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Featured Troubling Bible passages on abortion

Discussion in 'Controversial Christian Theology' started by mcarans, Feb 11, 2019.

  1. mcarans

    mcarans Member

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    There are various troubling Bible passages which are related to abortion.

    God will punish women by aborting their fetus through a miscarriage.


    “Give them, O LORD–what will You give? Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts.” (Hosea 9:14)

    God teaches the use of a bizarre ritual using cursed “bitter water” to abort a fetus who was conceived through infidelity. (Numbers 5:11-21)

    God orders Moses to kill every Midianite woman who was no longer a virgin. (many of these women would obviously have been pregnant) (Numbers 31:15-18)

    God promises to destroy the infants of Samaria and rip open the stomachs of pregnant women.

    The people of Samaria must bear their guilt, because they have rebelled against their God. They will fall by the sword; their little ones will be dashed to the ground, their pregnant women ripped open. (Hosea 13:16)

    God allows the pregnant women of Tappuah to be ripped open.

    At that time Menahem, starting out from Tirzah, attacked Tiphsah and everyone in the city and its vicinity, because they refused to open their gates. He sacked Tiphsah and ripped open all the pregnant women. (2 Kings 15:16)

    God commands the killing of infants and nursing babies.

    Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey. (1 Samuel 15:3)

    God repays your enemies by destroying their babies.

    Happy is he who repays you for what you have done to us. He who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks. (Psalms 137:8-9)

    The above is from a nonreligious website, but the passages quoted are all from the Bible.

    Those passages, taken at face value, seem to show that God does not care about fetuses if they are produced by parents that don't worship Him. In fact He seems to be actively hostile towards their survival. The equivalent of the pregnant Samarian women under Christianity would be non-Christian women.

    I'm interested in thoughts about the above passages specifically in relation to abortion not a general debate on abortion.
     
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  2. Daniel9v9

    Daniel9v9

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    Context is everything. We can't go by these verses in isolation - they need to be read and understood in light of Scripture.

    Rather than going in and dealing with all of these verses individually, it's important to remember:

    1. God is supremely good. He does not create, bestow or impute moral evil upon man. He does not tempt man to do evil.

    2. God is supremely righteous. He hates evil and punishes sinners. God's punishing of evil is in and of itself a good thing and perfectly in line with His good and righteous character.

    3. Mankind is made in the image of God, therefore any killing or termination of human life is evil.

    4. Mankind, after the fall, is naturally evil; children of wrath and spiritually dead. Only worthy of condemnation.

    5. God is supremely good and merciful, not sparing His only Son, Jesus Christ, that we may live through Him.

    The point is, no one cares more about life than God. If we take away from reading the above verses that God is somehow hostile to human life or fetuses, as you say, we are sorely mistaken. Basically, if we have little or no appreciation for what sin is - the depth and severity of it - we will also have little regard for God's punishment of sin, and consequently a poor foundation for understanding God's mercy.

    In short, God judges all things according to His goodness, holiness and righteousness. The above verses have to do with punishment of sin, not about abortion as a human choice, and neither about infants being of lesser value. If we have a clearer idea of the nature of sin, the verses will make more sense.

    As a side note, it can be useful to see how the early Church understood abortion. The Didache reads: "Thou shalt do no murder; thou shalt not commit adultery"; thou shalt not commit sodomy; thou shalt not commit fornication; thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not use magic; thou shalt not use philtres; thou shalt not procure abortion, nor commit infanticide; "thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's goods"
     
  3. mcarans

    mcarans Member

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    I'm not sure I understand how to apply what you've said in relation to those Bible verses. Are you saying that the terminations in those Bible verses are evil or are the verses incorrect or are non-Christian children evil and therefore should be terminated?
     
  4. Daniel9v9

    Daniel9v9

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    First of all, the verses are true and they don't testify to God as evil. Quite on the contrary, if we study them more closely and in their right context, we can understand that God is good.

    Most of these verses have to do with God's plan for Israel, but in two different senses:
    On one hand, God is punishing the nations who rejected Him and who treated His people with contempt. Because of their evil deeds, God is giving their land over to the Israelites.

    On the other hand, God is punishing members of His own people who rebel against Him. Under the Old Testament Law, it was often the job of Israel execute punishments of evil, wherever God commanded them to. This is what set them apart from other nations. That is why they had things like exclusion of members, stoning and the "bitter water" as a test for unfaithfulness. These are God-commanded punishments of sin, carried out by the Israelites as agents or instruments of God.

    What the verses have in common is that they are all punishments for rebelling against God. It's a severe punishment given the severity of the offence.

    Let me illustrate with a brief example, using one of the verses - Numbers 5:11-21:

    This is not to be interpreted as some strange ritual, magic or abortion right. This has to do with punishment for unbelief, selfishness and unfaithfulness to God's Word and His promise. Basically, if a woman was guilty of unfaithfulness, the punishment would be two-fold: (1) She would lose the right to children, which in the ancient world is not to be understood as a kind of human right, but a terrible shame and a great loss (even socially and economically). (2) More significantly, she would be cut off from partaking in the promise of Christ, as the Israelites were to bring forward the person of Jesus Christ as the Saviour of the world.

    There's a lot I can say about this and I'd love to expand more - but I don't want to hassle people with overly lengthy posts. :)
     
  5. mcarans

    mcarans Member

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    Thanks for your reply. The equivalent to the people who are rebelling in those passages under Christianity would be non-Christians. On what grounds would you discourage a Christian who says that it is their duty to follow the example of those passages today and as instruments of God, violently punish the sins of non-Christians?
     
  6. Daniel9v9

    Daniel9v9

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    Yeah, in short, they are punishments for rebellion; unbelief, unfaithfulness and distrust in God and His Word. This applies to both believers and unbelievers alike. Though for the believer, Christ has taken upon Himself our punishments.

    Your other question is good and without going too in-depth, I would summarise it as such:
    1. Christ fulfilled the Law and He alone is the judge. Romans 12:19 Matthew 25:31-46
    2. We are to follow the example of Christ. eg. Turn the other cheek. Love our enemies and pray for them. Not throw the first stone. Lay down our lives for our neighbour. Show mercy. Be gentle. Do all things in love, through faith in Christ.
     
  7. mcarans

    mcarans Member

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    Since Christ is God, why do you think God's character so radically changed from the Old Testament to the New (from "their little ones will be dashed to the ground, their pregnant women ripped open" (Hosea 13:16) to, as you put it, "Turn the other cheek. Love our enemies and pray for them. Not throw the first stone. Lay down our lives for our neighbour. Show mercy. Be gentle. Do all things in love, through faith in Christ.")?
     
  8. Daniel9v9

    Daniel9v9

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    God is the same always. He is the unchanging God, and so His character or law hasn't changed. Jesus Christ is the fullness of God in flesh, and so He certainly agrees with everything of the Old Testament, for the Old Testament were brought forth with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, which is God.

    Is Christ, then, contradicting Himself? No. :)

    Christ did not come into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Himself. However, the important thing to remember is that, even though God's grace, love and forgiveness are clearly made manifest in the person and works of Christ, God is still righteous and will still punish all evil. That is, whoever rejects Christ has no excuse and cannot stand before God, but will be judged. There God's wrath remains. John 3:36 reads: "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him."

    I think the modern conception of Christ as this meek and mild philosophical or ethical teacher is not very accurate. Remember that Christ was also zealous for God. John 2:13-17

    God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit, our one and same Lord hates evil, and at Christ's coming at the end of the age, He will judge all the living and the dead. Those who believe in Christ will be saved. Those who reject Christ are condemned already.
     
  9. StrivingFollower

    StrivingFollower Member

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    In the OT there's a lot of overaggressive language. Threats that are meant to draw attention, not to be expected absolutely. For example many people weren't punished by the stonings God threatened them with for certain sins. Why? Because that stoning threat was meant to inspire repentance. It was a more formal repentance for the big sins. You'd be judged by some priests. When God asked for a total destruction of a people from his Israelites, it was the threat of it, not the actual thing.

    They would maybe go in with the goal to kill all those who didn't take the warnings seriously, but the enemy would run away. God just wanted them off the land. That's why many people that you'd expect to be exterminated continued appearing in other stories. Also, these people lived in desert climates, to try to kill everyone was actually a sign of mercy. Because women and children would just starve to death on their own.
     
  10. mcarans

    mcarans Member

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    If there is nothing wrong in the OT and with following its examples and laws, why did Jesus need to come and tell people "Turn the other cheek. Love our enemies and pray for them. Not throw the first stone. Lay down our lives for our neighbour. Show mercy. Be gentle"?
     
  11. RaymondG

    RaymondG Well-Known Member

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    I believe that these passages depict spiritual things which the carnal mind cannot comprehend.

    I think it unwise to use scripture to determine the winning side of arguments.......as many can find a verse or translation that will seem to be on both sides.

    In the flesh, no man can please God....and if we look closely into these passages.....we can find the way to life......the good news.
     
  12. mcarans

    mcarans Member

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    How can we understand the good news if "many can find a verse or translation that will seem to be on both sides." and how do you see the good news in those passages?
     
  13. RaymondG

    RaymondG Well-Known Member

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    The carnal mind cannot understand the things of the spirit....for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can it be. The more we chase after the truth, the faster It runs away from us. We must be still.......and ye shall know the truth...and the truth shall make you free.

    Behold I stand at the door and knock......If we listen we will hear it.......open the door and let Him in.
     
  14. mcarans

    mcarans Member

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    Ok, since I presume you have opened the door and let Him in, can you explain how you see the good news in those passages?
     
  15. Daniel9v9

    Daniel9v9

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    This is getting into a different topic - about God’s Law, the purpose and function of it, and the relation of the OT to the NT - but to give you the short version in the words of Paul: “Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.”

    Basically, the law contains the perfect will of God, which testifies to His supreme goodness, righteousness and holiness in all things. No one is able to keep the law perfectly, except the one perfect man and God in flesh, Jesus Christ. Everything in the Law and Prophets (the OT) anticipates and points to Christ, and He, through His own person and works fulfilled those promises. He was perfectly obedient to the Law, died and raised to life for our sins.

    Now, although the Law is fulfilled by Christ, we still uphold it, as written in Romans 3:31. However, that does not mean obedience to the ceremonial or judicial laws required of the nation of Israel, prior to the revealing of Christ. These laws served the function of setting Israel apart from other nations and ultimately culminated in Christ. Now that is complete, though the moral law remains.

    What we today can learn through the Law is how sinful we are and how much we need Christ. It also serves as an unchanging moral authority in our lives.

    Notice the freedom we have in Christ with respect to keeping the law as explained by James in Acts 15.
     
  16. mcarans

    mcarans Member

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    Would you say that the passages in the OP fall under moral law and how do you see them pointing to Christ?
     
  17. CGB3928

    CGB3928 New Member

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    Most of those references are in the context of War.

    Obviously if God is waging War against other nations through Israel then pregnant women their unborn child would go the same route as the men, destruction.

    So specifically in relation to Abortion/Roe V Wade here in the U.S, clearly any abortion performed would not be under the context of a War. Women by choice go and have their pregnancy terminated.

    You do not see how the situation circumstance and consequence would be viewed very differently by God in those verses you referenced from a Roe v Wade allowed abortion today in America?
     
  18. Sparagmos

    Sparagmos Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps they are not actually the same person...
     
  19. mcarans

    mcarans Member

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    So the children and fetuses were just collateral damage that God could not prevent?
     
  20. 1213

    1213 Disciple of Jesus

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    I think this is about lawful and unlawful killing. Unlawful killing is murder, but for example death penalty is not a murder. God has right to decide how long person can live, because He has given the life. People don’t have same right, because people are no the source of life. This is why I think we should not murder anyone.
     
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