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What the Bible Says about Life Before Birth

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With all the news regarding Planned Parenthood lately, I wanted to write what the Bible says about life before birth. There are a number of passages...

Psalm 51:5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

This passage has personal pronouns referring to David's unborn life. He refers to himself as a sinner before birth. He traces his sin back to when he was conceived. He is regarding himself as a person at conception (see also Judges 13:3-5; Luke 1:30-35).

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Exodus 21:22-25 "If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman's husband demands and the court allows. But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise."

This passage is showing that both the mother and unborn child are treated as persons and both deserve the full protection of the law.

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Psalm 139:13-16 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

David speaks of himself as a person when he was in his mother's womb. Wayne Grudem says that 'inward parts' refers to the innermost parts of a person, including his deepest inward thoughts and emotions (Politics According to the Bible, p. 158-159).

Luke 1:39-45-- In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.  And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!  And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord (ESV)."

Click here for some of my thoughts regarding this text.

Genesis 25:22-25 The children struggled together within her, and she said, "If it is thus, why is this happening to me?" So she went to inquire of the LORD. And the LORD said to her, "Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger." When her days to give birth were completed, behold, there were twins in her womb. The first came out red, all his body like a hairy cloak, so they called his name Esau.

The Hebrew word for children, ben, is also translated as son. These babies in the womb were identified as boys before birth, and they had human characteristics as they were struggling together. 

Here are some other passages that speak of the unborn as persons (Job 31:15-18; Psalm 22:9; Hosea 12:3; Genesis 38:27-30).

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As mentioned above, the Bible teaches that life starts at conception. The Bible also teaches that life is valuable and must be protected.

Some of you reading this may have had an abortion. I can't imagine what you're going through. The good news is that we are not Jesus and can't be Him. The good news is that Jesus has forgiven you and loves you and will offer you hope and satisfaction (John 6:35; 10:10). No matter what any of us have done or not done, if we confess our sins, Jesus will forgive us and offer us eternal life when we die (John 3:16) and hope as we live (John 10:10). 

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