We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
United States of America Declaration of Independence
What is an “unalienable“ right? Dictionary.com says it means, “not transferable to another or not capable of being taken away or denied.” It is a slightly archaic spelling of “inalienable.“ A right that is unalienable, then, is one that is inherent in the individual by reason of his existence. It is non-transferable, meaning it can’t be given away, nor can it be taken by another. Even if the effect or benefit of that right is denied or somehow destroyed., the right continues. The Giver of the right is God, and the one who denies that right will answer to Him at some point.
As a practical matter in the governments of men, the first of these rights, the right to life, poses some thorny issues. By the terms of our definition, no one has the right to take a life, nor can the living person give away his right to live. This presents legal and moral dilemmas. Nowhere is this more evident than when dealing with the question of abortion. The issue here is still, as always, who decides?
Debate has raged since 1973 over when life officially begins. Legally, it’s a big deal, and the marker has shifted with the times and the jurisdiction. The Supreme Court justices will get to chat with God about it at the Great White Throne. Biblically, we know that God deals with humans as beings subject to Him while still in the womb. (Psalm 139:13,16, et al.) The precise mechanisms are not clear. Scientifically, it is clear that when the sperm and the egg combine, the new cell will proceed to full term unless something detrimental occurs to abort the process. One scientist recently wrote “All of biology starts at the time of fertilization.” A few thoughts for consideration:
- Life is not given by the sex act. The sex act is the mechanism given by God to institute a new life. Along with this authority delegated to us, we receive responsibility for the consequences of our actions. The decision to open the door for a new life is designed to be taken before copulation, not after. Life is given by God at the moment of conception. The choice for life has been made. Once a life has begun, who decides when it should be terminated?
- God gives us clear guidance concerning how reproduction should take place. (Hebrews 13:4, et al.) He is also clear that taking a life is not permissible. (Exodus 21:22-25) The responsibility of having sexual intercourse is immense. Every heterosexual encounter carries with it the possibility of bringing a human being into existence. That human being will live forever somewhere, Heaven or Hell. Sex has eternal ramifications.
- Problems arise that demand mercy and truth to meet together. In those rare instances where the mother’s life is unduly threatened by the birth process, there are very real and difficult questions to be answered. The same is true in the cases of rape and incest. The question is, who decides? If I believe there is a God-given right to life, and that the unborn is innocent in the matter, then the answers are difficult. Someone must speak for the interests of the child.
- As Christians, we stand unwaveringly for the unborn child’s right to life. In the political process we do what we can to influence the system. My question is, can we make a stronger effort to impact the issue in other ways:
- Can we take a firm stand that sex is for married couples only? The idea seems archaic in our national culture since the ballyhooed sexual devolution of the 1960’s. I have come to cringe at the terminology that glosses the issue: I am “with” so and so, or she is my “partner.” And since simple cohabitation was insufficient to satisfy our lusts, we now have phone apps so we can easily locate hook-ups without hang-ups. Lord, help us! Sex outside of the marriage bed is sin. Eliminating pregnancies (Yes, even Christian ones) out of wedlock would certainly cut deeply into the abortion totals.
- Can we boldly declare that men are responsible for their behavior? I am old enough to remember a day when a man was expected to “Do the right thing” if his girlfriend got pregnant. I would go a step further: How about you keep your pants on and don’t impregnate her in the first place. It is not “love” to sully the innocence of a woman in order to satisfy your lust. Quit it! If you do stumble, and she gets pregnant, it is yours to take care of, period. Grow up.
- Can we step up to help those women who bravely decide not to abort? Many are left to raise children alone. Surely the child is innocent, and the woman has made a decision for life that will cost her dearly. If she desires to marry, finding a man with the ego strength to raise another man’s child may be difficult. If she is not already well-educated, then learning marketable skills will be more complicated. Her financial future is clouded by the “inconvenience” of a new life. Surely in our pagan culture, James’s “widows and orphans” would extend to these. (James 1:27)
Mercy and truth have met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed.Psalm 85:10 NKJV