By Mike Wade
Published April 1, 2008
What do the scriptures teach about abortion?
The following letter was submitted in the Spring of 1991, as a response to contributing editor Mike Wade’s series on pro-life activism:
Dear Mike Wade:
I hate to blow your heroic, “persecuted” pro-life Christian bit here, but if your “pro-life” efforts are being opposed by people, it is only because those efforts are fear-motivated, and work against women, the Jews, the Bible, millions of pro-choice Christians and the Constitutional guarantee of religious freedom (see the 1st amendment).
For example, Jewish tradition considers the fetus a person (a nephesh, i.e., “a breathing creature,” translated as “soul” in Genesis 2:7, “life for life” in Exodus 21:23 and “man” in Lev. 24:17 – #5315 in the Hebrew dictionary in Strong’s Concordance) only at birth.
Just check your Bible. The Bible’s definition of “living” is breathing (Ps. 150:6, Ez. 37:10, 1 Kings 17 and similar passages. Try looking up breathing and breath in your Strong’s Concordance). The Bible’s definition of a human being is nephesh. It is translated 30 times as person in the King James Version, and also as “life,” “man” and “soul.”
Why, in Ex. 21:22-25, is only a fine paid for a miscarriage, and execution (life for life; nephesh for nephesh) required if the woman dies? It is because the unborn has not yet received the “breath of life” (through its nostrils – see Genesis 2:7). So biblically, (I’m not talking science here) it is not “alive.” Therefore, abortion is not murder. Ask a rabbi or two, or three. Contact a few pro-choice Christians and look at the evidence. Kick the fear habit.
Just to confirm this, see page 139 of Operation Rescue. Randall Terry cuts off verses 23, 24 & 25 of Exodus 21, takes the passage out of the context of nephesh and “breathing,” adds the idea of “accidental” (see Deuteronomy 25:11 on that idea), and tries to use Jewish scripture against the predominantly pro-choice Jews.
See George Grant’s book Grand Illusions page 193 – Exodus 21 is buried under a lot of irrelevant passages, or see Grant’s Third Time Around – no relevant material here. No attempt here to convince you of anything, just to give you the information that many cover up, so you can make an “informed decision.” There are always people around who will use your good intentions for their purposes. – Good luck on this.
1492 Ribbet Ave.
A response from Mike Wade:
I thank Mr. Frogg for responding and providing this topic for discussion. He seems to have done considerable research on the subject, and I regret that his thoughts are not better organized so as to show full exegesis.
I’m afraid it takes more than ownership of a Strong’s Concordance to arrive at logical conclusions about the Bible. As Mr. Frogg points out, God requires a penalty for the accidental death of an unborn baby boy or girl. How might God then feel about the intentional death of an unborn baby boy or girl? How might He feel about those who quote this scripture to PROMOTE such intentional killing?
Exodus 21 is in complete agreement with the rest of the Old Testament Law regarding the distinction between accidental manslaughter and intentional murder. Those who killed as the result of an accident were allowed to flee to another city (Deut. 19:5). To spell this out as clearly as possible, the penalty afforded in Exodus 21:22 was to be determined by the recklessness with which the killers were guilty. Two men struggling with each other could quite possibly strike a woman who interfered to such a degree that she miscarried. To strike her so hard that she died would take much more, and is very correctly described as manslaughter.
That Mr. Frogg tries to invoke Deut. 25:11 as an argument for his position either testifies of his faulty logic or further exemplifies his hit and run tactics of using an idea in his own defense long enough to hide behind but running to another idea before the logical conclusions of tat idea can be used to disprove his original thesis.
As to the matter of breath, the Bible refers to spirits in a number of different metaphors such as fire, water, oil, and yes, breath. The key to understanding these metaphors is a sincere effort to respect context. The Old Testament clearly states that “the life is in the blood” (Lev. 17:11). This is no metaphor. Moses did not indicate that the breath of an animal be offered as a sacrifice and, for the Christian, the physical reality of Christ’s shed blood on the cross is an essential tenet.
In Genesis, man is the only creature into which God “breathed” life. The imagery here is that of God taking one of his creatures and making man more than an animal: “and he became a living soul.” We can’t take “breath” to mean biological life anymore than we can fire or oil. Hearts can be said to “burn” and no one takes it to mean a Maalox moment God “breathed” life into Adam that he later lost as a result of sin.
The Messiah Jesus Christ provided this spiritual life to be born anew within us as a result of sin. Jesus provided this spiritual life to be born anew within us, wonderfully portrayed in John 20: 22: “He breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’”
The reader has chided me for having some sort of problem with fear. If this were true, as a former supporter of abortion-as-a-means-of-birth-control, I can tell you that I would not now be radically pro-life. It takes virtually no courage to agree with militant feminists. When, I trust, the reader has discovered the person who is the Lion of the tribe of Judah, he will then be able to quote Psalm 139 with the same enthusiasm with which he has written of Exodus 21. I don’t fear man, but I do fear God. It is the beginning of wisdom.
Forerunner - Home » The Forerunner Newspaper » Pro-life Articles
Your comments are welcome!
Download the Free Study Guide!
Just what is Calvinism?
Does this teaching make man a deterministic robot and God the author of sin? What about free will? If the church accepts Calvinism, won’t evangelism be stifled, perhaps even extinguished? How can we balance God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility? What are the differences between historic Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism? Why did men like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Edwards and a host of renowned Protestant evangelists embrace the teaching of predestination and election and deny free will theology?
This is the first video documentary that answers these and other related questions. Hosted by Eric Holmberg, this fascinating three-part, four-hour presentation is detailed enough so as to not gloss over the controversy. At the same time, it is broken up into ten “Sunday-school-sized” sections to make the rich content manageable and accessible for the average viewer.
Running Time: 257 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Special Two-Disc Set!
After 40 years of intense study and world-wide ministry, Dr. Francis Schaeffer completed his crowning work of scholarship – to present profound truths in simple film language. Dr. Schaeffer’s brilliant analysis of the past and predictions for current trends have proven so uncannily accurate that this amazing series still feels contemporary almost three decades after its initial release. Ultimately, Schaeffer concludes that man’s only hope is a return to God’s Biblical absolute, the truth revealed in Christ through the Scriptures.
Available for the first time on DVD, this documentary spectacular also includes intimate in-depth conversations with Francis and Edith Schaeffer. With the on-disc study guide, this presentation forms a unique course of comprehensive study. While this series forms an innovative analysis of the past, this outstanding work is more than history. Each episode focuses on a significant era, yet speaks clearly to 21st-century man with answers for modern problems.
$49.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
That Swiss Hermit Strikes Again!
Dr. Schaeffer, who was one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the twentieth century, shows that secular humanism has displaced the Judeo-Christian consensus that once defined our nation’s moral boundaries. Law, education, and medicine have all been reshaped for the worse as a consequence. America’s dominant worldview changed, Schaeffer charges, when Christians weren’t looking.
Schaeffer lists two reasons for evangelical indifference: a false concept of spirituality and fear. He calls on believers to stand against the tyranny and moral chaos that come when humanism reigns-and warns that believers may, at some point, be forced to make the hard choice between obeying God or Caesar. A Christian Manifesto is a thought-provoking and bracing Christian analysis of American culture and the obligation Christians have to engage the culture with the claims of Christ.
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
“Here I stand … I can do no other!”
With these immortal words, an unknown German monk sparked a spiritual revolution that changed the world.
The dramatic classic film of Martin Luther’s life was released in theaters worldwide in the 1950s and was nominated for two Oscars. A magnificent depiction of Luther and the forces at work in the surrounding society that resulted in his historic reform efforts, this film traces Luther’s life from a guilt-burdened monk to his eventual break with the Roman Catholic Church.
Running time: 105 minutes
Special offer: Order 5 or more for $5 each.
Watch a clip from Martin Luther.
$9.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
“Give me liberty or give me death!”
Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.
The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
This presentation is a similar call, not to one but many. By reintroducing the principles of freedom that gave birth to America, it is our prayer that Jesus, the true and only ruler over the nations, will once again be our acknowledged Sovereign, that we may again know and exult in the great truth that “where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).
Welcome to the Second American Revolution!
This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.
$14.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)