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Verses

When does life start—at birth or prior to birth?

Hello T,

Thank you for contacting BibleAsk.

The Bible clearly teaches that life starts at conception and that God treats people as human beings even before they are born. The following passages show that a pre-born infant is a person—a human being in Gods eyes:

1- “If men fight, and hurt a woman with child, so that she gives birth prematurely, yet no lasting harm follows, he shall surely be punished accordingly as the woman’s husband imposes on him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if any lasting harm follows, then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe” (Exodus 21:22-25). This passage clearly considers the pre-born infant to be a human being. And to cause a unborn baby’s death was considered homicide punishable by death.

2- “As you do not know what is the way of the spirit, or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, so you do not know the works of God who makes all things” (Ecclesiastes 11:5). Here, Solomon regarded the unborn fetus as child.

3- “Clothe me with skin and flesh, and knit me together with bones and sinews? You have granted me life and favor, and Your care has preserved my spirit” (Job 10:11-12). Job equated his pre-birth with having life.

4- “For You have formed my inward parts; You have covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them” (Psalm 139:13-16). David wrote that his development as a human being was created by God, before his birth, while he was yet in his mother’s womb.

5- “Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying: ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; and I ordained you a prophet to the nations’ ” (Jeremiah 1:4-5). Jeremiah says that an unborn child is regarded as a human before birth.

6- “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace” (Galatians 1:15). God set Paul apart to do his apostolic ministry even while he was in his mother’s womb.

7- “Listen, O coastlands, to me, and take heed, you peoples from afar! The Lord has called me from the womb; from the matrix of my mother He has made mention of my name” (Isaiah 49:1). Isaiah was called as a prophet before He was born.

8-“Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy” (Luke 1:39-44). Elizabeth’s unborn child is represented as a living human being. And the term “baby” used to refer to the unborn John is the same term used to refer to Jesus after His birth (Luke 2:12,16).

There is no difference between a human baby before birth and that same human baby after birth. Those that claim that aborting an unborn child is OK because life begins at birth are biblically wrong. The Bible condemns abortion for God hates the “hands that shed innocent blood” (Proverbs 6:17). The Lord says, “[D]o not kill the innocent and righteous. For I will not justify the wicked” (Exodus 23:7). And for those that have been guilty of this sin and desire to repent, there is hope. The Lord promises, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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