Is Abortion Really So Bad? (2)
Written by James Beeke & Joel Beeke
|Reformed Ethics - Abortion|
What Scripture Says about Abortion
Having answered the pro-abortionists’ argument (here), let us now turn to a higher court of authority than human reasoning and human consequences. We are called to the even more important task of positively setting forth the truths and proclamations of God’s Word that are involved directly and/or indirectly in the issue of abortion. “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isa 8:20).
Proclamations of God’s Word
Proclamation 1: God created mankind in His own image.
Most people intuitively know that human beings are on a different level than animals. Even the theory of evolution cannot completely erase the sense most people have of how sacred human life is. Animals are beautiful and valuable, but we would kill a grizzly bear to save a child without any qualms of conscience. We know that people are special.
The Bible explains this sense of the sanctity of human life when it says in Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Men and women, whatever their age, have a special value far above the birds and beasts (Mat 10:31) because they are God’s most special creation on earth. We should cherish and protect human beings, not just for their usefulness, but because they represent God’s glory in a unique manner.
Proclamation 2: God rules life and death, ability and disability as the sovereign King.
We also have a sense that it is not right to “play God” with other people’s lives. We realize that we do not have the right to treat people as if we owned them and could dispose of them as we see fit. The Bible explains this by telling us that God is the King who owns and rules all of His creation (Psa 95:3-5). He alone has the sovereign right to do what He pleases with people (Dan 4:35).
God created the world there was no death or pain; all was “very good” (Gen 1:31). Death came through Adam’s disobedience to God’s law (Gen 2:17; Rom 5:12). But even so, God retained His sovereignty over human life and death. “The LORD killeth, and maketh alive” (1Sa 2:6). He rules over human ability and disability. “And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?” (Exo 4:11). So the Bible teaches us to receive each human life from God’s hand, even if it is a child born with a handicap or into a difficult family situation. God has a wondrous way of bringing good out of evil (Gen 50:20). We are to bow before His authority as the King of the universe and not try to play God with other people’s lives.
Abortion trespasses into divine territory by taking into the hands of man what belongs to the Lord alone. It insults His sovereignty, and foolishly grasps the authority to make decisions for which we don’t have the necessary wisdom. Consider the following historical case. The father has syphilis, the mother has tuberculosis. They have already had four children—the first is blind, the second died, the third is deaf and dumb, and the fourth has tuberculosis. The mother is pregnant with her fifth child. Will you perform an 6 abortion for them? If so, then you just killed Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), a famous German composer and pianist! Playing God with human lives produces tragic results.
Proclamation 3: God forbids the killing of innocent human life.
Even after the fall, though man’s heart was totally corrupted by sin (Gen 6:5), God told us that remnants of the image of God remain (Jam 3:9); and therefore we must treat human life with great respect. God says in Genesis 9:6, “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” The sixth of the Ten Commandments says, “Thou shalt not kill” (Exo 20:13), which in context means we must not take innocent human life. To kill innocent people is to attack God, for they bear His sacred image.
Proclamation 4: God reveals the human personhood of the unborn child.
God personally forms each child in the womb. Job said, “The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life” (Job 33:4). David exulted, “Thou hast…covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well” (Psa 139:13-14). What God makes in the womb is a “me”—a person who has a “soul.”
David also confessed, “Behold I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psa 51:5). From his conception in the womb, David was “in sin.” Objects and animals cannot be sinners; they have no moral accountability. Only a person can be a sinner. So the sad reality that we are in a state of sin from conception proves that conception creates a human person. Abortion is an attack upon a human person with the intent to kill. It is premeditated murder.
Proclamation 5: God declares His judgment against the killers of the unborn.
The Lord has a special compassion for the weak when they are oppressed by those more powerful than they are, whether it is the foreigner, the widow, or the orphan. He threatens deadly wrath against oppressors (Exo 22:21-27). No one is more vulnerable than an unborn child is.
For this reason, God included this law in His legislation for Israel: “If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life” (Exo 21:22-23). “Her fruit depart” is literally “her offspring come out.” The law envisions the accidental injury of a pregnant woman with the result of a miscarriage, when two men are fighting. If God decreed the punishment of an accidentally induced abortion, how much more will He punish an intentional abortion? God abhors all crimes against women, but violence against pregnant women especially provokes Him to punish the offending nation (Amo 1:13).
This does not justify taking personal vengeance or acts of violence against abortion providers. But it does warn us that if our nation will not protect the innocent, then God will deal severely with our nation. Senator Jesse Helms wrote, “The highest level of moral culture is that at which the people of a nation recognize and protect the sanctity of innocent human life...Great nations die when they cease to live by the great principles which gave them vision and strength to rise above tyranny and human degradation...No nation can remainfree or exercise moral leadership when it has embraced the doctrine of death.”
Proclamation 6: God calls sinners to repentance for forgiveness of sins.
When we declare God’s proclamations against abortion, we do so being painfully conscious that we all have sinned in many ways (Rom 3:23). We speak as sinners who have found mercy with God, inviting other sinners to find the same mercy. For this purpose, God sent Christ to die for sinners and to rise again: “Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins” (Act 5:31).
In Christ Jesus, there is a promise of forgiveness to all who come to Him. But that promise is coupled with the command to repent (Luk 24:47). Repentance is God’s gift for the salvation of a sinner by which a sinner, out of a sense of the evil of his sin and the goodness of God’s mercy in Christ, turns from sin to God with grief for and hatred of his sin, and with full intent to obey God by His gracious help.
Perhaps you have been a party to abortion: a father who encouraged the death of your child, a mother who submitted herself to the deadly instruments, a doctor or nurse who performed the procedure, a vocal supporter of abortion in public policy, or just a silent citizen who has allowed millions of children to die without voicing your protest. If this is the case, then you are guilty of bloodshed against the image of God.
But the Lord Jesus Christ invites you, “Come now, let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isa 1:18). He stretches out His nail-pierced hands to you, calling you to “come” to Him, and promising, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and hewill have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon” (Isa 55:1, 7).
What Can I Do to Make a Difference?
1. Pray. The most powerful act on earth is to fall to your knees and pray persistently for the Lord to intervene in the world and turn all nations away from abortion. Pray that the Lord will grant Supreme Court justices who will have the courage to uphold the sanctity of life and overturn Roe vs. Wade, no matter what the populace might say. Pray for doctors who perform abortions that they may repent and again be inspired by their oath to protect life. Pray for hospital administrators and nurses that they may lead those who work with them towards a genuine nurturance of life.
Pray for parents who have lost a child to abortion and whose hearts are closed to the mercy of God. Pray that God would grant them confession, repentance, and the healing embrace of divine forgiveness. Pray for those who are overwhelmed by grief and remorse and wish they could face their decision all over again. Pray that God would heal their broken hearts and help them to help others not to go through with an abortion.
Pray for those who are tempted by abortion that God would keep them from killing their own child. Prayfor organizations that work to protect life. And have the courage to pray that God will judge those inleadership who disobey Him.
2. Educate. An abortion thrives on misinformation and poor thinking. Search the Scriptures yourself and encourages others to do so also—both to evangelize the populace and to educate them about Scripture’s clear-cut teachings concerning the sanctity of life and the heinousness of destroying life without good and just cause. Stay abreast of the issues and debates. Read a good book on abortion and teach young people and others the truth. An older but still helpful book is C. Everett Koop’s, The Right to Live, The Right to Die. A more recent book is Randy Alcorn’s, ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments.
3. Support. Give your money to organizations that oppose abortion and to pregnancy centers that educate and counsel women about the child growing within them. Withhold your support economically from those causes and people who support the abortion holocaust.
4. Speak up. Let your voice be heard by writing to newspapers, journals, and clergy who support abortion, as well as your elected officials. Call your representative and senator or Member of Parliament and ask about his or her position on abortion. Respectfully but firmly explain why you oppose it.
5. Serve. Give of your time, talents, and finances to provide for unwed mothers in need, adoption programs, orministries that care for women suffering from post-abortion guilt. Consider adopting children that are unwanted, volunteering to work at crisis pregnancy centers, or getting involved in sidewalk counseling outside abortion clinics. Minister compassion and mercy to those in need.
6. Vote. Get to the ballot box at every opportunity to vote for candidates who oppose abortion consistently. While there are other issues that affect voting, none can be more important as this.
Mr. James W. Beeke is an elder in the Chilliwack, British Columbia, Heritage Reformed Congregation, an educational consultant, a former superintendent of schools in China, and an author. Dr. Joel R. Beeke is the president and professor of Systematic Theology and Homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, a pastor of the Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and a author. This article was printed in Heritage Reformed Churches' "The Banner of Sovereign Grace Truth" and is republished here with permission.