Beliefnet
Excerpted from a longer essay with permission of Eternal Perspective Ministries.

There is a small but influential circle of prochoice advocates who claim to base their beliefs on the Bible. They maintain that "nowhere does the Bible prohibit abortion." [1] Yet the Bible clearly prohibits the killing of innocent people (Exodus 20:13). All that is necessary to prove a biblical prohibition of abortion is to demonstrate that the Bible considers the unborn to be human beings. Personhood in the Bible

A number of ancient societies opposed abortion,[2] but the ancient Hebrew society had the clearest reasons for doing so because of its foundations in the scriptures. The Bible teaches that men and women are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). As the climax of God's creation mankind has an intrinsic worth far greater than that of the animal kingdom placed under His care. Throughout the Scriptures, personhood is never measured by age, stage of development, or mental, physical, or social skills. Personhood is endowed by God at the moment of creation - before which there was not a human being and after which there is. That moment of creation can be nothing other than the moment of conception. The Hebrew word used in the Old Testament to refer to the unborn (Exodus 21:22-25) is yeled, a word that "generally indicates young children, but may refer to teens or even young adults." [3] The Hebrews did not have or need a separate word for unborn children. They were just like any other children, only younger. In the Bible there are references to born children and unborn children, but there is no such thing as a potential, incipient, or "almost" child. Job graphically described the way God created him before he was born (Job 10:8-12). The person in the womb was not something that might become Job, but someone who was Job, just a younger version of the same man. To Isaiah, God says, "This is what the Lord says - he who made you, who formed you in the womb" (Isaiah 44:2). What each person is, not merely what he might become, was present in his mother's womb. Psalm 139:13-16 paints a graphic picture of the intimate involvement of God with a preborn person. God created David's "inmost being," not at birth, but before birth. David says to his Creator, "You knit me together in my mother's womb." Each person, regardless of his parentage of handicap, has not been manufactured on a cosmic assembly line, but has been personally knitted together by God in the womb. All the days of his life have been planned out by God before any have come to be (Psalm 139:16). As a member of the human race that has rejected God, each person sinned "in Adam," and is therefore a sinner from his very beginning (Romans 5:12-19). David says, "Surely I was sinful at birth." Then he goes back even further, back before birth to the actual beginning of his life, saying he was "sinful from the time my mother conceived me" (Psalm 51:5). Each person has a sinful nature from the point of conception. Who but an actual person can have a sinful nature? Rocks and trees and animals and human organs do not have moral natures, good or bad. Morality can be ascribed only to a person. That there is a sin nature at the point of conception demonstrates that there is a person present who is capable of having such a nature.

Jacob was given prominence over his twin Esau "though not yet born" (Romans 9:11). When Rebekah was pregnant with Jacob and Esau, Scriptures says, "The babies jostled each other within her" (Genesis 25:22). The unborn are regarded as "babies" in the full sense of the term. God tells Jeremiah, "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you" (Jeremiah 1:5). He could not know Jeremiah in his mother's womb unless Jeremiah, the person, was present in his mother's womb. The Creator is involved in an intimate knowing relationship not only with born people, but with unborn people. In Luke 1:41,44 there are references to the unborn John the Baptist, who was at the end of his second trimester in the womb. The word, translated baby, in these verses is the Greek word brephos. It is the same word used for the already born baby Jesus (Luke 2:12, 16) and for the babies brought to Jesus to receive His blessing (Luke 18:15-17). It is also the same word used in Acts 7:19 for the newborn babies killed by Pharaoh. To the writers of the New Testament, like the Old, whether born or unborn, a baby is simply a baby. It appears that the preborn John the Baptist responded to the presence of the preborn Jesus in His mother Mary when Jesus was probably no more than ten days beyond His conception (Luke 1:41). The angel Gabriel told Mary that she would be "with child and give birth to a son" (Luke 1:31). In the first century, and in every century, to be pregnant is to be with child, not with that which might become a child. The Scriptures teach the psychosomatic unity of the whole person, body, soul, and spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23). Wherever there is a genetically distinct living human being, there is a living soul and spirit. The Status of the Unborn
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