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Abortion: What Does It Mean to Be Alive?
For in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, “For we also are His descendants.” —Acts 17:28
As a nation, the US remains divided over the issues surrounding abortion. There are massive amounts of literature and commentary on the subject, and it has been analyzed from virtually every angle possible. If what I am bringing to the conversation has been said before, it needs to be said over and over again as a witness before God and society. Sadly, one must be very alive to address the issue of “pro-life” versus “pro-choice”; tragically, too few are. Indeed, one must be truly alive to contemplate what life means and to address the question of protecting life here on earth or passing it off into eternity.
Early in the spring of 1969, having returned to my life in God after seven years of exploring the world system’s “reality,” I encountered the Scripture of Acts 17:28. It was and still is the most profound assertion regarding the nature of reality I have ever heard. I am willing to say that I know about such things. After fifty-plus years of regularly pondering Saint Paul’s assertion, I am convinced that it remains beyond any capacity to be even close to fully appropriated. It is more than “heavy”; it is transcendently elementary as it sits in the core of all human existence. It cannot be trumped, and to speak of life or death, abortion or birth without wrestling with it is absurd and fatally presumptuous. These lengthy and complex words merely “bounce off” this Scripture, and I remain a child asking questions “above my pay grade.”
Simply put, all existence and reality exist because God exists and arranged life, energy, and material substance beyond Himself. Birthed in His imagination, to be alive belongs totally to Him and those to whom He has extended life. Ultimately, we can neither create nor destroy life; all we can do is handle or mishandle it. He is the source. However, the way we handle our life, or anyone else’s, brings us back to our ultimate fate and moment-to-moment aliveness and conscious perception. All pain, all joy, and everything else in between resides in our stewardship of life and those we touch. We are now slightly prepared to discuss the issue of abortion.
Abortion is the act of a mother unlawfully taking something away from their child that does not belong to them, i.e., the child’s life. It belongs to God, and all those closely related to that life have a secondary relational claim. Everyone who has read the Old Testament knows that a person’s life could not be taken unless they were legally guilty of a capital crime or were taken in war. To do so unlawfully would violate the commandments, “Thou shalt not kill” and “Thou shalt not steal.” An unborn child is guiltless of any crime. They are in their mother at their mother’s behest and God’s sovereign choice. In some cases, the direct threat against a mother’s life warrants the careful decision to take a child’s life. Pregnancy by rape presents an even dicier discussion. All life is in God’s hands and, therefore, is His to determine. For us to touch this requires the utmost care. The decisions around abortion are the most ultimately revealing; they show our proper fear of crossing God’s will, ignoring His choice to create that life, and the presumption and ignorance of the limited authority we humans are actively living within.
The most recent public dialogues of the US Supreme Court were highly enlightening in terms of the core issues the court deems most compelling. From their point of view, they stack up as 1) a woman’s right to care for her own body, 2) the conflicting tension between the rights of the personhood of the mother and the child, and 3) the logic of the past decisions of the court itself. Of note, of course, is that God—the source of all life—is not involved in the deliberation. That would bring “religion” into the equation, and thus worldview. But the true core of all society and its legal-social infrastructure is not discussed politically by intelligent secular people. The more “enlightened” modern society becomes, the further it gets from reality, true rationality, and the eternal building blocks that connect it.
Have I changed anything by these observations? That is unknown to me. Have I elucidated any of the real issues? That is equally unknown. What I have done, at least from my view, is to add to the voices crying in the wilderness for us to start our decision-making from the real sources of reality which should humble us beyond words. That, my friends (and those to the contrary), is…