Abortion is a much debated topic in today’s world. There are extremes on both sides of the argument and it seems that no one listens to each other’s side. In this article, we are going to attempt to answer three basic questions surrounding the practice of abortion. These questions are, “Is having an abortion a sin?”, “Is having an abortion a sin in the case of rape or incest?”, and “If abortion is a sin, why is there murder of babies in the Bible?”. These questions come from both sides of the argument and we are going to look at these questions from a biblical standpoint to answer them. Let’s begin.
The first question we have is, “Is having an abortion a sin?”. If you as a woman or couple, decide to have an abortion, is that considered a sin according to God? This question must first be answered by making sure we realize that a child in the womb is in fact a human being. If you do not believe a child in the womb is a living person, this answer will not make sense to you. We can say that an unborn child in the womb is a live person because there are verses that validate that point (Exodus 21:22, Luke 1:41-44) by using the Hebrew and Greek word for child used elsewhere in the Bible to describe a living child out of the womb. No distinction is made in wording between a child in the womb and a child out of the womb. In Hebrew, the word for child used in Exodus 21:22 is, yeled, and it is the same word used for “child” or “children” throughout the entire Hebrew Bible. Therefore, whether it is a child in the womb or a child out of the womb, the child is a child, a living human.
Since we have that basis, we then go into the question at hand on level ground. Since the child inside the womb is alive, and you intentionally abort or take away the life of that child, even though they are in the womb, it is considered a sin. This is because when you take the life of another human being, it is considered murder, and murder is a sin because it directly breaks a command of God (Exodus 20:3). In response to this, some might claim that it is the right of the mother to do as she wishes with her body and because of this right, they can take the life of an unborn child away because the baby is in their body and they can do what they want with their body. This logic, however, is not biblical. No where in the Bible will one find a passage about a mother having a right to take away the life of their child, in fact, you find the opposite. Psalm 127:3 says, “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” To take the life of a child is to take away God’s reward. Therefore, in light of the question, “Is aborting a child a sin, knowing that it is alive?”, the answer is yes. Aborting a living child in the womb is a sin because life has been taken and that is considered murder, and muder is a sin.
The second question is also a valid one in light of the context it holds. The second question we will answer is, “Is having an abortion a sin, even in the case of rape or incest?”. We previously laid out that having an abortion is a sin in light of God’s view, but is there an exception for rape or incest? If a woman becomes pregnant against her will and she wants an abortion, can she have one and it not be considered a sin? This question must not be taken lightly. These instances for women are traumatic and can cause lasting psychological damage. There is no doubt that rape and incest is condemned in the Bible (Deuteronomy 22:25-27). There are also examples of rape in the Bible (Genesis 34:2, 2 Samuel 13). In these examples, we see no evidence that God condoned the abortion of babies, even in these instances. In Hagar’s example in Genesis 16, God actually tells Hagar that her son would be blessed. Nowhere does God suggest that having an abortion in these cases is acceptable. In the case of rape, so many factors play into decision-making when this has occured. Even though these are traumatic and damaging situations, God does not provide us with evidence to say that it is accpetable to have an abortion in the case of rape. Instead, God simply says that the child would be blessed.
The third question we will discuss can cause confusion and misinterpretation if not taken in context. Our third question is, “If abortion is a sin, why is there murder of babies in the Bible?”. We can see many examples in the Bible where babies, born and unborn, are killed and God does not stop it. Some of these examples are 2 Kings 8:12;15:16, Hosea 9:16;13:16. This does not mean that God was the one doing the killing. In any of these examples, there is no evidence to suggest that God was the one doing the killing and no evidence that He was killing women and children and the unborn just because. In these instances, warfare is the common factor in all of them. In ancient warfare, the death of civilians was common as the war often took place in the cities where the civilians were. This does not mean that God approved of the killings and He was smiling as they were dying. These deaths were a result of human cruelty on other humans. In some passages, yes, God does say that women and children are going to die as a result from warfare. But, Yahweh is not a God who just kills at will and has no regard for humanity. Humans are the ones who often have no regard for other humans, resulting in pain and death.
There are some passages though, like the flood in Genesis or the fall of Jerusalem which God ordains and God brought through Himself. Many times in the Old Testament, God commands His people to go to certain nations and wipe them out or He allows other nations to do the same to His own people. This is all because of God’s judgment and wrath. Israel and these other nations rebelled against God with warning after warning. God was telling them what would happen if they kept rebelling and they did not listen. So God, who is Sovereign, executes judgement on nations and people that rebel against Him as He has every right to do so. The result oftentimes was the death of women and children and the unborn. This is not because God’s wrath was directly pointed at them, but it was the result from war and the result of poor human choices.
You may be asking why God never stopped any of the violence and never stopped any of the killing of the unborn? This is a valid question, yet has a simple answer. God doesn’t stop everything in the world because He gave us free will (Deuteronomy 30:19). Since we have free will, we have the ability to make our own choices and we as humans have a reputation of not making the greatest choices. Thus, we have the choice of abortion. This does not mean that God approves of abortions and it does not mean that God has no regard for life. He has so much regard for life in fact that He gave us free will. Not only that but Jesus came to save humanity from death and destruction and the choices we make. (John 3:16-17). A God who has no regard for His creation doesn’t send His Son to save it. He sent His Son because He loves His creation and wants to save it.
Having an abortion is a sin, but it is not unforgiveable. This act is just like any other sin we would commit and if we confess, God will forgive us (1 John 1:9) because He wants everyone to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4). The act of taking a life is a sin, but Jesus gave His life to save you from sin.