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Jamie Johnson
December 14, 2011

Conceived by the Holy Spirit

The first Advent was in the context of an unwed pregnant teenager whose betrothed was not the father. By modern standards, such a context would be deemed a disaster and abortion would be an option. However, the Baby - yes, the Person - in her womb was conceived by the Holy Spirit. The Baby was the Lord Jesus Christ. The Apostles' Creed mentions Jesus Christ being conceived by the Holy Spirit. This echoes Scripture.

Oh no! He's brought up the abortion debate. First, forget the politics! I don't care about politics for the topic of this article. Persons have turned politics into something to diametrically oppose one another without discourse rather than simply looking at truth to determine reason. I am writing to give the reader things to think about and s/he can take them or leave them.

First, the Bible supports that life begins at conception. Matthew 1:18-21, NASB, states the following:

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, 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 the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins."
(emphasis mine)

Luke 1:26-35, NASB, states the following:

Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And coming in, he said to her, "Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you." But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. The angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end." Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?" The angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.
(emphasis mine)

Jesus is from ever-past (John 8:57-59, John 10:30 and Hebrews 13:38), but His Incarnate existence began at conception as is clear from the aforementioned Scriptures.

Second, unborn babies are persons. The above verses mention the unborn Jesus as a child. And in addition to Jesus' Incarnate life beginning at conception, consider John the Baptist. Leaping in the womb the unborn John the Baptist is clearly considered to be a person:

When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. And she cried out with a loud voice and said, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy.
(Luke 1:41-44, NASB, emphasis mine)

And even looking strictly at etymology consider the following about the word fetus:

The word foetus (plural foetuses) is from the Latin foetus ("offspring", "bringing forth", "hatching of young"). It has Indo-European roots related to sucking or suckling, from the Aryan prefix bheu-, meaning "To come into being". (SOURCE, emphasis mine)

Third, the Bible does not condone abortions. And as mentioned above, since babies are persons, abortion can be likened to murder. Let's consider the context of men murdering babies in Scripture. There's the sacrificing of children to the false god Molech (Leviticus 18:21, Leviticus 20:1-4 and Leviticus 23:10). Herod, in his mad tirade to get rid of Jesus as a threat to the throne, slaughtered babies (Matthew 2:16-18). And Pharaoh did similarly (Exodus 1:22). Fundamental is one of the Ten Commandments: "You shall not murder" (Exodus 20:13, NASB).

Fourth, there is the argument that if children die in infancy and one follows Zwingli's argument, the infant would go to Heaven due to God's foreknowledge and election. This could be applied towards the aborted. And I agree with the argument. In those two scenarios, the common denominator is the little one going to Heaven, again implying that a fetus' death is just as a baby's death, that a fetus has a soul and is indeed human. However, those who are lax in supporting protection of the unborn may imply that aborting a fetus is sending him or her to Heaven based on Zwingli's argument. While I believe Zwingli's argument supports the aborted babies going to Heaven, it in no way condones abortion (or shrugging the slaughter of the unborn). If one used Zwingli to justify not protecting the unborn, then taken just a bit further, that thinking could be supportive of murdering babies in a nursery. That would be evil.

Fifth, there is the over-popularized argument where someone claims that s/he is personally against abortion, but does not want to impose or legislate morality. While I understand some of the intention here where we don't want the government telling us how to live or worship, the exception to lawfully governing behavior is as long as it does not result in extreme circumstances such as in death. There are laws against killing my neighbor and driving drunk since it could also kill someone. There is a moral basis since murder is wrong. If one kills a pregnant woman and the fetus dies, it is deemed a double homicide. Plus if you are personally against something, but are unwilling to act based on it, how deep is your conviction? Further, if it doesn't directly affect you or your family -- and therefore, you deem there is no need to stand in support of protecting the unborn -- isn't that selfish?

In conclusion, if you support abortion (or if you say you don't support it but refuse to take a stand to protect the unborn), what is the basis of your argument? To deny the personhood of a fetus is to ignore what is implied in Scripture. Jesus' human life began at conception, just as any other human life. Unborn babies are persons, which takes little effort to glean from Scripture. The Bible does not condone abortions and if a fetus is a person, then abortion is murder. And in looking at the murder of babies in Scripture at the hands of men, the contexts point to evil motives. To argue for abortion (or argue against or shrug off protecting the unborn) in that infants go to Heaven is like arguing for the murder of infants who are born, taken further, to support murder. To claim to personally be against it, but not wanting to legislate any morality (despite death being involved) reveals shallow conviction about the issue, wiggling around Scripture or denying parts of it, denying the moral basis of law, and promoting selfishness. So, politics aside (there are non-political means to help prevent abortion by the way), how can a Christian support abortion with a clear conscience?

He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born to a Virgin, suffered, died, was buried, and rose again. Do you belive that? Do you trust that? If you have had an abortion, do you trust that He can forgive you and that you are not beyond His reach? He loves you!

It's a messy world out there. The context of the first Advent was a mess, but aren't you glad Mary and Joseph didn't abort? During this current season of Advent, we read headlines and still see that this world is a mess. The context as we await His return, the final Advent, is also messy. Look for Him. And while looking and waiting and being ready, may we embrace values and truth that transcend politics, culture, and trends. Choose life that you may live.

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