Is Abortion Murder?

Discussion for Christian perspectives on ethical issues such as abortion, euthanasia, sexuality, and so forth.
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Prodigal Son
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#61

Post by Prodigal Son » Sun Jan 16, 2005 7:10 pm

you're right, shirtless. i apologize if i hurt your feelings. it's a good thing that you are questioning things and seeking answers/clarification. i hope i didn't frustrate this process for you.

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#62

Post by Shirtless » Sun Jan 16, 2005 8:22 pm

No hard feelings - peace, man. 8)

Anyway, what is your position on abortion, and why do you feel this way? I have given passages that I think hints at the possibility of no soul until birth, after the baby has taken his first breath. Here are some of them:

Ezekiel 37:5-8 (KJV)
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 (no soul), and will bring up flesh upon you (no soul yet), and cover you with skin (still no soul), and put breath in you, and ye shall live (the soul is now present);

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 (meaning there's flesh, tendons, and skin--but without breath).

If you have Biblical and/or scientific arguments against this theory, I'd love to hear them!

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#63

Post by Mastermind » Sun Jan 16, 2005 8:58 pm

You're joking, right? That has nothing to do with birth. It is a special case and I fail to see how it relates to abortion in any way. That wasn't even an actual event, it was a vision that was a metaphor for the state of Israel.


[9] Then he said to me, "Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says 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 upon their feet, an exceedingly great host.
[11]Then he said to me, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, `Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are clean cut off.'

Somehow, I highly doubt you "accidentally" quoted it out of context. ;)

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#64

Post by Kurieuo » Sun Jan 16, 2005 10:09 pm

Shirtless,

Fetuses develop feeling at a certain stage of development. Some studies suggest this happens at 7 weeks, others say 12 weeks, and noone really disagrees with about 20 weeks. Now, what is doing the "feeling" if not the person?

Additionally, it seems obvious you have not done much research on the soul, and what people believe it consists of. On your perspective, you say "soul", but it appears to serve no purpose other than being an immaterial substance along side the physical body. In other words, there is no reason why we should have a soul, if there is nothing it does for us, and so we should just razor any concept of the soul away if we—our feelings, thoughts, beliefs, etc—can all be explained physically.

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#65

Post by Shirtless » Sun Jan 16, 2005 11:12 pm

Mastermind,
I referenced those passages a while back on page 1, but I also wrote:

"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." But they still stir possibilities, and might be God giving us a *hint, hint*. It's not my only, or my best source.


Kurieuo,
I think my stance has been misunderstood. I don't think the soul is a physical thing at all. Plato always believed in a clean-cut difference between the body and the spirit; I believe this too. For example, you have the urge to eat, but this is a trait of the body. If we didn't have souls, we would be just be intelligent animals that only said "I'm hungry, how can I get food easier?" etc.

I believe your body is a machine that houses the soul. God put us in these bodies to test us to see if the needs of our bodies would outweigh the needs of the soul (e.g. stealing a candy bar because my body is hungry, and my mouth wants chocolate).

Think of your body as a car. The car needs to go through the process of being built to eventually hold a person in it. If the car is destroyed before anyone drives it, then it's not all that bad. But once the person is in the car it's a different story. I believe it's the same for humans: our temple is built in the womb, and when the baby is developed, it's ready to house the soul. When the baby breathes, our soul goes "into" the body (I don't know why, or how this happens). But your soul isn't your body--if you cut off your hand, you aren't cutting off a piece of your soul. You can't see it, feel it, or smell it...but it's there.

A bug has no soul. It wanders around trying to find ways of keeping itself fed, reproducing, and avoiding pain. Your body feels pain, your soul doesn't. Studies regarding when a fetus feels pain, or when it starts brain activity, indicates that it's becoming a functioning machine meant to hold the spirit in the near future.

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#66

Post by Anonymous » Mon Jan 17, 2005 12:17 am

Shirtless the fact that your not 100 percent sure means that there is no way you could claim abortion is for sure ok. Basically if there is even a chance the soul develops in the womb then you can't possible promote abortions.

Bugs might not have a soul, but you can't even claim say a dolphin doesn't, so i don't see how your argument stands. This topic isn't covered in the bible extensively so it probably means its something that we don't need to worry about, just do what you feel is right. That's why we have God's love and mercy if we happen to make a mistake which we do all the time without even knowing it.

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#67

Post by Kurieuo » Mon Jan 17, 2005 2:40 am

You've just confirmed my point Shirtless, which is, on your position the soul appears to have no purpose. On your view, what do you believe would be taken away from us if we didn't have a soul?

On an additional note, I'd perhaps recommend reading a paper I wrote some time ago on substance dualism. If anything, it should at least provide you with additional information to help you better develop your own beliefs on the soul.

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#68

Post by Shirtless » Mon Jan 17, 2005 11:12 am

vvart,
If you really believe you should just do what you feel is right, then you have no case. A growing number of Americans are starting to accept abortion again, and many believe that it's for very moral reasons. I admit that I don't know the secrets of the soul, but it sounds like a lot of you don't either. Every time I bring up the possibility of no soul 'til birth, I hear, "Well...we may never know, so it's best just to be safe and not have an abortion." Which is IMO not the right way to lead a moral life.

I want to make this clear: there is no passage in the Old or New Testament that says that life begins at conception, so an argument like that is Biblically unsound. There are references to being "formed in the womb", but everybody knows that anyway. Many times when you see the word "life" in the Bible, "breath" is not that far away. You don't see the word "life" with any reference to the womb.

Kurieuo,
Now I'm not sure what you mean. I believe that if we didn't have a soul, we'd just be intelligent animals that walked on two legs. These soulless humans would only care about getting something to eat, getting something to drink, finding heat, finding shade, avoiding predators, and finding someone to have sex with. They would have no desire for a God--for they live off bread alone. :shock:

P.S. I don't really know what your paper is about or it's relevance. I consider the mind as separate from the soul.

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#69

Post by Mastermind » Mon Jan 17, 2005 1:43 pm

The bible doesn't tell us when life begins, but science does. At conception. If you wish to believe God would allow abortion, you are simply ignoring the facts.

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#70

Post by Prodigal Son » Mon Jan 17, 2005 3:32 pm

it is probably evident from my earlier posts on this thread that i oppose abortion. still, i hesitate at attempts to prevent abortions. i think that the woman carrying the child must make that decision.

you might enjoy the Case for a Creator (i recommend it to everyone). it has a chapter devoted to the soul and scientific experiments done concerning souls.

here is a cool article you might like. i couldn't get it to link to this post, so i copied it. because it was so long, i cut everything out but the Biblical Perspective section. if you like it, you can read the whole thing online. the article is mostly on cloning but brings up issues on the soul being present before birth...i know you had alot of questions about that.
______________________________________________________

BIBLIOTHECA SACRA 159 (October—December 2002): 462—72


CLONING, STEM-CELL RESEARCH, AND THE BIBLE

J. Kerby Anderson

THE GENETIC REVOLUTION MAY HAVE BEGUN in the twentieth century, but its impact will be felt mostly in the twenty-first century. Meanwhile, as knowledge in genetics doubles every few years, ethical and theological considerations often lag behind. The challenge for scientists and nonscientists and Christians and non-Christians is to evaluate carefully the moral and theological implications of this new technology. T For the first time in human history it is possible to redesign existing organisms completely, including humans, and to direct the genetic and reproductive constitution of every living thing. Physi-cians can also bypass the normal process of reproduction and there-fore further direct the development of individuals. And on the hori-zon are powerful new genetic tools for cloning and stem-cell re-search that offer great promise but also threaten the sanctity of human life.


BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE


Cloning and stem-cell research raise profound ethical questions, beginning with the threat they pose to the sanctity of human life. Human beings, created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26—27), deserve protection all the way from conception through natural death. One of the key passages giving a biblical view of the sanctity of human life is Psalm 139. David began by acknowledging that God is omniscient and watched David all the time and everywhere (vv. 1—3). God was aware of David's thoughts before he even expressed them (v. 4). Wherever David might go, he could not escape from God, whether he traveled to heaven or ventured into Sheol (vv. 7—9). God is in the remotest part of the sea (v. 9) and even in the darkness (vv. 11—12). Contemplating the origin of his life, David confessed that God was there, forming him in the womb (vv. 13—16). “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonder-fully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”10 The Bible does not speak of fetal life as mere biochemistry. The fetus in his mother's womb was not a piece of protoplasm that became David. This was David already being cared for by God while in the womb. God fashioned David into a living person (v. 13). Reflecting on the fact that he was a product of God's creative work within his mother's womb, David praised God for how wonderfully He had woven him together (vv. 14—15). David drew a parallel between his development in the womb

9 Sharon Begley, “Little Lamb, Who Made Thee?” Newsweek, March 10, 1997, 55. 10 This and other Scripture quotations are from the New International Version.
Cloning, Stem-Cell Research, and the Bible 469


and Adam's creation from the earth. Using figurative language, he referred to his life before birth when he “was made in the secret place” and “was woven together in the depths of the earth” (v. 15). This poetic allusion hearkens back to Genesis 2:7, which says that Adam was made from the dust of the earth. David also noted that “Your eyes saw my unformed body” (v. 16). This shows that God knew David even before he was known to others. When David was forming as a fetus, God's care and compassion were already extended to him. The reference to God's eyes is an anthropomorphism connoting divine oversight in the life of an individual or a group of people. Other verses show divine involvement in the formation of the unborn baby. God is active in the event of conception (Gen. 29:31—35; 30:17—24; Ruth 4:13; 1 Sam. 1:19—20) and also in the formation of the human baby in the mother's womb. God said to Jeremiah, “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” (Jer. 1:5). The word translated “formed” is used in Genesis 2:7—8 to de-scribe God's special creation of Adam. It is also used of a potter fashioning clay into a vase or some other piece of pottery. As God fashioned Jeremiah in the womb, He was preparing him for his prophetic ministry. Similar verses describe how God called out various servants of God while they were still in their mother's womb. God called Isaiah to serve: “Before I was born the Lord called me” (Isa. 49:1). God created Samson for his ministry and put his mother under the same dietary regimen that he would undergo. “But he said to me, 'You will conceive and give birth to a son. Now then, drink no wine or other fermented drink and do not eat anything unclean, because the boy will be a Nazirite of God from birth [lit. “from the womb”] until the day of his death.' Then Manoah prayed to the LORD: 'O Lord, I beg you, let the man of God you sent to us come again to teach us how to bring up the boy who is to be born' ” (Judg. 13:7 thru 8 ). Another significant passage is Psalm 51. Written by David after his sin of adultery with Bathsheba, this psalm records his repentance. David confessed that his sinful act demonstrated the original sin that was within him. “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me” (v. 5). David concluded that from his conception he had a sin nature. This would imply that he carried the image of God from the moment of conception, including the marred image scarred by sin.11

11 For more discussion of these and other verses see Roy B. Zuck, Precious in His
470 BIBLIOTHECA SACRA / October—December 2002


Human beings are created in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:26—27; 5:1; 9:6). Bearing the image of God is the essence of humanness. And though God's image in man was marred at the Fall, it was not erased (1 Cor. 11:7; James 3:9). Thus unborn babies are made in the image of God and therefore are fully human in God's sight.

Also Luke 1:41—44 points to the humanness of unborn children. “When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby [John the Baptist] leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: 'Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so fa-vored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.' ” John the Baptist's prenatal ability to recognize Mary by leaping “for joy” illustrates his mental and spiritual capac-ity.

The term Elizabeth used to describe John in his prenatal state is brevfo" (“baby”). This Greek word is used for a baby inside the womb and outside the womb (Luke 2:12, 16; 18:15; 2 Tim. 3:15).12

The sanctity of human life is affected by certain aspects of em-bryonic stem-cell research and human cloning. Pro-life concerns arise when human embryos are destroyed for their stem cells. Similar concerns surround cloning, which is an inefficient and wasteful form of reproduction. And if human cloning is used to cre-ate spare parts for the original, what is the moral status of the clone? Both individuals should be treated with respect and dignity since they are created in the image of God.

Human cloning as an alternative form of reproduction also raises questions about human parenthood. God ordained marriage as the union of a man and a woman who would give birth to chil-dren genetically related to them. While there are exceptions to this ideal (e.g., adoption), this standard should be used to judge repro-ductive technologies like cloning. Thus the use of this procedure by homosexual couples to provide children should not be condoned.

Motherhood may also be affected by cloning. Childbearing would no longer be a natural outcome of procreation. Human clon-ing bypasses God's plan for human parenthood (Gen. 1:28 ).

Sight: Childhood and Children in the Bible (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1996), 74—77.
12 Brevfo", used in Luke 1:41, 44 to identify the unborn John the Baptist, is the same word used for the already-born Jesus (2:12, 16), for babies who received His blessing (18:15—17), and for newborn babies (Acts 7:19). Also the Hebrew word dl,y<, used in the Old Testament to refer to the unborn (Exod. 21:22—25), is the same word used to describe young children.
See Zuck, Precious in His Sight, 149—58.
Cloning, Stem-Cell Research, and the Bible 471


A mother who clones herself would be giving birth not to a daughter but to a twin sister. A father who clones himself would have a twin brother not a son. In fact the clones would not be siblings at all, at least not in the genetic sense. Theoretically they could even marry each other since they are not genetically similar as a true brother or sister are.

Human cloning blurs the true relationship between procrea-tion and parenthood. God intends that the family thrive (Eph. 6:1—4; Col. 3:18—21), and some of these new genetic procedures (human cloning, surrogate parenting, embryo transfer) pose a threat to the stability of the family.

The Bible teaches that God determines birth (Gen. 4:1; 17:16; Ruth 4:13) and is in control over even barren wombs (Deut. 7:14). Childless women are not displeasing to God, as the testimonies of Sarah (Gen. 18 ), Rachel (Gen. 29—30), Hannah (1 Sam. 1), and Anna (Luke 2:36—38 ) attest. God is in control, and can bring great blessing out of the heartbreak of infertility.

Human cloning raises significant questions about the sanctity of life and the meaning of parenthood. Created in the image of God, human beings differ from animals. Cloning represents a tampering with the reproductive process at the most basic level; therefore even the use of animal cloning to create transgenic animals could be questioned. Some scientists want to use genetic technology to “rewrite the fifth day of creation.”13 Using cloning to create trans-genic species would certainly do that.

Some wonder if a cloned human being would have a soul. Al-though human cloning would be an alternative form of reproduc-tion, it is still reasonable to believe that human clones would be fully human. Thousands of children have been born through in-vitro fertilization, an alternative form of reproduction, and each of them certainly has a soul.

The origin of the human soul is often explained by one of two theories: creationism or traducianism. Creationism is the belief that God creates a soul for each individual and places it in the body while the child is in the womb. Traducianism is the belief that both the body and soul are propagated through sexual reproduction. The first view would probably not be able to provide a definitive answer as to whether a clone would have a soul. The traducian view of the origin of the soul would seem to suggest that a cloned human being would have a soul since both body and soul arise from the repro-

13 Nancy McCann, “The DNA Maelstrom: Science and Industry Rewrite the Fifth Day of Creation,” Sojourners, May 1977, 23—26.
472 BIBLIOTHECA SACRA / October—December 2002


ductive event.

Human cloning, like other forms of genetic engineering, could be used to usher in a “brave new world.” A leading geneticist says, “There is nothing to prevent us from taking a thousand [cells]. We could grow any desired number of genetically identical people from individuals who have desirable characteristics.”14 Such a vision conjures up images of Alphas, Betas, Gammas, and Deltas from Huxley's book Brave New World and provides a dismal contrast to God's creation of each individual as unique.15

Each person contributes to both the unity and diversity of hu-manity. This is perhaps best expressed by the Jewish Midrash: “For a man stamps many coins in one mold and they are all alike; but the King who is king over all kings, the Holy One blessed be he, stamped every man in the mold of the first man, yet not one of them resembles his fellow.”16 Christians should reject future re-search plans to clone a human being and should reject using cloning as an alternative means of reproduction.


14 James Bonner, quoted in Los Angeles Times, May 17, 1971, 1. 15 Aldous Huxley, Brave New World (New York: Time, 1963). 16 Nathan N. Glazer, Hammer on the Rock: A Short Midrash Reader (New York: Schocken, 1962), 15.
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#71

Post by Anonymous » Mon Jan 17, 2005 5:51 pm

Kurieuo before i support the banning of abortions, can you tell me that the souls won't automatically enter the Kingdom of God?

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#72

Post by Kurieuo » Mon Jan 17, 2005 7:34 pm

vvart,

There are some good Biblical reasons for believing children before a certain time of development (before they can be held morally accountable for their actions [Deut. 1:39; Isaiah 7:15-16]), that such children will go to be with God. David certainly thought his child that died was with God, and that some day he would be reunited with him (2 Samual 12:23).

At the same time Scripture says all have sinned, whether on their own or through Adam (Romans 3:10,12,23; Romans 5:12). There are implications that we were sinful at birth, and also upon our conception (Ps. 51:5)—which mind you backs our having a soul at birth! Therefore, the only way all those before the age of accountability can be saved, is if Christ applies his attoning sacrifice to them.

It is my opinion that all are given a choice to accept such a gift, whether now or in the afterlife (remember angels were under the direct presence of God, and still chose to go against Him). God could never force someone to be with Him, so it seems logical to me that all must have a choice regardless of whether it is made in this life or hereafter.

Now a different issue I see at hand is whether taking the life of a child or unborn is justified on the basis that they will go straight to heaven. Firstly, that all would go to heaven, is a belief grounded on unsolid foundations. Secondly the reason why we don't kill each other is not on the basis of our salvation (or soul), but because God tells us not to as we possess God's image (Genesis 9:6)! So to kill a child (or unborn) because you think they will go to heaven, you still go against God and have blood on your hands.

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#73

Post by Anonymous » Mon Jan 17, 2005 8:00 pm

hmm interesting, but what about these people who have blood on their hands? most of them haven't accepted Christ, and should we impart God's moral code on people who even if they follow won't do so for the right reasons? It would be like forcing someone to follow the ten commandments while going against the two most important one's Jesus stated.

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#74

Post by Kurieuo » Mon Jan 17, 2005 9:21 pm

Certain moral values, such as human equality and fairness, appear to be implanted in our conscience—something also backed Scripturally (e.g., Romans 2:14-15). Therefore we need not impart God's moral law, as each person has it already, and they will be judged according to it at the end.

What does this mean? It means even those who are non-Christian can see what is right and wrong if they are honest with themselves, and are provided with the correct knowledge and true information. I strongly believe it is a matter of providing people with all the relevant facts and information, and then them being honest with what is presented to them, and unselfish. Should we influence people to make good decisions despite their not being Christian? Of course we should, because if they have God's moral standard implanted within them, then God also expects them to abide by it.

The essential question on abortion when you take away all the nonsense is this: What is the unborn? If the unborn are a human beings, than no argument can justify taking their life on the basis of undesirability. If they aren't human beings, then there is nothing wrong with killing them. So the information that allows someone to make an informed decision is knowing whether or not they are a living human being. There is a great Powerpoint slideshow at the Sword&Spirit, which I'd recommend to anyone wanting to be more informed. It can be obtained from http://www.swordandspirit.com/LIBRARY/P ... ofetus.ppt.

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

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#75

Post by Anonymous » Mon Jan 17, 2005 9:28 pm

If each person can know what is right and wrong provided the right information then shouldn't we perhaps have a law that makes all who wish to have an abortion take a class about it. This class would provide them information to make the right decision as you mentioned. I'm just not fully convinced I wanna punish people for having done something they might not even be informed about, when as you mentioned they might change their mind given the right info.

I'm more about changing people's minds about something rather then forcing and then punishing. This is how Jesus approached people as well.

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