Sanctity Of Life

Growing numbers of major cities now have designated lanes for commuter traffic in which no cars can drive with a single passenger. In two different states recently pregnant women were arrested while in a vehicle alone. Their defense has been that since they were pregnant there were two persons in the car. In both instances they won their appeal. Thus, indirectly the courts ruled the unborn infant was a human being. Hence, the court disputes those who refer to such a being as “fetal tissue.”

One must concede that within the womb of a pregnant woman is a “being” by virtue of something simply “being” there. That “being” was conceived by two human beings, thus, the “being” resulting is a human being. It is human life and that makes it special.

In 1857 the U.S. Supreme Court, as revered as it is, made a mistaken ruling. Under the “Dred-Scott” ruling black people of America had their “right to life” taken from them by law. The court determined they were subhuman and the right was given to masters allowing them to kill them. Fortunately, since then, sensibility has prevailed and that law countermanded.

In 1973 under Roe V. Wade unborn children in America had their right to life taken away. At the time two sitting members of the court wrote opposing opinions.

Justice William Rehnquist: “To reach its results, the court had to find within the scope of the Fourteenth Amendment a right that was completely unknown to the drafters of the Amendment.”

Judge Byron White: “I find nothing in the language of our history of the constitution to support the court’s judgment. The court simply fashioned and announced a new constitutional right for pregnant mothers.”

The opinions of these justices vivify the fact that in that decision a new moral direction was taken in America. Thereby life was devalued. The concept of the “sanctity of life” suffered a mortal wound. A logical question is where does this lead?

One can look back at Nazi Germany for a historical example of the result. Likewise, a current example is now being reported from China.

As abhorrent as the following is consideration must be given it to understand why sooner rather than later the trend of depreciating human life must be stopped. In China Dr. Zou Qin, who claims to have aborted several hundred unborn alleges to have eaten more than 100 fetuses, and said, “People normally prefer [fetus from] young women, and even better, the first baby and a male.” This form of Chinese pharmacopoeia is alleged to be increasing in popularity.

Here in America we don’t eat them but pharmaceutical companies use fetal tissue in experiments. This is an effort to put a moral sheen on brutally ending a human life. Will our “Culture of Death” be the next society to denigrate the sanctity of life by eating the unborn? There was a time in America when the casual abortion of a child was thought to be as abhorrent as the idea of eating pre-born infants now sounds. We have become

desensitized by wholesale destruction of life. In a degenerate society that which is vile today is often valid tomorrow.

Emerging on the moral horizon is the question of who is next? The step from saying life in the womb isn’t sacred to saying life outside the womb isn’t sacred is a short one. Bioethicists indicate that the location of life inside or outside the womb cannot make a crucial difference.

Having assumed the right to kill the pre-born will we soon sanction the right to kill adults if they don’t meet prescribed standards. Or, perhaps based on aborting the pre-born simply because they are a nuisance, will we conclude it is legitimate to kill adults simply because they are a nuisance? If so, who determines who is a nuisance? In Germany the Nazi Party established a committee to make the judgment. Their conclusions are well documented.

It is estimated that 98 percent of abortions are performed because of reasons such as social, nonmedical, emotional strain or inconvenience to the mother. Interpreted that means the pre-born is a nuisance.

When “quality of life” replaces the “sanctity of life” as a nation’s ethic the seeds of degeneracy have sprouted.

Will the elderly follow the blacks and the pre-born in being reclassified as nonpersons?

Efforts to reclassify pre-born infants, just as we did blacks, are appropriate. Self-defense, if no other reason, should motivate us. Sociological if not theological logic should catalyze us to make a moral U-turn as a nation. Barbarism in any cloak is self-defeating.

In 1984, 61 physicians (including two past presidents of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology) issued a signed statement entitled “The Utmost Respect For Human Life,” which stated in part, “We urge all those engaged in the abortion debate to recognize that a central issue in the discourse must include acceptance of the fact that induced abortion causes the death of a living human.”

This statement is in keeping with the very definition of the word abortion. The Latin root word for abortion is “aborior,” which means “to perish by untimely birth.”

The very word “sanctity” is defined as “sacred or hallowed character … a sacred thing.” Is human life a sacred thing?

The answer is affirmed in Genesis 1: 27 with confirmation that reverberates from heaven to earth: “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

The Psalmist, referring to God the Creator, declared: “Your hand made me and fashioned me” (Psalm 119: 73).

Through the inspired penman God said, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you…” (Jeremiah 1: 5).

There are two Greek words for “child.” One is “teknon.” It is used ninety-eight times in the Greek New Testament. It refers to a child as viewed in relation to a parent. The other word is “brephos” which is used only eight times such as follows.

“People were bringing infants (brephos) to Jesus…” (Luke 18: 15).

“And how from infancy (brephos) you have known the Holy Scripture…” (II Timothy 3: 15).

Now the application. When the virgin Mary told Elizabeth her good news it is said, “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting the baby (brephos) leaped in her womb…” (Luke 1: 41).

Elizabeth further said to Mary, “As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby (brephos) in my womb, leaped for joy” (Luke 1: 44).

God’s Word makes it perfectly clear He considered the pre-born as much a human being as the babies later brought to Christ and the infant that knew Scripture. To Him the life of the pre-born is sacred.

While we debate what is the right attitude toward abortion and euthanasia, God has been very specific in stating His feelings.

“These six things which the Lord hated … hands that shed innocent blood” (Proverbs 6: 16 – 19).

Each year the “innocent blood” of 1.8 million preborn American infants is shed. That is more blood than was shed in all human history before the 20th Century. By killing approximately one child in three by abortion our generation has become the most ravenous in history. Based on Scripture it can be safely concluded God doesn’t like that AT ALL.

An exegetical overview of Scripture reveals three things:

One, the unborn are viewed as developing children by God. Two, taking an innocent human life is hated and clearly condemned by God. Three, God especially detests taking of human life simply to ensure prosperity or cover sins.

From the beginning Christians have opposed abortion based on the sanctity of life. The “Didache,” an early second-century document, summarized Christian conviction: “Thou shalt not murder a child by abortion\destruction.”

Tertullian, at about the same time wrote in his “Apology,” “To hinder a birth is merely a speedier man-killing; nor does it matter whether you take away a life that is born, or destroy one that is coming to be one; you have the fruit already in the seed.”

Those early Christians won the sanctity of life debate not by superior logic alone but by converting the empire to faith. Soon after Constantine legalized Christianity it was made illegal for a father to kill his child. Today Christians must work to win the “empire” to Christ. An associated victory will be winning the battle for the sanctity of life.

Though the Christian community must perennially fight the battle for the sanctity of life it is not likely to be won in the courts. The battle lines might better be defined there, however.

Informed consent laws will help reduce the carnage. A number of states have now passed such laws.

Offering alternatives to abortion is element. Roswell Street Baptist Church is one of several churches that operate a women’s pregnancy center. Young women contemplating an abortion come to it seeking information regarding a potential abortion. They are shown a low key scientific based film that does not incorporate scare tactics. After seeing it and having a brief counseling session approximately 80% of those that enter anticipating an abortion elect to give live term birth. That has resulted in over 6,000 live births in that one clinic.

Avoidance of pregnancies that result in abortions will not be achieved by condom distribution, sex education, or scare stories regarding diseases. Teens know all that and are still promiscuous. What is it they are seeking so desperately they will risk death? It is not sex. It is love. Youth today are so desperate for love they are willing to flirt with death.

Therefore, a large part of the solution to the problem that exists is to show genuine love for the “sanctity of teen life” of vulnerable adolescents. Parents must return to caring demonstrative love for their children.