A short caveat: I believe what I am telling you is true. It is what I think. But I know that as I have chatted with folks over the years that they can fool themselves into thinking they think certain things, but they are wrong. I often help others rethink their position, based on the fact that they really don’t know what they are talking about. With this in mind, feel free to sweetly correct me and tell me where my thinking is wrong or bent.
First, I try to base everything I think on the person and character of God as expressed in the Bible, the Word of God. God has revealed himself to us in nature in a general way (Rom. 1:19-20),but has revealed himself in a specific and particular way in the pages of Scripture. If you really want to know what I think, either so that you can argue with me, or agree with me, please look up all the references I give and read them in context. It is important that we know and understand what God is saying in each context, in context, so that we don’t twist Scripture or misrepresent it.
That given, with regard to this topic, I focus on God as the loving Father (Pro. 3:12 with Heb. 12:5-11; 1 Jn. 4:8), the Righteous Judge (Rom. 1:32; 2 Tim. 4:8), and the fact that we are commanded to imitate God in all that we do, think, and say (Eph. 5:1ff).
So, what does God say about people? Children? And unborn children? The Bible says that men and women are created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26; 27). This distinguished people from animals in a principle and primary way. After reading the reference to creating men and women in the image of God, someone might say that only Adam and Eve were created in the image of God and, perhaps, that they were created fully grown. To this I would point to the fact that everywhere in the Bible Adam and Eve are thought of as covenant heads (1 Cor 15:22) and what this means is that whatever happened to Adam, also happened to us. Also, that Christ is said to be the image of God and we who belong to him are in him and thus are also the image of God. We reflect him and represent him because we are him. We are the icons of God.
So, people are the image of God.
What about children? Children are young men and women, and thus are also created in the image of God.
What about the unborn? Here is where the conversation gets strange. According the Bible there is not difference between an unborn child and anyone else. The only distinction between being not a human and being a human is existence. If you don’t exist, are aren’t a human. If you do exist, you are a person. This is shown in several ways in the Bible.
First, future generations are talked about, even though they do not exist yet, they do exist (Gen 9:12; Ex. 20:5; Deut 7:9). They are not spoken of as potential, but as if the actually exist already. In some sense they do. But they always exist as people, not as some kind of pre-person, or non-person.
Second, pregnant women are said to be “with child” (Gen 16:11; Mt. 1:18). This clearly shows that children live inside their mothers. There are also many passages that talk about women who are pregnant being ripped open. The context is clearly that the enemies of God were killing the future of Israel, the people still inside their mother’s wombs.
Third, God condemns killing children who are living inside their mother’s wombs (Ex. 21:22-23). The penalty for murdering a baby, still in its mother’s womb, is the same as for murdering anyone else (Num. 35:30).
Fourth, when talking about the baby in the mother’s womb, there is no distinction between what the thing was then, and who I was then. In Psalm 139, for example, the psalmist refers to himself as himself, even when he was inside his mother (Ps. 139:13), “I was knit together in my mother’s womb.” Another example is when John the Baptist leapt for joy when his mother met Mary (Lk. 1:41). I didn’t go from a potential person to a real person. I went from me being put together to me having been put together. I was always me.
The argument I’ve heard recently is that what exists inside a woman’s body is simply a collection of cells that are leaching off the woman’s body, a kind of alien being, sucking the life out of a woman. And as such, if the woman doesn’t want the “thing” inside her, she should suck it out and get rid of it. The first problem with this kind of thinking is that it goes totally against how the Bible always talks about babies inside their mother’s wombs. The Bible never even hints that this description is in the least accurate. Anyone who thinks the Bible agrees with this way of thinking is confused and in error.
On the other hand, someone who knows nothing about the Bible might, if they aren’t paying any attention at all, might contend that this mass of cells is very similar to the embryo that was implanted in the chests of the Jaffa in the TV show, Star Gate. This embryo controlled the host and leached off the host. It was a kind if symbiotic relationship, however because the Goa’uld also kept the host from becoming sick and healed them when they were wounded.
I said, “not paying attention” because everyone who wants their baby knows it is a baby. When a young woman who loves her husband, and has been trying to have a baby for years, finds out she is pregnant, she says, “Honey, we’re having a baby.” Or, “Sweetkins, there’s a little someone living inside my tummy.” Or after seeing the ultrasound, she says something like, “We’re having a little boy, what should we name him.” No one, who wants their baby, ever says, “There’s one of those little leaches sucking the life out of me.”
On the other hand, when someone doesn’t want their baby, for many different reasons (“it will ruin my fabulous figure,” “I’m not prepared to bring up a baby,” “I’m busy being the center of my universe and a baby will get in the way,” etc.) they call it a fetus, or a mass of cells, or something else that seeks to hide the fact that they are about to kill their own offspring; to commit murder. Then they have to make “scientific” pronouncements to hide and cover over the terror, guilt, and shame of what they have done.
“Science” says different things about different stages of development, but they are not saying that this fetus (fetus is the Latin word for baby) is not a human, it is a stage of development. What is developing? A human being is developing. When does it begin to live? It is always living. When does it change from one developmental stage to another? When certain things in the developmental process come to be. For example, when lungs are clearly lungs, or a heart begins to beat. But what was it before the heart or lungs began to function? It was always a fetus, always a baby, always a human being. The DNA never changed from the time the egg and the sperm got together. The only thing that changed from two cells to a fully formed old man was time.
In one sense, the observation that the unborn child is a leach or alien living off the human host is accurate. But birth does not change this. The baby still needs to be taken care of in every way. The only thing that changes is that instead of needing to be cared for inside the womb, the baby can be cared for outside the womb. And then, as time progresses and the baby matures, she can be allowed to take care of herself more and more until she is grown enough to move out on her own, get married, and begin to care for her own child.
As accurate as this “alien” view is it is also incredibly inaccurate. The relationship between a baby and her mother is more like a dance than an adversarial relationship. The way God made the process, he had a man and woman commit themselves to one another for life. Part of this commitment was vows, the other sexual union. The expected result of the sexual union was children with the result that the world would be filled with people. The parents love one another, then they love the children of that love, and the children are raised to love God, their parents, and one another.
Sin has messed this up such that people believe they can have sex with whoever they want, whenever they want, with the resultant children being viewed as a mass of unwanted cells to be exterminated and thrown away. But this is not the way the Bible presents it. This is sinful, vial, vulgar, wretched, and evil. People who think this way, need to read their Bible, repent of their thinking, think they way God thinks, ask for forgiveness, and go on to imitate God.
I hope this is all based on the Bible. If it is not, please show me where I am wrong. I want to be Biblical in all that I think.