Long before abortion became the social and religious rallying point that it has today, the debate about "when life begins" raged in religious circles all over the world. Such debate has produced three views on when life begins.

1. At conception
2. At birth
3. Somewhere in between

Viewpoint #3 is totally subjective and has no Biblical validity at all. The debate then, centers around the first two views, which both claim to have Biblical support.
However, in either case, the immorality of abortion is not erased.

Any Christian who recognizes the morality system designed by God for the entire human race will acknowledge the fact that abortion is immoral. But what is the nature of that specific immoral activity, indeed, what is the nature of immorality in general? Immorality is the creature violating the design of God for how mankind is to interrelate with man and with his physical environment as revealed in the Bible.

Abortion, generally speaking, is immoral because it is the creature (man) assuming for himself, a divine prerogative over God's moral design for procreation. Divine morality includes control, management and utilization of our physical environment so that man might be enabled to cope with the "curse" without removing either its presence or its spiritual impact.

Accordingly, man has been enabled to make fantastic advances in medical science which further enable him to save lives. It is in this context that abortion would be a "moral" choice - to save the life of the mother.

But it is argued, is this not the murder of one to save another? Perhaps.

But similar choices are made all the time without any fanfare except the emotional trauma of those specific people involved. For example, decisions to save one "Siamese twin" and forfeit the other, instead of losing both (and that occurs AFTER birth).

What then of the choice to save the mother and abort the baby?
Why not just let God "have His way" and whatever happens happens?
BECAUSE God has given us the medical technology to "save lives!"
Why not let measles claim whatever lives it claims? A practice not to vaccinate is killing people because it is failure to use the medical knowledge that God has allowed man to learn! Why operate on cancer and hearts, which is just as much saving of life as is abortion to save the life of the mother.
So, abortion IS a viable option in some situations, but as a system of birth control on demand, it is irresponsible and immoral.

But what of the mother whose life is saved at the expense of her unborn baby?
What can ease her conscience? Perhaps a clear understanding of what the Bible teaches on these issues.

1. We must recognize that all souls are covered by the blood of Jesus. Any soul that is unable to choose for Christ is "graced out" by God and is saved. Example: the baby that died at 2 Samuel 12:23, "But now he has died, . . .I shall GO TO HIM, but he shall not return to me."

See doctrine of ATONEMENT (Unlimited)

2. We must, with as much objectivity as possible, given the very emotional subject that it is, determine from the Bible exactly WHEN the soul enters into the body.

A. If the soul enters the body before birth, then our "saved" mother is potentially emotionally distraught for years to come, unless she can understand the moral principles involved and the reality of point #1 above.

B. If the soul enters the body at birth: then our "saved" mother will be comforted in knowing that a "murder" did not take place in order for her to be alive.


Let me add a very important factor. This is ONLY an issue for Christians!
The unbelieving world will continue to do what it wants to do regardless of moral or spiritual impact. Furthermore, it is not the mission of the church to "moralize" the world. The job of the church is to teach the gospel and make disciples of those who get saved. That does not mean we are to be silent on moral issues. Quite to the contrary, we should speak up on all issues that are taught in the Bible whenever we get a chance. But our "warfare" is a spiritual warfare in and for the minds of people. It is not a "physical" conflict and should never be taken to the realm of the physical for its defense or promotion (2 Cor. 10:3-6). By all means participate in the civil arena for the promotion of moral standards, but the "rallying point" for Christianity is the CROSS OF CHRIST - not abortion, slavery, civil rights, homosexuality, the environment, taxes, etc. It is never proper to interfere with the freedom of other people by using physical force or intimidation. Those who physically attack abortion clinics, doctors, nurses, or patients are likewise immoral and are acting outside of God's will.



When God created Adam, He first constructed a physical body out of the chemicals of the soil, and then breathed into that body the breath of the spirit of lives (neshamah ruach chay). As a result of this process, man BECAME a living soul (nephesh chayah). It is the creation of a soul (nephesh) and the placement of that nephesh into the physical body that constitutes physical life. In the case of Adam, first the body was constructed from the chemicals of the soil, and then the soul was created and placed into the body. In the case of the woman, first the body was constructed from Adam's rib, and then by implication, God would have breathed into her nostrils the breath of lives and at that time, she too became a living soul. God then bestowed upon Adam and Eve the power to create physical life, but not soul life. The act/process of human procreation does not produce a soul. God continues to maintain sovereign control over conception, birth and life, and is the one who creates the soul and places it into the physical body at birth.

The bible teaches that man is an entity containing a body, a soul and a spirit (1 Thes. 5:23; Heb. 4:12).

At Genesis 1:26-27, we are given a summary statement concerning the creation of both the man and the woman. In Genesis chapter 2, we are given the mechanical details of how God created both the man and the woman. Verse 2:7 relates the creation of the man's body, and verses 21-22 relate the creation of the woman's body.



A. The man: Gen. 2:7

1. Formed: yAtsar = molded
2. from the dust: Aphar = chemicals
3. of the ground: adAmAh = soil
4. This physical body was fully constructed BEFORE the soul came into existence (nostrils).

B. The woman: Gen. 2:21-22

1. Rib from Adam: actual physical part
2. Built: bAnAh means to construct something. In this case it was the constructing of materials into another and different body.

3. But still in the same image as Adam. 1 Cor. 11:7
That is, although different (female), yet the body was a counterpart to Adam's and was fully constructed through the BANAH process, and probably required the life-giving step of breathing into the nostrils the breath of lives, just as in Adam's case.

C. The creation of man's soul is described at Gen. 2:7b.

1. And breathed into his nostrils: this indicates that a body had already been prepared and that a "life-force" is given directly from the essence of God.

2. The neshAmAh: breath or life-force

3. of lives: plural of chay (chayyim) to indicate BOTH soul AND spirit life. Both are involved based on Gen. 7:22, "neshAmAh of the spirit of lives."

4. And man became: hAyAh as a qal preterite, means to BECOME something he was not before.

5. A living soul: nephesh chayyAh - a soul "entity" in a body.

6. And as suggested earlier, this is probably the same procedure used after He built the body of the woman.

D. Animals are also nephesh chayyAh as is indicated at Gen. 1:20-24.
The difference between man and animal is the presence of the neshAmAh of lives, which is called in Gen. 7:22, "the neshAmAh of the spirit of lives," where it refers ONLY to mankind.

1. NeshAmAh and spirit (ruach) are both used to indicate the life-force of man. Job 32:8; 33:4; 27:3; 34:14; Is. 42:5; 57:16.

2. Nephesh refers to the soul "entity" which contains the essence of character. Prov. 23:7

3. The word, spirit (ruach), is also used to indicate the spirit "entity" which reflects the character of the soul - as personality. Job 15:12-13.

4. Use of terms:

a. neshAmAh = life-force (Job 34:14)
b. spirit (ruach/pneuma):

1. life-force: Job 34:14
2. Entity of personality: Job 15:12-13
3. See Topic: the HUMAN SPIRIT

c. nephesh is used to indicate the entity of character; the REAL you (Prov. 23:7).


To amplify the use of the word nephesh and psuche for the human soul, I make the following observations.

A. Used to indicate a living person: (nephesh) Gen. 46:15, 18, 26-27 (psuchā) Acts 27:37.

B. The physical body:

1. Lev. 11:43-44; Job 18:4; Ps. 105:18
2. Related to sickness: Psalm 106:15
3. Physical needs: Pr. 25:25; 27:7; Is. 29:8; Lam. 1:19

C. To indicate a dead body: Lev. 19:28; 21:1, 11; 22:4; Num. 6:6-7; 19:11; Jer. 2:34

D. A person's physical life:

1. Ps. 6:4; 17:9, 13: Mat. 2:20
2. Presence in the body: Gen. 35:18; 2 Sam. 1:9; 1 K. 17:21-22
3. Out of the body: Mat. 10:28; Rev. 6:9; Lk. 16:19-31; 23:43


When therefore, does the soul enter into the body? When does the fetus become a real human being? Is it at conception? Is it at birth? Or is it at some time in between those two events? The process at the creation of Adam, although not conclusive in itself, suggests that there is a fully functional body created and then a soul is created when the breath of lives is placed within that body (Gen. 2:7).

At Isaiah 42:5, we learn that it is God who personally gives breath and spirit to the people on the earth. This suggests that it is not part of the natural physical mechanics of procreation (conception and fetal development).

Hebrews 12:9, suggests that our human father is the father of our flesh, while God is the father of our spirit.

"Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live?"


And there are some interesting passages which indicate that God does not provide that "soul" life until birth.
At Job 3:11-16, Job contrasts 2 situations which he wished could have happened in order to avoid his present adversity.

1. The first one: He wishes that he had died AT BIRTH.
Job 3:11-12,

"Why did I not die at birth, Come forth from
the womb and expire? "Why did the knees receive me,
And why the breasts, that I should suck?


In other words, when he was born WITH soul life via that birth, why did he not just "up and die?" Then his soul would have been where the other souls go at death.


Job 3:13-15,

"For now I would have lain down and been quiet;
I would have slept then, I would have been at rest,
With kings and {with} counselors of the earth,
Who rebuilt ruins for themselves;
Or with princes who had gold,
Who were filling their houses {with} silver.


When the soul of the believer left the body through physical death (in an Old Testament context), it went into paradise, which was located in Sheol, there to await the resurrection of the body at the Day of the Lord.


2. The second situation: He wishes he had not even been born. Job 3:16

Or like a miscarriage which is discarded,
I would not be, As infants that never saw light.

Here, we see what was commonly believed in that ancient culture AND by a man who was "blameless and upright; fearing God and turning away from evil." Job. 1:1

The word, miscarriage, is nāphel which comes from the verb nAphal, which means to fall. A nāphel then is that which has FALLEN out rather than that which has actually been birthed. The word only occurs three times in the Old Testament (Job 3:16; Ec. 6:3-5 and Psalm 58:9).

Incidentally, verses 17-19 describe the condition of the dead, not the condition of the miscarriage.

Solomon tells us what his culture believed about the miscarriage (nāphel) at Ecc. 6:3-6

If a man fathers a hundred (children) and lives many years,
however many they be, but his soul is not satisfied with good things,
and he does not even have a (proper) burial, (then) I say,
"better the miscarriage than he, for it comes in futility
and goes into obscurity; and its name is covered in obscurity.
"It never sees the sun and it never knows (anything;)
It is better off than he. "Even if the (other) man lives 1000 years
twice and does not enjoy good things - do not all go to one place?"


The idea that all go to one place refers to the disposition of the physical body and not the soul. According to Ec. 12:7, at birth, the body goes to the dust.

This is very much different from the attitude toward a baby who dies. 2 Sam. 12:22-23

And he said, "While the child was alive,
I fasted and wept; for I said, 'Who knows,
Yahweh may be gracious to me, that the child may live.'
"But now he has died; why should I fast?
Can I bring him back again?
I shall go to him, but he will not return to me."

This clearly means that the baby has gone to the place of paradise where the believers go; where David himself will go when he dies. And this is not simply the disposition of the physical body that is in view, for it is a source of comfort and joy to David.

Another factor is that even in light of His foreknowledge, "knowing" completely all the details of one's life long before he is ever conceived, God views the actual beginning point of that life as the moment of birth.

Isaiah 49:1

Listen to Me, O islands, And pay attention, you peoples from afar.
Yahweh called Me from the womb;
From the body of My mother He named Me.

This is referring to the Messiah in his humanity and that the Messianic commission actually began at birth, although He did not officially manifest Himself until 30 years later.

Isaiah 49:5

And now says Yahweh,
who formed Me from the womb to be His Servant,
To bring Jacob back to Him,
in order that Israel might be gathered to Him

This is still speaking of the Messiah, and indicates that He was formed from the moment of physical birth to accomplish the Messianic purpose. This can be compared with Hebrews 10:5-7, where the Messiah says "when He comes into the world," A body you have prepared for me and I have come to do your will.

Luke 1:15

"For he will be great in the sight of the Lord,
and he will drink no wine or liquor;
and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit,
even OUT FROM his mother's womb.

That is, from the time that he is born, John will have the empowering ministry of the Spirit upon him, but not while he is IN the womb.

There are many passages that people use to suggest that there is soul life in the womb, but none of them actually prove it, and most of them do not even refer to the fetus. The most common argument comes from Luke 1:41-44, but it is not the baby in the womb that is experiencing joy. It is Elizabeth's joy and the baby has a physical reaction based on the emotional and spiritual stimuli on Elizabeth's body. Medically speaking, this is called reflex motility.
See Commentary on Luke 1:41ff.


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İRon Wallace, http://www.biblefragrances.com. Anyone is free to reproduce this material and distribute it,
but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's consent.


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