Life begins at conception
There’s an interesting statement that sort of sums up what I want you to understand, written by Dr. Jerome Lejeune, professor of fundamental genetics in Paris, because I think it’s important for you to have this information. Let me quote him, and he’s not writing as a Christian, he’s writing as a scientist in the area of genetics. He says,
“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 roughly one meter long is cut into pieces twenty-three, or chromosomes. As soon as the twenty-three paternally derived chromosomes are united through fertilization to the twenty-three material ones, the full genetic meeting necessary to express all the inborn qualities of the new individual is gathered and personal constitution takes place. At two months of age, the human being is less than one thumb-length from the head to the rump. He would fit at ease in a nutshell, but everything is there, hands, feet, head, organs, brain. In the fourth week, there is consciousness. All are in place. His heart has been beating for a month by the second month. His fingerprints can be detected, his heart is beating 150 to 170 beats a minute to accept the fact,” he writes, “that after fertilization has taken place, a new human being has come into being, is no longer a matter of taste of opinion,” end quote.
A Gift from the Lord
Number one: conception is an act of God. Conception is an act of God; God creates personally every life. Psalm 127:3, “Behold, children are a gift from the Lord”; “children are a gift from the Lord”–“from the Lord.” How more simply could it be said? “Children are a gift from the Lord.”
The Lord can shut the womb
To look at that negatively in some passages along that line, Genesis 20, “The Lord had completely closed all the wombs of the house of Abimelech.” The Lord can close a womb so none can be born.
We find the same kind of thing in Genesis 16:2, “Sarah said to Abraham, ‘The Lord has restrained me from bearing.’” Or 1 Samuel 1, with regard to Hannah, “The Lord had shut up her womb,” and it says it two times in that chapter.
So on the negative side, the Lord closes the womb and children aren’t conceived.
On the positive side, Genesis 17 says in verse 16, “God said to Abraham…‘I will bless her, I will give you a son also from her…and she shall be the mother of nations.’
The Lord who closed Sarah’s womb, in His time, opened it. Genesis 21:2, “Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the set time of which the Lord had spoken to him.” The Lord made the promise, set the time, opened the womb.
God creates all life
Go to the seventeenth chapter of Acts, and let’s take a look at a very powerful set of statements by the apostle Paul to the philosophers in Athens.
As he is on the Areopagus, on Mars Hill, talking to the philosophers there, he identifies the fact that they have this sort of idol there to the “UNKNOWN GOD,” just to cover all their bases. In case there’s any god left out, they don’t want them to be angry. So they give him a space, even though they don’t know his name. So Paul uses that and says, “Let me tell you about the God you don’t know who just happens to be the only God.”
And then he begins to describe God, starting in verse 24, and this is how he describes Him:
“The God who made the world and all things in it.” Stop there. “The God who made the world and all things in it”–He is the Creator God.
That comes from Psalm 146:5 and 6, “God who made heaven and the earth, the sea and all that is in them.”Zechariah 12:1, “God who forms the spirit of man within him.” Everything that is, God made.
John 1, “Everything was made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.” God is the Creator, and God continues to be the Creator. He is seen as the Creator and the Ruler. He is Lord of heaven and earth, doesn’t dwell in temples made with hands. He’s not like your idols.
And then this, “He’s not served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all life and breath.” He is the source of life to everyone who lives.
In Psalm 104, verse 30, “You send forth Your Spirit, they are created…and by the way, in Psalm 104 that includes everything that has life–plants, animals, humans, all the creation of God. Romans 11, in that great doxology–everything is by Him and for Him.
God wove you, made you, knows all about you
Now this is not a distant activity on God’s part. And I’ll show you that by taking you back to Psalm 139, which I read earlier.
In the opening six verses, as we read, the psalmist talks about the omniscience of God. He knows everything. This is a level of knowledge that the psalmist can’t understand–neither can we. And then in verses 7 to 12, he talks about the omnipresence of God: He made everything; He knows everything; He is everywhere all the time. You can’t be out of His presence ever.
And then in verse 13, he moves to where that all really began in the personal sense. “For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.” Just take that first statement, “You formed my inward parts.” Literally in Hebrew, “my kidneys.” “You formed my kidneys,” which was a term that was used to refer to the complex of organs that made up the human anatomy, or inside the human body.
And then he gets even more technical. ‘My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret.” You were making me and You framed me. What’s that? Bones, muscles, sinews, ligaments, tendons, structure. You were aware of all of it “when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth.” The “depths of the earth” is a euphemism for the womb, the hidden place, secret place.
Verse 16, ‘Your eyes have seen my unformed substance.” “My unformed substance,” what is that? It’s a Hebrew word that means something rolled together, something balled up before it unfolded, when it was just a genetic mass and, it was just that embryo–it was just that ball before it began to unfold….God is intimately involved.
Your thoughts outnumber the sands of the sea
Can I tell you God is not looking at us like a map with red dots wherever there’s a person? God sees deep into us and has known us intimately from conception, from conception. That’s why he says in verse 17, “How precious are such thoughts to me.” He says, “You know so much about me that I can’t even count all Your thoughts about me, they would outnumber the sand of the sea. Amazing statement.
God knows intimately everything about you from the time of your conception, because He made you and He made every person ever conceived.
The patriarchs understood
Job understood this. And he says in chapter 10, verse 8, “Your hands fashioned and made me altogether.” He says, “You made me like clay….You clothed me with skin and flesh.” Verse 11, “You knit me with bones and sinew; You granted me life. Your care preserved my spirit.” You kept me alive in the womb. You put me altogether. It says it again in chapter 31, verse 15; he says it again in chapter 33, verse 4. You can read such testimonies in Ecclesiastes and Isaiah, and you do remember the words of Jeremiah, chapter 1, verse 5, “I formed you in the womb but before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.” Wow! God says, “I formed you in the womb.”
Jesus entered the world at his conception
In the New Testament, in the gospel of Matthew and the gospel of Luke, we learn that the Holy Spirit created Christ in the womb of Mary without a human father. Christ–when did Christ come into the world? Did He come into the world in His birth? Did Jesus come into the world in Bethlehem? No, Jesus came into the world in His conception, in His conception.
God makes deformed people
You say, “Well, what about a deformed baby? Are they a gift from the Lord?” Yeah, well as I said earlier, we’re all deformed; it’s only a question of degree.
But listen to Exodus 4:11, “The Lord said to him”…to Moses…“‘Who made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?’”
John chapter 9; Jesus actually said, “This man was born blind for the glory of God.” People say, “Well we can kill them if it was a rape, or we can kill them if it was incest, or we can kill them if they’re defective?” Really!? It doesn’t change the fact that every creation is a creation of God. Abortion is an anti-God act. No wonder they didn’t want God in their platform.
Made in the image of God
Every creation is an act of God, and secondly, every person created is in the image of God, in the image of God; James 3:9 would be sufficient.
Genesis 1, “He made man in His own image.” But in James 3:9, there’s this statement–I think it gets maybe overlooked, but essentially seals this issue–“We bless the Lord and Father, and we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God.”
Wow! Better be careful how you treat men, people, because they’re made in the likeness of God.
What does that mean?
….We can love, and we can hate, and we can understand. We can feel, and we can think, and we can choose, and we can act. All those things that were given to us are part of the image of God.
You can look at that on a negative side. If you look at Psalm 51:5 where David says, “In sin did my mother conceive me.” What he means by that, it’s not that he was illegitimate, but what he means by that is from the conception I was a sinner.
And by the way, only a person can be a sinner, only a person can be a sinner. That’s personhood. No baby is a mistake. No baby is a sexual accident, or biological accident. No baby is a pile of tissue. And no baby is part of the mother’s body; it is a person created by God.
According to the law of Exodus, the killing of an infant was a murder
You know, back in Exodus chapter 21, there’s a scenario there where you attack a woman and she’s pregnant, doesn’t result any harm to her or the child in the womb. No punishment. But if harm comes to her or the infant, Exodus 21 says, it’s the law of lex talionis, “like for like, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a life for a life.” So according to the law of Exodus, the killing of an infant was a murder, Exodus 21:22 to 25. That’s the protected place. And they’re the special care of God.
The coalition for abortion
Oh by the way, the religious coalition for abortion is made up of the Church of the Brethren, Christian churches, Episcopal churches, Presbyterian churches, United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church, United Presbyterian Church, and the YWCA, etc.–and the judgment of God awaits.
God goes to dead infants
The psalmist knows that he belonged to God when he was in the womb. You have been my God from my mother’s womb. That’s why when David’s baby died in 2 Samuel 12, he said, “He can’t come to me, but I will go to him.” Overruling grace redeems the little ones, takes them to glory. And God in grace redeems those who have been slaughtered, but holds the killers responsible for the crime.