When does a human life begin, at conception or at birth?

Author: BibleAsk Team


Human Life – Conception or Birth?

Scientifically speaking, human life begins at conception when an egg and a sperm unite to form a being that possesses a new and different string of DNA (coded information, the blueprint for a human), that is, different than the parents. At this point, the genetic makeup of the individual is determined. This new person has the capacity of development and growth. No difference exists between a pre-birth baby and a post-birth baby besides growth. Both are at different stages of human growth.

The scriptures teach that life begins at conception in the womb and that God takes an active role in creating it: “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret” (Psalm 139:13, 15).  The Lord knows who every person is, even before they are born (Jeremiah 1:5). He sets some apart for His service before they are born (Galatians 1:15).

In the Bible, the unborn was called a baby even before he was born: “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… For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy” (Luke 1:41, 44); “So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son” (Luke 2:6-7). So, according to the Bible, whether a person is in his pre-birth developmental state, or in a post-birth developmental state, that person is still considered a baby!

Because the fertilized egg is a living human, people have no right to tamper with it. The Lord does not give us the authority to destroy innocent human life. Destroying the life of the unborn person (abortion) is considered murder. And the Lord commands, “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13) for life is sacred (Genesis 9:5, 6).

In fact, the Lord in Exodus 21:22-25 gives the death penalty for a person who causes the death of an unborn. “If men fight, and hurt a woman with child, so that she gives birth prematurely, yet no 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 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).

Solomon, the wisest man, said this about destroying innocent life, “These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood…” (Proverbs 6:16-17). People rationalize killing the fertilized eggs saying it is not fully human when the only difference between the embryo and the adult is only the time to develop.

Before the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, embryos were accepted as unborn persons. Sadly, today, the laws have changed and the unborn is no longer considered a human being. People don’t realize that when they destroy the process of fetal development, they are actually destroying a living being and taking life from a person.

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In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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