By Jim Harden
Why are Christians so passionately pro-life? Ultimately, it cannot only be a visceral emotional response to the gruesomeness of an abortion procedure destroying preborn babies and harming women, as our emotions do not determine what is right or wrong. It is not because of a negative personal experience with abortion, because others can share similar experiences and interpret them differently. It is not even the rational science of embryology, demonstrating that human life begins at fertilization. Science can only tell us what is happening not why it is important. Emotion, experience and rationality cannot be the foundation for being pro-life. These are tools for making sense of what is happening in the world around us, but they offer nothing when it comes to understanding the WHY behind what is happening in the world.
The world and pro-abortion terrorists attacking pro-life organizations, like CompassCare’s firebombed Buffalo office, insist they answer to no one, that they are their own final authority. They use experience, emotion and internally inconsistent rationality to make decisions about the purpose of man and what is right or wrong based only on themselves. Yet if 350 million people all have different versions of purpose and morality, refusing to adhere to a common set of core values, the result is moral and judicial chaos. Christians are taught that everyone’s heart and mind is darkened by sin and cannot be trusted to lead us to truth (Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 8:6-7). In fact, the pursuit of wisdom apart from God is exactly the context for the original sin of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:1, 5-6), causing grave damage and death to humanity. So, for a pro-life Christian, the immorality of abortion is not about experience, emotion or even reason. It is about what it means to be human under God. And as sinners, unable to ascribe value to ourselves, living in abject moral poverty, to know our purpose God must cut the darkness with the light of His self-revelation.
The reason Christians are so passionately pro-life is because God revealed that He is the author of man and therefore the final authority over man (Psalm 24:1), like a potter and the clay vessels he makes. As God’s written revelation of Himself, the Bible is, therefore, authoritative (2 Timothy 3:16) regarding the purpose, value and behavior of man.
So how does Christian theology relate to abortion? While the Bible regards babies in the womb as fully fledged persons, in various ways even going so far as to protect them in law (See Genesis 25:23; Exodus 21:22-25; Judges 13:5; Job 31:15; Psalm 22:9-10; Psalm 139:13; Isaiah 44:24; Jeremiah 1:5; Hosea 12:3; Luke 1:15, 41, 44; Galatians 1:15), even these types of reference do not tell us why it is important to protect preborn humans. To get there, God must show us what makes a human valuable.
Scripture does this by saying that all people are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) and are therefore equally valuable >without qualification (Genesis 9:6). This truth manifests itself throughout Scripture as the controlling tenet in how we ought to understand who we are as humans and how we ought to behave toward God and others. Jesus says, “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:40), referring to loving God with your all and loving your neighbor as yourself.
So, if all people are deserving of protection equally because we are made in the image of God and “all people” includes both those who are born as well as those still in the womb, then preborn boys and girls carry the dignity of God and must be protected from destruction by abortion. This is why anyone holding to the Judeo-Christian worldview believe abortion is wrong always and everywhere.
The Rev. James R. Harden, M.Div., is the CEO of CompassCare Pregnancy Services and lives outside of Rochester, New York, with his wife and 10 children. Jim pioneered the first measurable and repeatable medical model in the pregnancy center movement, helping hundreds of centers nationwide become more effective at reaching more women and saving more babies from abortion. He has written extensively on medical ethics, executive leadership and pro-life strategy.
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