It's uncommon for me, as you know if you've been a part of Grace Church, to break up a series of studies and Bible books to talk about sort of issue-oriented messages, but from time to time the demand is very great. I want to say that I`m not under some illusion that you don't know how to respond to abortion because those of you who have been under the teaching of the Word of God surely you do already understand the biblical principles. But it is important for us to clearly articulate these in one setting so that we have a resource which we can provide to other people and so that we can crystallize in our minds the issues that are at stake.
Now someone might say, "Well, how does this fit into a worship service. After all, aren't we here to worship God?" And it is precisely because we are here to worship God that this is the right place to talk about this. In worshiping God we are affirming one great truth among many and that is that God is sovereign, that is to say that He is the King of the universe. He is the ultimate King of Kings, Lord of Lords, potentate, ruler, decider of fates, determiner of destiny. His will and His will alone is the ultimate issue. God is in charge, to put it simply.
The problem of abortion is primarily defined as a blow struck against the sovereignty of God. And so, in sort of a reverse fashion by looking at the issue of abortion, we will indirectly affirm again the sovereignty of God which, of course, is one very important element in our expression of worship. And as I shall try to demonstrate to you from Scripture this morning, the primary evil of abortion is its attack on the sovereignty of God. It is a direct and overt attack on God. And we'll see how and why as we look together to this subject and to Scripture this morning.
Now if you have read at all newspapers, magazines, or been alerted to the media in any way over the last few years, you've become increasingly aware that America presently is highly committed by law and by practice to mass murder. We have made that formal commitment and we are carrying out the execution of that commitment on a wholesale fashion. It's really a very, very stark transition from the America of history, a nation known as a nation of freedom and liberty and privilege and rights, a nation where justice was the protector of the people, a nation which always seemed to pride itself on its humanitarianism, its concern for the poor and the needy, the weak and the defensiveless. And yet, it is in this very nation which has stood in the world as the symbol of freedom and right and privilege that mass murder has been taking place for many years. In fact, the murderous and violent cycle of killing infants that's been going on in our country, particularly over the last 12 or 13 years, makes the Nazi holocaust look mild by comparison.
For example, there are nearly two million abortions a year, two million unborn children are killed a year in our country. Every third baby conceived is being murdered. Among teen-age women there are approximately 735 abortions for every thousand live births. Some statistic reflects that among married women, abortions exceed births three to two. Somewhere between forty- two hundred and forty-five hundred recorded abortions occur every single day which breaks down to about three a minute, or one every twenty seconds.
In some metropolitan hospitals in our nation, abortions out number live births. And though I'm always amazed America has an ability to sort of justify what it's doing and condemn everybody else, and we stand--at least some of our population--piously condemning activities in South Africa and so often the same liberal element piously condemning those activities in South Africa are eagerly leading the parade to massacre babies in our own nation. Tremendous inconsistencies.
The Upjohn Pharmaceutical Company is in the process now of developing a pill for women to take and abort babies at home so they don't need clinics or hospitals. Planned Parenthood, which is the father of sort of population control mentality that says, "We use abortion to control a population, recently had a meeting of what they called "The Planned Parenthood Physicians Association." One of their seminar leaders was a doctor by the name of Dr. Willard Cates (C-a-t-e-s), He presented a paper that had a very interesting title. The title of his paper given in a symposium to other doctors is "Abortion as treatment for unwanted pregnancy--the number two sexually-transmitted disease."
What Dr. Cates is saying is that pregnancy is a disease. It is the number two sexually-transmitted disease next to venereal disease. Now, by his definition, conceived children are simply symptoms of a disease that needs to be eliminated. Planned Parenthood, by the way, has over 700 abortion clinics doing about 60,000 recorded murders a year. And they receive presently in excess of $120 million dollars a year from the United States government as well as support from the United Way and a whole lot of other public agencies that funnel funds to them.
Our nation, along with the rest of the world, who--by the way--in mass this year will massacre 60 million babies, that will be the world total this year, is in the process--in effect--of wiping out an entire generation of people. Mass infanticide is going on all over the globe. The process itself is really bizarre. And I just give you a few details for your own information.
During the first trimester of pregnancy, the methods used for aborting the life of a child are usually D&S or D&C. D&S is Dilation and Suction. The woman is dilated and then a high- powered vacuum is placed in the woman and the vacuum dismembers the body of the small infant and sucks it down a tube. In Dilation and Curetage, a sharp instrument is used which cuts the child into pieces and then is also extracted, often forceps are used to crush the head to reduce its size for easy elimination. Of course this can result in sterility. It can result in torn parts of the woman's body, perforation and all kinds of things. And we've all heard the people who advocate abortions say, "But..if we didn't have legal abortion, under illegal abortion all kinds of women are butchered..." and so forth and so on. And we ought to be reminded of the fact that six to seven times more women die a year since legalized abortion than ever before, by the sheer volume of numbers of abortions that are being done.
During the second trimester, the safe comfortable home of the child which we call the amniotic sac filled with amniotic fluid in which the child exists is wounded violently by a large needle. That needle then extracts the amniotic fluid that is there and in its place saline concentrate solution is pumped into the womb, that creates a burning situation that literally burns the baby alive. In 24 hours, usually, the body will expel the baby, although on some occasions it can take as long 72 hours for that to take place.
During the third trimester, commonly, there is a hysterectomy used, sometimes an actual C-section or Caesarean abortion will be used. And then there is in various parts of this development of the child in different trimesters the use of prostaglandins which are a drug that induces labor pains that actually expels the baby. And very frequently the babies expelled are alive and old enough to be cared for and kept alive in the intensive care units of neonatal facilities. But when that does happen, as one nurse in our church told me it happened recently in her hospital, two such aborted babies were alive and could have been preserved but were shoved in a corner, typically, until they were dead.
A new way has been advocated by the National Abortion Federation in its recent annual meeting in California. It was advocated at one of their physicians workshops. It is to puncture the soft spot on the baby's head and vacuum out the brains.
Another abortionist suggested, and this for a group of physicians to which he was speaking, that abortionists charge according to the length of the foot of the aborted baby.
In Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, there was recently the situation where a woman was carrying two babies, twins. It was determined through medical examination that one of them was likely a possessor of the Down's syndrome and the parents did not want a Down's syndrome baby and so a process known as "cardiac puncture" was used to kill one baby while keeping the other one alive, in which the heart of that baby was punctured with a needle and all of its blood extracted and in its place some other poison placed.
When babies do live, by the way, there are all kinds of unimaginable consequences. One that never ceases to amaze me is Revenue Rule Number 73-156 of the IRS. That rule says that should you be having an abortion and the baby come out alive, you can count it as a tax deduction as a dependent. It's a non- person if its dead, it's a person if its alive. That is the stupidity of humanism.
I was amazed yesterday, as probably you were, to read or hear about the woman in Van Nuys, right in this neighborhood, who didn't want her family to know that she was illegitimately pregnant. She then went into the bathroom to give birth to her child, gave birth to the child in the bathroom. Tried unsuccessfully to drown it so she cut it up with a razor blade. And they have now determined that she should spend a minimum--if she is convicted--of 11 years in prison...which is an interesting sort of conundrum. If she had gone to an abortionist, she wouldn't have had any penalty at all. If she tried to kill the baby herself, she's going to be sentenced to 11 years. It won't be considered murder, it's sort of semi-murder because nobody knows what to do in the hopeless chaos of this dilemma.
The best term that I can think of as a parallel term for abortion is "convenience killing." And that is basically what it is. It is convenience killing. It is killing because it is convenient. In fact, we have gone to the extreme now where 15- year-olds can get abortions without parental knowledge or parental consent. And the assumption of the abortion advocates is that parents are enemies of their own children and they might try to stop them from having an abortion. Spousal consent, that is the consent of a husband to a wife's abortion, is also unconstitutional. The confusion is unbelievable.
When you talk about what happens to the aborted child, that opens a whole area of unbelievable understanding. For example, dead fetuses are used in all manner of experiments and so are live ones. And I've been reading over the last couple of months about this and it's a horrifying thing. I cannot imagine anything in any age of human history in any time period that could be anything worse than what is done both the live and the dead results of an abortive process.
In 1981, according to the "Journal of Clinical Pathology," it indicated that fetal organs are being grafted into mice and rats to see how long they could keep them alive. Frightening experiments, that I can't even speak of, taking place. Squibb Company, some that I can speak of, was involved in paying tens of thousands of dollars to Ob/Gyn doctors, Obstetrics and Gynecology, to experiment with fetuses for use in research on high-blood pressure drugs. The U.S. government has funded experiments on live aborted babies purchased from certain hospitals. The "Journal of Medicine...New England Journal of Medicine," probably one of the most prestigious in the world, reports that tissue cultures are obtained by dropping living babies who come out of abortions into sort of a meat grinder situation to culture their tissues.
I mean, it goes on and on like that. I don't want to create monstrosities in your mind, but I do want you to understand where we are. Dr. Dominguez of New York City writes, "That on any (and I'm quoting) Monday, you can see 70 garbage bags with fetal material in them along the sidewalks of abortion clinics in New York City," end quote.
And it has become a reality, folks, that it is now possible to do to a baby what you couldn't get away with doing to a dog or a cat. And if you tried, you would have had the anti- vivisectionists all over the place. It's a strange and bizarre situation that the same people who seem to be screaming "Save the whales" are also in the parade yelling "Kill the babies."
In fact, I was amazed to read about a recent case in California called "Kurlander(?) vs Bio-science Labs." And in this case, it is now possible because of that case for children to sue their parents for wrongful life, for letting them live rather than aborting them. In other words, if you are handicapped or deformed or something, or if life isn't all that it ought to be for you, there is at least a precedent for you to sue your parents for wrongful life. That was in the "Newsletter" of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
The stupidity of all of this is demonstrated further by the fact that recently in Maryland, a wounded American eagle was found and it was rushed to emergency treatment. The emergency treatment was too late and the eagle died and a $5,000 reward was offered for the arrest of the eagle killer. Now eagles are nice birds but it's a little inconsistent. And I'm sure you don't know this because it's sort of a New England law, but it's illegal to ship pregnant lobsters regardless of which trimester of pregnancy they're in. There's a $1,000 fine for shipping a pregnant lobster because it might do damage to the little lobster.
Massachusetts has a law called "The Anti-Cruelty Law." And in that law it is forbidden or illegal to award goldfish as prizes in games of chance. And the law reads like this: Why? "To protect the tendency to dull humanitarian feelings and corrupt the morals of those who abuse them," end quote. Save the goldfish because if we don't we might be corrupting morals and dulling humanitarian feelings of people.
You say, "Well, why all of this going on?" Well, for one thing, in 1981 alone it was in excess of a one-billion dollar business. Abortion is a money maker. Big business. It is not only a business in the abortion...business in the abortion clinic itself but it goes on from there. Not only do they get what they get from the person whose baby is aborted, but then they get whatever they can get for the sale of the fetal material--the placenta and all that's left, including the baby itself. We became aware here at Grace Church of a particular organization known as "Bip-Med" having to do with medical by-products which collects and resells fetal material for about $1.40 a pound. There is evidence that babies have been sold by the bag, $25 a bag. The sale of late-term elected abortions at Washington D.C.'s General Hospital over a ten-year period brought in excess of $68 thousand which was used to decorate a lounge for visiting professors.
And Dr. Olga Fairfax says, "When I saw the first ad on television advertising collagen-enriched cosmetics, I was speechless. Collagen is the gelatinous substance found in corrective...pardon me...in connective tissues, bones and cartilage. A glance through a local drug store revealed that the shampoos and hand creams contained collagen. Unless your beauty produce specifies animal collagen, it could be human, obtained from aborted fetuses. There is triple profit to be had. The first is from the abortion, estimated at half billion a year by "Fortune" magazine. The second comes from the sale of the aborted babies bodies. And the third profit is from the unsuspecting customer buying cosmetics that contain collagen from babies," end quote.
And all of this is so bizarre that it taxes our minds to conceive of something like this occurring in our society. But it is. And the fallout to women is frightening. In Japan, in the last 30 years, since about 1955, there have been an excess of 50 million recorded abortions. The fallout is frightening. There are now in the land of Japan certain Buddhist temples that have been selected and built for the express purpose of memorializing what they call"water babies." Water babies are unborn infants that are aborted.
Because of the trauma to the mother, because of the mother's need to get some resolution as to what happens to that infant that's been aborted, these Buddhist temples have arisen in which a mother--for a price of somewhere between 340 and 640 American dollars--can purchase a small stone Buddha as a memorial to her water baby. In just one of those temples in Japan--which you can visit--there are at least 10,000 such little stone Buddhas. You pay a price to go in and you can take pictures of this. At the same time, grieving mothers traumatized by the haunting reality that they have killed a baby can go back to those places and the Buddhist priest will offer prayers for the water babies at a dollar twenty per baby, or forty dollars each additional aborted baby by the same mother. So religion in Japan is trying to come to the aid of traumatized women.
Psychologists tells us that between 400 and 800 percent higher is the suicide rate of women who have had abortions than the normal female population. And there is evidence that hypochondria, depression, withdrawal, guilt, shame, diminished self-esteem, drug, and alcohol dependency and serious psychosis result from abortions. And after I preached this message in the first service, someone came to me and said, "You better talk about forgiveness because there were a couple of women who went out of the service saying they felt like they ought to kill themselves." Well yes, God forgives, but that's just an example of the trauma that this kind of thing creates.
Now the question comes, "How did this get started? Where did it all begin?" Let me give it to you very simple. Jesus said it. He told us where it all began. You don't need to look it up because it's a familiar verse. It's John chapter 8 and verse 44 and I want you to listen to what Jesus said because this is the foundation of this whole matter. In Jesus' conversation with the Pharisees, He said: "You are of your father, the devil. And the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning."
Where does all of this murder of infants come from? It comes from the devil, Satan. It is a supernatural Satanic conspiracy. It is a reflection of the prince of this world, the god of this age, the spirit that now rules in the hearts of fallen men. It is Satanic. And Satan has always been a murderer. It started out with Cain killing Abel.
Satan has even been a mass murderer. You can go back into Canaanitish civilization and read horrific accounts of the Canaanites massacring of their babies, burying live babies in walls of new buildings. You can read about the people in the land of Canaan, even among the Jews sometimes, who offered their born children as sacrifices over the fire to the god Molech.
Satan has always been a murderer and he has always been a murderer of children. He tried through, obviously, the time of Moses to massacre the Messianic line in the massacre of all of the babies that Pharaoh ordered. He tried again in the massacre that was carried out by Herod at the birth of Christ. Satan has always been a murderer. Since it is God who gives life, Satan is the one who desires to take life. He has the power of death, Hebrews 2:14 says. Satan is a murderer from the very beginning and he fosters murderous intent among men in order that he might kill what God has made. It is not that he is concerned with murder itself, he is concerned with how it impacts God's intended purpose.
So, murder goes a long way back and so child murder and so does abortion. If you read the Talmud, the Jewish Talmud, you will read statements made by Jewish rabbis throughout ancient history in which they say that abortion is murder and has no place in the society of the people of God. Thou shalt not abort a child. Abortion is not new.
I was reading just this week that Aristotle and Plato both advocated abortion as a way to control large families and stop population development. And I was reading a book about abortion and the early church which is a very interesting restructuring of the scenario around the early church period, the time of Christ and the Greco-Roman, pagan world which tells us that they were very busily engaged in abortions even at the time of Christ and the Apostle Paul and the New Testament.
And I was interested to read the reasons that the Greco- Roman pagans gave for abortion. These were their reasons. One, was to conceal illicit sex. Nothing new about that. Number two, rich women who were illegitimately impregnated in their love affairs by low class common men did not want to give birth to low class common children and then have to waste their fortune on them. So they had abortion to keep from having to give birth to low class children.
And then the Greco-Roman pagans also said that abortion was convenient because "It allowed a woman to preserve her sex appeal so that she would not," and I'm quoting from an ancient source, "be troubling her womb with bouncing babies," end quote. Abortion then was a contraception to conceal illicit sex, to prevent unwanted children, to preserve your figure...just as it is today. Nothing new...convenience killing.
I was also fascinated to read how abortions were done in those days. We sometimes think that ancient times were less than sophisticated in all areas, but that's not the case. They had developed some very, very effective techniques--to some extent-- in aborting babies. Although without sterilization, the threat of peritonitis and the death of the mother was far more imminent than it would be today. But nonetheless, the methods are used and very well defined.
I was reading one of the medical journals. There is one on gynecology written by Soranus, way back at the time of the early church, a Greek. And in his gynecological book, that is--by the way--a Greek word, gune is the word for "woman, study of a woman." So in his book on all of this he gives all the procedures for how to go through the birth canal, how to mix the poisons...they used drugs. Sometimes drugs were taken orally, sometimes they were induced. They were poisons that were concocted and they knew what worked by trial and error. They had developed poisons and drugs that would effectively kill the fetus.
They also had a process by which they would tie the woman's stomach tight with ropes so that the fetus couldn't develop and eventually would be dead by strangulation. And then there were blows. Once the child was large enough, they would try to locate its head and kill it that way.
Now the pagan world accepted this. They also accepted the use of blades through the birth canal. And they even had a hook--and I read the whole section on how to hold the hook to do the job right and get the baby's head out and so forth and so on. the Jews were against it. The pagans were for it. The Jews, because of their view of God and His sovereignty and His creative power and because of the sanctity of human life and because they knew that the second great commandment from the Deuteronomic law was to love your neighbor as yourself and they saw that infant as a neighbor, they knew this was a sin, a horrendous crime of violent murder. And they spoke out against it. And there is no indication in any Jewish community of ancient times that they advocated abortions, although many Jews today advocate and have and do abortions. That's contrary to their heritage.
But the church always, along with the Jews, stood against it. And basically for the same reasons, for the reason that that life is a creation of God, for the reason that that life is not the woman but that is a neighbor that is being cared for and preserved by that woman in the most protected place on the earth, a woman's womb. And to violate that God-given protection and murder the child protected in that womb was the ultimate violent act. So said the church, it was an act of lovelessness and an act of murder.
They advocated the fact that Jesus reached out to the poor and the weak and the helpless and the needy and defenseless and that was the style of His loving ministry. And there was no more defenseless human than one still in the womb of his mother and so the love of Jesus demonstrated to that one in the womb could not effect a murder. You can read in the Didache which is a sort of codification of early church law, things like this, quote: "Thou shalt not murder a child by abortion." And you can find in things like the Epistle of Barnabas which gives us insight into the years after the New Testament that abortion was rejected by the church because it was the opposite of loving your neighbor, for that little one was seen as a neighbor, someone to care for.
The Didache defined the way of life and the way of death very clearly. And in defining the way of death, or damnation, the Didache said that the way of death is full of cursing, murders, adulteries and the murders of children. And it calls them corruptors of God's creatures. And a third century Latin source even translates that abortuontes(?) or abortionists. So they had that even then, it isn't anything new.
Satan has always wanted to destroy what God has made. And the early church taught that abortion brought down the wrath and the judgment of God...a form of murder, a form of violence and the antithesis of loving care. "To follow Jesus," said the early church, "was to shed any thought of murder or violence to anyone, including the unborn."
What I'm saying is that the problem isn't new and the church's position isn't new either. What is frightening to me is how many churches are now pro-abortion, or pro-choice. And I'll be giving you a list of those next week so you'll know.
Well, you say, "I understand the history of it then but how in the world did it ever come to be in our country? How did it arise?" Well, you know the scene. Let me just run by very fast a few steps. It all started with a promotion of abortion as a matter of freedom. This is a free country. Women ought to have their freedom. It all came out of the new sex ethic "free fornication for everybody all the time with whoever you want with no consequences." I mean, that's basically the sex ethic of our time. Free sex, free love, no consequence.
So, if we're going to have real freedom which is now defined as fornication, or prostitution, or whatever else you want to call it...
...then we can't have women being victimized by men in that they become pregnant. So in order for them to have the real freedom that they ought to have to express their sex life, we've got to get rid of the consequence which are babies. That's the mentality of our society. You see it with AIDS right now. We don't want them to have to deal with the consequence of their vile life style so we're working furiously to eliminate those consequences. I understand that because there are many innocent victims for whom the consequence should be eliminated. But it is the mentality of our society that free sex, free love, free life style shouldn't have any consequences. And God keeps punctuating the situation by saying, "But there are consequences."
So, they say we'll eliminate them. And that's where it all begins with that free sex viewpoint that started splurging on to our society in the fifties and sixties. And then many of you will remember the thalidomide babies. And as a result of this, English physicians began to advocate what is commonly called "eugenic abortion." That is, abortion because of the fact that this child to be born is deformed and will cost society a lot of money and be a lot of trouble to everybody. So we wipe out all of those deformed children, and you have a sort of, if not genetic engineering, a post-genetic engineering. And so the elimination of defective children became another pressure moving this nation toward wholesale legality of abortion.
Then, of course, came the rise of feminism and all these lesbian women got that thing started and then a lot of other women jumped on the bandwagon. And the hue and cry--I don't know if you remember, it was a little phrase--"total reproductive freedom." You remember that? Total reproductive freedom...in other words, vile sex life with no consequence--right back to that freedom cry again. And Betty Friedan said, "Women must have abortion as a backup to contraceptive failure."
And then came the ERA and the ERA said, "All right, if it's okay for women to have freedom, if everybody's supposed to have total reproductive liberation then we've got to have on-demand abortion at tax payers' expense. And they advocated that. "Women are not equal to men unless they are rid of childbearing responsibilities," said the ERA.
Then along came the population people, the Planned Parenthood people saying, "If we keep having babies, we're all going to be sitting on top of each other. There won't be any food." Remember all that? You don't hear that anymore, but you used to hear that. We're all going to be all over each other. And nobody ever bothered to say that the entire population of the world right now can fit into the state of Rhode Island. But we were getting all kinds of lies and all kinds of half-truths from the Planned Parenthood Association about controlling population. And so that added to the impetus to abortion.
But the final blow was struck by the Supreme Court of the United States, supposedly the men most esteemed in our nation, the greatest men of wisdom, the wisest men of this entire land, who voted wholesale murder of babies on January 22, 1973 in their decision in the Roe vs Wade case in which they legalized abortion. And they violated the fourteenth amendment that no person shall be deprived of life without due process of law. They legalized murder. They did it because they were under the pressure of all of these accumulating responses from those who would destroy what God has made.
The court ignored the issue of life. It ignored the issue of personhood, when life begins, when personhood begins. It totally ignored that. They couldn't get into it, by the way, because if they had they would have had to admit that personhood begins at conception and that would have been a very difficult thing for them to deal with. So they totally ignored it in the entire decision. And they came up with the unspeakable conundrum of the fact that criminals have been successfully prosecuted for killing unborn children in an attack on a pregnant mother while the child is considered a non-person if it's own mother decides to kill it.
In other words, you can only kill a baby if you're its mother. Otherwise you can't kill a baby unless you want to be criminally prosecuted. And only China has a more permissive abortion policy than the United States. It is reflective of a materialistic selfish atheistic ethic that is absolutely hostile to the sovereignty of God. And we are seeing in our country something that literally makes the holocaust of Nazi Germany in the massacre of six million Jews look like child's play.
Now somebody will ask the question, "Well, are we sure that at conception a real life begins?" There's no question about it. Professor of fundamental genetics at the University of Rene' de Carte(?) in Paris is a man name Dr. Jerome LaJeun(?). He summarizes it very well when he writes, "Life has a very long history, but each individual has a very neat beginning--the moment of its conception. The material link is the molecular thread of DNA. In each reproductive cell, this ribbon of DNA, roughly one meter long, is cut into 23 pieces, or chromosomes. As soon as the 23 paternally derived chromosomes are united through fertilization to the 23 maternal ones, the full genetic meeting necessary to express all the inborn qualities of the new individual is gathered and personal constitution takes place." Now that's at conception.
Further, he says, "At two months of age, the human being is less than one thumb length's from the head to the rump. He would fit at ease in a nutshell, but everything is there--hands, feet, head, organs, brain. Which, by the way, since the fourth week or so has had self-consciousness for the core has begun to form. His heart has been beating for a month already. His fingerprints can be detected. His little heart is beating 150 to 170 beats a minute. To accept the fact that after fertilization has taken place a new human being has come into being is no longer a matter of taste or opinion," end quote. Now that written by not a Christian but a doctor.
Well, that's the scene. And we could say a lot more about the ugliness of the scene, but you get the picture.
Now what does the Bible have to say? This morning, in the time that is left, and next Sunday, I want to point this out to you. But for this morning, I just want to give you one bottom line principle, then I'll give you another four or five next time. And that is this, this is where it all starts. The first biblical principle you must understand relating to abortion is this: conception is an act of God. Conception is an act of God. That's the bottom line. God creates personally and individually every human life. Don't for one moment be under the allusion of the deist who saw God as a great power starting a process and then backing out of it. And it all sort of works its own way out.
No. It is not that God started the creative process and we carry it on, it is that we carry on a process but God sustains that process and is aggressive and active and sovereign in that process. So that it isn't that God makes Adam and Eve and Adam and Eve make everybody else. It is that God starts a procreative process but is active in that process, bringing into existence all those people whom He has foreordained to life. That is His sovereignty.
Now Scripture makes this fact clear. Let me show you, you can look it negatively and positively. Just listen to some Scripture.
From the negative viewpoint. And we'll go back to the earliest perceptions of the Pentateuch and the book of Job and see how the saints of God in that time perceived this matter. In Genesis, for example, in chapter 20, we read this statement: "For the Lord had completely closed all the wombs of the house of Abimelech." In other words, the perception is..was that the women were not having babies because the Lord had closed the womb. God was in charge of who had babies.
In the sixteenth chapter of Genesis, the situation is that of Sarah, then called Sarai, and Abraham. And Sarah says to her husband, "The Lord has restrained me from bearing." In other words, they had the confidence that life was a gift from God and everyone who was bearing children was bearing because God energized it and anyone who was not was not because God restrained it.
In 1 Samuel 1 you have that wonderful story in chapters 1 and 2 of Hannah and the giving of birth of Samuel. And you remember in chapter 1 verse 5 and also chapter 1 verse 6, in both those verses Hannah is described in this way: "The Lord had shut up her womb. The Lord had shut up her womb." It's mentioned twice.
Now looking at it from the positive side, the Lord also opens the womb. In Genesis 17:16, God says to Abraham, "I will bless her," referring to Sarah, "and give thee a son also of her and she shall be the mother of nations." Now God says not only am I going to open Sarah's womb, but I'm going to allow as a result of the opening of her womb that all...a large number of people constituting a nation will become alive. So God says, "I'll open her womb."
In Genesis 21:2, it says Sarah conceived, bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which the Lord had spoken to him. God is sovereign. God has foreordained who will live and when they will live. Life is in His hands.
In Genesis 25, we have the situation with Isaac. And he went to the Lord, it says in verse 21, and prayed to God because his wife was barren. And the Lord heard his prayer, it says, and Rebecca his wife conceived. Why? Because God answered his prayer and God gave her conception.
You remember I mentioned a moment ago 1 Samuel 1, "The Lord had shut the womb of Hannah?" Well, after she pours out her heart, the Lord hears her prayer and in 1 Samuel 1:19 and 20 it says the Lord remembered her, "Therefore it came to pass after she had conceived that she bore a son and called his name Sam-u- el." El being the name of God and she called him that saying, "Because I have asked him of the Lord." She knew that her ability to conceive and bring forth a child, that child, was because of God's creative act.
And in that beautiful story of Ruth and Boaz and their coming together in marriage, chapter 4 of Ruth, verse 13 says, "Boaz took Ruth and she was his wife. And when he went in unto her, the Lord gave her conception." I love that statement, "The Lord gave her conception, and she had a son."
And then there was Manoah. And Manoah and his wife in Judges 13,"And the angel of the Lord appeared to the wife of Manoah and said to her, Behold, now thou art barren and bearest not, but thou shalt conceive and bear a son." And God gave to Manoah's wife a son. You remember his name was Samson, a judge in Israel. But God had to give her that conception.
In Isaiah 43:7, on a broader scale, the Lord looks at the whole of the nation of Israel, all the individual people, and He says, "I have created him for My glory, I have formed him, yes, I have made him." And God takes responsibility as the creator for every Jew constituting the nation of Israel.
Now these passages tell us that God is the power behind conception, that every life that begins begins because God has foreordained that life to begin. I believe that once that life begins in the plan of God, that life is eternal. And by God's grace, when an infant is aborted, that infant lives forever in the presence of God in the fullness of what God intended in its original creation.
Now there are other passages that enrich this truth and I want to share just a few of them with you. Look at Job with me for a moment. I want to take you on a quick tour of a few verses. In Job chapter 10 verse 8, Job--of course--is now in a situation where God is allowing the devil to assault him and all kinds of things are going wrong in his world. And he cries out to God with a most interesting argument, or a most interesting perspective in Job 10:8. He says: "Thine hands have made me and fashioned me." And that's a very intimate terminology, as if he was the product of the clay in the hands of God Himself. "Thine hands have me and fashioned me together round about, yet Thou dost destroy me." In other words, his paradox is - how can You be letting all this evil come into my life when You're the one that made me? Did You make me to destroy me?
But further as he discusses that God is his maker, verse 9,"Remember, I beseech Thee that Thou hast made me as the clay and wilt Thou bring me into the dust again? Hast Thou not poured me out as milk and curdled me like cheese?" You've produced me, I'm the product of Your efforts. "You have clothed me with skin an flesh and have fenced me with bones and sinews, You have granted me life in favor and Your care has preserved my spirit."
In other words, You made me body and spirit. You formed me. You made me. That's the testimony of Job...perhaps the most ancient book of all the Old Testament. That is a very early and accurate perception, that God is the creator of all.
In Job 31, verse 15, Job again says, "Did not He who made me in the womb make him? And did not one fashion us in the womb?" In other words, God is the one who creates that one.
Now let me say something right here. Beloved, this answers all these other questions that really are pointless, like: what about a rape? Or, what about the death of the mother? Or, what about incest? Or, what about deformity? The point is any creature created in a womb is created by whom? By God and therefore is not up to the discretion of any human being as to its worthiness to live. This is the issue.
In Job 33 and verse 4, Job approaches it from another view here in the testimony of Elihu, "The Spirit of God hath made me and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life." And so he gives testimony to the fact that God is the creator.
Psalm 22, quickly, verses 9 and 10 adds to our understanding and enrichment of this truth. In Psalm 22 verse 9 we read, "But Thou art He," he's speaking of God, the Lord, "Thou art He who took me out of the womb." David says, "You took me out of the womb, You made me hope on my mother's breasts. I was cast upon Thee from the womb. Thou art my God from my mother's body." In other words, God, You've been involved in my life since I was in my mother's womb, You are the one who planted me in her womb, You are the one who preserved me in her womb, You brought me out of her womb and You've placed me on her breast.
How about Psalm 100, do you remember that wonderful familiar Psalm that we all learned as children? "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness, come before His presence with singing." Then verse 3, do you remember it? "Know ye that the Lord He is God, it is He who hath made us and not we ourselves." Men don't make men, God makes men. He uses the human procreative process, but it is He who ordains life.
In Psalm 104, verse 30 says, "Thou sendest forth Thy Spirit, they are created." Creation is a work of the Spirit of God.
And then that absolutely beautiful statement made in Psalm 127 verse 3. This is such an important statement. "Lo, or behold--an exclamation--children are an heritage from the Lord and the fruit of the womb is His reward." Children come from the Lord. Children are not an accident. They are not an inconvenience. They are not symptoms of a venereal disease. Children are not a disruption. Children are a gift from God. He gives them life for His own holy purposes. And even when men kill that life, I believe once that life is life, it exists forever and the Lord will bring that aborted infant into the fullness of his intention for it to glorify Him in eternity.
In Ecclesiastes 11 verse 5, a most interesting verse here, "As thou knowest not what is the way of the wind." You don't know how the wind works, you don't understand it. "Nor how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, so thou knowest not the works of God who makes all." You can't know how the wind blows. You can't see it, you can only feel it. You can't know how a fetus grows, how it becomes a child, you can't know the work of God. That is the work of God. The point of the verse that I want you to note is that the wind and the womb are the work of God.
Turn to Isaiah 44. In Isaiah 44, the testimony of Isaiah adds to this. In verse 1 he says, "Yet now hear, O Jacob, My servant, in Israel whom I have chosen," He identifies the fact that He had chosen them to be His people. Then in verse 2, he says, "Thus saith the Lord that made thee and formed thee from the womb." Again God identifies Himself as the one who forms from the womb. Verse 24, same thing again, "Thus saith the Lord, Thy redeemer and He who formed thee from the womb, I am the Lord who makes all things."
Chapter 45, again, beginning in verse 9, and just picking some highlights out, "Woe to him that fights with his maker." Boy, that's pretty straight, isn't it? When you abort a baby, you're fighting with God the creator. And he says later in verse 9, "Shall the clay to him that fashioned it, What are you making?" In other words, a derisive thing - what right do you have to make that? Do you have a right to say that, to question the maker? "Woe to him," verse 10 says, "that says to his father, Why did you beget? Or the mother, What have you brought forth? What right do you have?" In other words, who would ever think to question the one who gives birth? Who would strive with God?
"Thus saith the Lord," verse 11, "the holy one of Israel and his maker. Ask Me of things to come concerning My sons and concerning the work of My hands, command ye Me I have made the earth and created man upon it. I, even My hands, have stretched out the heavens and all their hosts have I commanded," and so forth. In other words, the whole point of this passage is: would you ever ask God what right He had to make a person or to make a planet or to make anything? It's all His creation.
Isaiah 49:5, "And now saith the Lord who formed me from the womb to be His servant." And here Isaiah has the sense that he himself was formed in the womb by God. And then Jeremiah 1 is a good parallel to that. It says about another prophet, Jeremiah, "Before I formed thee in the womb, I knew thee." Boy, that's a tremendous statement. Before he was even conceived in the womb of his mother, God knew that Jeremiah was a person who would exist. "Before I even formed you in the womb, I knew you. And before you came out of the womb, I set you apart and ordained you a prophet to the nations."
Now when you strike a blow against something that God has created, someone that God has created, you're striking a blow against the sovereign intended purpose of God. By the way, when he says in verse 5, "I knew thee," the word is the word oida, and it means a rational experimental kind of knowledge, not a distant detached kind. Already in the mind of God, Jeremiah was a reality, an intimate reality before his own conception.
The testimony of the Apostle Paul is not unlike this. In Galatians 1:15, "When it pleased God who separated me from my mother's womb and called me by His grace." Paul had the sense of being the work of God even from his mother's womb.
How about John the Baptist? When the angel comes to Zechariah and says, "Your wife is going to have a baby and the child that is in her will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother's womb," and goes on to tell about this child being John the Baptist."This child a forerunner of the Messiah. He'll be great. He'll lead many people to righteousness. He'll drink neither wine nor strong drink." And it goes on to describe this man.
It was not some nameless non-personal blob in the womb of Elizabeth, it was the prophet of God. It was not a nameless blob in the womb of the mother of Jeremiah, it was a prophet of God. It was not a nameless appendage to the body of the mother of Isaiah, it was the prophet of God. In fact, when the testimony of Mary and Elizabeth came together in Luke chapter 1, the babe leaped for joy. And Elizabeth even said to Mary that she would be the mother of the Lord. And when Mary conceived through the Holy Spirit, she had in her not some appendage that was discretionary as to whether it should be retained, but she had in her the incarnate Son of God. And may I suggest to you that the incarnation did not begin in Bethlehem. It began in conception and Jesus so totally identified with humanity that Jesus was fully human, even identifying as an unborn infant from conception to death. And when the angel came and announced to Joseph that his wife was pregnant, "Because that which is conceived," Matthew 1:20 says, "in her is of the Holy Spirit and she shall bring forth a son and you shall call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins." He wasn't describing some non- descript blob, some non-personal appendage, some potential life, but the very Son of God as yet unborn but a person.
So, the testimony of Scripture is marvelous, it's marvelous. Just to strengthen that. In Luke 1:41 it says, "Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb." Now that word"babe," brephos, b-r-e-p-h-o-s in English, is the word for babe. But it's speaking there of an unborn babe.
In Luke 2 verse 12, in Luke 2 verse 16, in Luke 18 verse 15 and 16, that's four other places, the same word is used. Every other time it's used it's used of a born baby, of a born baby. So the New Testament writer and the Holy Spirit use the same word "baby," brephos, for that child born or unborn. Once conceived it became a baby. And it was a baby unborn until it was a baby born.
You say, "Well, do you mean that even if it's deformed, even if it's crippled or even if it's defective, it's still the work of God?" Listen to Exodus 4:11, "Who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord?" Yes, yes, the Lord made all. And let me tell you something that I've learned in my life. Some of the most handicapped people in the world are not handicapped physically but they're handicapped mentally and emotionally. I can't think of any more handicapped people than abortionists. To say that because a person has a physical disability they are less than a creature of God is ludicrous. That's not God's purpose.
Now, what we've established--and this is what I want you to understand--is that life begins at conception and conception is an act of God. No matter what kind of person is there, man has no discretionary right to take that life, that is murder of the first degree. Even the blind man in John 9, the disciple said, "Why is he blind? Who sinned, this man or his parents? And Jesus said, Neither, but for the glory of God." Let God have His glory. Let Him fulfill His purpose.
Somebody says, "Well what about rape? And what about this...?" That is never an issue...never an issue. I always remember reading a beautiful story about a little black girl in Pennsylvania, just had her thirteenth birthday. She was attacked by a white man and she was raped. And she was pregnant. And some months later she gave birth to a little baby. Could have had an abortion...might have in this day and time. But she didn't. That little baby grew up to become one of the most beloved people American society has ever known, the dear and precious sweet lady in whom the grace of Christ was radiant. She made her mark, first of all, on society as a beloved actress. Later became known for the song, "His eye is on the sparrow." Her name is Ethel Waters. There are thousands of Ethel Waters in the world. Who can judge? Certainly not you, not unless you want to fight God who gives life. Let's bow in prayer.
Father, thank You for this beginning to understand Your Word. Thank You for a clear word that life is Your gift, not ours to take. We pray that You would speak peace to any who are here with troubled hearts because they've already done this. Bring them the grace of forgiveness in Christ. Help us to stand for Your truth and Your Word against an evil generation. And, Father, I pray for everyone here, that each of us might know You personally in Jesus Christ, that we might live for Your glory, that we might obey Your Word, that we might love Your people, that we might extend Your Kingdom.