Scripture & the Sanctity of Life: Bible Study



Genesis 1:1 "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."
Revelation 21:1-2, 5 New creation: "I am making everything new."
John 1:3 Jesus identified as Creator: "Through Him all things were made . . ."
2 Corinthians 5:17 "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation."

God as Creator is fundamental to the Christian faith. We worship Him (Isaiah 45:9; Romans 9:21; Psalm 95:6), and recognize His authority to rule and govern our lives based on His prior work of creation. Any attack on God as Creator is an attack on His authority and His worthiness to be worshipped.

Satan's Attempt to Usurp God's Authority as Creator

Jesus came to save, restore, and renew life. Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy. John 3:16-17; 8:44; 10:10

The most dramatic picture of Satan's declared war against the offspring: Revelation 12:1-17
"Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring - those who obey God's Commandments . . ."

Demonic worship in the Old Testament often involved child sacrifice. Jeremiah 19:4-5; Psalm 106:36-38 (See God's reaction in Ezekiel 16:20-22: "You slaughtered My children... ")

The births of both Moses and Jesus were accompanied by a massive slaughter of the innocents. Satan has generated widespread infanticide in an attempt to eradicate the people of God. Exodus 1:15-15; Matthew 2:13-18

"All who hate Me love death." Proverbs 8:36b

The Humanity of the Pre-born in the Old Testament

God had plans for us before we were born. Jeremiah 1:4-5; Isaiah 49:1, 5

David discusses the spiritual state he was in before he was born (his personhood began at conception). Psalm 51:5

Jacob and Esau were distinct individuals before birth. Genesis 25:22-28

Scripture gives identity to unborn human life. Psalm 139 - notice the spiritual relationship the psalmist has while in the womb "The psalmist surveys his life in four stages: Past, present, future, and before birth, and in all four refers to himself as 'I.' He who is writing as a full-grown man has the same personal identity as the fetus in his mother's womb." (John R.W. Stott)

Samson's mother is told to alter her diet while pregnant because Samson, the child in her womb is to be consecrated unto the Lord. Here we have a direct concern for the life of the preborn. Judges 13:2-5

These verses do not distinguish between "potential life" and "actual life" when referring to the pre-born. Genesis 16:11; Isaiah 46:3-4; Psalm 22:9-10 (Notice in Psalm 22:10. "From my mother's womb you have been my God.")

Old Testament Law and the Sanctity of Life

Human life is valuable. Genesis 1:26-27; Psalm 8:4-5

There is a serious punishment for anyone who takes an innocent human life. Exodus 20:13; 21:12.

R.C. Sproul writes. "The punitive measures against murder underscore the gravity of the crime precisely because of the value of the victim. Life is regarded as so sacred that it must never be destroyed without just cause."

Homicide is "an implicit attempt to murder God." Genesis 9:5-6

R.C. Sproul comments, "This test is not a prophecy. It is not saying simply that those who live by the sword will die by the sword. Rather, the passage is a divine mandate for capital punishment in the case of murder. The significant point is that the moral basis for capital punishment in Genesis is the sanctity of life. The Biblical ethic is that because man is endowed with the image of God, his life is so sacred that any malicious destruction of it must be punished by execution. Note that this Scripture implies that an assault against human life is considered by God an assault against Himself. To murder a person is to attack one who is the image-bearer of God. Homicide is regarded by God as an implicit attempt to murder God." (Abortion: A Rational Look at an Emotional Issue, p 33.)

The pre-born are protected in Old Testament Law. Exodus 21:22-25

Permitting the murder of innocents pollutes the land. Numbers 35:33-34

Believers are charged with defending life. Proverbs 24:11-12

God hates those that shed innocent blood. Proverbs 6:16-17

Cursed is the man who accepts money to kill an innocent person. Deut. 27:25

One of the sins of Ammon that resulted in God's wrath was killing pre-born children. Amos 1:13

It is worse to kill the innocent in a protected place. 2 Sam. 4:11: "How much more - when wicked men have killed an innocent man in his own house and on his own bed - should I not now demand his blood from your hand and rid the earth of you!" (John MacArthur comments in a sermon. "How can you tell me that isn't a description of an unborn child. A righteous person in his own house upon his bed . . . Sure it means a good man, but if it means a good man it certainly would imply a protected child.")

The Humanity of the Pre-born in the New Testament

Paul was set apart from his mother's womb. Galatians 1:15

Jesus is spoken of in the womb. Matthew 1:20-21 (Note: The incarnation is the most compelling Christian apologetic for the sanctity of unborn human life. To argue that life does not begin at conception must lead one to assume that the human Christ was at one point a "potentially human" Christ. Those who say that life does not begin at conception are in direct opposition to the Apostles' Creed and in almost certain agreement with an early heresy, "adoptionism." which claimed that Jesus became God at some later point in life. The early church refuted this, and affirmed in the Apostles' Creed that the eternal Son became incarnate in Mary's womb, choosing the phrase, "conveived by the Holy Ghost." That which was conceived by the Holy Ghost was not an "it," a "potential human," or a "blob of tissue." It was our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.)

John the Baptist is spoken in the womb. Luke 1:15-17 - Filled with the Holy Spirit from the womb. Luke 1:39-44. John's reaction to the pre-born Christ entering the room. (Note that Luke 1:36 tells us Elizabeth was six months along when Jesus was conceived in Mary's womb. Verse 56 tells us that Mary stayed with Elizabeth for three months until Elizabeth gave birth to John the Baptist. This means that Mary was literally in the first weeks or even days of her pregnancy when she approached Elizabeth, was called the mother of the Lord, and carried the embryo Christ who elicited John's leap in the womb.)

The Greek word brephos (lit. "babe" or "baby") is used to describe the pre-born and the born. Born: Luke 2:12, 16; Acts 7:19; 1 Peter 2:2. Pre-born: Luke 1:41, 44.

The Value of Human Life in the New Testament

Human life is more valuable than animal life. Matthew 6:26; Matthew 10:29-31

God's work invests human life with value. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; John 3:16

Jesus cared for people who had a poor "quality of life" rating. Matthew 4:23-25; 8:1-3; 9:1-8

Jesus valued little children. Matthew 18:1-14

We should have a Biblical attitude toward poor children. James 1:27; 2:5-9


The first charge given to men and women was to be fruitful and multiply. Genesis 1:27-28

Children are a blessing. Psalms 113:7-9; 127:3; Deuteronomy 7:12-14

"Spiritual adoption" is a model for physical adoption. Ephesians 1:5; Romans 8:15;9:4-8; Galatians 4:4-5

Jesus loved children. Matthew 18:1-14; 19:13-15

The "Hard Cases" and Christian Decision-Making

One basis for Christian action is love. Matthew 22:36-40 (See also John 13:34-35, Romans 13:8-10, and Galatians 5:14.) Can a decision in favour of abortion, by Christian standards, ever be an act of love?

We are to care for and respect the disabled. Exodus 4:10-12; Leviticus 19:14; Isaiah 45:9-12

Regarding abortion in the case of rape: Children should not be put to death for the sins of their fathers. Deuteronomy 24:16

Incest and adultery in Christ's bloodline: God can redeem even the tragic events of sin. Genesis 38 (incest of Judah and Tamar); 2 Samuel 11 (adultery between David and Bathsheba)
Responding to "freedom of choice:" Christians should not use freedom to cover-up evil. 1 Peter 2:16

We do not have an "unqualified right" to our bodies. Ezekiel 18:4; 1 Corinthians 3:16-19; 1 Corinthians 6:18-20; 2 Corinthians 6:16-17.
"Do not follow the crowd in doing evil." Exodus 23:2
Daniel includes himself in confession, though he did not personally participate in the sin mentioned. Daniel 9:4-11

"Blood-guilt" is on a land that sheds innocent blood. Numbers 35:33; Leviticus 20:2,4,5; Deuteronomy 21:7-8

We have a responsibility to speak out. Ezekiel 33:8; Proverbs 31:8-9

We should respond to needs with ministry (not just prayer). Luke 10:25-37

Encouragement for Those Facing a Crisis Pregnancy

"Blessed is the man who perseveres under trail, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him." James 1:12

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." Genesis 50:20

Life Principles

1. God created life, making man in His own image and likeness to rule over the rest of creation. (Genesis 1:26-28)
2. God loves and cares for human life, including the pre-born, transferring His image to them. (Psalm 139)
3. Jesus, in His incarnation, identified fully with humanity, sanctifying conception through His participation in it. (Hebrews 2:14)
4. Man was made to live forever. Death is the result of, and the punishment for, sin, and was never offered by God as a solution to problems. (Genesis 2:15-17)
5. Human life is precious to God. Its wanton destruction is forbidden by God and invites His wrath. (Genesis 9:5-6; Revelation 21:8)
6. Child sacrifice is particularly abhorrent to God, combining the shedding of innocent blood and idolatry. (Psalm 106:37-38)
7. Man is commanded by God to reflect His view of human life by protecting it from wanton destruction. (Proverbs 24:11-12)
8. Man is obligated to use law to reflect God's love and justice, providing alternatives to the destruction of human life. (Jeremiah 22:1-3; Matthew 22:37-40)
9. Children are a gift from God for blessing the family, the Church and the world. (Psalm 127 and Psalm 128)
10. God is in control of the "hard cases," using them for our good and His glory. (Exodus 4:10-12; Isaiah 45:9-12; John 9:11-13)

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