When Does Life Begin?

“For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.” (Psalm 139:13-18)

By Chance or Made?

The psalmist David says that he was wonderfully made in his mother’s womb. This verse shows God not only made the first man and woman but every individual thereafter. Every person ever lived was made by God. They may have never lived the purpose God had for them, but nonetheless they are God’s workmanship.

 

When Does Life Begin?

There are several opinions that many hold and all are worthy of discussing. You will always act out on what you truly believe. Thoughts are the seeds of actions; when kept unchecked, they lead to destruction of entire nations.

 

The First Breath

There is a segment of the population that think life begins when you take your first breath. The foundation is God breathing into Adam making him a living soul. “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7). The word breath is neshâmâh in Hebrew, meaning breath or spirit.

Let’s replace the word with spirit, and the verse reads: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the spirit of life and man became a living soul.” Now James 2:26 says that the spirit absent from the body is death. God breathed his spirit into Adam and he became alive.

The first breath argument only applies to Adam since he was the only person this scenario ever happened to. Adam received life, functioning organs and a brain when he had breath breathed into him; before that he was dust. We cannot compare dust to a baby in the womb, as we know that brainwaves are detected 6 weeks after fertilization.

 

Is Pregnancy Another 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)

The scripture above is a law God gave Moses. God gives a scenario so that there would be no confusion on if pregnancy is carrying another life. If men were fighting and and one hits a pregnant woman and a miscarriage occurs the man that hit her is to be put to death. The death penalty is given because a life was killed; give life for life.

 

Implantation

After an egg is fertilized it travels down to implant itself in the uterus. Some forms of birth control do not prevent fertilization but rather implantation. Thus the question of whether life starts at conception or implantation is an important one. If you believe that life begins at conception, then you end up questioning most forms of birth control.

There are several changes in the process of pregnancy. Saying that life begins anywhere but the very beginning makes for a slippery slope to draw the line anywhere in the process.

 

Fertilization

When a sperm enters an egg it becomes fertilized. The egg changes so that no other sperm can enter it. At the instant of fertilization, your baby’s genes and sex are set. The baby has its own genetic makeup at conception, one that God had already predetermined for the child. Every other stage of pregnancy is just that: a stage of development.

A unique set of DNA is formed, not 100% from either the mother or the father; DNA consists of 23 pairs of chromosomes. For each chromosomal pairing, one is from the biological mother and the other from the biological father. The 23rd pairing is a great example. If the sperm has a Y chromosome, the baby will be a boy (with chromosome 23 being XY). If it has an X chromosome, the baby will be a girl (with chromosome 23 being XX). Since the mother can only give an X chromosome, the father determines the sex of the baby. So why does society tell fathers they do not have a say about what happens to the baby in the womb?

Once born, fathers are obligated to financially provide for their children; if they are not committed to the mother, there’s child support. However, women are allowed to make the decision alone to terminate their pregnancy, essentially consenting to kill a baby they did not make on their own.

 

Culturally Popular Objections

However, let’s consider two of the most popular opinions about when the fetus is considered alive.

  • When implanted: We learned that fertilization occurs in the fallopian tube and then the fertilized egg travels into the uterus to implant. Is this not just a change in location?
  • When it has a heartbeat: At just five and a half weeks in the womb, a heartbeat can be detected, and science is only making it possible to be able to capture these milestones even earlier. Most pregnancies are detected at five to six weeks, at which point there is already a detectable heartbeat. And yet, the majority of abortions are performed between 6-12 weeks.
  • When it is not dependent on its mother: A newborn child can’t even feed himself. He depends on his parent for care, just like a baby in the womb.
  • When there is consciousness: This is a stage of development that can change even after birth. You are unconscious when you sleep, or are under anesthetic; yet you are still alive, are you not?
  • When viable to survive outside of the womb: Viability is a loose term. Viability testing is when they check for a heartbeat at 12 weeks. It is also when a fertilized egg is implanted in in-vitro patients. Children as young as 21 weeks have been able to survive outside of the womb. Why then are states passing laws allowing abortion as late as up until birth? Why are elected officials in some states defending a parents decision to determine if they would like to keep or kill the child after birth?

Science Says…

With so many opinions to choose from, how does one decide what to believe in? If you are a Bible-believing Christian or a practicing Jew, then you would go to the Word of God. There you would find God confirm that the child in the womb is a life that He values (Psalm 100:3, Isaiah 44:24, Jeremiah 1:5, Galatians 1:15, Psalm 127:3). Now if you are a person of science, then you would find that biology confirms the same thing. The seven characteristics of life include:

  • responsiveness to the environment- at fertilization, the egg changes to not allow any other sperm in. It travels to the uterus to implant.
  • growth and change – the zygote implants to the uterine wall and grows rapidly.
  • ability to reproduce – a girl cannot reproduce until after she begins to menstruate, yet we can agree she is a life. However, both in utero child and born child will one day, after further growth and development, be able to reproduce.
  • have a metabolism and breathe – the child eats from whatever the mother consumes, and we already covered breathing.
  • maintain homeostasis – Homeostatis is the ability to reply to outside stimuli. Watch a video of what a baby in utero does when a suction tube attempts to shred it alive during an abortion. He most definitely responds to this outside stimuli and begins to move, fighting for his life. Visit liveaction.org to see videos of what an abortion actually is.
  • being made of cells – Since in utero babies are often called a clump of cells, I think this one is easy to agree on.
  • passing traits onto offspring – unique DNA formed at fertilization allows for the child to be able to do this.

Your Worth

When you buy an invention, the person who created said invention determines its selling price. God’s Word says that He knit us in our mothers’ wombs, and that He knew us even before then. If we believe Him to be our Creator, then we should trust Him to tell us our value. This is easy to believe, when He tells us how much He loves us and all that He has for us in heaven. Why is it so hard to believe Him when He tells us the worth of His other creations too?

He created the aunt you can’t stand, the boss who drives you crazy, and the neighbor that you wish would move. Just because you don’t want the baby growing in your womb doesn’t mean he or she doesn’t deserve to be born. A parent’s love does not determine a baby’s worth; God’s does. He called us worth it, when we were still sinning against Him. Our heavenly Father supersedes our earthly parents (Psalm 27:10).

 

God alone determines the worth of His creation. Let’s take Him at His Word.

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