If as a follower of Christ you can accept the premise below that passing new laws about abortion and homosexual marriage without explaining WHY to non-Christian culture is pointless, then you and I are left to puzzle out HOW to do that.
Right off the bat, we’re confronted with a Pauline dilemma about judging others: “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside.” – I Cor. 5:11-13.
However, it seems to be permissible for us to judge the acts of those outside, some of which he mentions in verse 11: sexual immorality, idolatry, swindling, slander and drunkenness.
Then HOW do we explain the WHY?
This post would be too long to try to deal with both questions, so let’s just pry into one for now.
Scripture only seems to mention abortion specifically maybe only twice, both times in the Old Testament. In Exodus 21:22-25, a brawling man who hits a pregnant woman and causes a miscarriage (spontaneous abortion?) must pay whatever fine her husband requires. In Numbers 5:11-21, a husband who suspects his pregnant wife of infidelity may ask a priest to force her to drink water mixed with dust and pronounce a curse upon her if she is guilty. The curse may or may not be correctly interpreted to mean that her womb is to miscarry – hard to tell because of the possibility of euphemisms.
Neither of these instances deals directly with an abortion chosen by a woman … probably because Jewish women of that era apparently saw childbirth as a privilege and blessing; the means to perform one doubtless existed, but no woman would have wanted to.
David may well have recognized God’s power in Psalm 139:13: “You knit me together in my mother’s womb; I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Yet David also said “Even from birth the wicked go astray; from the womb they are wayward and speak lies.” (Psalm 58:3) And Job, at the extremity of temptation and suffering, wished he had never been born or even conceived (Job 3:1-19).
Can we rush to condemn all abortion wholesale when God commands Israel’s armies to utterly destroy their enemies, men women and children? (Deut. 7:2, 20:17, Judges 21:10-11)
It’s a complicated question. When does it become wrong?
Several years ago, my friend Char became pregnant and something went very wrong. The fetus inside her became cancerous, and the pregnancy threatened her life. You can be sure that she and her husband prayed about it. They chose to abort as soon as possible. (They have had two beautiful children since, thank you.)
Another friend, Cindy, was pregnant with her second when in-womb testing revealed that the fetus would almost certainly not survive to full term, though it was no threat to her. You can be sure that she and her husband prayed about it, too. They chose to carry to full term. The baby was born, lived a few minutes, and passed to his next life. (They have since been blessed with a handsome son to keep his older sister company, thanks.)
I’m not wise enough to say that their choices were right or wrong, or would have been right or wrong had they chosen the other alternative.
I just know that at the funeral for Cindy’s baby, her minister shared (with their permission) that they had told him:
“We don’t know why God took our baby home. But we also don’t know why He blessed us with his beautiful sister, or anything else in this life.”
How could anyone express the “why” more eloquently?
Next in this series: The One Where I Just Lose