In ancient Rome, during the time of Jesus, abortion was not only common but widely accepted. There were, of course, opponents to abortion including both Christians and non-Christians. Since abortion has been in practice dating back even to the Old Testament, we can’t say that it wasn’t relevant during the times when scripture was written. What then do we make of what the Bible says?
The dividing line
People generally find themselves on either side of this topic. Terms have been popularized by both sides to support their stance. These terms include “pro-family”, “pro-life” and “pro-choice”. Since not a single one of these is accurate, I’ll omit them from this article. What you’ll find as you talk to people on either side is that the differentiating factor is the answer to the question, “when does life start?”. For the sake of this article we’re going to assume that you believe life starts at conception. There are scriptures used by both sides to support their views but we’ll stick with the aforementioned assumption. Because of that we find ourselves opposed to abortion.
The source of truth
Let’s look to scripture to see what it has to say about abortion. Psalm 139:13-16 is often used by those who oppose abortion and it says, “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.” This verse is extrapolated to support the belief that life starts at conception by saying God knew you before you were formed in the womb.
On the contrary, proponents of abortion use Exodus 21:22-23 which says, “And if men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she has a miscarriage, yet there is no further injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman’s husband may demand of him; and he shall pay as the judges decide.” Since the penalty for murder is death and this verse mentions a mere fine for an abortion, this is used to say that God views an unborn child differently than He views a born child.
Though there aren’t many verses which speak specifically about abortion, it is clear that abortion is a sin. Which is really all that matters for the rest of this article. Since we made a compelling enough case that abortion is a sin we can move on to talk about why Jesus didn’t have much to say on the topic.
What did Jesus say? (WDJS?)
In short, nothing. Nothing specific anyway. Why is that? Is it because abortion was not an issue at the time? No. Is it because Jesus doesn’t value life (which starts at conception)? No. I never really thought about this question enough to really find out why Jesus doesn’t talk about something which seems like a cornerstone issue. Jesus did, after all, have a lot to say about the poor and the lost.
Of all the missions people have had throughout the course of history, Jesus’ was by far the most important. He didn’t have much time while he was here but in that time He gave us the perfect example of godliness and righteousness. He spent a great deal of His time in relationships with people as well as teaching those who followed him (especially the disciples). In his teachings were specific instructions on how we ought to live. These instructions included what we ought to be passionate about, what we ought to do with our time, and how we ought to treat others.
Just because Jesus didn’t say much regarding a topic doesn’t mean it’s not important. However, He does seem to draw a line to separate the things which are important from the only thing which matters. Jesus’ message was that we accept Him as our personal Lord and Savior, and that we tell others about Him. Knowing that, can we understand why Jesus didn’t say anything about abortion? Yes, if we don’t try to overcomplicate the gospel.
What about abortion?
This is where I draw a conclusion. Before I do that I would like to give some context as it relates to my personal views on abortion. I’ve always felt that abortion is wrong. I’ve even been quoted as saying it’s one of the most important topics as it pertains to Christians. I’ve even voted for presidential candidates based on their views regarding abortion.
This was all before I began to question my own beliefs. In doing so I came to have a much better understanding of God’s desired relationship with us. I have also, however, come to have a very confused understanding of the church here in the US. I use the term church since it represents the body of believers. The church can be wrong. In fact, history shows that the church has made many mistakes. But that’s okay, it’s what Jesus died for — our screw ups. Christianity, however, cannot ever be wrong since it’s rooted in the truth. It’s a shame that the church is often viewed as a representation of Christianity…we suck at that.
Oh yea, my conclusion. It became very clear to me that Jesus was so passionate about saving souls that there were lots of sins which he did not spend a lot of time on. In fact, the sins He did spend a lot of time speaking about were the sins which could get in the way of someone coming to have a relationship with Him. Shouldn’t we then also be so passionate about telling others about Jesus that the minor details don’t consume us or our faith? Of course!
Don’t get me wrong, abortion sucks. But Jesus would have been more concerned about the mother, father, doctor and anyone else involved than the baby itself. Why? Perhaps because the baby received salvation. I don’t know, but maybe it’s also not for me to figure out. It’s my human nature and my emotion which causes me to have such passion against abortion. It’s not my faith, nor should it be yours.
We can all learn a thing or two from Jesus.