The following message was delivered at Grace Community Church in Panorama
City, California, by John MacArthur Jr. It was transcribed from the tape,
GC 90-67, titled “The Biblical View on Abortion” (Part 1). A copy of the
tape can be obtained by writing, Word of Grace, P.O. Box 4000, Panorama
City, CA 91412 or by dialing toll free 1-800-55-GRACE.
I have made every effort to ensure that an accurate transcription of the
original tape was made. Please note that at times sentence structure may
appear to vary from accepted English conventions. This is due primarily to
the techniques involved in preaching and the obvious choices I had to make
in placing the correct punctuation in the article.
It is my intent and prayer that the Holy Spirit will use this transcription
to strengthen and encourage the true Church of Jesus Christ.
The Biblical View on Abortion
John MacArthur Jr.
As we come this morning to the matter of abortion, before I take you into
the scriptures and we look more closely at to what the Bible has to say, it
is probably fitting for us to get some kind of a grasp on the issue itself.
So, I want to address that, if I may, for a moment. What I am going to say
to you may sound like an article in the newspaper because it is full of
statistics and quotes and that kind of thing, but it does set the scene for
understanding the issue at hand.
To sum up what we are experiencing with regard to abortion in America, we
could simply say, “America, as a nation, is highly committed by law and by
practice to a form of mass murder.” And that is really the bottom line.
This nation, which certainly prides itself on its humanitarianism, is in a
murderous cycle of violence that makes the Nazi Holocaust look mild by
comparison. Nearly 2,000,000 babies are aborted a year in America. Every
third baby conceived now is being murdered. Among teenage women there are
736 abortions for every 1,000 births. Among married women abortions now
exceed births! More babies are killed than are born. Some would tell us
that there is an abortion about every 15 seconds in America.
In some metropolitan hospitals, in the major cities of our nation,
abortions far outnumber live births. Planned Parenthood has gone so far as
to say, “This is nothing more than a means of preventing disease; pregnancy
being noted as a disease.” If you think that sounds farfetched, I will
remind you of a paper by Dr. Willard Kates, from the Planned Parenthood
Physicians Association. The title of the paper is, “Abortion as treatment
for unwanted pregnancy: The second sexually transmitted disease.”
Pregnancy then is seen by Planned Parenthood as a sexually transmitted
disease that needs to be cured by abortion. Planned Parenthood has
somewhere approaching 1,000 abortion clinics doing somewhere approaching
75,000 murders a year, and are receiving millions of dollars of support
from the U. S. Government and the United Way, and other agencies like that.
Our nation, and other nations in the world are frankly wiping out an entire
generation of human beings in mass infanticide.
It is estimated that perhaps as many as 75,000,000 babies will be murdered
this year around the world–75,000,000! That’s probably conservative. It’s
more than all the deaths in all the wars, in all the history of the world.
This kind of murder is shocking and I don’t want to be too shocking, but I
want to tell you how it is done and I hope that I don’t offend anyone. The
processes of abortion are somewhat frightening and bizarre.
During the First Trimester, the methods are Dilation and Suction, called
DNS, or Dilation and Curettage, called DNC; basically this means that a
vacuum tears the child in pieces and sucks the pieces out through a tube.
Or, a sharp instrument dismembers the Fetus into sections, and then often
forceps are used to crush the head and reduce its size. This, of course,
can result in a torn uterus, a perforated uterus, sterility, [and] things
During the Second Trimester the safe comfortable home of the child, known
as the Amniotic Sack, is wounded by a needle which withdraws the Amniotic
Fluid and replaces it with a heavy saline solution (which basically burns
the child alive), and in 24 to 72 hours the body will expel the dead fetus.
During the Third Trimester, a Hysterotomy is used–sometimes
“prostaglandin,” a drug producing delivery by stimulating the uterus
falsely into labor. These sometimes produce children born alive, who are
then left to die or even be killed. A new way being advocated by the
National Abortion Federation in their recent meetings was advocated at a
workshop: puncturing the “soft spot” on the baby’s head and then vacuuming
out what is in the head. Another abortionist at that meeting suggested
that the length of the baby’s foot could be measured and used to determine
the price of the abortion.
It almost sounds primitive, certainly not characteristic of a culture as
sophisticated as our is. Even Cesarean Sections are performed as abortions
in the Third Trimester. I remember reading about a case in New York City
where twin babies were conceived in the womb. Both of them had “Down
Syndrome” and they were killed by puncturing their hearts directly.
Hundreds of these attempted abortions in the Third Trimester, are born
alive and then used in some kind of experimentation.
The IRS, jumping into the fray, as they are always wanting to do in order
to rule on how this all affects our taxes, has ruled, in “Revised Rule 73
dash something,” “That parents are entitled to a tax exemption, if after an
attempted abortion their child lives for any length of time.” Now, you
tell me how a child, attempted to be aborted, can be considered a dependent
child if it lives, but not a child if it dies. What kind of dilemma is
that? I suppose it is the same dilemma that the Van Nuys Police had not
long ago, when a woman in Van Nuys had a baby in a bathroom–and she killed
it with a razor blade. Had she killed the baby before it was born, she
would have had no problems. But because she killed it with a razor blade
after it was born, she is serving an 11 year prison sentence. This is the
stupidity of Humanism.
Fifteen year olds can get abortions without parental knowledge or consent;
in fact, generally the law wants to say that parents are the enemy of the
freedom of the child; in fact, even the consent of the spouse is
unconstitutional. Dead fetuses are used in an industry of business and
experimentation. The “Journal of Clinical Pathology” indicates that fetal
organs have been grafted into mice and rats to see how long they live, and
other frightening experiments that I won’t even speak about in a public
meeting. Squibb Company is involved in paying tens of thousands of dollars
to doctors to experiment with fetuses for use in research on high blood
pressure drugs, and this is all coming very rapidly. I saw something about
it the other night on television.
The U.S. Government funded experiments on live aborted babies. “The New
England Journal of Medicine” reports that tissue cultures are obtained by
dropping still living babies in the meat grinder after abortions, and they
determine something from the culture that is produced in that. Some are
thrown away. Dr. Jay Domingues (sp.) of New York City wrote, “On any
Monday you can see 70 garbage bags with fetal material in them along the
sidewalks of abortion clinics in New York City.” Again, the “New England
Journal” article by Raymond Duff and Professor A. G. M. Campbell (sp.) of
Yale acknowledged that over a 21 year period, 14% of babies who died at
Yale Hospital did so through the physician’s choice. So you are dealing
with a very, very, widespread problem.
It is now possible to do to a retarded infant what would be impossible to
do to a dog or a cat. In fact, a recent case in California, “Cerlander
(sp.) vs. BioScience Labs” makes it possible for children to sue their
parents for wrongful life, for letting them live and refusing abortion
(this reported in the newsletter, “The American College of OB-Gyn”). In
other words, if your parents didn’t abort you and you lived, and you’ve got
severe problems [then] you can sue them for letting you live.
Bags of babies are found by trash compactors (as we all know); yet on the
other side of this, a wounded American eagle was found recently in Maryland
and rushed to emergency treatment. However, it died and a $5,000 reward
was offered for the arrest of whoever injured it. It is illegal to ship a
pregnant lobster: it’s a $1,000 fine. In the State of Massachusetts there
is an anti-cruelty law that makes it illegal to award a goldfish as a
prize. Why? This is what it says, “To protect the tendency to dull
humanitarian feelings and to corrupt morals of those who abuse them.” The
same people that want to save the goldfish are leading the parade, usually,
to kill the babies.
This of course has developed into a multibillion dollar industry, in the
terms of business. Many people make their money on this. I talked to an
abortionist who was attending our church, some years back, and presented to
him the gospel. We had several meetings together and he understood fully
the gospel. I don’t know his spiritual condition at this time, but I
remember on the days that I talked with him that he told me that he himself
alone did $9,000,000 worth of abortions in a year in his own clinic (that’s
The industry goes beyond just the abortion itself to the products of
abortion: the material (the fetus material) which is used for all kinds of
things and sold. It is a massive industry. This even gets more bizarre
and there is no need to get into it. The whole abortion industry is
frightening [and] mind boggling. How a nation of civilized people (if we
are civilized; advanced technologically yes, civilized–no), how we can
tolerate this is unthinkable, except for the falleness and the wretched
sinfulness of the human heart.
In other countries in the world people are still reeling from the impact of
this. I will give you one illustration: Japan has been very aggressive in
the abortion field for a number of years, and in Japan there is severe
trauma on the part of Japanese women because there have been millions and
millions of abortions that have occurred there. Over the last say 40
years, in Japan there has been an excess of 50,000,000 abortions that are
known. The women have been traumatized by these abortions, in terms of
their own emotional life, and so the Buddhists have erected temples for the
expressed purpose of dealing with the issue of abortion. These are temples
which memorialized what are called “water babies” (this is a term for an
aborted child). A “water baby,” those who perish by abortion.
In order to secure peace for their departed souls, these women come to
these places. And they are now aware of the fact in their own conscience
(at least they assume this to be true without biblical revelation) that
these little aborted “water babies” have a soul, and they have got to do
something for the departed soul; so the Buddhists, in their religion, have
erected temples where the departed souls of “water babies” can be attended
to by penitent mothers. For somewhere between $340 and $640 a grieving
mother can purchase a small stone Buddha. And somehow purchasing this
small stone Buddha not only feeds the business enterprise but relieves some
of the anxiety and, apparently, does something for the departed soul of
In one temple alone, tens of thousands of these have been sold; the grounds
have become a commercial attraction where visitors pay to come and take
pictures of women who are there agonizing over their departed “water
babies.” Priests will offer prayers at that place for “water babies” at
$120 per baby and $40 for each additional baby that you have aborted. That
is just one illustration from one country of the trauma that has occurred
in the lives of these women.
400% to 800% is the range of statistic figures that regard suicide;
somewhere between 400% and 800% of suicide rates increase in women who have
had abortions. Hypochondria, depression, withdrawal, guilt, shame, drugs,
alcohol dependency, serious emotional trauma–all of these come from
abortions. Six to seven times more women die each year from legal than
illegal abortions. So the whole thing is a very, very frightening,
Just a few more things, and I am not going to give you all the
documentation, although I have it in hand–but let me just read you some of
the things that are coming out of this abortion issue with regard to how it
1. The risk of pregnancy outside the womb which threatens the mother’s
life, is doubled for women who have had one abortion, and quadrupled where
there has been two or more.
2. Miscarriages are almost twice as common for women who have aborted.
3. A study of 26,000 births indicated a more than threefold increase in
the number of stillborn babies and deaths of newborns among mothers who
have had an abortion.
4. Since about two or three women per hundred need a blood transfusion,
there is an increased risk of exposure to hepatitis and AIDS.
5. Bleeding is more common in subsequent wanted pregnancies.
6. Many researchers have observed subsequent premature births and low
7. Among women who have had abortions there is an increased risk of damage
to the cervix.
8. A sevenfold increase in “placenta previa” (that’s where the placenta
covers the birth canal and often requires a Cesarean Section).
9. About twice the risk of breast cancer when abortions were performed in
the first trimester, before completing a full term pregnancy. That’s
because God, in part, has designed the body to begin to prepare itself for
the birth of that child; when that is aborted it creates certain risk
factors in the body as the body retreats to try to compensate.
10. There is up to 30% greater risk of pelvic infection.
The statistics, however, are probably even grimmer since a woman who is
injured will rarely go back to the doctor or facility where it occurred.
Furthermore, complications often develop later and are not reported in
connection with the abortion that caused them, nor is death always linked
to abortion in reports and in death certificates.
When you look at the emotional effect, as I noted about the women in Japan,
you find all kinds of interesting things:
1. Women having prior emotional or mental problems often become worse, and
having an abortion produced such problems in women who previously had none.
2. Women who have had an abortion are more likely to experience guilt,
depression, and be suicidal. However, the claim that a woman will commit
suicide if she is denied an abortion (and that’s what the liberationists
tell us) is highly unlikely, because suicide is almost nonexistent among
pregnant women. Over a 20 year period, 13,500 Swedish women were refused
abortions–only three committed suicide. Very, very rare.
3. After an abortion a woman is far more likely to break up with her
partner, whether she is married or not. Abortion just destroys everybody
in the process.
The question then comes, “How did this ever get started? Whoever started
this?” Well, sad to say it goes way back. I mean if we want to know where
it all started we have to see that it started certainly in the mind of
Satan according to John 8:44, “He is a murderer.” Certainly it started
from the same kind of fallen attitude that made Cain kill Able. Cain was a
murderer; that’s the expression of fallenness. You can go way back and you
will find that there have been efforts on the part of Satan to murder
babies in the time of Moses and in the time of Jesus. And he was
successful, as you know, in the time of Jesus, in massacring babies under
the age of two, in order to try an eliminate the Messiah.
Looking around, for example, say the ancient time of Judaism, you can find
abortions practiced among pagans, but never among Jews, for obvious
reasons. They knew that life was sacred; life was granted by God, and they
used to “camp” on the second great commandment, “Love your neighbor as
yourself;” and since a baby conceived was a person that became their
neighbor and therefore to harm their neighbor would be to violate the
Coming into the New Testament time there were also pagans who engaged in
abortions, but again Jews did not do it in the New Testament time, nor did
the Church. Plato and Aristotle both recommended family growth limitation
through abortion. Abortion was used even in New Testament times among
pagans to conceal illicit sex. If you could remove the evidence, you could
remove the stigma of illicit sex. Rich women also didn’t want to leave
their wealth to lower class children fathered illegitimately, so while they
might have wanted to have an affair with some low classed man, they didn’t
want to support his child, and so abortion was a way to deal with that.
And then, abortion was a way (they said) to preserve their “sex appeal,”
not to “trouble the womb with bouncing babies.”
Abortion was also a form of contraception. In times of ancient cultures,
even around the New Testament era, the methods used varied from substances
introduced into the womb through the birth canal; sometimes oral drugs or
“poisons” as they used to be called; sometimes mixtures that were mixed for
the purpose of proving fatal to the unborn infant; sometimes they would
bind the body in these very, very, tight ropes or cloths to literally
squeeze the womb and crush the life of the child; sometimes they would
locate the baby in the womb and take a hard object and smash against that
infant in the womb and kill it that way; sometimes using blades and
sometimes hooks going up through the birth canal.
Pagans would do this; the Jews always rejected it because life was created
by God, and anyone created by God became your neighbor, and to take a life
was to violate the second commandment. The early church then took a strong
stand against it. In the Didache, which is a codification of early church
teaching, it says, “Thou shalt not murder a child by abortion.” Abortion
was rejected in another early document, called the Epistle of Barnabus, as
contrary to “neighbor centered love;” so you can see the early church
picked up on some of the Jewish ideas. The Didache, again that same
codification of teaching, saw the way of death is full of cursing, murders,
adulteries, and murders of children. They saw the way of death as
belonging to those who killed children. They called them “Corrupters of
God’s creatures,” and in the third century a Latin word even emerged, the
word, “abortuwantes” (sp.)–abortionists. “Abortion,” they said, “brought
the judgment of God.”
The Reformation didn’t change this; the church has always seen abortion as
murder, an act of violence, and a lack of love towards one God has created.
So it isn’t new: the people of God; Israel, stood against it; the church
has stood against it; and we must stand against it.
Here we are living in a time when this abortion movement has become a
massive industry, has become a reflection of our culture, and if you look
back a little bit you can see what the pieces were that sort of came
together to build the platform on which this whole thing stands. Let me
just see if I can’t share some of them with you. This whole commitment to
Step one, the Sexual Revolution–the Sexual Revolution which basically
said, “We want to be free to express ourselves sexually.” You go back to
the early sixties; everybody has got to be engaged in free love. Remember
the expression “free love;” you remember all the hippies and that whole
thing. The Sexual Revolution spawned abortion as an industry, because it
basically said, “We have to be free to express ourselves sexually, and we
don’t really need to be dealing with the consequences.” In fact, they
would go so far as to say,
If we are going to be free, we women certainly can’t be victimized by men.
Men can jump in and out of bed with anybody they want all day long, and
walk away and there aren’t any consequences to them. But what happens to
us is–we get pregnant, and so their freedom has no impingement; their
freedom has no consequence; their freedom has no detrimental results, but
our freedom does. So in order for us to be really free, you have got to
eliminate the consequence, the major consequence of free sex, free love,
and that is you have got to be able to eliminate pregnancy. Otherwise, we
become victimized by men, and we don’t want to be victimized by men.
So the Sexual Revolution with its free love really set the stage for the
massacring of millions of babies, who were nothing but an intrusion in the
fornications and the adulteries of a wretched, degenerate society.
Then there was a second thing that jumped onto the “bandwagon,” apart from
this whole free love thing, and that was the deformities issue. You all
remember back in the sixties, the big issue about Thalidomide. Many women
took Thalidomide because it was a birth enhancing drug and it would allow
them to get pregnant, whereas they otherwise may not be able to. And you
may also remember that Thalidomide had some severe side effects, in terms
of limbless children that were born. There were some medical doctors in
England who believed that these deformities and other deformities were
serious enough to lead them to argue for eugenic abortions; and that, of
course, came out of England, as I said, eliminating birth defect children
because of the cost on society, because of the trouble they give to parents
(they are difficult to deal with); they have all kinds of problems with
these children so we ought to come along and say, “Look there is no sense
in bringing deformed children into the world, it’s a tough enough place
anyway.” So, they jumped on the bandwagon for their agenda’s sake and
mounted, as it were, more arguments for abortion.
Then came along the whole Feminist Movement. The Feminist Movement took
the expression of sexual freedom one step beyond. They basically said, “We
not only want to be sexually free without consequence, but we want to be
able to put on our blue suit and take our briefcase and go to work every
day too. We want to compete in a man’s world as equals and if we have to
have babies [then] we can’t do that.” “Women are not equal,” they said,
and I am quoting, “to men unless they are rid of childbearing
responsibilities.” Betty Friedan (sp.), who is a leader of the Feminist
Movement said, “Women must have abortion as a backup to contraceptive
failure.” Contraception first, and if it doesn’t work then abortion
because we can’t be bothering with children. We have got to go to work and
make our way in a man’s world.
So you had the Sexual Revolution compounded by this sort of genetic game
playing from those people who wanted to eliminate the deformed from
society, and adding to that compound problem is the third feature which is
the feminist argument: “If we are going to work in a man’s world and to be
equal to men in every way, we can’t be fussing around at home with kids, so
we have got to eliminate them from our lives.”
Then you had another component, another piece came into the platform from
the population control advocates who were telling us that we all were going
to be standing on each others heads if we kept having babies. We were all
going to be crushing each other out of existence because the world was
going to be overpopulated; and I read all of that. Don’t you remember
reading that in the 60’s? Everyone was screaming about overpopulation. I
remember finding an old book that was written in 1918, in which a man said,
“If something doesn’t change–we have too many horses in the streets of
Chicago, and at the projected rate it’s going right now, in another 25
years the city of Chicago will be 18 feet deep in manure.” It is the same
kind of reasoning: we are all going to drown in a sea of babies.
All of this fed the building of this platform; it was all material fed into
this building project to build the platform upon which the Roe vs. Wade
legalized abortion verdict came down on January 26, 1973. At that point
the Supreme Court of the United States excluded unborn children from the
protection of the 14th amendment, which says, “No person shall be deprived
of life without due process of law.” They said, “Unborn children aren’t
persons.” Yes, they are. Yes, they are, and we will see that in a minute.
One of the professors at the Master’s College, Dr. John Pilky (sp.), very
astute (teaches in our English Lit. Dept), wrote me a little memo. Listen
to what it says,
The phrase “Pro Choice” (which is what the Pro abortionists use) strikes me
as one of the most depraved, apocalyptically wicked, rhetorical facts in
the history of western civilization in the Christian era. The phrase means
“Pro Sin” or “Free to Chose Sin.” The phrase would actually be less
dreadful if it were “Pro Abortion” because that would confine it to the
sphere of a particular moral problem, but by turning it to what seems a
euphemism, the “Pro Choice” people have rung the final rhetorical “death
knell” to the entire Democratic experiment.
The phrase “Pro Choice” means “without conscience, or without inhibition,
or without restraint,” and it parades itself under the Jeffersonian banner
of liberty of conscience and separation of Church and State. As a
rhetorical gesture, perfectly designed to function as a political banner,
this phrase constitutes the last word: the official formulation of official
apostate defiance against the God of Christianity.
I am confident that God will answer it apocalyptically.
Yes, I believe that he is right. I believe abortion is the last official
stand of the defiant apostate against God. It says, “God, you will not
determine who lives or dies–I will!” The ultimate apostasy.
That’s where we are in our culture, and we are there by law–the law of our
own government. The court ignored the issue of when life begins, which is
a medical/scientific issue, even though criminals have been successfully
prosecuted for killing unborn children in an attack on a pregnant mother.
That child is considered a non-person if its own mother decides to kill it;
if a criminal kills it they are prosecuted; if the mother kills it is a
As far a I can tell, and my research may not be exhaustive, but as far as I
can tell, there is no nation on the face of the earth with a more
permissive abortion policy than the United States, with the single
exception of China. It is reflective of our prurient, lascivious,
immoral, perverted Sexual Revolution; of the deviation from God ordained
role for men and women. It is reflective of our selfish, materialistic
value system. It is reflective, most of all, of our atheistic ethic
hostile to God, and we now have a holocaust; and we have a holocaust which
God will judge, and I will talk about that tonight, and I will talk about
what it means that the blood of the murdered victim cries out from the
ground against the one who did the murder.
Medical science has clearly established that conception brings about an
unique individual life. Life begins at conception; that is absolutely a
medical fact. [Here is] an illustration from a secular source, Dr. Jerome
LaJunge (sp.), professor of Fundamental Genetics at the University of Rene’
De Cart (sp.) in Paris; this is a quote,
Life has a very long history but each individual has a very neat
beginning–the moment of its conception. The material link is the
molecular thread of DNA. In each reproductive cell this ribbon is cut into
23 pieces or chromosomes. As soon as the 23 paternally derived chromosomes
are united through fertilization to the 23 maternal ones the full genetic
meeting necessary to express all the inborn qualities of the new individual
is gathered, i.e., personal constitution.
And if I may digress from the quote a moment to say: everything is there
that is reflected in full adulthood; all the component building material is
there. LaJunge goes on to write,
At two months of age, the human being is less than one thumb length from
the head to the rump. He would fit at ease in a nutshell, but everything
is there: hands, feet, head, organs, [and] brains; in the fourth week, his
consciousness. All are in place. His heart has been beating for a month
already and fingerprints can be detected. His heart is beating at two
months at 150 to 170 beats a minute. To accept the fact that after
fertilization has taken place a new human being has come into being is no
longer a matter of taste or opinion.
Well, there at least is an introduction to the issue. The Supreme Court of
the United States of America has voted under pressure, pressure and
influence from those who are engaged in a sexual revolution; from those who
want to eugenically control who gets to be born or who dies; from those
feminists who want to be sure there are no responsibilities that women have
that men don’t have; from those who would pour unto our agenda, as it were,
a fear factor in terms of over-population. All these people have
orchestrated, I think, under the control of Satan, the Supreme Court into
doing what they did in 1973, and consequently, we are in a holocaust of
convenience killing so people can be sexually free, so people don’t have to
deal with those who are disabled, so women can do whatever they think they
want to do to be fulfilled, and so we can live the kind of materialistic,
uncomplicated lifestyle that so many people want to live. The net effect
is we become mass murderers.
With all of that as background we ask this most significant question, which
will drive the focus of the rest of our discussion this morning and
tonight: and here’s the question, “What does the Bible say about all this?”
I have about five points; I will give you one this morning and the rest
1. Conception is an Act of God.
We have already noted for you that from a medically scientific viewpoint,
conception yields a new person, and so life begins at conception.
Personhood begins at conception. We now say as we look to the Bible, that
“Conception is an Act of God.” Psalm 127:3 says, “Behold, children are a
gift from the Lord.” God creates personally every life–Scripture makes
that fact clear.
Let me look at it from a negative standpoint, going all the way back say,
to Genesis. Looking at it negatively: Genesis 20:13 says this, “For the
Lord had completely closed all the wombs of the House of Abimilech.” They
couldn’t have any babies because God didn’t allow it. God closed the womb.
Genesis 16:2, “And Sarah said to Abraham, ‘The Lord has restrained me from
bearing.'” 1 Samuel 1:5-6, “The Lord had shut up her [Hanna] womb.” It
says that twice. So here from a negative perspective you see that God
closes the womb. God says no child will be born in that womb. He has
control over that.
From the positive side, Genesis 17:16, God said to Abraham, “I will bless
her [Sarah] and give you a son from her, and she shall be the mother of
nations.” I am going to open her womb. In Genesis 21:2 it says, “Sarah
conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which
the Lord had spoken.” God said, I closed it; I’ll open it. In Genesis
25:21 Isaac entreated the Lord for his wife because she was barren, and the
Lord was entreated by him and Rebecca, his wife, conceived. God enabled
her to have a child. 1 Samuel 1:19-20, goes on to talk about Hanna, and it
says, “The Lord remembered her.” Though He had shut her womb, He
remembered her and after she had conceived she bore a son and called his
name “Samuel,” saying, “Because I have asked for him from the Lord.” The
Lord opened her womb and gave her a son.
Boaz, in Ruth 4:13, took Ruth (she was his wife), “And when he went in unto
her, the Lord gave her conception.” What a great statement: “The Lord gave
her conception.” No conception occurs ever, anywhere on the face of the
earth, through all of human history, that is not a result of God’s creative
purpose. In Judges 13:3, Manoah’s wife is at issue, and she has asked and
the Lord responds. It says, “The angel of the Lord appeared to the woman
and said to her, ‘Behold, now that you are barren and bearest not, but you
shall conceive and bear a son.” That son was Samson, by the way. In other
words, God has not allowed you to have a child, but He will.
Now, these passages simply illustrate to us that God is the power behind
barrenness, and God is the power behind conception. Wherever there is
conception–God has made it happen. So you are tampering with that which
God has done. That’s the point.
Now let’s look at this from perhaps another viewpoint, not so much the
narrative of Genesis and other passages, as the theology expressed. Go to
Job, chapter 10, and here we find some statements with regard to Job’s
understanding of God, something of his theology and how it plays to this
very issue. In Job, chapter 10, Job is musing over the fact that
everything has gone wrong in his life and he is querying God, as he often
does, about why. In Job 10:8, “Thy hands fashioned and made me
altogether.” I acknowledge that you made me. And then he asked, “and why
would you destroy me?” He doesn’t understand what is going on in his life
and he says, “This I know, you fashioned me, you made me completely.”
That word “altogether” literally in the Hebrew means “together all around,”
comprehensively, in every sense, You made me. Verse 9, “Remember now, that
Thou hast made me as clay,” in other words, it’s just like picking up clay:
“You formed me.” Verse 10, another picture, “Didst You not pour me out
like milk, and curdle me like cheese?” I mean, You extracted me, and You
molded me, and formed me. “You (verse 11) clothed me with skin and flesh,
and you knit me together with bones and sinews. You granted me life.” You
made me is what he says, every way he could think to say it. Look at
chapter 12 of Job, and verse 9, “Who among all these doesn’t know that the
hand of the Lord has done this, in whose hand is the life of every living
thing, and the breath of all mankind?”
In other words, God is the source of all life. Look at Job 31, and I’ll
just show you two other passages that are very helpful. Job 31:15, “Did
not He who made me in the womb make him, and the same one fashion us in the
womb?” He’s talking about one person (speaking of himself and someone
else). Didn’t God make us all? Didn’t He fashion us in the womb? That
creative process began in the womb at conception. Chapter 33 of Job, verse
4, “The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me
life.” It is very apparent here in probably the oldest book in the
Bible–Job, taking us clear back to the patriarchal time, (probably penned
before the Pentateuch even) that they understood that they were made by
The Psalmist has the same concept; look at Psalm 22. David in a similar
situation to Job, trying to figure out his problems, goes back to the fact
that he knows God made him; Psalm 22:9, “Yet Thou are He who didst bring me
forth from the womb; Thou didst make me trust when upon my mother’s breast.
Upon Thee I was cast from birth; Thou hast been my God from my mother’s
womb.” From the time I was in the womb You made me and You were my God.
The 100th Psalm (we can’t read all the scriptures related) says in verse 3,
“Know that the Lord Himself is God; it is He who has made us, and not we
ourselves.” You say, “Well, we made a baby.” No, you didn’t really make a
baby; you were the human instrumentation through which God made a baby.
Let me tell you something: you can transmit the physical features, but you
cannot make a soul. Do you understand that? You cannot, through sexual
relationships create an immortal, eternal soul. At the time of conception,
when the physical factors come together, God has to impart a soul. In
Psalm 104, and verse 30, “Thou dost send forth Thy Spirit, they are
created,” reminding us that the Spirit of God is the creating force.
The prophet Isaiah (and we will look at him just briefly), the prophet
Isaiah helps us to see the same thing. In chapter 44 and 45, and just
briefly, chapter 44:1, “Now listen, O Jacob, My servant and Israel, whom I
have chosen: Thus says the Lord who made you (and here it is again) and
formed you from the womb.” Down in verse 24, “Thus says the Lord, your
Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb.” Over in chapter 45 of
Isaiah, verse 9, he’s talking about God being the potter and we are the
clay, and we can’t argue with how we are made, and all of that. And then
He says, verse 11, “Thus says the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his
Maker: Ask me about the things to come concerning my sons, and you shall
commit to Me the work of My hands. It is I who made the earth, and created
man upon it. I stretched out the heavens with My hands, and I ordained all
their hosts. I have aroused him in righteousness . . . .” I, I, I, that’s
the whole point: “God made it all.” He made it all. He is the source of
In Jeremiah 1:5, God said to Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I
knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.” “I knew you,”
(Hebrew, yaddah), as a rational creature. Galatians 1:15, Paul says, “But
when He who has set me apart, even from my mother’s womb, and called me
through His grace (and so forth).”
Paul knew, Jeremiah knew, any Christian knows that God has His hand on us
from the time of conception, and that our eternal destiny was set from that
moment and the purpose and plan for our service to God was set from that
The New Testament emphasizes this in a majestic way: look at Matthew,
chapter 1, the birth of Christ. This is quite an important illustration
that often is not considered. Matthew 1:18, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ
was as follows. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph (they
were engaged, not yet married; they had not yet come together in sexual
relationship), she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.” Now,
this is very embarrassing to Joseph, because here he believed in his heart
that this young girl was a spiritually committed girl, a righteous and holy
girl, that she was a virgin and pure, and all of a sudden she is pregnant.
He was a good man and a righteous man, and didn’t want to disgrace her and
shame her publicly (He could have stoned her publicly), so he desired to
just divorce her secretly. He was embarrassed and couldn’t understand how
this could happen, but when he considered this, “An angel of the Lord
appeared to him in a dream, saying ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid
to take Mary as your wife; for that which has been conceived in her is of
the Holy Spirit.'”
The point that I want you to note is this: that God is involved in the very
act of conception, not only in the case of Jesus Christ, but of any life
born in the womb. It is no less true of me or you or anyone else born into
this world, that God was involved in our conception. The difference is we
didn’t have a virgin birth–Jesus had no earthly father, but we are
nonetheless the product of God’s creative hand through His Holy Spirit, who
breathes life into everything.
Furthermore, the life in the womb of Mary was no impersonal blob, it was no
fetal material. It was the Son of God! That life began at conception.
Christ came into the world at conception. Look at Luke 1, and I’ll see if
I can’t give you another New Testament illustration. Luke 1:41 says, “It
came about that when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting (Elizabeth, you
remember was pregnant with John the Baptist), when Elizabeth heard Mary’s
greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the
Holy Spirit.” Of course, John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit
even from his mother’s womb also, as it tells us in Luke 1:15. So the Holy
Spirit was already involved in the life of John the Baptist as the Holy
Spirit is involved in any life, because He is the one who breathes life.
But in a unique way the Holy Spirit was somehow involved in the life of
John the Baptist even in the womb, as in the life of Jesus Christ in the
womb. And whatever that means, it says, “the baby leaped in her womb.” It
must mean that somehow that child responded to what was occurring on the
outside. The Holy Spirit moved that little life into some movement, and
that’s a wonderful thing to contemplate, even though it is mysterious to
Notice the word “baby” and that’s the key point here. The word “baby” is
(Greek, brephos): “the baby leaped.” Would you please notice, this word is
used in 2:12; 2:16; 18:15-16; 1 Peter 2:2, and other places, for a living
baby that has been born. Here it is used for a baby that hasn’t been born.
Listen carefully to what I say: it is the word used for unborn or born
babies; they didn’t have a different word. They didn’t call it a fetus; it
was a baby. Unborn it was a baby; born, no separate word was needed. Once
the infant is created it is “the baby,” if it unborn or born. The actual
moment of birth doesn’t determine the viability or the life; the life is at
conception and thus the babe is the babe in the womb: the babe out of the
womb–no different terminology. This is not a mere collection of cells,
this is a baby–this is a baby!
Conception, then is the act of God whereby a person is created by God’s
sovereign will. A soul is breathed into the living tissue by the Holy
Spirit. That soul’s destiny is already known to God and determined by Him
from before the foundation of the world. Abortion then becomes a violent
anti-God act. It is not only a murder of the individual, it is an affront
to the Creator.
Now somebody says, “Now wait a minute. What about the deformed people that
are born. Is God the creator of those?” Exodus, chapter 4, and verse 11,
God says, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him dumb or deaf, or
seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?” I make them that way. It is for
His purposes sometimes to make men dumb, and deaf, and seeing, and blind.
Do you remember in John, chapter 9, the man born blind, and the disciples
said, “Who sinned, this man or his parents?” And Jesus said, “Nobody.
This man was born blind for the glory of God.” God made it that way.
So the first point, and the point at which you must start any biblical
discussion is that conception is an act of God. An act in which 23
chromosomes from a father and 23 chromosomes [from a mother] come together
in a strip of DNA that makes a life. And at the moment of that physical
coming together God then, by the agency of His Holy Spirit, breathes a
soul: an immortal, eternal soul, that transcends the body (for it will live
forever though the body will die). And at conception then you have life.
To kill that life is to “play God,” and as serious an affront as it is
against the life itself, it is a more serious one against the God who is
the Creator. That is why it is the ultimate, the ultimate decline in our
culture. It is the ultimate evidence of the wretchedness of our culture.
It is the ultimate proof of how deep our atheism runs, that we kill life
that God creates. We have usurped the sovereign throne and we are now God,
and we will determine who lives and who dies. This is spilling over, my
friends, into euthanasia which is coming, you better know, like a hurricane
to wash away our whole old population because we are God now and we’ll
decide. This kind of atheism will bring the wrath of God and we will see
Well, Father, we thank You this morning that You have called us to a clear
understanding of these matters in Your Word. We are appalled, to put it
mildly, and we are saddened, and we are chagrined at the horror that occurs
in our own land. We thank You that in Your grace, we believe that You
gather these little ones to Yourself, that You collect them into Your
kingdom. We also thank You that You know from the very beginning that they
will never be born because they will be killed, and that does not exonerate
the murderer, and that you have planned for their future to be one of good
and not harm. We thank You that You can overrule all these things; and yet
Lord that does not expiate the sin for which people will be judged: those
who do those things, those who have them done to them, those who tolerate
We thank You also Lord that You forgive: You forgive the woman who had an
abortion, You forgive the man who did the abortion; You forgive the husband
who allowed it, the lover who wanted it. You forgive all our sins if we
come in the Name of Christ and ask forgiveness. We thank You that You can
wash and make as clean as snow that one who is stained by such a sin as
this, and you can give back peace for anxiety, and joy for sorrow, because
of Your forgiveness. We do pray today Lord that You will give us clear
convictions on this issue. Help us to know as a church, as Christians, we
cannot tolerate any kind of abortion, any kind of usurping of the Divine
Throne upon which You sit, any kind of violence, mass murder, without
having the ground cry out against us.
Help us to speak clearly on this matter and to take our stand where we must
take it. But Lord also we want You to give us compassion and kindness
towards those who have fallen into this sin, and may we bring to them the
saving gospel of Christ and His forgiving mercy. To that end we pray, and
even that Lord, somehow You will reverse all of this in this land, [and]
call us back to a righteous standard. Be with our leaders; give us leaders
who will move us in a direction that pleases You, not in a direction that
infuriates You. We ask for Your guidance, in Christ’s Name. Amen.
Transcribed by Tony Capoccia of
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