Family, Health, Justice & Government, Morality, Sexuality, Transforming Society

Abortion and the Bible: Can Pro-life and Pro-choice Both Be Right?

In view of today’s landmark decision by the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, here are two extracts from my book, Abortion and the Bible: Can Pro-life and Pro-choice Both Be Right?

Preface

While perusing the Scriptures and considering their logical application to abortion, it became apparent that the word of God is not as plain about the onset of personhood as some think. I grappled with pinning a point of view I could finally embrace. Nevertheless, though my understanding of all the aspects surrounding abortions continues to grow, I have become more acquainted with the biblical texts pertinent to the subject and better anchored by them.

I have become convinced that the Bible is pro-life in protecting fertility, life, and especially personhood in the womb while recognizing a biblically complementary pro-choice standpoint. At the same time, a measured pro-choice stance may not necessarily undermine God’s mysterious involvement in creating a “living soul.”

In addition, the 1 in 2 loss of zygotes, spontaneous abortions, and the human response to them, may corroborate that a gap exists between conception and personhood. Also, the condoning of abortions in the case of rape, incest, or medical threat may indicate a lack of unequivocal biblical assurance for the commencement of personhood by many Evangelicals or hypocrisy on their part. I hope the thoughts expressed in this book will challenge any unbiblical assumptions held by both the pro-life and pro-choice factions and help toward a view that represents the entire witness of the Bible, which is the basis for unity in the Church and society at large.

Key Biblical Texts

Ecclesiastes 11:5 (NAB)

Just as you do not know how the life breath enters the human frame in the mother’s womb, so you do not know the work of God, who is working in everything.

Notes:

  • This translation states that “the life breath” in the womb follows the existence of a “human frame.” The NRSV reads similarly.

Assumptions:

  • The verse may confirm that the pattern used to create Adam, where physical development preceded the onset of the soul, is standard in the offspring of Adam.

Ezekiel 37:4-10

4And He said to me, ‘Prophesy concerning these bones and tell them, “Dry bones . . .  6‘I will attach tendons to you and make flesh grow upon you and cover you with skin. I will put breath within you so that you will come to life. . . .”’ 8As I looked on, tendons appeared on them, flesh grew, and skin covered them; but there was no breath in them. 9Then He said to me, ‘Prophesy to the breath . . . so that they may live!’ 10So I prophesied as He had commanded me, and the breath entered them, and they came to life and stood on their feet—a vast army.

Notes:

  • There were two stages in the resurrection of the dead bones, viz., from physical life to a living soul.

Assumptions:

  • The verse may confirm that the pattern used to create Adam, where physical development preceded the onset of the soul, is standard.

Genesis 2:7

Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

Notes:

  • There were two stages in the creation of Adam, viz., from physical life to a living soul.

Assumptions:

  • God may have implemented similar stages in the offspring of Adam.

Genesis 2:21-22

21God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man . . . .

Notes:

  • Eve did not appear to require God breathe into her.
  • Unlike her future offspring, Eve was made immediately into an adult.

Assumptions:

  • God used living material from Adam to create Eve.
  • God breathed life into all of humanity when He breathed into Adam.

Genesis 25:22-23

22The babies jostled each other within her, and she said, ‘Why is this happening to me?’ So she went to inquire of the Lord. 23The Lord said to her, Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.’

Notes:

  • Activity in the womb appears to depict the characteristics of individual personhood.

Assumptions:

  • Personhood begins in the womb before birth.

Exodus 21:22-25

22If people are fighting and hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. 23But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, 24eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.

Compare with:

22When people who are fighting injure a pregnant woman so that there is a miscarriage, and yet no further harm follows, the one responsible shall be fined what the woman’s husband demands, paying as much as the judges determine. 23If any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, 24eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. (NRSV)

Notes:

  • The different versions have different outcomes, viz., premature birth and miscarriage.
  • There are different levels of punishments in different versions, namely, a fine for causing a miscarriage versus “a life for a life” in the event one occurred.

Assumptions:

  • Life in the womb is not considered equal to a human being in versions that interpret “miscarriage.”

Hosea 9:11-12

11Ephraim’s glory will fly away like a bird— no birth, no pregnancy, no conception. 12Even if they rear children, I will bereave them of every one . . . .

Notes:

  • Offspring appear to be “Ephraim’s glory.”
  • Four stages of life are mentioned, viz., conception, pregnancy, birth, and children.
  • Conception is the first stage of life.

Assumptions:

  • If life begins at conception, personhood may begin at conception.

Judges 13:4-5

4Now see to it that you drink no wine or other fermented drink and that you do not eat anything unclean. 5You will become pregnant and have a son whose head is never to be touched by a razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb . . . .

Notes:

  • The mother of Samson was told to avoid “wine or other fermented drink” from before she became pregnant.
  • This corresponds to the lifestyle her child, a future Nazarite, would have to make.

Assumptions:

  • The child was to be kept from alcohol from conception and throughout its development in the womb.
  • The onset of personhood begins in the womb and may begin at conception.

Jeremiah 1:5

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.

Notes:

  • This verse speaks of God having intimate knowledge of Jeremiah before he existed.
  • It also speaks of appointing Jeremiah as a prophet before he was born.
  • The term “formed” is the same root word used to describe the forming of Adam before God breathed into his nostrils and he became “a living soul” (Gen. 2:7).
  • The verse indicates a time in the womb, but does not indicate the onset of personhood.

Assumptions:

  • This verse initially speaks to the idea of the person before personhood.
  • “Before I formed you” could refer to an initial physical phase before the soul becomes manifest.
  • “[B]efore you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations,” may concern a subsequent phase in the womb when the soul has become manifest and able to interact.

Luke 1:15

[F]or he . . . will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born.

Notes:

  • John the Baptist is filled with the Holy Spirit while still in the womb of his mother.

Assumptions:

  • Personhood is required for infilling to take place.

Luke 1:41

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb.

Notes:

  • John the Baptist responds to the presence of Mary who was to carry and birth to the Messiah.

Assumptions:

  • The personhood of John the Baptist is evident.

Matthew 1:20

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.

Compare with:

But when he had thought this over, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. (NASB)

Notes:

  • The term “what is” is also translated as “that which” in accordance with the Greek “to” which is translated “that.”
  • Some versions super-interpret this with terms like “the Child,” “the child,” “the baby,” etc.

Assumptions:

  • The conception by the Holy Spirit brought about evidence of a pregnancy.
  • Personhood is assumed by some translators.
  • Personhood may not yet be in effect.

Numbers 5:19-28

19Then the priest shall put the woman under oath and say to her, ‘If no other man has had sexual relations with you and you have not gone astray and become impure while married to your husband, may this bitter water that brings a curse not harm you. 20But if you have gone astray while married to your husband and you have made yourself impure by having sexual relations with a man other than your husband’— 21here the priest is to put the woman under this curse—‘may the LORD cause you to become a curse among your people when he makes your womb miscarry and your abdomen swell. 22May this water that brings a curse enter your body so that your abdomen swells or your womb miscarries.’ Then the woman is to say, ‘Amen. So be it.’

. . .

27If she has made herself impure and been unfaithful to her husband, this will be the result: When she is made to drink the water that brings a curse and causes bitter suffering, it will enter her, her abdomen will swell and her womb will miscarry, and she will become a curse. 28If, however, the woman has not made herself impure, but is clean, she will be cleared of guilt and will be able to have children.

Notes:

  • An accused woman under suspicion of adultery had to drink “bitter water that brings a curse,” which would expose her guilt and, if pregnant, induce a miscarriage.

Assumptions:

  • This scenario may have been limited to an induced miscarriage before human personhood begins. Otherwise, the outcome would be an overreach of an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.
  • Nonetheless, God could exercise punishment according to His discretion which went beyond the limitations He imposed on Israel. For the wages of sin is death. Consequently, the possibility exists that this passage can include the miscarriage of personhood in the womb.

Proverbs 6:16-17

16[S]ix things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him [are] 17. . . hands that shed innocent blood.

Notes:

  • God hates the shedding of innocent blood.

Assumptions:

  • God will punish those who shed innocent blood.

Psalms 139:13-16

13“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 16Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Notes:

  • “[M]y inmost being” is a distinct part of a person.
  • The terms “my frame” and “unformed body” refer to the physical self in the womb.

Assumptions:

  • “[M]y inmost being” appears to be a reference to the soul. It is used that way in Proverbs 23:13, which reads, “my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak what is right.”

Psalms 22:10

From birth I was cast on you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.

Notes:

  • God is personally involved from the womb.

Assumptions:

  • A relationship with God may begin in the womb.
  • Personhood may begin in the womb.

Psalms 51:5

Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

Compare with:

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. (ESV)

Notes:

  • Sinful from conception is different from being conceived in sin.

Assumptions:

  • The former may imply the existence of personhood at conception.
  • The latter refers to sin passed on by the parents, which could manifest whenever ensoulment occurs.
Jesus, Judgment, My Bible, salvation, The Bad News, The Good News

The Bible Is Both Good News and Bad News

Do You Want The Good News or Bad News First?

The good news is that the Bible is 100% accurate and God’s word. The bad news is that the Bible is 100% accurate and God’s word. It is either good or bad depending on how you answer Jesus’ question, “Who do you say I am?” (Matt. 16:15).

The Good News

God chose to save the world by sending Jesus to die on the cross and pay the debt of their sins so that He could forgive any who seek Him for mercy and a new start. For though “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23), “[H]e is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9). “God made [Jesus] who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21).

Jesus Is God’s Message of Salvation and Judgment, Death and Life

” . . . we [who share God’s word] are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life” (2 Cor. 2:15-16). For “[w]hoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them” (John 3:36).

The choice is yours. God, in His love for you, already made His.

Rob Morley

Faith, Healing and Miracles, Health, The Law

A Faith-Based Approach to the Coronavirus

Light in a Dark Time

We have an opportunity to be the light in a dark time. Some Christians believe their faith will protect them from the coronavirus (COVID-19) and are complaining at our governments for passing laws to hinder our movements. Even if you have lots of faith and are feeling fine, you could still be carrying the virus without your knowledge. Faith, which comes from God’s word, teaches us how to behave when there is a contagious disease. Leviticus and Deuteronomy have many verses dedicated to clean and unclean things.

Faith in God’s Word

God’s people were given instructions that they had to obey concerning contaminants on their bodies, clothes, vessels, and walls of their homes. There were many instructions for washing, but those things that couldn’t be saved were broken or burned. People who were deemed unclean for different reasons were to distance themselves for a time. If the person had a contagious disease, they were sent outside of the camp and the priest had to visit that person outside of the camp to determine if they were still contagious or not.

Undeniably, washing and distancing are biblical practices, so let us spread love and not germs.

Tina Morley

Judgment, Life in the Spirit, Marriage, Morality, Sexuality, The Bad News, The Good News, The Great Commission, Transforming Society

If you Dare to Love, you Might have to Speak

Audacity_facebook_coverimage_WatchItFreeNOWThough not about him, this movie reflects the heart of Israel Folau, a professional rugby player who lost his contract with Australian Rugby for daring to warn the homosexuals that God so dearly loves.

https://lnkd.in/g_JdQW8

 

Marriage, Women in Ministry

Doesn’t the naming of Eve show that Adam had authority over her?

Colin Brough www.rgbstock.com/user/ColinBrough
Colin Brough
http://www.rgbstock.com/user/ColinBrough

Q – Doesn’t the naming of Eve show that Adam had authority over her?

A – No, both male and female were created in the image of God and they were given shared authority to rule (Gen 1:28).

Brief explanation:

There is a Jewish tradition that the one who does the naming of another has authority over the one named. There is, however, no evidence that Adam had authority over the Woman when he called her ‘Woman’ and later named her ‘Eve’.

The two occasions where Adam ‘named’ the Woman were unlike the naming of the animals that God brought ‘to the man to see what he would call them.’

The first time that Adam saw the woman he exclaimed, ‘she shall be called Woman’. This was done out of a response to what he saw and out of his free will and NOT by God’s command, leading, or for God’s own interest (as with the animals).

The second time, when he names her ‘Eve’, it is after the Fall and so we cannot interpret anything from this with regard to God’s original intention that is seen in Gen 1:28.

For further explanation:

Naming of Eve and Adam’s Authority

Other questions:

Women in the Church – Common Questions

Marriage, Women in Ministry

Isn’t the wife supposed to be the husband’s ‘helper’?

lusi (sanja gjenero) www.rgbstock.com/user/lusi
lusi (sanja gjenero)
http://www.rgbstock.com/user/lusi

Q & A

Q – Isn’t the wife supposed to be the husband’s ‘helper’?

A – Yes and No. The woman that was made to be with Adam was called his ‘help meet’ (Greek EZER KENEGDO), not his ‘helpmate’.

Brief explanation:

Ezer (help) does not mean from a lesser being. The same term is used of God helping us. It speaks of power and strength.

Kenegdo (meet) means a corresponding counterpart. In other words, the woman was to be a strength where Adam was weak.

For further explanation:

Naming of Eve and Adam’s Authority – see paragraph on EZER KENEGDO (‘help meet’)

Ezer Kenegdo (help meet) – from God’s Word to Women

Other questions:

Women in the Church – Common Questions

Marriage, Women in Ministry

Doesn’t the Bible say that wives are to submit to their husbands as their ‘head’?

scottsnyde (Scott Snyder) http://www.rgbstock.com/user/scottsnyde

Q – Doesn’t the Bible say that wives are to submit to their husbands as their ‘head’?

A – Yes and No. Yes, only if the term ‘head’ (Greek: kephale) is understood as ‘origin’ or ‘source’ without the meaning of rank. The Bible teaches mutual submission between spouses.

Brief explanation:

1 Corinthians 11:3 reads: ‘But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.’ Here, the term ‘head’, from the Greek kephale, is to be understood as ‘source’ or ‘origin’ without the idea of rank and has as its meaning the idea of chronology and not hierarchy. For more on 1 Cor 11:3.

Ephesians 5:22-24 reads: ‘Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.’

Firstly, it is key to note that just prior to these verses, verse 21 says: ‘…submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.’ Secondly, being ‘head’ meant that husbands were to be the source (kephale) of love, care and provision for their wives as Christ is for the Church. It did not mean that they were to be their lords or have rank above their wives as Christ has over the Church.

For further explanation:

Husbands (and wives), Deprive and Dominate or Supply and Share

God’s Plan for Gender Equality in the Home, Church and all of Society

The Fallacy around Male Headship in the Home and in the Church

Other questions:

Women in the Church – Common Questions

Women in Ministry

Can women be elders (leaders/pastors) in the church?

mokra (Marcelo Mokrejs) www.rgbstock.com/user/mokra
mokra (Marcelo Mokrejs)
http://www.rgbstock.com/user/mokra

Q – Can women be elders (leaders/pastors) in the church?

A – Yes, Paul says, ‘If anyone (Greek tis – a gender neutral term) wants to be an elder…’

Brief explanation:

In Christ, we are restored to the equality at creation (Gen 1:28). Male rule came about as a result of the Fall (Gen 3:16), but is ended for those ‘in Christ’ where there is ‘neither male nor female’ (Gal 3:28). Both redeemed men and women are called ‘Sons of God’ and Christians are to regard ‘no man according to the flesh.’

For further explanation:

Can Women be Elders? – Part 1

Can Women be Elders? – Part 2

A Road to Egalitarianism

Apostles – Twelve Men, No Women?

Let Women Teach and with Authority

God’s Plan for Gender Equality in the Home, Church and all of Society

Other questions:

Women in the Church – Common Questions

Women in Ministry

Doesn’t the Bible say that women are to ‘keep silent’ in church?

COBRASoft (Sigurd Decroos) www.rgbstock.com/user/COBRASoft
COBRASoft (Sigurd Decroos)
http://www.rgbstock.com/user/COBRASoft

Q – Doesn’t the Bible say that women are to ‘keep silent’ in church?

A – No. In fact it says just the opposite.

Brief explanation:

Paul was clearly exasperated that such an idea was proposed and responded with ‘What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?’ (See 1 Cor 14:34-36).

Also, Paul would be contradicting himself if he taught that women were to keep silent. Consider that he says in 1 Cor 14:26, ‘…when ye come together, EVERY ONE of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation…’ This would have been impossible for women if they had been commanded to ‘keep silent’ in church.

In the context of 1 Tim 2:12, where it says ‘…she (a woman/wife) is to remain quiet/silent’, the term ‘silent’ is better translated ‘in quietness/quietly’, which suggests refraining from bustle and chatter.

For further explanation:

‘Let your women keep silence in the churches.’ Really?

Let Women Teach and with Authority

God’s Plan for Gender Equality in the Home, Church and all of Society

Other questions:

Women in the Church – Common Questions

Marriage, Women in Ministry

Women in the Church – Common Questions

Picture: katagaci (Moi Cody) www.rgbstock.com/user/katagaci
Picture: katagaci (Moi Cody)
http://www.rgbstock.com/user/katagaci

CLICK ON THE QUESTION OR ANSWER FOR A FULLER EXPLANATION
1. Doesn’t the Bible say that women are to ‘keep silent’ in church?
NO
2. Can women be elders (leaders/pastors) in the church?
YES
3. Doesn’t the Bible say that wives are to submit to their husbands as their ‘head’?
YES and NO
4. Isn’t the wife supposed to be the husband’s ‘helper’?
YES and NO
5. Doesn’t the naming of Eve show that Adam had authority over her?
NO