What the Bible Does Not Say about Abortion

June 20, 2016

Some skeptics assert that the Bible says many things about abortion that support the practice of abortion. Through the responses that I provide below to their assertions, this post presents what the Bible does not say about abortion.

The quotes below are from http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/says_about/abortion.html

I have added numbers to the points to make them easier to follow. My responses (in italics) follow each point quoted from the article.

“What the Bible says about Abortion”

[1.] “Abortion is not murder. A fetus is not considered a human life.

If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life. –Exodus 21:22-23”

How this verse supports this point is a mystery to me. This point needs no rebuttal because it is patently false. The text is plain that if any harm follows, the guilty party must be punished. The passage does not specify that the harm was only to the mother; if she is harmed or the prematurely born baby is harmed or both of them are harmed, the person(s) causing the harm must be punished.

[2.] “The Bible places no value on fetuses or infants less than one month old.

And if it be from a month old even unto five years old, then thy estimation shall be of the male five shekels of silver, and for the female thy estimation shall be three shekels of silver. — Leviticus 27:6”

This verse is part of a passage about the valuation that is to be made when persons of certain ages were consecrated by a vow to the Lord (Lev. 27:1). Lack of mention of vowing infants less than one month old does not prove that the Bible places no value on them; this omission of infants being vowed can be explained as God’s not allowing children younger than a month to be vowed.

[3.] “Fetuses and infants less than one month old are not considered persons.

Number the children of Levi after the house of their fathers, by their families: every male from a month old and upward shalt thou number them. And Moses numbered them according to the word of the LORD. — Numbers 3:15-16”

This numbering was specifically only of males. If the reasoning used here were valid, all women would also not be considered persons because they were not numbered.

Furthermore, points 2 and 3 are also rebutted by passages that state that all Israelite males were to be circumcised when they were eight days old as a sign of God’s entering into a covenant with them (Gen.17:10-12; Lev. 12:3; Acts 7:8), which proves that God viewed them as persons in the same way that he did all the rest of the males who were older with whom He also entered into a covenant through their being circumcised.

Moreover, Genesis 25:21 relates that Isaac prayed for Rebekah and the Lord answered him and she conceived. Genesis 25:22 then says,

And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD.

The unborn babies in Rebekah’s womb are not called fetuses; the Hebrew text uses the standard word for “children,” which shows that these unborn twins were persons in the womb.

In addition, John the Baptist was filled with the Spirit in the womb; the Bible never speaks of anything other than people being filled with the Spirit. His leaping for joy in the womb when Mary came while bearing Jesus in her womb shows that John was a person in the womb who expressed joy when he encountered the yet-unborn Jesus!

[4.] “God sometimes approves of killing fetuses.

And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive? … Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. — Numbers 31:15-17

(Some of the non-virgin women must have been pregnant. They would have been killed along with their unborn fetuses.)

Give them, O LORD: what wilt thou give? give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts. — Hosea 9:14

Yea, though they bring forth, yet will I slay even the beloved fruit of their womb. — Hosea 9:16

Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up. — Hosea 13:16”

God’s punishing sinful people, including women who may have been or were pregnant does not provide any justification for abortion. God’s judgment resulted in the deaths of both the women and their babies, which is not what abortions do.

[5.] “God sometimes kills newborn babies to punish their parents.

Because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die. — 2 Samuel 12:14”

God is the sovereign Judge over the lives of all human beings. His judging these sinful parents through the death of their baby does not justify sinful humans aborting babies at their own discretion.

[6.] “God sometimes causes abortions by cursing unfaithful wives.

The priest shall say unto the woman, The LORD make thee a curse and an oath among thy people, when the LORD doth make thy thigh to rot, and thy belly to swell. And this water that causeth the curse shall go into thy bowels, to make thy belly to swell, and thy thigh to rot: And the woman shall say, Amen, amen. …

And when he hath made her to drink the water, then it shall come to pass, that, if she be defiled, and have done trespass against her husband, that the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter, and her belly shall swell, and her thigh shall rot: and the woman shall be a curse among her people. And if the woman be not defiled, but be clean; then she shall be free, and shall conceive seed. — Numbers 5:21-21, 27-28”

This is a false representation of what the passage is about. The passage gives no evidence that the woman was pregnant.

[7.] “God’s law sometimes requires the execution (by burning to death) of pregnant women.

Tamar thy daughter in law hath played the harlot; and also, behold, she is with child by whoredom. And Judah said, Bring her forth, and let her be burnt. — Genesis 38:24”

This passage reports what Judah said should be done. It does not say that God authorized him to do so. God’s laws through Moses were not given to the Israelites until many years after this incident took place. There is no evidence that Judah was following God’s law when he said that she should be burned.

 

Rajesh

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