Is Abortion Murder?

Discussion for Christian perspectives on ethical issues such as abortion, euthanasia, sexuality, and so forth.
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Kurieuo
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#16

Post by Kurieuo » Wed Jan 12, 2005 11:17 pm

Shirtless wrote: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.
That may be very imaginative, even romantic, but I don't see how it relates to the way we are created, or even how Adam was created. Adam according to Scripture (and by your own admission below) wasn't a "living" thing inside the mud (there was no life within him). Rather Scripture tells us that Adam's body was first formed, before life was "breathed" into him. On the other hand, we biologically have an individual human life from the moment of conception. Many medical textbooks attest to this fact (refer to quotes at http://www.godandscience.org/abortion/sld006.html).
Shirtless wrote: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.
As mentioned previously, 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." (definition taken direct from the Strong's dictionary!). In addition, according to your limited interpretation of breath just representing "air" bringing Adam alive, Adam never actually receives a soul/spirit in Genesis 2:7! This leads me to ask you a question: Do you even believe we have a soul, or do you take a pure physicalist approach?
shirtless wrote:The Bible makes no direct reference to life begining at conception.
Well Scripture does tell us it begins in our Mother's womb, but biology tells us human life begins at conception!
shirtless wrote: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.
...
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,
You'll need to do more than present this questionable passage for a Biblical case. I'm sure you are aware to the many issues surrounding its interpretation. Firstly, the word translated in some English translations as "miscarriage" is yasa, which only means to "bring forth." Yasa is used 1,061 times in the Hebrew Bible, and is never translated "miscarriage" in any other case (see What Exodus 21:22 Says About Abortion—recommend to all!). Also recommend the article Exodus 21:22-25: Translations & Mistranslations by Dr. Gary Butner.

Infact Gleason Archer, a well respected professor of the Old Testament, concluded on this passage: <blockquote>“There is no ambiguity here, whatever. What is required is that if there should be an injury either to the mother or to her children, the injury shall be avenged by a like injury to the assailant. If it involves the life (nepes) of the premature baby, then the assailant shall pay for it with his life. There is no second-class status attached to the fetus under this rule; he is avenged just as if he were a normally delivered child or an older person: life for life. Or if the injury is less, but not serious enough to involve inflicting a like injury on the offender, then he may offer compensation in monetary damages...”

http://www.str.org/free/commentaries/ab ... atexod.htm—</blockquote>
shirtless wrote: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.
And the Bible leaves us to assume no reason that a "soul" is given at some later time during our life. Rather where you have human "life" the Bible always presents such as having a "soul." Scripture aside (for which many good passages have been cited for life beginning in the womb), one can turn to biology to discover where human life begins.

Now, you may reject the soul is attach to our body the moment "we" are biologically conceived. You even appear to reject signs of thought processes and feelings as evidence that one has a soul, although I can't understand how one could do so, unless one does take a physicalist approach to the mind/body issue? Yet the question I wish to pose to you is then how do you have to believe infants have souls? If consciousness (specifically self-consciousness) is to be seen as an attribute of what makes our lives valuable as humans, then as Michael Tooley concluded in his book "Abortion and Infanticide"—infanticide is also morally acceptable. This is the danger of defining what characteristics make us valuable, rather than accepting that all humans have intrinsic worth (or for Christians that all human life possesses the image of God), and are therefore valuable just for being human.
shirtless wrote: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?
Well if we killed off all the poorer people, such problems wouldn't exist either would they? But I wouldn't dare propose such an extreme and elitest solution to resolve the problems that largely stem from greed! Are the lifes within some ethnic groups to be so devalued as nothing, and not worth living, because of their poverty? Is there a higher value on the life of those who are more wealthy? Such seems to be message portrayed by our nice civilised societies today. Yet, Christ taught that all life, especially the lives of the poor and helpless, are very important and to be respected!

Kurieuo.
Last edited by Kurieuo on Wed Jan 12, 2005 11:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#17

Post by Kurieuo » Wed Jan 12, 2005 11:34 pm

Felgar wrote: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.
So even the angels are human? ;)

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#18

Post by Kurieuo » Thu Jan 13, 2005 12:00 am

Mastermind wrote:
colors wrote: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.
I was once undecided on this issue, until it really presented itself to me. The first time I decisively chose a side, came from reading Peter Kreeft's fictional dialogue, The Unaborted Socrates. It goes as follows:
Herrod: They [the pro-life supporters] claim to know what they really do not know: that the fetus is a human person from the moment of conception.
Socrates: And you--you do not claim to know that it isn't?
Herrod: No. There is my advantage and my wisdom. I do not claim to know what I do not know. They do. They are the dogmatists. Theologians, philosophers and scientists have argued about this for many years without agreeing. It is clear dogmatism for anyone to claim certainty about such a moot point.... We simply do not know when the fetus becomes a human person. Anyone who claims to know is a fool because he claims to know what he does not know.
Socrates: You do not know whether the fetus is a person, correct?
Herrod: Correct.
Socrates: And your work here is to kill fetuses, correct?
Herrod: Socrates, I am continually shocked by the language you choose to use. I abort unwanted pregnancies.
Socrates: By killing fetuses or by something else?
Herrod: (Sigh.) By killing fetuses
Socrates: Not knowing whether they are persons or not?
Herrod: Oh. Well...
Socrates: You said a moment ago that you did not know when the fetus became a person. Do you know now?
Herrod: No.
Socrates: Then you kill fetuses, not knowing whether they are persons or not?
Herrod: If you must put it that way.
Socrates: Now, what would you say of a hunter who shot at a sudden movement in a bush, not knowing whether it was a deer or a fellow hunter? Would you call him wise or foolish?
Herrod: Are you saying I am a murderer?
Socrates: I am only saying one question at a time. Shall I repeat the question?
Herrod: No.
Socrates: Then will you answer it?
Herrod: (Sigh.) All right. Such a hunter is foolish, Socrates.
Socrates: And why is he foolish?
Herrod: You never stop, do you?
Socrates: No. Wouldn't you say he is foolish because he claims to know what he does not know, namely, that it is only a deer and not his fellow hunter in the bush?
Herrod: I suppose so.
Socrates: Or suppose a company were to fumigate a building with a highly toxic chemical to kill some insect pests, and you were responsible for evacuating the building first. If you were unsure whether there were any people in the building and you nevertheless gave the order to fumigate the building, would that act be wise or foolish?
Herrod: Foolish, of course.
Socrates: Why? Is it not because you would be acting as if you knew something you really did not know, namely, that there were no people in the building?
Herrod: Yes.
Socrates: And now you, Doctor. You kill fetuses--by whatever means, it does not matter; it may as well be by a gun or a poison. And you say that you do not know whether they are human persons. Is this not to act as if you knew what you admit you do not know? And is that not folly--in fact, the height of folly, rather than wisdom?
Herrod: I suppose you want me to meekly say, "Yes indeed Socrates. Anything you say, Socrates."
Socrates: Can you defend yourself against the argument?
Herrod: No.
Socrates: It has indeed devoured you like a shark, as surely as you devour fetuses.
Now the person who would just sit by and watch someone shoot something in the bush without first knowing what it was, or watch someone fumigate a building that hasn't been checked for people inside, aren't they also to some extent responsible if they do not even speak up?

Kurieuo.
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#19

Post by Felgar » Thu Jan 13, 2005 8:00 am

Kurieuo wrote: Now the person who would just sit by and watch someone shoot something in the bush without first knowing what it was, or watch someone fumigate a building that hasn't been checked for people inside, aren't they also to some extent responsible if they do not even speak up?

Kurieuo.
That story summarizes my position exactly - since we cannot know, I could never support abortion.

Angels are not human (of course) but they are eternal beings created to exist in the presence of God - we share that common bond. Kurieuo, do you think that our eternal form/bodies will be like that of the angels? (cuz I had always assumed so, but I'm open to correction on the matter)

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#20

Post by Mastermind » Thu Jan 13, 2005 8:14 am

I don't think so. Angels were made to actually do stuff. When we go to heaven, we no longer need to do much(at least I hope not). Angels still have to do God's bidding in whatever matters, get into fights with demons, etc.

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#21

Post by Kurieuo » Thu Jan 13, 2005 9:27 am

Felgar wrote:That story summarizes my position exactly - since we cannot know, I could never support abortion.
From reading your first post, I thought it might. :)
Felgar wrote:Angels are not human (of course) but they are eternal beings created to exist in the presence of God - we share that common bond.
I'd agree... to confuse matters further, I'm wondering what you might call a being (if one ever existed) that consists of an angel's soul within a human body—human or angel? ;)
Felgar wrote:Kurieuo, do you think that our eternal form/bodies will be like that of the angels? (cuz I had always assumed so, but I'm open to correction on the matter)
Touching on our bodily resurrection, Christ tells us that humans will be like the angels in heaven (Matthew 22:29-30). Angel's have spiritual bodies, but remember Scripture records them also as taking on physical bodily form. I believe such will be like our final everlasting bodies that we are resurrected into at the very end when Christ returns and judges the world (cf. John 5:28-29 w/ Matthew 25:31-34,41). Our body will be a unity of both spiritual and physical that allow higher capacities of our soul to be expressed.

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#22

Post by Felgar » Thu Jan 13, 2005 10:19 am

Yeah I think we pretty much agree here. This sight is great btw - I continually discover the scripture behind what I must have learned long ago and now just take for granted. It's a very interesting journey of discovery.
Kurieuo wrote:I'd agree... to confuse matters further, I'm wondering what you might call a being (if one ever existed) that consists of an angel's soul within a human body—human or angel? ;)
Hehe... Yeah that is a good question. Demon possession comes to mind - both the demon spiritual being and the person's soul would appear to be able to occupy the same physical body.

Angelic souls within a human body I would say are just angels taking human form (which they can definately do) I could not even say whether - if one could be tested - their bodies would be the exact same as ours or whether they just appear to be the same externally.

I doubt that angel souls were ever born into human bodies like us. Though there are the nephilum debates... (Some have said that nephilum were demons that reproduced with humans - that could make sense in relation to the earlier discussion about humans reproducing spiritually as well as physically) Regardless, I don't really think there's a 'natural' being that would have the soul of an angel within a developing human body. I have no strong biblical basis to support this conclusion though.

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#23

Post by Prodigal Son » Thu Jan 13, 2005 6:51 pm

:?

fight or flight...neither is an instinct, they are reactions. some people don't do either, they freeze. if fighting was an instinct, there wouldn't be any self-defense courses to teach us how to fight.

hunt...not an instinct at all. if it was, i would be outside hunting right now. i can't hunt to save my life.

being social...not an instinct. if it was, we wouldn't have so many social phobics and antisocial people running around. it is a desire, not an instinct.

fear of the dark...not an instinct. there are many people who are not afraid of the dark.

spread your seed...not really. that is a biological desire/drive as well. there are many people who hate sex. there are many people who wouldn't dream of being with more than one person.

reacting to burning your hand on the stove...exactly what you said--a reaction, not an instinct.

instinct--a largely INHERITABLE and UNALTERABLE tendency of an organism to make a complex and specific response to environmental stimuli without involving reason

humans use reason for every complex behavior/response. everything about our behavior is learned (we even have to learn how to have sex). because we have free will, we have no instincts.

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#24

Post by Prodigal Son » Thu Jan 13, 2005 7:03 pm

k,

i know what you're saying on the whole abortion thing. i know it's wrong. it think that a human comes into existence at the moment of conception.

what makes it so complicated is that the baby is inside another person. by having a child, a woman's life is changed forever. her body is never the same after a pregnancy. she is changed psychologically. even if the child is given up for adoption, her body/mind will never be the same. financially, unless these mother's are provided financial support for keeping a child they didn't want, they are strained financially as well.

so, because carrying a child places a permanent physical and psychological burden on the mother, i think that she must ultimately choose whether or not she will keep her child. it's between her and God.

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#25

Post by Anonymous » Thu Jan 13, 2005 7:52 pm

Shirtless perhaps but my interpretation of that is not to mean that God has sinned but rather that Jesus is trying to tell Pilate his life is not in Pilate's hands, hence pilate washes his hands of Jesus's blood.

How can one sin be greater then another if without Christ you can be cast into hell resulting in the same punishment for both murder or lying?

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#26

Post by Shirtless » Thu Jan 13, 2005 8:52 pm

Sorry about the overlong Adam creation (and I think he was still covered in mud, but exposed enough for him to breath). My point was that Adam was formed, like a fetus is formed; air went into Adam's lungs, much like a fetus breathing for the first time; and after Adam breathed, he lived, much like a...well, we can only speculate.

I don't really know what your point is about the "breath" translation. I know that there was a spiritual side of the term "breath", and that it was more than just air alone (I would have no case otherwise). But we have to admit something: body movement, brain function, and even feelings, in no way indicates that something is human. If you believe that, Koko the ape is waiting for you in heaven. :wink: I don't think we can use science to answer this question: science says that we're just an intelligent animal. It's in the realm of faith that we answer this question.

About the translation of "miscarriage", you may be right about it not saying miscarriage literally, but sometimes literal translations don't work; that's why we have footnotes! The NIV translation would not have put it in a footnote if it weren't correct. Footnotes are even more important than the passage itself, and must be included, even if it needs to be buried at the bottom of the page. To Biblically "know" someone sounds pretty simple to lay ears, but it actually means to sleep with someone :shock: !That scholar guy makes me think a lot, but I'm not sure yet.

It doesn't really matter anyway. That passage isn't as important as the references to the womb the Bible consistently says: "...formed me in the womb," "...formed you in the womb,"
"formed"
"formed"
"formed"

But the references to "breath of life" indicate life. So the Bible is basically saying formed in the womb, living in the air. I don't think that the subliminal "formation" (hint hint) of Adam, or the frequent "breath of life" passages are coincidence.

BTW I'm not that Herrod guy (I know my Plato as well, so don't tempt me into a philoso-fight! :wink:). The person Socrates is talking to doesn't care about whether it's wrong. He has no opinion either way, because he doesn't think about it. This is the way I used to feel about abortion because I wasn't Christian. But then I was converted and I was forced to think about it, and I became really depressed about it. I had no way of knowing if it was bad because there was no basis for believing either/or. So, in short, I DO care.

Anyway, I read the article on the pro-life basis in the Bible at GodandScience, thinking that it would help me. When I was done reading, I thought, "that's it?" and I became even more sorrow. I felt like a guy who is to scared to move out of the way of a bus that's about to hit him - is it a pro-life, or pro-choice bus? Either I allow the births of unwanted children who will more than likely live miserable lives because I was too much of a selfish wuss to allow the killing of soulless fetuses -- or I allow children, who are just as human as you and I, to die horrible deaths because Biff the pizza boy was to lazy to pull out of his honey-bunny 5 months ago.

I'm damned if I do and...well you get the point.

But the "breath" interpretation made a lot of sense, and I feel a lot better now. Am I going astray? To be sure, I prayed to God just now, asking that he help me make the right decision. I will pray for his guidance many more times about this. I hope he leads me on the right path! :P

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#27

Post by Shirtless » Thu Jan 13, 2005 8:54 pm

Colors,

I'm 20. If you don't mind me asking, how old are you?

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#28

Post by Mastermind » Thu Jan 13, 2005 9:21 pm

Perhaps we should nuke every third world country to prevent them from making all those poor starving children as well. ;)

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#29

Post by Prodigal Son » Thu Jan 13, 2005 9:22 pm

shirtless,

if you can tell me how my age is prudent and relevant to this discussion, i'd be pleased to tell you how old i am.

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#30

Post by Prodigal Son » Thu Jan 13, 2005 9:29 pm

we can't really ALLOW someone to sin. because a fetus is inside another person, it is ultimately their decision whether or not they will terminate the pregnancy. even if we make laws against it, people will find ways to have abortions. i don't think you are sinning if you don't stop abortions. because, really, you can't. that's like saying you're sinning because you're not stopping homosexuals from having sex, or rapists from raping, or murderers from killing.

we don't really ALLOW "unwanted" children to be born either, God does.
the best best is to educate people on their options about safe-sex and birth control, and when "mistakes" happen, options/counseling that are pro-life.

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