No Longer Slaves
What a Beautiful Name
How Deep the Father’s Love for Us
Behold Our God
Fearfully and Wonderfully Made | Psalm 139:13-18 | Josh Valdez
I. He Crafted Us (13-16)
II. He Thinks About Us (17-18)
1. The unborn are unique persons
2. Personhood begins at conception
3. Personhood demands protection
The unborn are awesomely and wonderfully made. Because they are unique persons, their life begins at conception, and they are in need of protection. Christians all throughout church history have opposed abortion and fought for the lives of the unborn.
like a garment of needlework, of divers colours, richly embroidered with nerves and veins. What shall I speak of the eye, wherein there is such curious workmanship, that many upon the first sight of it have been driven to acknowledge God? Of the hand, made to open and shut, and to serve the labours and ministries of nature without wasting and decay for many years? If they should be of marble or iron, with such constant use they would soon wear out; and yet now they are of flesh they last so long as life lasts. Of the head? fitly placed to be the seat of the senses, to command and direct the rest of the members. Of the lungs? a frail piece of flesh, yet, though in continual action, of a long use. It were easy to enlarge upon this occasion; but I am to preach a sermon, not to read an anatomy lecture. In short, therefore, every part is so placed and framed, as if God had employed his whole wisdom about it. But as yet we have spoken but of the casket wherein the jewel lieth. The soul, that divine spark and blast, how quick, nimble, various, and indefatigable in its motions! how comprehensive in its capacities! how it animates the body, and is like God himself, all in every part! Who can trace the flights of reason? What a value hath God set upon the soul! He made it after his image, he redeemed it with Christ’s blood. ~ Thomas Manton
Should an artizan intend commencing a work in some dark cave where there was no light to assist him, how would he set his hand to it? in what way would he proceed? and what kind of workmanship would it prove? But God makes the most perfect work of all in the dark, for he fashions man in mother’s womb ~ John Calvin
An architect draws his plans, and makes out his specifications; even so did the great Maker of our frame write down all our members in the book of his purposes…..When as yet there were none of our members in existence, all those members were before the eye of God in the sketch book of his foreknowledge and predestination. ~ C.H. Spurgeon
There is no point at which a mere physical collection of cells turns into a person with a right to life. The various points that have been suggested—implantation, detectable heartbeat, detectable brainwaves, quickening, viability, and ability to feel pain—are significant developments, but none of them persuasively marks a transition form nonpersonhood to personhood. In these ways, science agrees with our previous argument from Scripture. But I would caution readers that is not fundamentally a scientific issue. The chief issue here is the personhood of the unborn, for that conveys a right to life. Personhood is a metaphysical, religious, theological, and ethical category, not a scientific one. There are no scientific observations or experiments that can detect a difference between a person and a nonperson. To reason from scientific premises alone to a conclusion about the rightness or wrongness of abortion is therefore to commit the naturalistic fallacy.
~ John Frame
That God should think upon him is the believer’s treasure and pleasure…When we remember that God thought upon us from old eternity, continues to think up us every moment, and will think of us when time shall be no more, we may well exclaim, ‘How great is the sum!’…It should fill us with adoring wonder and reverent surprise that the infinite mind of God should turn so many thoughts towards us who are so insignificant and so unworthy! What a contrast is all this to the notion of those who deny the existence of a personal, conscious God! Imagine a world without a thinking, personal God! Conceive of a grim providence of machinery! — a fatherhood of law! Such philosophy is hard and cold. As well might a man pillow his head upon a razor edge as seek rest in such a fancy. But a God always thinking of us makes a happy world, a rich life, a heavenly hereafter. ~ C.H. Spurgeon
Voices from Church History:
The Didache (AD 70-100)
Thou shalt not procure abortion, nor commit infanticide
Tertullian (AD 160-240)
In our case, murder being once for all forbidden, we may not destroy even the fetus in the womb, while as yet the human being derives blood from other parts of the body for its sustenance. To hinder a birth is merely a speedier man-killing; nor does it matter whether you take away a life that is born, or destroy one that is coming to the birth. That is a man which is going to be one; you have the fruit already in the seed.
In this matter the best teacher, judge, and witness is the sex that is concerned with birth. I call on you, mothers, whether you are now pregnant or have already borne children; let women who are barren and men keep silence! We are looking for the truth about the nature of woman; we are examining the reality of your pains. Tell us: Do you feel any stirring of life within you in the fetus? Does your groin tremble, your sides shake, your whole stomach throb as the burden you carry changes its position? Are not these moments a source of joy and assurance that the child within you is alive and playful? Should his restlessness subside, would you not be immediately concerned for him?”
Marcus Minicius Felix (?-250)
And I see that you at one time expose your begotten children to wild beasts and to birds; at another, that you crush them when strangled with a miserable kind of death. There are some women who, by drinking medical preparations, extinguish the source of the future man in their very bowels, and thus commit a parricide before they bring forth. And these things assuredly come down from the teaching of your gods….To us it is not lawful either to see or to hear of homicide; and so much do we shrink from human blood, that we do not use the blood even of eatable animals in our food
John Chrysostom (347-407)
Why sow where the ground makes it its care to destroy the fruit? where there are many efforts at abortion? where there is murder before the birth? for even the harlot you do not let continue as a mere harlot, but you make her a murderess also. You see how drunkenness leads to whoredom, whoredom to adultery, adultery to murder; or rather to a something even worse than murder. For I have no name to give it, since it does not take off the thing born, but prevents its being born. Why then do you abuse the gift of God, and fight with His laws, and follow after what is a curse as if a blessing, and make the chamber of procreation a chamber for murder, and arm the woman that was given for child-bearing unto slaughter?
Martin Luther (1483-1546)
How great, therefore, the wickedness of human nature is! How many girls there are who prevent conception and kill and expel tender fetuses, although procreation is the work of God. Indeed, some spouses who marry and live together in a respectable manner have various ends in mind, but rarely children.
John Calvin (1509-1564)
The fetus, though enclosed in the womb of its mother, is already a human being (homo), and it is almost a monstrous crime to rob it of life which it has not yet begun to enjoy. If it seems horrible to kill a man in his own house than in a field, because a man’s house is his place of most secure refuge, it ought surely to be deemed more atrocious to destroy a fetus in the womb before it has come to light.