What do you believe about abortion? Do you believe it is a sin? Do you believe it is murder? Do you say, “To each his own”? Do you say, “It’s a woman’s right to choose”?
Even more importantly, do you believe that God has spoken on this issue? Do you believe in a God who reveals His will to humans?
The following words are for two types of readers.
First, I am writing for non-Christians who would like to understand why Christians believe that abortion is a sin.
Second, I am writing for Christians who would like to review the biblical underpinnings of our belief on this issue.
In the present age, it is simply not enough for the Christian to be repulsed by abortion. We must know why we are repulsed. Moreover, we must know that our repulsion comes from God, and not merely from a conservative agenda, or a moralistic worldview. To go one step further, we must be ready to defend our faith, and to “correct others with humility, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, leading to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 2:25).
Where do we get our truth, anyway?
On an issue as difficult and contentious as abortion, we ought to ask: Where do we get our truth, anyway?
The first thing to understand is that for Christians abortion is an issue that concerns how humans relate to humans and how humans relate to God. Christians get their truths about these relations – who God is, and what He desires on earth – from the Word of God, the Bible.
The Christian is one who has learned that the basis of all knowledge is the Word of God alone.
And understanding the basis of all knowledge is very important. God makes clear that if we do not go to Him first for all knowledge, then our attempts to know things will be no better than the steps of a drunk blind man.
In Psalm 36:9, David puts it this way: “For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light.” It is only in God’s light that we can see light at all. It is only in light of God’s perfect wisdom that we can even start to see the world correctly.
In Isaiah 8:20, the prophet puts it this way: “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn.” Isaiah means that we must go diligently to the Word of God. If people do not speak in a way that agrees with the Word of God, it is because they have none of the wisdom of God in them. They do not know truth. Isaiah gives us the ultimate test of wisdom: if what people say does not line up with the Word of God, then those people are not to be trusted. Their minds and hearts are only full of darkness. They “have no dawn.”
Again, such texts instruct us that the authority on all matters of truth is the word of God. If a truth contradicts the truths of God, we should not follow it. You might say that this way of thinking makes Christians a rather pigheaded and ignorant bunch. You might say that right here, at the outset, Christians have abandoned all reason, all sanity, all rationality.
But the Christian is in fact the one who has been shown the standard and source of all rationality. That standard is the Word of God. There is no other standard.
This is what I mean: It is vital to see that the Bible is the real message that the true, living God of the universe really wants to get across to us, so that we can really know what’s up, really be happy, and be in a real friendship with Him. Anything short of that magnificent reality is sheer falsehood.
On that point: note that the verses from David and Isaiah above are very general. They apply to all humans, not just to those who believe in the God of the Bible. Christians work with this biblical approach to truth – and share it with others – because we know that such an approach is universally valid. We proclaim that it applies to us and to you. We believe you are going to be held accountable for the truths of the Word of God just as we are. Inevitably, then, we would want to tell everyone about these truths!
The truth about abortion
Now we can consider the truth about abortion.
Below I have collected the portions of the Bible that are most relevant to this tragic issue. I have added only minimal commentary, so that you yourself can evaluate what God says.
I encourage you to look these texts up in a Bible, see them in their original setting, and meditate on them thoughtfully and prayerfully.
1. First point: All human life is beautiful and absolutely valuable in God’s eyes
Gen. 1:27 “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”
Ps. 139:1-5 “O Lord, You have searched me and known me. / You know when I sit down and when I rise up; / You understand my thought from afar. / You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways. / Even before there is a word on my tongue, / Behold, O Lord, You know it all. / You have enclosed me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. / Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; / It is too high, I cannot attain to it.”
Job 10:8–12: “Your hands fashioned and made me altogether, And would You destroy me? / ‘Remember now, that You have made me as clay; And would You turn me into dust again? ‘Did You not pour me out like milk And curdle me like cheese; / Clothe me with skin and flesh, And knit me together with bones and sinews? / ‘You have granted me life and lovingkindness; And Your care has preserved my spirit.”
2. Second point: Children are beautiful and absolutely valuable in God’s eyes
Genesis 1:28 “God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth…'”
Psalm 127:3–5: “Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. / Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. / How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; They will not be ashamed When they speak with their enemies in the gate.”
Isaiah 49:15: “Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you.”
Psalm 128:3: “Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine Within your house, Your children like olive plants Around your table.”
Psalm 27:10 “For my father and my mother have forsaken me, But the LORD will take me up.”
3. Third point: God values human life in the womb and the foetus is a human being
This fact can be demonstrated from many texts. I will start, however, by quoting some convicting words from John Calvin on this matter. These words come from Calvin’s commentary on Exodus 21:22:
“The foetus, though enclosed in the womb of its mother, is already a human being, and it is almost a monstrous crime to rob it of the life which it has not yet begun to enjoy. If it seems more horrible to kill a man in his own house than in a field, because a man’s house is his place of most secure refuge, it ought surely to be deemed more atrocious to destroy a foetus in the womb before it has come to light.”
This truth can be found in Scriptures like these:
Job 31:15: “Did not He who made me in the womb make him, And the same one fashion us in the womb?”
Psalm 22:10: “Upon You I was cast from birth; You have been my God from my mother’s womb.”
Psalm 51:5: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.”
Psalm 58:3: “The wicked are estranged from the womb; These who speak lies go astray from birth.”
Psalm 139:13–16: “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. / I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. / My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; / Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.”
Ecclesiastes 11:5: “Just as you do not know the path of the wind and how bones are formed in the womb of the pregnant woman, so you do not know the activity of God who makes all things.”
Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
Galatians 1:15 “But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, was pleased…”
Isaiah 49:15 “Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you.”
4. Fourth point: In light of the above truths, abortion is murder, and it is never our right to murder; God is the one who gives life and takes it away
Exodus 20:13: “You shall not murder.”
Deuteronomy 5:17: “You shall not murder.”
Deuteronomy 32:39: “See now that I, I am He, And there is no god besides Me; It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal, And there is no one who can deliver from My hand.”
1 Samuel 2:6 “The LORD kills and makes alive; He brings down to hell and raises up.”
5. Fifth point: Christians are commanded to defend the defenseless, and babies in the womb whose parents are intent on killing them are the most defenseless creatures imaginable
Proverbs 31:8–9: “Open your mouth for the mute, For the rights of all the unfortunate. / Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.”
Proverbs 24:11 “Deliver those who are being taken away to death, And those who are staggering to slaughter, Oh hold them back.”
6. Sixth point: You know that abortion is wrong, whether you are a Christian or not
The Scriptures assert that God’s law – His standard of right and wrong – is written on the heart of all people – the unbelievers and the believers alike. The remorse that many people feel after having abortions comes from an innate sense all humans have that the above truths about abortion are in fact true and that what God says is good for us.
Romans 2:14–16: “For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, / in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, / on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.”
7. Seventh point: Come to Jesus for forgiveness and life
1 John 1:7: “…but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”
John 14:6: “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.'”
If you are not living in light of God’s truths, or if you have supported or had an abortion yourself, I beg you to come to Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. He is the path to heaven. He is the source of all good, purposeful, and just ways of looking at the world. He is the source of life, the one who conquers death, and the one who covers human sin with sacrificial love and revivals of hope. Jesus Himself says that “no one comes to the Father except through Him.” As sinners, the Father is angry with us, but the Father put all that anger on His Son on the cross. In Jesus Christ, the Father killed off, atoned for, covered, and forgave the sins of His people. Through Jesus Christ, and through Him alone, we can come to know God as the “Father of mercies and the God of all comfort.” And that’s what we need: a God who is just and merciful and comforting at the same time. Come to Christ. Turn away from your sins. Turn toward the one who gives life and light and love and comfort and forgiveness and joy and peace and protection!