the stove, you don't think about it, you just react because it's an instinct.

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