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“Pro-life groups are optimistic about the effectiveness of ultrasound technology in persuading pregnant women to choose giving birth over having an abortion. Ultrasound technology has played an important role in helping pregnant women realize that the fetuses they carry are “alive and vulnerable.’”[1] At conception, according to the Bible, we are talking about a living, human soul. (Genesis 2:7) Truly conservative Christians do not set aside the one person, the Creator, who is “the fountain of life.” (Psalm 36:9) Below are the words of the Creator of life.

Genesis 25:22-23 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

22 And the sons within her began to struggle with each other, so that she said, “If this is the way it is, why should I go on living?” So she inquired of Jehovah. 23 Jehovah said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples will be separated from within you; and the one nation will be stronger than the other nation, and the older will serve the younger.”

Notice here that God was well aware of the very personalities of these two boys, Jacob, and Esau, even before their birth. Some 1,800 years later, one of God’s angels informed Zechariah that his wife Elizabeth were going to have a son and that his name should be called John. This unborn baby boy would grow to be one of the most important persons within God’s Word. He was to prepare the way for the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Even though John the Baptist, as he came to be known, was a great man, his commission called for humility like no other in Scripture. He was to carry out a work that never gave any promotion or recognition of self, but rather points to Jesus Christ and his coming ministry. God knew just the type of personality that John would possess, even when he was in the womb of Elizabeth.–Luke 1:8-17

The Human Fetus

Psalm 139:13-16 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

13 For you [God] produced my kidneys;[1]
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My bones were not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
When I was woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes even saw me as an embryo;
and in your book they all were written,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

[1] Kidneys: figuratively, the term in Hebrew or Greek refers to the innermost aspects of the human personality. The verse can be also rendered my inward parts

Acts 17:28 (UASV): for by him [God] we have life and move and exist, even as some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also his offspring.’

Rom. 14:12 (UASV): So, then, each of us will render an account for himself to God.[2]

Are Unborn Children Worth Less in the Eyes of God?

Exodus 21:22-23 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

22 “‘And if men struggle with each other, and injure a pregnant woman, so that her child comes out [prematurely], and yet there is no fatality results [ason, Or “serious injury.”]; he shall be surely fined, as the woman’s husband shall lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. 23 But if there is a fatality [ason], then he shall give life for life

Some translations like the Revised Standard Version below render the verses as though the woman is the main focus of the law. However, this just is not the case, as the Hebrew focuses on a serious injury or a fatality to either the mother or the child.

Exodus 21:22-23 Revised Standard Version (RSV)

22 “When men strive together, and hurt a woman with child, so that there is a miscarriage, and yet no harm follows, the one who hurt her shall be fined, according as the woman’s husband shall lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. 23 If any harm follows, then you shall give life for life

The picture that one could get from renderings like the RSV is that the only grave unease here is for the woman, not the unborn or premature child. Someone could determine from such a translation that if the hurt caused the death of a prematurely born child but no other harm to the woman, the guilty man was only to receive a fine, as was the conclusion of Josephus of the first century.

Here is how the first-century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus paraphrased these verses:

He that kicks a woman with child, so that the woman miscarry, let him pay a fine in money, as the judges shall determine, as having diminished the multitude by the destruction of what was in her womb; and let money also be given the woman’s husband by him that kicked her; but if she die of the stroke, let him also be put to death, the law judging it equitable that life should go for life.[3]

Philo and others appear to have understood this law (Exod. 21:22, 25) better than Josephus, who seems to allow, that though the infant in the mother’s womb, even after the mother were quick, and so the infant had a rational soul, were killed by the stroke upon the mother, yet if the mother escaped, the offender should only be fined, and not put to death; while the law seems rather to mean, that if the infant in that case be killed, though the mother escape, the offender must be put to death; and not only when the mother is killed, as Josephus understood it. It seems this was the exposition of the Pharisees in the days of Josephus.[4]

Alternatively, the translators of the Greek Septuagint Version of the Old Testament saw things differently.

Exodus 21:22-23 Septuagint Version of the Old Testament (LXX)

22 And if two men strive and smite a woman with child, and her child be born imperfectly formed [or, “she miscarry of an embryo”], he shall be forced to pay a penalty: as the woman’s husband may lay upon him, he shall pay with a valuation. 23 But if it be perfectly formed, he shall give life for life,[5]

Abortion Booklet

Therefore, these translators believed that if what was miscarried were too young to have developed recognizable human features, a monetary fine would suffice. However, if the fetus was “perfectly formed” the man who gave cause for the loss of life of the prematurely born child must pay life for life. With such disagreement going on, it is best that we go to the original Hebrew.

If you consider the possible outcomes, there are more than you may have thought. Let us look to the woman first. She could have suffered anything from a minor injury to a serious injury, even physically challenged, but no loss of life. Alternatively, she could have lost her life. Next, think of the child or children developing in her womb. If she were far enough along in her pregnancy, being struck could have brought about premature birth. Then, there is the possible hurt of the unborn losing its life and the mother’s hurt of having lost her child(ren). Clearly, the law had to cover a long range of outcomes.

Let us look at the law to see what it really said. Below is the literal rendering in the Hebrew-English Interlinear by Dr. G. R. Berry (read from right to left),

hebrew-english-interlinear-ex-21-22-23

The Hebrew word here rendered “injury” (“harm,” Revised Standard Version) is ason. According to The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, ason means “fatal accident.”[6] Therefore, the rendering “fatality” in the Updated American Standard Version allows one to understand more fully what the law had to say.

The question that begs to be asked is, ‘who is the term “fatality” applying to? It is to the mother alone, the child, or the mother and the child? The Jerusalem Bible reads:

Exodus 21:22-23 Jerusalem Bible (JB)

22 “‘If, when men come to blows, they hurt a woman who is pregnant and she suffers a miscarriage, though she does not die of it, the man responsible must pay the compensation demanded of him, . . . 23 But should she die, you shall give life for life. (Italics added)

The Jerusalem Bible is correct in the choice rendering of “fatality,” but they go beyond translation into the realms of interpretation when they insert “she,” which will cause the reader to believe that if the woman lost the child in a premature birth, but lived, the offender would only receive a fine. Is this really, what the Hebrew text says?

The above-mentioned interlinear reading discloses that the Hebrew does not limit the application of “injury” (fatality) to just the mother. Therefore, the Commentary on the Old Testament says that a fine was satisfactory only when “no injury [fatal accident] was done either to the woman or the child that was born.” The commentary goes on to show that if what the Law merely meant was, if the mother lived, regardless of the child, only a fine would be imposed; then, the Hebrew text would have had the ending lah, “to her.” Therefore, the verse would have read, ‘When men struggle and they strike a pregnant woman, and her child goes forth, and no injury [fatality] is done to her, a fine must be paid.’ Yet, the commentary concluded, “The omission of lah, also, apparently renders it impracticable to refer the words to [an] injury done to the woman alone.”[7]

 Hebrew scholar U. Cassuto (A Commentary on the Book of Exodus [Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1967]) asserts, “The passage does not deal with miscarriage” (but is speaking of premature birth), thus assuming that the lxx rendering was conjectural and that the Hb. must and can be comprehended on its own. N. L. Collins points out that the verb used in 21:22 to refer to men fighting (…. from nṣh) always conveys the sense of two people fighting and thus the specificity in the lxx and Syriac translations (two men) is simply proper ancient translation and not the addition of a concept by periphrastic translators (“Notes on the Text of Exodus XXI:22,” VT 43 [1993]: 289–301).

Dying to Kill

The verses are about the sacredness of life, the life of the woman, or her unborn child. If a premature birth severely injured the woman or her unborn child or lost their life, the man would be punished to the degree of deliberateness and the circumstances. If there were no loss of life of either mother or child, there would be a fine. If there were a loss of life of either mother or child, there would be a capital punishment (i.e., death penalty).

The Hebrew word yatsa, has the following range of meaning, “to go out, come out; to bring out, lead forth; produce; to be brought out; emptied; by extension: to grow (of plants), to have offspring.”[8] It is the word that is commonly used for giving birth in the Hebrew Old Testament, and “miscarriage” is a mistranslation. It should be noted that if Moses wanted to say “miscarriage,” there was a Hebrew term for that, shakol. Finally, whether harm came to the child (yeled) or the mother, the punishment was the same.

What is the Punishment for Taking a Human Life?

Gen. 9:6 (UASV): “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God he made man.”

1 John 3:15 (UASV): Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life remaining in him.

Ex. 20:13 (UASV): “You shall not murder.”

Early Christians on Abortion

The last apostle, John died about 98-100 C.E. Thereafter, you have church leaders, who became known as the Apostolic Fathers and the Apologists. While they are not inspired writers, they do convey the Christian mindset on abortion, right after the death of the apostles. Let us look at just a few out of many.

Barnabas 19:5 Epistle of Barnabas (c.70-130 C.E.)

You must not waver with regard to your decisions. “You shall not take the Lord’s name in vain.” You shall love your neighbor more than your own life. You shall not abort a child nor, again, commit infanticide. You must not withhold your hand from your son or your daughter, but from their youth you shall teach them the fear of God.

Didache 2:1 The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles (c.80-140 C.E.)

You shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill one who has been born.

Tertullian 9:8 Apology (c.197 C.E.)

But with us murder is forbidden once and for all. We are not permitted to destroy even the foetus [fetus] in the womb, as long as blood is still being drawn to form a human being. To prevent the birth of a child is anticipated murder. It makes no difference whether one destroys a life already born or interferes with its coming to birth. One who will be a man is already one.

Basil: Letter to Amphilochius (347 C.E.)

“She who has deliberately destroyed a foetus has to pay the penalty of murder. And any hair-splitting distinction as to whether the foetus was formed or unformed is inadmissible to us.”

The Teaching of the Bible

An unplanned abortion or a miscarriage can result at any time, because of our human imperfection, or from something like a car accident. However, an operation or other intervention to end a pregnancy by removing an embryo or fetus from the womb is a different matter. According to the God’s Word, as the above has demonstrated, abortion is willfully taking a human life, for which God will expect a life for that life. It is not an unforgivable sin if you have already had an abortion, before coming to an accurate knowledge of the Scriptures, but you must repent from that sin, and turn around, never doing it again.

Romans 14:12 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

12 So, then, each of us will render an account for himself to God.

THE BATTLE FOR THE CHRISTIAN MIND (1)

Scarred Emotionally for Life

Some may believe that abortion is an easy resolution to an unexpected pregnancy. However, abortion can very much make life far more difficult ti live. Some Bible writers revealed to their readers that there is an ongoing conflict within the Christian, with one side being the fallen, sinful flesh. In this revelation, the Bible writers use such expressions as “the inner man,” “our inner man,” and comparable expressions. At Romans 2:14-15, Paul speaks of us saying, “The law is written on their hearts.” Because man and woman were made in the image and likeness of God, they were given a moral nature that was in harmony with God. This moral nature produces a mental power or ability such as reason and conscience. Even though we are imperfect; we retain a measure of this moral nature that is in harmony with God’s moral standards. This moral nature operates in “the inner man,” as a law, a moral law. However, because of our fallen condition, there is also ‘the law of sin, which is in our members.’ This ‘law in our members of our body, wages a war against the law of our mind and can make us a prisoner of the law of sin.’ (Rom. 6:12; 7:22, 23) Abortion would violate our moral nature of right and wrong, the measure of conscience that God had originally given Adam and Eve. Moreover, abortion would demand that a young woman closes her tender heart and compassions to the tiny life growing inside her. (See 1 John 3:17) How disheartening!

Put Off the Old Person

 What may not be appreciated are the emotions that come after the abortion. There will be this unrelenting feeling of guilt and shame at taking another human life. Even a police officer that shoots a wicked criminal in the line of duty is obligated by the department to seek out counseling, to deal with the taking of a life. Imagine how much more so this will be with a mother, who takes the life of her unborn baby. This emotional trauma will never go away. When the due date of the baby comes, it will be emotional losses, which you have never known, and it will be revisited upon you every birthday, every holiday that child would never enjoy with you.

Get the Help and Care

Almost everyone has family or friends of some sort, who will help you during and after the pregnancy. They can provide emotional, physical, mental, spiritual, and financial assistance. Most countries have some kind of assistance for mothers as well. Many years down the road, when you look back on this decision, it will be just the opposite of the pain you would have suffered, nothing but peace of heart and mind, as you look at your young child.

Do Not Even Greet Those Who Do Not Remain in the Teaching of Christ

2 John 9-11 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

Everyone who goes on ahead and does not remain in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who remains in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting; 11 for the one who gives him a greeting shares in his evil deeds.

1 Corinthians 5:5, 11-13 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

you must hand such a man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. 11 But now I have written to you not to associate with any so-called brother, who is sexually immoral[*] or a greedy person or an idolater or a reviler or a drunkard or an extortioner, not even to eat with such a man. 12 For what do I have to do with judging those outside? Do you not judge those inside? 13 But those who are outside, God will judge. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.

[*] Sexual Immorality: (Heb. zanah; Gr. porneia) A general term for immoral sexual acts of any kind: such as adultery, prostitution, sexual relations between people not married to each other, homosexuality, and bestiality.–Num. 25:1; Deut. 22:21; Matt. 5:32; 1 Cor. 5:1.

1 Timothy 1:19-20 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

19 having trust and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith. 20 among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may be taught not to blaspheme.

3 John 9-11 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

I wrote something to the congregation; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not receive us.[*] 10 For this reason, if I come, I will call attention to his deeds which he does, unjustly accusing us with wicked words;[**] and not satisfied with this, neither does he himself receive the brothers, and he hinders those wanting to do so and throws them out of the  congregation.

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[*] Or what we say

[**] Lit chattering about us with wicked words

2 Thessalonians  3:6, 11, 13-15 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who is walking disorderly[*] and not according to the tradition[**] which you received from us. 11 For we hear that some are walking disorderly among you, not working at all, but being busybodies. 13 But as for you, brothers, do not be discouraged while doing good. 14 If anyone does not obey our word in this letter, take note of that person and do not associate with him, so that he may be ashamed. 15 And do not consider him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

[*] I.e., keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life (NASB, 1995)

[**] Or instruction

Bible Scribe_Copyist_03

[1] http://www.christianpost.com/news/ultrasound-technology-an-effective-piece-of-the-pro-life-message-88721/

[2] Whenever a human being puts himself in a position of judge of another, he or she usurps the position of the true judge of all, Jesus Christ. Because each of us will give an account of himself to God, no Christian should judge another or be intimated by the judgments of another—Paul’s next point in this part of the epistle. (Boa and Kruidenier 2000, 424)

[3] Flavius Josephus and William Whiston, The Works of Josephus: Complete and Unabridged (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1996), Book IV, Chapter viii, paragraph 33.

[4] Ibid., footnote

[5] Lancelot Charles Lee Brenton, The Septuagint Version of the Old Testament: English Translation (London: Samuel Bagster and Sons, 1870), Ex 21:22–25.

[6] Ludwig Koehler, Walter Baumgartner, M.E.J Richardson and Johann Jakob Stamm, The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, electronic ed. (Leiden; New York: E.J. Brill, 1999), 73.

[7] Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2002).

[8] William D. Mounce, Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old & New Testament Words (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2006), 951.