The following essay, written by Benjamin VanVechten, won First Place in the High School category of the 2019 Life Issues Contest. It was first published in the Aug/Sept/Oct 2019 issue of the Lifelines newsletter of Lutherans for Life of Michigan.
During World War I, the Ottoman Empire exterminated 1.5 million of its own citizens. During World War II, over six million Jews were systematically murdered by the German Nazi regime. In the last forty-five years, over 50 million of our own citizens have been slaughtered with our government’s approval—through abortion. The world shouts its sinful convictions on abortion from all sides, hoping to wear Christians down. Surrounded, we turn to God’s Word for strength in our defense against this senseless crime. John 6:68 tells us, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” In a time when attacks rage against the value of life, God’s Word is the only incorruptible source of truth.
In the beginning, God created human life: “Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature” (Genesis 2:7). Unlike the animals, which were spoken into existence, the first man was individually crafted by God. This personal creation shows the value God instilled in human life. He crafted us from the dirt on the ground, and then transferred His breath to us. What an amazing testimony to God’s consecration of life! God still forms each baby in the womb. With loving care, He places infinite value on each new life. Conversely, the world attempts to cheapen life’s value. In addition to denying God’s creation of life, society denies any value in unborn life. Instead, the world places merit in the woman’s choice regarding that life. A woman may feel that the life is precious to her, or she may decide the new life is an inconvenience. Regardless of opinions or convenience, God’s Word shows us the truth. The psalmist declares, “Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his…” (Psalm 100:3).
Another manifestation of life’s inherent value is our Savior’s conception and birth. God sent Jesus Christ to be born of a woman. Conceived by the Holy Spirit, Jesus developed from a zygote into an embryo, and through all the natural processes of pregnancy. He remained the Holy Son of God and fully man through it all. Jesus’ presence in the womb sanctifies it and testifies to the value of unborn life. Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” The world assigns value to unborn life according to the situation surrounding the pregnancy, insisting value comes from the desire of others for that life. The world denies any value that God has placed upon each unborn child. This wavering opinion of value is dangerous, and we must again turn to God’s Word for truth. In Isaiah 49:16 God declares, “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…” Jesus sanctified the womb when he entered it, and every child who enters it is cherished by God.
God has clearly pronounced the blessings for protecting life, and the punishments for taking innocent life. Life is always a gift, even in inconvenient times. “Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him” (Psalm 127:3). Granting us this wonderful gift, God holds us responsible to uphold and revere that gift. “…I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days…” (Deuteronomy 30:19–20). God also threatens punishment on those who do not value life. He instituted the Fifth Commandment, “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:14). In Deuteronomy 27:25 God says, “Cursed be anyone who takes a bribe to shed innocent blood.” Here God shows his unwavering commitment to defend innocent life and his harsh judgment for those who break his law and shed innocent blood.
God’s unique creation of human life, Christ sanctification of the womb, and the Bible’s myriad decrees for life—all provide authoritative affirmation from God for the defense of unborn life. Instead of relying on sinful human reason, we turn to God’s Word for unyielding support for life.
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