Pro-Abortion Theology on Life Support
Genesis 2:7 does not teach that we are not living human beings until we breath air through the lungs. Saying it does confuses a descriptive passage with a normative one.
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  Is it morally permissible to kill a newborn before he takes his first breath? Well, according to the way, some are interpreting a particular biblical passage that would follow. Hi, I’m Scott Klusendorf. Welcome to the Case for Life podcast. We are sponsored by our good friends over at Life Training Institute.

Prolifetraining. com is the website. I serve as their president. And today I want to look at the number one objection we’re getting on our social media sites to our pro life podcast. And it might surprise you. You might think, wow, that’s a, that’s a different twist. And I don’t know the explanation for it, but here it is.

You would think the number one objection would be something along the lines of, well, a woman has a right to bodily autonomy. Or, the unborn don’t have conscious thoughts, therefore they’re not alive and human beings we need to respect. Or maybe, hey, until you have desires, you don’t have a right to life.

Those more academic arguments are not showing up on the forms. Here is what is. The number one objection goes like this. Well, Genesis 2 7 says, Note the objection. They say you’re not even alive until you breathe air through the lungs, and they cite Genesis 2. 7. So I thought we’d go ahead and take a look at the verse and see what it says.

If this is going to be the primary objection pro lifers are getting hit with in this particular season, we might as well take a look at what the text says. So, here’s Genesis 2 7. I’m just going to read it word for word. And as I’m reading it, ask yourself this question. Is there anything in this verse that says you’re not human or you’re not alive until you breathe air through the lungs?

All right, let’s read it. Then the Lord God formed the man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. All right, that’s what the verse says. So here we have a situation where God creates a human being directly out of dirt, out of dust, okay?

And that man, then, is set on his life journey by God breathing into him the breath of life. Now, it’s interesting, in the Hebrew, That idea, breath of life, is actually more understood as plural. God is breathing into Adam the breath of lives. In other words, he is putting into Adam, as the father of the human race, the ability to procreate, the ability to create an inheritance of human beings following his footsteps.

It’s a plural understanding. But let’s set that aside for a moment. Notice this passage, first of all. Descriptive, not normative. The text does not say, does not say, you’re not alive until God breathes into you or until you take a breath of air, more accurately. Nowhere is that stated in the text. What it says is that the first man, Adam, who was created directly out of dust, was living when God breathed air into him.

Okay, let’s admit that. I agree. I agree completely. Anybody that God creates directly out of dirt is not living until God breathes air through their lungs. I agree, 100 percent on that. The question is, did you begin that way? Did I begin that way? And of course, the answer is no, we didn’t begin that way. So that passage isn’t normative.

It’s descriptive of what God did with the first human being he created. It’s not a normative passage teaching that you’re not alive. But there are other problems with this. In fact, we can reduce the whole pro abortion argument from Genesis 2 to the absurd by just looking at a few things. First of all, if it’s true you’re not alive until you breathe air, then how do you explain fetal development?

Something’s growing in there. The fetus starts off the size of a dot at the end of a sentence at the embryonic stage, and at 40 weeks is the size of a newborn. How do you explain growth? If the fetus is not alive until it takes air through the lungs. I mean, last time I checked dead things don’t grow.

Forgive me for stating the obvious, but that ought to be apparent to anybody that looks at this situation. But secondly, think of these absurd consequences. If it’s true that you’re not a living human being until you take your first breath, that would mean killing some newborns would be permissible because There are cases all over the place, year round, in medical fields, we know, where infants don’t breathe until a few moments after they are born.

In fact, most infants don’t breathe for a few moments after they are born. Would it be okay to slit their throats at that point, as long as they haven’t drawn their first breath? That would follow from this belief that you’re not living, and you’re not a living person until you draw your first breath.

But I think we can also point something else else out here that we need to look at. It’s very dangerous to take scripture, latch on to one verse, and try to build a doctrine on it while ignoring everything else that scripture teaches. So for my friends at the Young Turks, spreading a lot of nonsense about what the Bible says or doesn’t say about abortion.

Let me give you a little hint here. Look at the whole Council of Scripture. Don’t cherry pick your verses. And here’s what I would say. If you look at the whole Council of Scripture, you’re going to notice a couple of things. Number one, all humans have value because they bear the image of God. Genesis 1 teaches that in the Old Covenant.

James 3 teaches it in the New. Premise two, because all humans bear the image of God, the shedding of innocent blood, meaning the intentional killing of an innocent human being, is strictly forbidden. Now all we need to do is stop right there and ask the next question. Are the unborn human? Because obviously, if they are, the same commands against the shedding of innocent blood will apply to them as they do everybody else.

And we are clear. from the science of embryology, that from the earliest stage of development, the unborn are in fact members of the human family. They are distinct living and whole human beings, as we’ve covered on this podcast many times before. So then we, we have our answer from scripture. We don’t even need to go and try to cherry pick a verse.

If the unborn are human, it follows that they too are image bearers, and they too should not have their blood shed without justification. That’s your scriptural case right there. And if you want to refute that as someone who is supporting abortion, you really need to refute that case, not cherry pick a verse like Genesis 2, which doesn’t say what you want it to anyway.

Now, I want to address a related thing here that has come up lately. There was an article that appeared in Politico, uh, oh, it’s been a couple of years now, and I wasn’t impressed with it when it came out, I thought it was very shoddy, but it’s making the rounds again, and I, again, I have not figured out why religion seems to be the thing that pro abortionists want to latch onto right now, but that’s what they’re doing.

They keep coming back to Genesis 2, keep coming back to, oh, the Bible is silent. And why they want to make everything about religion when they decry pro lifers for allegedly being religious. I don’t know, but they are. That’s what the current, uh, temperature is on this debate. People want to make it a religious issue.

Now, in one sense, this doesn’t surprise me. Because as I’ve looked at some of the interaction we’ve had on our, our podcast forums about the issues we’ve raised, Some of the objections that we’ve gotten have been almost fanatical. I mean, there’s no amount of reason you can give that will even cause the critic to step back for a moment and say, Wait a minute, maybe I need to rethink this.

As I’ve mentioned, there’s been maybe two or three people that have been interesting and that they’ve brought up issues that do relate to the central issue in the abortion debate. Namely, are the unborn one of us? But in this case, what we mostly see is are people who are just devoted to the idea of abortion, almost as a sacrament they cling to, and it really does start to look like religious blind faith.

That they are so dialed in to having a right to kill their own offspring that if they don’t have that right, they reason they don’t have any other rights. That somehow that is the crux of what it means to be a rights bearing individual. The right to intentionally kill your own offspring. And for those people, it’s very hard to reason with them.

We still need to reason with them because although apologetics may never be sufficient to end a debate, It is necessary to advance the case logically. So it is true. We’ve got to keep using logic, but don’t be surprised when you reach people or you reach out to people who respond with almost a fanatical religious zealotry.

Where if they can’t have the right to kill their own offspring, somehow the whole world is falling apart. That’s kind of where we are. So in one sense, their opposition does feel religious to me. Kind of a blind faith religious feel is what I’m picking up. But back to the point I wanted to make. This article in Politico.

Here’s what it said, opposition to abortion began not in the New Testament era, not in the Old Testament era, not in, uh, antiquity, not in the middle ages, not during the age of the churchmen, not during the age of the reformers, none of that. Rather, this article said this, that opposition to abortion primarily began in the late 1970s, early 80s.

When pro lifers were snookered, or I should say conservative voters were snookered, into believing that they were voting against abortion and what they were really doing was signing on to a segregationist campaign. Now, let’s set aside for the moment, history here of that is quite shoddy. Uh, I think we can point that out and I will in a moment.

But notice the genetic fallacy. The pro life position is not credible because of its origins. Okay, let’s say that the way the pro life argument came about is that Hitler, Stalin, and Mao Zedong got together and decided that they were going to Come up with this argument against abortion, and they do, and they come up with this argument that it’s wrong to intentionally kill innocent human beings.

Abortion does that. Therefore, it’s wrong. So let’s say the three, arguably the three most evil men in history, come up with this argument. I mean, collectively, you’re looking at Uh, 82 to 100 million people killed under their communistic and fascist regimes. Okay, so evil guys, they come up with a pro life argument.

Let’s say it originates with them. Could that argument still be valid and sound even if its origins are three dudes who are known to be Genocide dictators. Okay. Yeah. The argument stands or fall falls on its merits. If Stalin argues it’s raining outside and his statement corresponds to the world as it really is, then his statement is sound.

Whether we like him or not is beside the point. So on one hand, this is just a genetic fallacy, but I want to look at it historically as well. Let’s ask this question. Is it true? That opposition to abortion did not begin among Christians until the late 1970s, late in the Carter administration, and just prior to Ronald Reagan showing up on the scene.

And the answer is, that is just false on the face of it. We can go all the way back to the Old Testament and see that the Bible was pro life. Let me explain why. Here is the Old Testament Hebrew culture. First of all, barrenness was a curse, not a blessing. A woman who could not have children was an outcast in society.

No woman wanted to be in that position. Number two. Israel is surrounded by hostile nations. The only way they can survive is to have a large population to resist those that want to destroy them on the outside. Number three, God has given the Israelites a mission. They are to populate, multiply, and become a nation of destiny that blesses all nations.

That’s their fundamental job description. You need a lot of people to do that. Um, number four, children were taught as a, taught to be a blessing. The greatest blessing is a matter of fact, and the way you passed on your inheritance was through your descendants. The way your family name lived was through your descendants.

Now, remember, these are old Testament people. They do not yet have a New Testament understanding of what heaven and the new, new earth will look like one day. They do know, though, that the way their family name carries on is through their descendants. And it was very harmful for family names to die out.

So you wanted to have a lot of children to make sure that did not happen. So think about this. In a culture where barrenness is a curse, where children are seen as a blessing, not a curse. Where you’ve got to have a lot of kids to survive hostile threats from the outside. And number four, your family name lives on through your descendants.

Is that a culture where elective permissive abortion is going to find a foothold? Not in a billion years. So it shouldn’t surprise us that the Bible in the Old Testament doesn’t have a command that says, Thou shalt not abort. But look at the New Testament as well. Who were the first Christians? The first Christians were essentially Jewish believers who inherited a Jewish morality from their forebears.

That’s who they were. And indeed, that’s exactly how they thought on abortion. They would have thought exactly like their Hebrew forebears. But there are additional pieces of evidence we can bring to the table here as well. If you look at the writings that were circulated among some of the early believers, these were not canonical writings, but They were read, and they were looked to as instructive at some level.

You look at the Didache, for example. The Didache unequivocally condemns abortion. You look at the sentences of pseudo facilities. It condemns abortion unequivocally. The list goes on and on. I’ve got in my book, The Case for Life, Second Edition, a whole chapter that cites these historical sources. But let’s move on from the earliest churches.

Or the earliest church in the New Testament in the first century and jump into the church fathers that era there again, you see it from Tertullian to Gregory to, um, Oh, I mean, I could go on and on, but you look at the early church fathers and what you see is a unbroken testimony against abortion and affirmation for the life in the womb.

So let’s jump ahead even further. Let’s jump ahead to Thomas Aquinas in the Middle Ages. Again, clear pro life witness there. Jump to the Reformers. John Calvin called abortion a monstrous crime that robs the child of its life and dignity. Uh, Others taught that same way. It’s not at all apparent that the Church never thought about abortion until the 1970s, early 80s.

This is a distortion of history. What they tend to say is, Look, we’ve even got examples of people like Billy Graham, um, others, other leading historical people, uh, Norm Geisler. Being ambiguous on abortion. And you know what? They’re right. There are some statements from some of our leaders that were ambiguous in the late 1970s, early eighties.

But the mistake critics make is to say, there’s your proof that the church was not pro life until that time. That’s hogwash. Look, I could find statements from Richard Dawkins, the philosophical naturalist, that undermine his atheistic worldview. Statements he’s made where he seems to be unsure of himself.

If I were to make the argument that Dawkins did not become a philosophical naturalist until recently, from the fact that he made a few statements that are ambiguous, you’d laugh me off the stage, and you’d be right to do so. You got to look at the whole history of the thing. And this is where, and we’re going to put this in the show notes, I’m actually going to put, uh, the notes showing the comments from the church fathers, the reformers and others that indicate that we have an unbroken pro life witness in Christianity dating back to the first century.

So this is just nonsense. And I don’t understand why people want to make. They’re primary defense of abortion religious, when in the very next breath, they’re going to decry the pro lifer for allegedly being committed to the Imago Dei, and therefore the pro lifer’s view, they allege, is disqualified from having any merit in the public square.

But then they want to turn around and do very sloppy theology, and that’s what this is. Genesis 2. 7 does not say anywhere that you are not a living human being until you breathe air through the lungs. That is pro abortion theologians and lay people at the street level reading into the text something that is just not there.

You shouldn’t fall for it. I’m not gonna fall for it. Let’s go with what the Bible actually teaches, not what we want it to teach. In fact, I think that’s what’s really going on here, is there’s a whole lot of people out there that want to live life the way they want to live life, and they don’t want any moral rules put on them, and they fight like alley cats when somebody suggests that what they want to do is wrong.

And that’s the real issue here. There are a lot of hearts that just are hardened, and And they don’t want to be told there are certain things you can’t do. One of them being you can’t intentionally kill an innocent human being without committing a serious moral wrong. They don’t like hearing those words.

Well, too bad. That’s the argument. You got to refute the argument for the pro life view. It’s not enough to just quote scripture poorly. I look forward to seeing you next time. Thanks for joining us today. Again, visit our social media sites, including prolifetraining. com and scottklusendorf. com. Until next time, I’ll see you then.