When does life begin?

January 22, 2011 will be the 38th anniversary of the most horrific decision made; the right to murder human babies. In light of this, I thought it vital to have my very first guest poster be Mr. Art Helms (a.k.a. Grampaw Helms). After reading his note on Facebook, I asked if I could post his writing on my blog. Thankfully he said “Yes.” After reading this, I know you’ll be glad he did too.

My prayer is that we, as God’s holy and dearly loved children will boldly stand up and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves; unborn babies. And that we will better answer those who oppose us with a deeper understanding of the meaning of life.

When writing the 1973 majority opinion in Roe v. Wade, Justice Harry Blackmun wrote: “We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins . . . the judiciary at this point in the development of man’s knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer.” The Court then admitted: “If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant’s case [i.e. “Roe” who sought the abortion], of course, collapses, for the fetus’ right to life is then guaranteed by the [14th] Amendment.” (http://topics.law.cornell.edu/constitution/amendmentxiv)

For those of us who believe that Roe v. Wade is repugnant to the Constitution, it seems ridiculous that the personhood of a human baby in the womb has ever been questioned.

  • Is the baby alive and growing in the mother’s womb?
  • Was the baby conceived by human parents?

These two questions, answered in the affirmative, ought to automatically establish personhood at conception. Even the “difficult question of when life begins” seems out of place in the process of deciding the legality of abortion. If the “zygote” is a living cell, on its way to becoming a fully functioning human being, with a full set of chromosomes at the instant of fertilization of the ovum by the sperm, “LIFE” (as our finite minds understand it) has begun! To question the timing of that fact is to question God, our Omniscient Creator, who set the entire process of propagation in place.

Who is most responsible for this basic cultural misunderstanding of when life begins, or of when personhood applies? Bill Clinton. In a 1993 interview said that we cannot make something illegal over which “even theologians are in serious disagreement.” 1 As wrong as he was in his war against the unborn, he was at least correct in that placement of responsibility in the realm of the Church.

First, the Church has generally misunderstood that abortion is a “political” issue. It is not. God has been “pro-life” eons prior to politics. The concept of “Separation of Church and State” has also been twisted beyond its original intent, so much so, that most of the Church now see a real wall of separation.

Those of us who still believe it is the Church’s duty to bring society under the sway of Christ, continue to raise our voices against legalized abortion, hoping that our brothers in the Church will join with us in unison. Reconciliation of man to God is our first priority. But, evangelism is not the only calling of the Church. Among the various purposes of the Church, we are called to prophecy (I Corinthians 14). Prophecy can be a tool of evangelism (I Corinthians 14:24-25). We are to prophesy, not just against personal sin of individuals, but also against sin at the national level (Ephesians 6:12). A church without prophecy provides an ideal environment for napping.

We are called to teach (Matthew 28:18-20). Pro-Life efforts should be seen as one of many ways of carrying out that part of the Great Commission, which says “. . . teach all nations . . . teaching them to observe all things . . .”

Second, the Church has not resolved “the difficult question of when life begins.” Perhaps it would be better to answer this question with a deeper question -- “What is life?” Most Christians oversimplify the answer with: “life begins at conception.” This answer, correct though it may be, leaves God out of the equation. The deeper question affords opportunity to give deserved glory to the Creator of life.

In order to fully understand the biblical definition of “life”, certain Scriptures must be diligently considered.

“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
~Genesis 2:7

At no other time in history, has it been reported that God physically breathed this breath of life into another human being’s nostrils.

Job’s fourth friend, Elihu, understood it.

“The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.”
~Job 33:4

These Scriptures reveal a clear answer to the deeper question, “What is life?” Life is the omnipotence of God revealed by His infinite, incomprehensible power, whereby a single breath from the Almighty is sufficient for the “continual creation” of life -- beginning from Adam, and to every human being after him.

King David understood that life is a “continuum” from Adam.

“Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.”
~Psalm 139:16

1 Wichita Eagle 1993-02-20 Clinton and abortion


Thank you Grampaw Helms for reminding us Who and what we're fighting for; God's glorious works to be displayed in every life He chooses to create.