Sermon: Biblical Principles Touching on the Question of Abortion and the Sanctity of Human Life -- By: Stephen E. Farish
Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 04:1 (Spring 2000)
Article: Sermon: Biblical Principles Touching on the Question of Abortion and the Sanctity of Human Life
Author: Stephen E. Farish
SBJT 4:1 (Spring 2000) p. 76
Sermon: Biblical Principles Touching on the
Question of Abortion and the Sanctity of Human Life
Steve Farish has served for the last six and one-half years as pastor of Crossroads Church in Liber t yville, Illinois. He is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of Georgia School of Law.
There is much debate and confusion in the United States today over when life begins and if such life has value. Peter Singer, who has made quite a splash as a professor of ethics at Princeton University, says the following: “Human babies are not born self-aware, or capable of grasping that they exist over time. They are not persons…. The life of a newborn is of less value than the life of a pig, a dog, or a chimpanzee.”1
The United States Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade surveyed views of various religious groups on the question of the origin of human life and concluded:
Texas [the appellant in the case] urges that apart from the Fourteenth Amendment life begins at conception, and is present throughout pregnancy, and that, therefore, the state has a compelling interest in protecting that life from and after conception. We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary at this point in the development of man’s knowledge is not in a position to speculate as to the answer.2
Confusion exists in America today over the status of life in the womb and thus over abortion. I want to suggest to you, however, that there is no confusion in the Bible on the sanctity of human life and on when that life begins.
Some in the pro-choice community wonder why the Bible does not explicitly condemn abortion, noting that the Scriptures do not command, “Thou shalt not abort,” as it says, “Thou shalt not murder.” We can respond by observing that the biblical principles against murder entail that abortion contravenes the expressed will of God. For instance, the Scriptures do not explicitly condemn slavery, but the general principles it sets forth about human relations, particularly in the New Testament, “[brought] the institution into an atmosphere where it could only wilt and die,” in the words of New Testament scholar F. F. Bruce.3 Another reason why there is no explicit prohibition against abortion is that such a command was not needed. Abortion was inconceivable to ancient Jews, given the high value placed on progeny.You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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