When Does Life Begin?

As Christians ponder the issue of abortion, one question looms large… when does life begin? It is a pivotal question. It could very well determine whether a person is Pro Life or Pro Choice when it comes to the subject of abortion. 

Let’s look at some scriptures.

Psalm 139:13-16 says, “For Thou didst form my inward parts; Thou didst weave me in my mother’s womb. 14 I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Thy works, and my soul knows it very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from Thee, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth. 16 Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Thy book they were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.”

This Psalm reveals three truths about us before we were born. First, God created each one of us. Second, God saw us before we were born. And finally, God planned our days. Looks like life in the womb. 

Luke 1:41 says, “And it came about that when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit” while Luke 2:12 says, “And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger.”

The term used for the baby the womb and the baby in the cradle in both Luke 1:41 and Luke 2:12 is the same. One is not called “an unformed substance” or “embryonic tissue”. God refers to the product within the womb as a baby, a living human being. Looks like life in the womb. 

Exodus 21:22-23 reveals that “… if men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she has a miscarriage, yet there is no further injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman’s husband may demand of him; and he shall pay as the judges decide. 23 “But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life…”

The word used for miscarriage in the Hebrew means “early birth”. If someone causes a baby to leave to leave the womb prematurely and then the baby dies, they are guilty of a capital offense. This type of punishment is reserved for the taking of a life and not just harming someone’s tissue. This verse is not referring to the death of the mother since that would already be covered under the killing of an adult. Looks like life in the womb.

If we read Psalm 51 along with Luke 1, we would discover that in both passages, the baby within the womb is given human attributes and traits. There is the presence of a sin nature in Psalm 51 and the leaping for joy in Luke 1. Looks like life in the womb.

Genesis 25, Isaiah 49 and Galatians 1 have passages where we discover that God called Jacob, Esau, Isaiah and Paul before birth. These types of callings are reserved for people, not just embryonic tissue. Looks like life in the womb.

Are these scriptures conclusive? They are conclusive enough for me to say that life begins at conception. For those who still aren’t sure, the burden of proof that life does not begin at conception rests with them. In light of these scriptures, are you willing to say with absolute assuredness that life does not begin at conception? 

Something to think about…