Clarity or Confusion?
2. The Sanctity of Human Life
Jan 31/Feb 1, 2004
MAIN IDEA: Since God is the creator of life we must champion the unborn’s right to life.
Last week I began what will be a 5 part series, “Clarity or Confusion” in which we will be discussing some of the major moral issues of our day, comparing what the world teaches with what the Bible teaches.
Congrats to friends for birth of Sophia last Monday! I had the pleasure of holding beautiful little Sophia on Wednesday and saw her look into my eyes. It was a beautiful moment – but because all week I’ve been focusing on the issue of the sanctity of human life I realized again that the little one who was staring at me could have been aborted and had her little life ended before it had a chance to begin.
What does the Bible say about abortion?
Nothing. Honestly – we have to say the word, and the topic, are not mentioned directly in scripture. But this does not mean we cannot determine God’s heart on the issue. God’s word clearly tells us that human life is sacred and worthy of protection.
Why is all human life sacred and worthy of protection?
1. All human life is created by God in the image of God.
Gen. 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
Men and women – both in the image of God.
Psa. 139:13-14 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
2. We have no right to destroy what God creates.
Is. 64:8 Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.
Ex. 20:13 “You shall not murder.
ILLUS: Kids destroying each other’s creations. This causes BAD FEELINGS.
TRANS: But most here probably already agree with the point I’ve been making. Human life is sacred. And the advances of modern medicine give us more and more clarity about the fact that a “fetus” is not simply a fetus but is in fact a human. But still – so many in our society get nearly violent when you suggest that abortion should be outlawed as a barbaric practice. These same people will most likely NOT listen to arguments that come from the Bible. How can we respond to some of the most common arguments given for a “pro-choice” position?
Responses to Pro-Choice Arguments
• Abortion is a personal choice between a woman and her doctor.
The question is not whether abortion is right or wrong, but, Who decides? The individual woman, or the government? If you’re opposed to abortion, don’t have one, but don’t try to impose your morality on others.
I was recently reading a speech by a political leader which, I think, summarizes quite well the essence of the pro-choice position. While of course many others have expressed similar thoughts, I think he stated very well the basic principle that distinguishes pro-choice people from anti-choice people. He said:
The great principle is the right of everyone to judge and decide for himself, whether a thing is right or wrong, whether it would be good or evil for them to adopt it; and the right of free action, the right of free thought, the right of free judgement upon the question is dearer to every true American than any other under a free government. ... It is no answer to this argument to say that [it] is an evil and hence should not be tolerated. You must allow the people to decide for themselves.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about this quote is that if I asked you to guess who said it, you would almost certainly guess wrong. No, it was not said by Bill Clinton or a representative of Planned Parenthood.
For interestingly enough, the speaker was not even talking about abortion. This quote is from Stephen Douglas, and he said it in 1858. He was running for re-election to the Senate, and he was debating Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln said that slavery was evil and should be abolished. Douglas replied with the quote above. To Douglas, the important question was not whether slavery was right or wrong, but, Who decides? The government, or the individual plantation owner? He denounced Lincoln for attempting to impose the morality of the anti-slavery fanatics on everyone else.
Those who defend abortion say “The question is not whether abortion is right or wrong, but, Who decides? The individual woman, or the government? If you’re opposed to abortion, don’t have one, but don’t try to impose your morality on others.
In 1858 Douglas would have said, “The question is not whether slavery is right or wrong, but, Who decides? The individual slave owner, or the government? If you’re opposed to slavery, don’t have any slaves, but don’t try to impose your morality on others.”
Or try this one on for size, “The question is not whether rape is right or wrong, but, Who decides? The rapist, or the government? If you’re opposed to rape, don’t rape anyone, but don’t try to impose your morality on others.”
As we saw last week, arguments that come from the point of moral relativism simply cannot stand up to intellectual and moral scrutiny.
Americans have a great tradition of individual freedom. But there’s an old saying: "You have the freedom to swing your arm back and forth all you like, but your freedom ends where my nose begins." Freedom does not include the right to deliberately harm innocent people. We do not allow each man to decide for himself whether he thinks rape is acceptable, because the woman he might choose to rape has rights too. Likewise, we should not allow each woman to decide for herself whether abortion is acceptable, because the child she might choose to abort has rights too.
• If abortion is made illegal, women who attempt to obtain illegal abortions may suffer injury.
In a nutshell, this common argument states that if abortion is made illegal, some women will still try to obtain abortions illegally, and many are likely to end up at back-alley butchers or attempt to perform abortions on themselves and suffer serious injury.
One could debate this point statistically, but it is really beside the point. It does not follow that an act should be made legal because some people might suffer harm while breaking the law. No doubt some bank robbers are injured or killed in automobile accidents while fleeing the scene of the crime. Does this mean that we should make bank robbery legal?
A rational society does not make laws for the convenience of law-breakers.
• If abortion is outlawed, more unwanted children will be born, and these children are likely to be abused or neglected.
It is better for such children to never be born than to live such a miserable existence.
Child abuse is certainly a terrible thing. The worst cases I’ve heard of involved children who were attacked with knives, doused with caustic chemicals, crushed, starved, even literally had their arms or legs ripped off.
All the forms of abuse I described in the preceding paragraph are methods of abortion. To say that we should subject a child to abuse so severe that he dies a horrible, painful death, in order to "protect" him from the possibility of suffering uncertain, unspecified, potential abuse in the future, is bizarre logic and even more bizare morality.
Suppose someone pointed out to you that with the increasing crime rate, there is a growing chance that someday you might be mugged, kidnapped, murdered, or otherwise victimized. Would you think that a good solution to this danger would be to be tortured to death today to avoid the possibility of being the victim of such a crime in the future?
And in any case, it is not at all clear that abortion has reduced the number of abused children. Would anyone seriously argue that the rate of child abuse has gone down in the past thirty years since abortion was legalized? Quite the contrary, child abuse has skyrocketed. There is absolutely no statistical or scientific evidence to indicate that ending abortion would increase child abuse. If there is any connection between the two at all, it is that abortion increases child abuse -- perhaps because it encourages an attitude of viewing children as property to be disposed of as one pleases.
Abortion is the ultimate child abuse.
• No one can be sure when human life really begins.
Does it begin at conception, at the time the zygote is implanted on the uterine wall, the time the fetus could live outside the mother, or at birth? As long as there is doubt, as long as we cannot be sure that abortion is killing a human being, it is a morally acceptable option.
Let’s accept for the moment the idea that we don’t know for sure whether abortion is killing a person or not. How should we respond in cases of such uncertainty?
Suppose a hunter in the woods sees a rustling in the bushes, but he can’t see what’s there. He doesn’t know if it’s the deer he’s hunting for, or another hunter. Should he go ahead and shoot? After all, he can’t be sure it’s a person, so if he does shoot and kill someone, it’s unintentional. Surely we would say that anyone who did such a thing was grossly irresponsible if not guilty of a criminal act.
When in doubt, a concerned person prefers to err on the side of protecting human life.
TRANS: But it is not just “pro-life” people who are against abortion. Listen to these quotes from abortion providers themselves.
"An abortion kills the life of a baby after it has begun. It is dangerous to your life and health. It may make you sterile so that when you want a child you cannot have it."
-"Plan Your Children", Planned Parenthood pamphlet, 1962
"Every woman ... has a trauma at destroying a pregnancy ... This is a part of her own life. When she destroys a pregnancy she is destroying herself."
-- Dr. Julius Fogel, Psychiatrist/OB who has performed over 20,000 abortions
The very nature of abortion – the killing of an unborn human child – goes against the grain of our human nature – regardless of our viewpoints about the Bible.
At this point I could stop and say “so there!” But we can’t stop now. If it is true that abortion is morally wrong – in fact a heinous crime which kills a human being – then the reality of abortion on demand in our society is a moral outrage which demands our action! We’ve got to move from “so there” to “so what”!
SO WHAT? (Ps. 82:3-4)
When it comes to what God wants us to DO about the problem of abortion, it starts right here…
Psa. 82:3-4 Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
• We must defend the cause of the weak.
• We must maintain the rights of the oppressed.
• We must rescue the weak and needy.
Who is more weak, needy, and oppressed than those pre-born humans who are eligible for death in our society?
What can we do to actively live out this scripture? I want to give you a few suggestions.
• Think biblically.
Don’t let the world shape your thinking with it’s arguments – but let the Bible speak for you in how you believe and how you act regarding the sanctity of human life.
• Pray. (see prayer guide in bulletin insert)
• Vote for people who are pro-life.
• Support nonviolent ways of opposing abortion practices.
ILLUS: Concrete contractor boycott in Texas stopping the building of a clinic.
• Support women in crisis pregnancies.
(Support PCC and “Destiny House”)
TRANS: But what about those who have had an abortion? What does God’s word have to say.
GOD’S WORD TO THOSE WHO HAVE HAD AN ABORTION
Rom. 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
Psa. 103:11-12 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
John 8:7-11 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”
If you’re sitting here today and you’re had an abortion, then hear these words. “Neither do we condemn you.” There is forgiveness for you, and we are a community of people dedicated to reaching people just like you with the love, acceptance, and forgiveness of Jesus Christ.
Abortion is wrong. It breaks God’s heart. It snuffs out a sacred human life. It goes against the natural feelings of right and wrong.
We who know it is wrong are charged with the responsibility to do what we can to stand up for the rights of the weak and powerless. Religion that God loves is full of activism!
James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” William Burke
You know the truth. I close with this question. What will you do with the truth?
SMALL GROUP QUESTIONS
1. Have you ever been present at the birth of a baby? What emotions did it stir in you? What do you remember about the experience?
2. Read Psalm 139:13-16. What does this verse teach us about God’s concern for the unborn?
3. In Don’s message he mentioned some common arguments people use to defend the practice of abortion. What other arguments have you heard? Brainstorm possible responses to these.
4. Read Psalm 82:3-4. How does this verse apply to the issue of abortion? What other social issues of our day might this apply to as well?
5. DISCUSS and PLAN: How can we as a group ACT to demonstrate our support for the unborn or for women in crisis?
6. PRAY: Use the prayer guide in the Life is Sacred program insert to pray about this issue.