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Featured Is the Fetus a Human Being?

Discussion in 'Controversial Christian Theology' started by Adi-Buddha, Jul 16, 2018.

  1. SPF

    SPF Well-Known Member

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    Ubicaritas has posted a link to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's position on abortion. I must say, they actually get something spot on.

    "Human beings, created in God’s image as male and female (Genesis 1:27-28), are persons of intrinsic value and dignity."

    "All of life is a mysterious, awesome gift of God. Biblical passages express the God-given mystery of creation (Psalm 139; Jeremiah 1:5; Isaiah 40:26ff; Luke 1:41; Acts 17:24-25). God creates life, redeems it through Jesus Christ, and fulfills it in the coming of the reign of God. Personal human life is a part of this divine drama. God creates a human being through complex genetic, physiological, and relational developments.2 Human life in all phases of its development is God-given and, therefore, has intrinsic value, worth, and dignity."

    The first thing I would point out is that in the first quote, there is no distinction made between a human being and a human person. It seems the Lutherans accept what we already know, which is that all human beings, from fertilization are created in the image of God and possess intrinsic moral worth and value.

    And this really is the key point to the entire discussion over the morality of abortion. Our moral worth as humans is derived from God. We don't have to be a certain age to acquire moral worth and value. We don't have to reside at a certain location to acquire moral worth and value. And we also don't have to come into existence by a certain way in order to acquire moral worth and value.

    And if we possess inherent moral worth and value, from our very beginning, I honestly cannot come up with a morally valid reason for 98.5% of all the abortions committed in America which are done for convenience purposes.
     
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  2. ubicaritas

    ubicaritas sinning boldly

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    A great many are due to women being too poor to take care of a child. Given the cuts in the social safety net, this is understandable. This is not the fault of women, but a society that has rejected social responsibility in general.
     
  3. Hermit76

    Hermit76 You can call me Paisios Supporter

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    If you support the murder of children then we are not the same religion.
     
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  4. Hermit76

    Hermit76 You can call me Paisios Supporter

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    May you never have to experience the mourning that accompanies a miscarriage.
     
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  5. Aldebaran

    Aldebaran Star Power!

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    If they're too poor to raise a child, then they should make the decision to not do the thing that creates the child.
     
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  6. redleghunter

    redleghunter Abide Boldy my friend Supporter

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    It seems you give the definition from the Lexicon below, so will continue until then.

    The Pauline epistles give evidence that we have a material aspect and an immaterial aspect.

    The outer man or flesh/body being the material and the inner man or soul/spirit being the immaterial.

    2 Corinthians 4:16

    Ephesians 3:16

    Romans 7:22–23

    Given the contrast is always between the material and immaterial I come to the dicohtomist view, although recognize the trichotomist view as orthodox and historic as well.

    I did not address the issue as this is not a thread about the soul.

    More you are leaving out. Nephesh as well as pneuma (Greek) heavily depends on the context of the passage. To apply 'breath' as in breathing to all instances is error. Here's why.

    Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:26-27 NASB)

    Since God created humans in His image and according to His likeness, it begs the question is God some sort of human form? Of course after the Incarnation one sees the Son of God, God the Son comes in the flesh. However, at that instance in Genesis 1 when Adam and Eve are created and called in the image and according to the likeness of God, what does that imply?

    But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23-24 NASB)

    God is spirit. Our immaterial aspect is spirit according to the image and likeness of God. In this verse where Jesus says God is spirit, I don't think anyone would conclude that means God is "breath" or 'air.' The context matters as the Vine's Expository details:

    A. Noun. nepesh (5315), “soul; self; life; person; heart.” This is a very common term in both ancient and modern Semitic languages. It occurs over 780 times in the Old Testament and is evenly distributed in all periods of the text with a particularly high frequency in poetic passages. The basic meaning is apparently related to the rare verbal form, napash. The noun refers to the essence of life, the act of breathing, taking breath. However, from that concrete concept, a number of more abstract meanings were developed. In its primary sense the noun appears in its first occurrence in Gen. 1:20: “the moving creature that hath life,” and in its second occurrence in Gen. 2:7: “living soul.” However, in over 400 later occurrences it is translated “soul.”

    While this serves to make sense in most passages, it is an unfortunate mistranslation of the term. The real difficulty of the term is seen in the inability of almost all English translations to find a consistent equivalent or even a small group of high-frequency equivalents for the term. The KJV alone uses over 28 different English terms for this one Hebrew word. The problem with the English term “soul” is that no actual equivalent of the term or the idea behind it is represented in the Hebrew language. The Hebrew system of thought does not include the combination or opposition of the terms “body” and “soul,” which are really Greek and Latin in origin. The Hebrew contrasts two other concepts which are not found in the Greek and Latin tradition: “the inner self” and “the outer appearance” or, as viewed in a different context, “what one is to oneself” as opposed to “what one appears to be to one’s observers.” The inner person is nepesh, while the outer person, or reputation, is shem, most commonly translated “name.” In narrative or historical passages of the Old Testament, nepesh can be translated as “life” or “self,” as in Lev. 17:11: “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for [yourselves].…” Needless to say, the reading “soul” is meaningless in such a text. (Vines Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, location 12557 digital copy, W.E Vine, Merrill F. Unger, William White Jr.) (Also found at: Google Books)

    As clearly delineated above from Vines, the Hebrews did have a concept of an ‘outer appearance/outer person’ (shem) and an ‘inner self’ (nepesh). The apostles were Hebrews and rooted in the understanding of the Old Testament (OT) word meanings and concepts. The inner self vs. outer person was used often by the apostle Paul in his epistles (2 Corinthians 4:16; Ephesians 3:16; Romans 7:22–23). Therefore, we can at the very minimum look to the Hebrews of the OT and NT church having a dichotomist view of the nature of mankind. A material outer person and immaterial inner person or self.

    The Strongs definition of nepesh you gave was limited. Here's the full one FYI:


    Strong's Concordance
    nephesh: a soul, living being, life, self, person, desire, passion, appetite, emotion
    Original Word: נָ֫פֶשׁ
    Part of Speech: Noun Feminine
    Transliteration: nephesh
    Phonetic Spelling: (neh'-fesh)
    Short Definition: soul
    NAS Exhaustive Concordance
    Word Origin
    from an unused word
    Definition
    a soul, living being, life, self, person, desire, passion, appetite, emotion

    NASB Translation
    any (1), anyone (2), anyone* (1), appetite (7), being (1), beings (3), body (1), breath (1), corpse (2), creature (6), creatures (3), dead (1), dead person (2), deadly (1), death (1), defenseless* (1), desire (12), desire* (2), discontented* (1), endure* (1), feelings (1), fierce* (2), greedy* (1), heart (5), heart's (2), herself (12), Himself (4), himself (19), human (1), human being (1), hunger (1), life (146), life* (1), lifeblood* (2), lives (34), living creature (1), longing* (1), man (4), man's (1), men* (2), mind (2), Myself (3), myself (2), number (1), ones (1), others (1), ourselves (3), own (1), passion* (1), people (2), people* (1), perfume* (1), person (68), person* (1), persons (19), slave (1), some (1), soul (238), soul's (1), souls (12), strength (1), themselves (6), thirst (1), throat (2), will (1), wish (1), wishes (1), yourself (11), yourselves (13).
    http://biblehub.com/hebrew/5315.htm

    Context matters always. So the above is evidence we have a material aspect and an immaterial aspect. But what you are getting at is 'when' are we "endued" with the immaterial which goes back to God after we die (Ecclesiastes 12:7; 2 Corinthians 5:6-8; Philippians 1:23). Brings us to your next quote below I believe:

    Based on what I presented up post, your quote above assumes every instance of nepesh or pneuma must mean 'breathing' or 'breath.' This is not true as context matters on what words mean in the Hebrew and Greek.

    If we follow your model we would conclude that God is breath. Makes no sense.

    However, if you truly want to get technical you would have to look to the blood and not the breath:

    'For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.' (Leviticus 17:11 NASB)

    Interesting here in verse 11 'the life' by the lexicon is nepesh Stongs 5315.

    Which is just another piece of evidence we can't call nepesh 'breath' in every verse. Context matters.

    Just some general information on when there is a first sign of blood in the embryotic stage:

    In the human embryo, the first site of blood formation is the yolk sac.
    https://www.britannica.com/science/blood-cell-formation
    That is about at 23 days of development.

    As Christians, once again, we know our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was truly God and truly man. Truly man (human) as he shared every stage of life that we did or do.

    Ask the question....Was there ever a point in the development of Jesus of Nazareth where his truly human nature was 'soulless' or lacking the 'inner man?'
     
  7. Hillsage

    Hillsage One for Him and Him for all Supporter

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    All we're talking about here are 'WHAT IFS' just like your quote below;
    To which I might just say what if we were talking about Hitler, Stalin, Ed Bundy....the list goes on and on here too. Would the world be better off if their mom's would have dumped the 'bad seed' to begin with? I think you get the point. So just answer my 'WHAT IF' I, or even better you, had to make a wife/fetus decision. I don't have a black and white answer here, but you all seem to, so just answer for God and the others and tell me where WE'D stand in making that 'either or' choice which has real life application. I mean even the PRO LIFER sites admit that it is a small fraction of those in such a mother/fetus decision situation. OK, WHAT IF YOU ARE that small fraction....make your decision and let me know what God thinks about abortion and your decision.
     
  8. redleghunter

    redleghunter Abide Boldy my friend Supporter

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    You speak of Bonhoeffer as if he is an infallible magisterium.
     
  9. redleghunter

    redleghunter Abide Boldy my friend Supporter

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    Wow looks like we need to review the birds and bees here:

     
  10. Jennifer Rothnie

    Jennifer Rothnie Well-Known Member

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    Jer 8:8 isn't saying that the scribes were copying incorrect words or corrupting the actual text in their writing. Rather, they were handling the law incorrectly - emptying it of meaning, ignoring it, redefining it, etc. Scribes of this era weren't mere copyists, but teachers with a great deal of social power.
    "How do you say, We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us? See, certainly in vain made he it; the pen of the scribes is in vain." - Jer 8:8

    'Still born' would do violence to the Hebrew, since nothing in the verb beget/come forth or the noun child/son/fruit would demand that the child come forth dead. The term 'fruit/child come forth' doesn't say one way or another whether the child is born alive or dead, and as the rest of the passage shows both are a possibility. If no harm comes to the child, the man pays a fine. If harm comes to the child, such as the child being born dead, the man pays an equal penalty.

    Some Jewish interpreters and Rabbis of the past have restricted the life to that of the women, but not all. However, this interpretation was never based on the Hebrew text demanding that, but the social mores of their eras and their own personal take/interpretation of it. It is likely you encountered several of these Jewish writers or others later influenced by them. But there were different interpretations long before the 1970s, and the 'mother' restriction was actually a later view and was influenced by the common Rabbinical view that an unborn child did not have a soul until birth. Here are just a few:

    Septuagint (Greek translation of Hebrew 3rd and 3nd centuries B.C.,) Augustine (3rd to 4th cventury AD), Theodoret (5th century): The life/harm discussed is that of the child, not that of the mothers. If the child is born imperfectly formed/unformed (i.e. probably first trimester when it would be difficult to distinguish the child from other tissue, possibly second trimester) only a fine is paid. If the child is born formed (i.e. looking like a baby), but dead or maimed, the man pays in equivalent fashion.


    Philo: (20BC -40AD) "And with respect to these matters the following law has been enacted with great beauty and propriety: “If while two men are fighting one should strike a woman who is great with child, and her child should come from her before it is completely formed, he shall be muleted in a fine, according to what the husband of the woman shall impose on him, and he shall pay the fine deservedly. But if the child be fully formed, he shall pay life for life."{35). For it was not the same thing, to destroy a perfect and an imperfect work . . .

    Jarchi (11th century Rabbi,) Aben Ezra (12th century Rabbi) and Targum Pseudo-Jonathan (2nd-3rd century translation of Pentateuch,) Josephus (1st century AD): The harm/life applies only to the mother.

    John Calvin (16th century): Harm/life applies to both mother and child. A pentalty is paid if no harm comes to either mother or child.

    Masoretic text (10th century AD translation of Hebrew), Targum Onqelos (~1st centuryAramaic translation of Hebrew): Harm/life in the text may apply to either mother or child. Fruit/child is a plural, meaning 'offspring.'

    Etc. Suffice to say, that 'life/harm only refers to further harm to the mother' is hardly the only view that existed prior to the 1970s.

    The Hebrew means the child comes forth. And the passage descibes two men fighting and inducing the women to labor or passing the child - hence that is why some translators opt for 'born early.' She obviously did not go into labor naturally at the correct time. There is no way to get 'miscarriage' from these verses as the passage doesn't demand the child come out dead. Here are just a few verses dealing with 'coming forth' - none demand something be coming out dead.

    Genesis 1:24 "Then God said, 'Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind'; and it was so."

    Genesis 8:17 "Bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that is with you, birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth...."

    Genesis 15:4 "This man will not be your heir; but one who shall come forth from your own body...."

    Genesis 25:25-26 "Now the first came forth red, all over like a hairy garment; and they named him Esau. And afterward his brother came forth with his hand holding on to Esau's heel, so his name was called Jacob."

    Etc.

    But that doesn't demand everything that comes forth come out alive, either. There is one case in scripture where a verse shows that a child can potentially be born stillborn as well:

    Numbers 12:12 says, "Oh, do not let her be like one dead, whose flesh is half eaten away when he comes from his mother's womb!"

    "Coming forth" doesn't entail one state or the other. This is why the rest of the passage deals with if there is harm or not, a life lost or not. The child could be born alive (such as if the woman was struck late in pregnancy - even light blows can potentially trigger labor at that time) or born dead (such as if the child was not viable or if the blow itself harmed the child,) or die shortly after due to age or injury.
     
  11. redleghunter

    redleghunter Abide Boldy my friend Supporter

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    Yet your branch of denomination considers only one person's moral agency when there are two persons involved. The pregnant woman and the developing human being.

    What is your church's reason for ignoring the moral agency of the developing human being in the womb? To declare one moral agency superior to the other?
     
  12. redleghunter

    redleghunter Abide Boldy my friend Supporter

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    Yes those same laws accuse us. But that is not what we are discussing. We are called to walk as Christ walked to walk in the Spirit and not the flesh.
     
  13. redleghunter

    redleghunter Abide Boldy my friend Supporter

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    Sure it does. If one is in bondage to sin and death their 'moral compass' will reason on things of the flesh. If one is under bondage to Christ they are led by the Spirit.

    If your church leaves it to the conscience of the woman to decide whether or not to have a premediated termination of a pregnancy then the two moral agencies are either (1) in bondage to sin and death or (2) one who is in bondage to Christ and walks in the Spirit. How one decides sure does tell the story of the soul.
     
  14. redleghunter

    redleghunter Abide Boldy my friend Supporter

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    The human being developing in the woman's womb has no meaningful moral agency? Is it not a human being made in the Image and according to the likeness of God?

    We are on page 13 and the best you have come up with to argue the fetus or developing human being is not, well, a human being is because it does not look like one. Do you have a better assertion than that to deny dignity and respect for the life of a developing human being in the womb?
     
  15. SPF

    SPF Well-Known Member

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    Which is not life threatening. In those cases, they could give the intrinsically morally valuable baby up for adoption. Or, if they're Christians, they could actually have faith that since all new life comes from God, and that God has a plan for all of us, and that God promises to provide for our needs - they could show some faith and rely on Christ.

    But for someone to say, "Well, I'm in an economically difficult situation as I just lost my job, so I'm going to kill my 3 year old child because otherwise it'll be really tough on me" - We would consider that immoral and wrong because the 3 year old possesses moral worth and value.

    In the same way, the ELCA acknowledges that the unborn baby possess the exact same intrinsic moral worth and value as the 3 year old, and as the mother. Therefore, the only way to be logically consistent would be to say that abortions due to financial concerns are immoral.

    This is where we see the breakdown of consistency. According to the ELCA, there actually isn't a difference in moral worth and value. But then after laying down that principle, they go on to contradict it with their endorsed practices.
     
  16. redleghunter

    redleghunter Abide Boldy my friend Supporter

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    Of course she does and one is which she denies moral agency to her own offspring.

    Therefore, your position is the ability to make decisions determines our moral worth. Then this would preclude some of the mentally ill or mentally challenged.
     
  17. yeshuaslavejeff

    yeshuaslavejeff simple truth, martyr, disciple of Yahshua

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    Yahweh through Christ gave Ekklesia , not the worldly,
    the ability to resist the devil and to neither kill nor to abort life that is God Given.

    The worldly has no choice really - no matter what they do, it is wrong and sinful, apart from Christ and subject to the devil ("prince of the power of the air") .
     
  18. redleghunter

    redleghunter Abide Boldy my friend Supporter

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    The life of the woman isn't even debatable. Before Roe v Wade every state to include Texas had a clause to protect the life of the pregnant woman.
     
  19. redleghunter

    redleghunter Abide Boldy my friend Supporter

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    The very first instance recorded in history of 'pragmatic ethics':


    Genesis 3: NASB
    4The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! 5“For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

    I guess things never change in this fallen world. You and your church seem to want to embrace the fallen world hoping to get a few converts (Matthew 23:15)
     
  20. redleghunter

    redleghunter Abide Boldy my friend Supporter

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    Maybe that is because you are wrong and others may be right by seeing the moral evil is a terminated life that did not have to die?
     
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