Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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In the News: At What Point Life?

Image Here are some further comments I have made in an online discussion on the subject of abortion. These are edited a bit to make them more usable in an article format:

I find it objectionable that so many in seeking to define the point at which one becomes a human being, put the term “life” in quotations. Doing so indicates an accommodation in the use of the term. In reality, it is clear and easily understood if we stop trying to redefine it.

Consider it logically. At conception an organism is formed. The organism is living, not dead. Dead cells do not reproduce. It is human in kind. That is, it doesn’t start out as another type of organism (an insect, plant or lesser animal). It is a human zygote, blastocyst, embryo and fetus. And it is alive. Though I recognize it is in the process of full formation, the same thing can be said of an infant or small child. They are not what they will one day become. What we are talking about here is not a difference in substance, only a different stage in formation. The full human being is there, that is what DNA is all about.

Further, from conception, through implantation and gestation, the organism under consideration is separate and distinct from the mother. Though it is a symbiotic relationship, the fetus is not a part of the mother’s body. It is distinct. It inhabits the womb, but often has a different blood type, and is genetically a melding of the mother’s and father’s DNA. Even if we give it the unfortunate designation of parasite, we universally recognize that a parasite is distinct from the host.

We don’t question whether a single cell organism is alive. We also recognize that living things do not change from one species to another during gestation. So, scientifically, from conception it is human life. If not, we need to explain scientifically what it is.

There is only one reason to seek to change the definition of life. That is because we do not want to afford it the full protections we offer to life outside the womb. This is an arbitrary, immoral and selfish desire. It is also exactly what President Barack Obama opined while still a state senator in Illinois. (He stated that if we define the fetus as human, we will have to give it full protection under the constitution. If so, we would have to make abortion illegal! So, in his view, we can’t define it as human). This is circular reasoning, designed to accommodate a settled agenda.

My contention that both God and science already define a fetus as human life. And that we have no right to arbitrarily change that definition. I always receive objections when I bring up Nazi Germany in this parallel, but it is valid. The Nazi’s arbitrarily defined Jews and other ethnic groups as sub-human, which gave them a rationale for genocide. Today our society arbitrarily defines the fetus as sub-human, and destroys it with impunity. (Though, we might note that they will one day be held accountable).

No one has the right to arbitrarily determine when a living human organism is an actual human being. To do so is arrogant and is most often done for selfish reasons. It is immoral.

Note, this concludes the remarks I made in the discussion, which were intended to give a logical basis for the argument that life begins at conception. Scripture agrees. While the Bible is obviously not a medical textbook, the Holy Spirit gives credence to the claim that an unborn child is a human being. Consider the following verse, concerning John the Baptist in the womb of his mother: “And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit” (Luke 1:41).