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BIBLICAL ERRANCY Subscriptions: Dennis Mckinsey Editor (12 issues per year) 3158 Sherwood Park Drive $9 for one year Springfield, Ohio 45505 $17 for two years Payable to: Dennis Mckinsey ===================================================================== (After having discussed the Bible's postion on homosexuality, Dennis moved on to a discussion of abortion) . ABORTION--Abortion, on the other hand, fares quite differently. Unlike homosexuality, it is not prohibited by any biblical verse or any series of connected verses. The only text that is repeatedly cited in this regard is EX. 21:22-23 ("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"). Even fundamentalist, John R. Rice, whom Jerry Falwell described as his mentor, admitted that "only in the case of EX. 21:22-25 does the Bible specifically mention retaliation for the death or injury of an unborn child" (`Abortion' by John R. Rice, p. 8). Unfortunately for apologists their favorite quotation is inadequate in several respects. First, we are no longer under the Old Law according to biblicists and EX. 21 is a good example of same. Second, and even more important, careful reading of the words will show that they do not prohibit abortion. In fact, they aren't even discussing abortion. Notice what is said! If two men are fighting and hurt a pregnant woman such that a miscarriage occurs, "yet no mischief follows: he shall surely be punished." The man who caused the miscarriage will be punished and forced to pay by the woman's husband and a judge for what he did to the woman, not for what he did to the fetus. Third, the last line says, "If any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life." If any mischief TO THE WOMAN, NO THE FETUS, follows, then the offender will be killed. The key word is "if." "If" any mischief follows. The mischief has already occurred if the miscarriage was the main concern. Obviously, mischief to the woman is the only concern since the fetus is gone. In truth, EX. 21:22-25 has nothing to do with abortion. It's actually saying that if two men are fighting and a pregnant woman is injured in the process and has a miscarriage but suffers no other injury, the offender should be punished by the woman's husband. On the other hand, if the woman incurred "mischief," which appears to be death, then the injuring party must die. Although there are no verses in the Bible clearly in opposition to abortion, is there any strategy by which biblicists can use the Bible to oppose abortion. Yes, there is, but two hurdles must be surmounted. They must not only find verses in opposition to the killing of human beings in general but also find verses saying the fetus is a human being THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE 9-MONTH GESTATION PERIOD. If the fetus is a human being for the entire 9 months and the killing of humans is wrong, then biblical opposition to abortion is demonstrated. If we assume the 6th Commandment (EX. 20:13), REV. 21:8 ("...murderers...shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone...."), 1 John 3:15 ("...and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him"), GEN. 9:6 ("Whoso sheddeth man's blood by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man"), and EX. 21:12 ("He that smitheth a man so that he die, shall be surely put to death") are still operative and refer to the killing of human beings, one can reasonably conclude the first hurdle has been scaled. The second obstacle, however, is considerably more formidable. Apologists must not only employ verses showing that which lives in the womb is a human being, but that it is a human being THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE 9-MONTH PERIOD. Having laid down the requirements we can now analyze the most commonly used anti-abortion texts. EX. 23:7 ("Keep thee far from a false matter, and the innocent and righteous slay thou not...."), DEUT. 27:25 ("Cursed be he that taketh reward to slay an innocent person"), and 2 KINGS 24:4 ("And also for the innocent blood that he shed; for he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood which the Lord would not pardon") are inapplicable because they assume the very point in dispute, i.e., that the fetus is a human being. He would have to be a human being in order to be innocent. Everyone would agree that the slaying of innocent people is wrong, but apologists are obligated to prove the fetus is "people" according to the Bible before claiming the Bible prohibits abortion. Humanity precedes innocence. Moreover, PSALM 58:3 ("The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies"), JOB 14:4 ("Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one"), and JOB 15:14 ("What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?") not only show that NEWBORNS are not innocent but deal a fatal blow to the whole "age of accountability" idea. In fact, one could argue that PSALM 51:5 ("Behold, I was shapen in iniquity: and in sin did my mother conceive me") shows that the fetus, itself, is not innocent if one believes it's a human being. It's hard to conceive of one being shapen in sin and iniquity while remaining pure. RUTH 4:13 ("So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the Lord gave her conception, and she bare a son"), Gen. 29:32 ("And Leah conceived, and bare a son...."), and Gen. 30:22-23 ("...and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb and she conceived, and bare a son....") are used by abortion opponents ina feeble attempt to ignore the nine month gestation period by equating conception with baring a son. All three verses say a son emerged at birth, but none says he was a son at conception or during the nine months of gestation. The point at which a human being comes onto the scene is the key question not only with the biblical but the scientific and legal community as well. Is it at conception, at birth, or at some point during the nine intervening months? ISA. 49:5 ("And now, saith the Lord that formed me from the womb to be his servant...."), ISA. 49:1 ("...The Lord hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name"), and Eccle. 11:5 are used by anti-abortionists but only to prove fetuses become human beings at some point during the gestation period, not a conception. Whether formed "from" the womb (i.e., after leaving) or "in" the womb, the fact remains that these verses are not saying he was formed at conception. Biblicists also rely upon PSALM 139:13-16 RSV ("For thou didst form my inward parts, thou didst knit me together in my mother's frame was not hidden from thee, when I was being made in secret,....Thy eyes beheld my unformed substance....") to prove the fetus is a human being but fail to realize these verses could only be used to prove the fetus formed at conception becomes a human being at some point during the nine months. How could one be a human being at conception, if one is knit together, formed, and made in secret during the pregnancy? MATT. 1:18 ("When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost") and GEN. 25:21-24 ("...and REbekah, the wife of Isaac, conceived, and the children struggled together within her.... And the Lord said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels, and the one people shall be stronger than the other people....and when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold there were twins in her womb") are stronger than any anti-abortion verses that have been discussed so far because they clearly show the fetus is a child at some point during the gestation period according to the Bible. They are strongly supported by LUKE 1:41 ("And it came to passs that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her [Elisabeth's--Ed.] womb....") and LUKE 1:44 ("For lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy") which, when used in conjunction with LUKE 1:36 ("And, behold, thy cousin Elizabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren"), prove the Bible teaches the fetus is a human being by the 6th month of the pregnancy. What, then, can we conclude from all of the verses discussed so far. In essence, biblicists can use the Bible to prove the fetus is a human being not only at birth but by the 6th month of gestation. However, they can't use the Bible to clearly prove the fetus is a human being at conception or during the 1st and 2nd trimesters and that's when nearly all abortions occur. They do have one final verse that could be interpreted as their strongest suit, however. JER. 1:4-5 ("Then the word of the Lord came unto me saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations") appears to be the only verse in the entire Bible alleging someone is not only a human being at conception but prior to same. Unfortunately for the anti-abortionists the key phrase ("Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee") is ambiguous. Does it mean the speaker did not yet exist but God had already planned what he would be prior to conception or he already existed and God knew what he was? Obviously, anti-abortionists will favor the latter. Second, God is speaking to Jeremiah alone. Upon what basis do they assume this applies to all of humanity. And finally, retreat to a verse of this nature means that apologists have abandoned any attempt to prove from the Bible that the fetus is a human being physically during the first 6 months of gestation. Instead, they are saying the fetus is a human being before conception, spiritually speaking, which is much less demonstrable and harder to prove.


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