My Defense for the Sanctity of Life in the Womb at the Point of Conception


by Rob Lundberg

Click here for the podcast for this same subject 

I am not sure in all my years of blogging have I set aside one post, giving my position on the life issue. I have had conversations and answered questions from a platform on this subject, and even preached a message on couple of  Sanctity of Human Life Sundays. But sharing my position in a blog post has come due.

For starters I am one who believes in the sacredness or the sanctity of human life from womb to tomb.[1] I have written a paper in grad school on this very subject. I have conversed in the medical arena some of the things I am going to share here. And I have had the “kitchen table talk” conversation in the academic arena with a staffer at a local college. So it is time to put down what I have shared in conversation in prose.

My approach will take the path of starting with science and then move to the the ethical issue behind this subject  Please note that this post will also address the sacredness of life from a sacred text. With this being such an important issue, I am guessing that this post will be a little longer than some of my longer posts. But this issue is far too important to not write on here on this blog. I only ask that if you are one that holds to a pro-choice or pro-abortion position, please read what I am sharing, and see if what I am putting forth makes sense to you.

So again we will start my argument from the science arena first. So let’s begin.

Science Speaks:  What Does Science Tell Us? 

It is often said that “science does not say anything but scientists do.”  I agree with this. But what you will see in this section that the scientific evidence cannot be avoided no matter one’s worldview. The endgame that we are seeing in the culture is a cross between a matter of personal convenience and selfishness as a result of one’s personal promiscuity, and financial gain (from the abortion industry) in spite of the reality of the matter.

In order to start this whole debate, two people need to come together physically and conception has to take place. When conception happens, there is the DNA of the man being combined with the DNA of the woman. The question is whether or not that which has been created from the physical union has DNA of its own.  My position on this is that which has been conceived now has its own DNA.  More on that in a moment.

It is a scientific fact, through the wonderful world of embryology, that when conception happens, the fertilized egg, by design, “sets up shop” for the next 10 months on the uterine wall of the mother.  At the same time,  that fertilized egg has the DNA of both parents and contains several key characteristics which fall into what biology and physiology textbooks would consider a life system.  Considering these characteristics, scientists will affirm eight major characteristics of a life system.[2]  Allow me to share these as a way to start my argument.

1. Living things are composed of cells.  Single-cell organisms have everything they need to be self-sufficient.  In multicellular organisms, specialization increases until some cells do only certain things.

2. Living things are organized at different levels of organization.  When we look at living things we see that they must be able to organize simple substances into complex ones.  There is an atomic, molecular, and cellular organization that is found in all living things.  When it comes to cell organization, we see structure from several levels from the very smallest building block to the more complex.  Let me provide a list under this point:

a. The cell is the smallest unit of life (subcellular organization has been skipped here) To be a little candid here, did you know that the male contribute a lot. One sperm cell has 37.5MB of DNA information in it. The cell is the smallest building block of life but no matter what kind of cell one is talking about, it is packed with information. If there is information, it must have come from somewhere or some One.

b. Tissue comprises of a group of cells that perform a common function.  Organs are  group of tissues that perform a common function.  Which means that organs work in conjunction with other organs, known as an organ system, which comprises of a group of organs that perform a common function.  Many of us have heard the term organism, which is a complete living thing or living entity.  To get a little bit more detailed organisms also organize at several higher levels, like populations, communities, and ecosystems.

3. Living things have heredity.  The question is whether or not that which has been created from the physical union has DNA of its own. DNA is the molecule of heredity.  As I mentioned opening this post, that when conception happens, we have the combining of the DNA of the man with the DNA of the woman. When you bring two human beings together, we must posit that which has been created from the union is a preborn person.

4. Living things have metabolism. Metabolism is the set of life-sustaining chemical reactions in organisms. So when it comes to living organisms, living things take in energy (i.e., light or food) for maintenance and growth.  Living things do what they do, by using metabolism, which are the chemical reactions of life.  Metabolism allows living things to respond to their environment.

5. Living things have homeostasis.  Homeostasis is the state of steady internal physical and chemical conditions maintained by living systems.  So living things are able to make changes to keep their internal environment within a certain narrow range.  Did you know that when you shiver it is a designed example of homeostasis to keep the body warm?

6. Living things grow.  Living things display growth in utero through cell division, which is an orderly formation of new cells. Living things display growth by cell enlargement, to a certain size and then divide.  An organism gets larger as the number of its cells increase.

7. Living things reproduce using DNA. – Reproduction is essential for the survival of a species.  When parents reproduce, the child grows in utero, ex utero and through the maturation process. All living things reproduce in one of the following ways: asexual reproduction which is the production of offspring without the use of gametes. Then there is the most common approach, sexual production, which is the producing of offspring by the joining of sex cells.

8.  Living things adapt and evolve (micro) in response to their environment.  Adaptations are traits giving an organism an advantage in a certain environment.  Variation of individuals is important for a healthy species. Without it a species cannot adapt.

So there we have a look at what a life is from the domain of the scientific. But as I mentioned in the beginning of this post, this is not the only argument I am using to approaching the sanctity of life issue.  Let’s now move to the existential or experiential approach.

A Matter of Ethics:  The “Morning After” Worldview Addresses the Life Question

This part of my argument is probably the most potent of this whole post. The reason is because it addresses a question, based upon my laying the groundwork from science, as the starting point.  What is that question?  The question is, “At the time of the termination of the pregnancy, is that which is in the womb a human life?”   Let me approach this question from a couple of scenarios.

1. The scenario of breathing the first breath defining life. Some will say that when there is a heartbeat it is a life. Others will say that when a child is born, it is not a person unless it breaths its first breath.  The first part of this is rather obvious though it commits the genetic fallacy based upon the first part of this post.  It is the second part of this that I want to speak to here.

Let me respond to this “first breath” position with a question.  If that which is born is not a person until the first breath, what was it before it breathed that first breath?  What was it before it was delivered?  If that which is born has all the characteristics of a life, based upon good science, then this objection begs the question.

2. The scenario of a series of outcomes to this question. This next response is one of the most penetrating responses to the real question. I start it with a question with the person who is positing that the pro-choice position is a viable option. That question is, “is it morally wrong to harm an innocent human life?”  The response is an obvious “Yes.”

The next question follows with three optional answers.  Once again the question, “At the time of the termination of the pregnancy, is that which is in the womb a human life?” If the answer is “Yes,” then why are we destroying that life?  If the answer is “No,” then let’s not use junk science, but use good science (see the above argument from science) to determine what it is before we throw it away.  And if one says, “I don’t know,” then how many other moral choice decisions is one willing to make, based upon that “agnostic” platform.

I have had numerous people respond to these options in rather nefarious ways. A physician whom I was speaking to during an “afterglow” time after a baby was delivered in our Emergency Room, stated “that’s too deep for me.”  Another, a staffer at a local college stated that she had never considered those options.  In many cases, people do not consider them until after the fact in many cases.

So we have two approaches to my defense of human life, one from science and one from clear sound reason to the “morning after worldview.”  This last one is where we Christians like to start, with “What does God’s Word say about the sacredness of human life?”

The Theological Angle:  What Does God Say?

The title of this section has to do with where most of Christians would like to start, “what does God say?” When we use the term “sanctity” we are speaking to that which is sacred; in this case human life. Let me say, if I have not already, that I believe in the sanctity or sacredness of human life, from womb to tomb. And I believe that is becauses God has set it that way. When I say God, I am talking about the One who is spaceless, timeless, immaterial, powerful, moral, personal, intelligent, sustainer, Creator and First Cause of the existence and design of the universe. These attributes all reflect the God of the Christian Scriptures known as the Bible. How does God look at life?

Since He is the beginner of all life, He must have created us with a sacred intent. While the Bible is loaded with passages showing the sacredness of life, allow me to make a few points here.

1. God is the beginner of human life by creating the first human being.  Genesis 2:7 tells us, “Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”

2. God created us in His own image and likeness (soulishly speaking) having attributes that reflect His nature on a semi transcendent scale.  We read in Genesis 1:27, “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” 

3. God considers the blood of humanity sacred.  Genesis 4:10-11 shows this in the incident where Cain kills his brother Abel, “He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground. “Now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.”  And in Genesis 4:15 we read, “So the LORD said to him, ‘Therefore whoever kills Cain, vengeance will be taken on him sevenfold ” And the LORD appointed a sign for Cain, so that no one finding him would slay him.'”  This would later come forth as one the last six of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:13, “You shall not murder.” [3]

4. God has created and designed us as His masterpiece in the creation right in the womb. Psalm 139:13-16 we read David’s words, “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.”

5. God considers life so sacred that He has set a judgment for those who play God in taking a personal life.  One of the six things the LORD hates is “the shedding of innocent blood” (Proverbs 6:17).  And that was established from the very beginning in the book of Genesis where God responds to the killing of Abel later by saying, “Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man.” (Genesis 9:6)

Conclusion

I am sure that more could be stated on this subject, in this post. As one who believes in the sanctity or sacredness of human life, I believe that what we are seeing in our culture is a holocaust of the preborn, all because of convenience and liberality of what one does with their body.  But what I have presented is a strong three pronged defense from science, philosophical ethics and theology that life in the womb is just that, a human life from the point of conception.

I have been presenting this argument in conversational form over the last twenty years in the medical community and in the arena of the conversations with students at a local college and university.  Science is on the side of life.  Ethics is on the side of life. And lastly the Creator is on the side of life.  What side are you on? Is it morally wrong to harm a person?  Is that person a human life?  At the time of the termination of a pregnancy is that which is in the womb a human life?  These are questions before us.  How will you answer them?

Please know that if you are reading this far, and have had an abortion, I want you to know that there is forgiveness.  God wants to forgive you and give you new life in His Son.  If you would like to know more about this new life, please go to my “Get Real Life” link at the top of this page.  Also if you have any questions, I would love to interact with you through the comments section below or by email at realissueapologetics@yahoo.com

Thank you for engaging this post and I pray that it will equip you engage this hot-button issue in our culture. — Rob

———————–
Notes

[1] The sacredness of human life is just one of seven boundaries that I believe we are created not to cross.  Those seven boundaries are life, ethnicity, gender, personhood, family, marriage and the sexual relationship.  Each of these are set apart by God and deemed sacred, and should not be crossed. But unfortunately, we are seeing these boundaries eroding in our culture by the agenda of the liberal Left in our culture.

[2] No matter what biology textbook at the university or high school level one looks at, these characteristics are listed and expounded upon in a biology or physiology classroom.

[3] Yes but what about when God told Abraham to take his one and only son and sacrifice him by using a knife?  Atheists and critics of the Bible love this one.  They only stop with the order and not read on to see how it all ended, in Genesis 22:10-12, “Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”

6 comments

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