Politics & The Bible–Abortion

Posted: November 23, 2010 in Uncategorized

Chapter 6 of Wayne Grudem’s new work Politics & The Bible (Zondervan, 2010) is entitled “The Protection of life” and it opens with a discussion of abortion. 

Grudem argues that the Bible consistently asserts that God is the sole author of life (Psalms 139:13) and that such life begins at conception. 

He points to a number of passages but none more powerful than Exodus 21:22-25, which reads:

22 “When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman’s husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judges determine. 23 But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.

Grudem points out that the law treats both the mother and preborn child as a person and requires a stiffer penalty than called for when a person is inadvertently responsible for the death of an adult.

He goes on to argue briefly from medical research but does little in the way of arguing from experience.  For example, why does it upset us when someone dies at a young age? We mourn because the person was robbed of future experiences.  Why don’t we apply this to principle to preborn children?

Grudem does engage in some philosophical arguments for life while handling the various objections to the pro-life position.  In one instance, he quotes a fairly well-known exchange between a medical school professor and a student recorded by Randy Alcorn in his brief book Prolife Answers to Prochoice Arguments.  The professor asked the student what they would do if they were confronted with the following scenario–a woman is pregnant with her fifth child but she has TB, the father has syphilis, the first child was blind, the second died, the third was both deaf and dumb and the fourth also had TB.  The student answered, “I would advise an abortion.” The professor replied, “Congratulations…you have just killed Beethoven.”

Grudem goes on to aptly deal with a number of other common objections to protecting preborn children.  For those interested in digging in deeper, however, I would recommend The Case for Life by Scott Klusendorf (Crossway, 2009). 

Grudem will also deal with euthanasia, the death penalty and self-defense.  We will deal with that in a few days.  Until then, grace and peace.

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