DoctrineSanctity of Life by Scott Bushey
Sanctity of Life
Before we can discuss sanctity of life, we need to establish a framework for our belief. Sure, we believe Gods word; but what does the word say to us?
My friend Brandon said:
“For the Christian, this should be a non-negotiable issue. God creates human beings in his image (Gen. 1:27) and, in turn, knows them intricately in the womb (Ps. 139:13-15). God is a God of life, and each life belongs to him and no one else. Life itself is woven into every theological construct from anthropology to soteriology to eschatology. We are created to physically live, redeemed to spiritually live anew, and given eternal life to live forever.”
“Marriage involves acknowledgement of the right of life that is to come into being, a right which is not subject to the disposal of the married couple. Unless this right is acknowledged as a matter of principle, marriage ceases to be marriage and becomes a mere liaison. Acknowledgement of this right means making way for the free creative power of God which can cause new life to proceed from this marriage according to His will.
Destruction of the embryo in the mother’s womb is a violation of the right to live which God has bestowed upon this nascent life. To raise the question whether we are here concerned already with a human being or not is merely to confuse the issue. The simple fact is that God certainly intended to create a human being and that this nascent human being has been deliberately deprived of his life. And that is nothing but murder.
A great many different motives may lead to an action of this kind; indeed in cases where it is an act of despair, performed in circumstances of extreme human or economic destitution and misery, the guilt may often lie rather with the community than with the individual. Precisely in this connection money may conceal many a wanton deed, while the poor man’s more reluctant lapse may far more easily be disclosed.
All these considerations must no doubt have a quite decisive influence on our personal and pastoral attitude towards the person concerned, but they cannot in any way alter the fact of murder.”
~Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Ethics, NY, Macmillan, 1965, pp. 175-176.
*When does life begin?
In the Old Testament of the Bible it says “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). It also tells us that “… the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life” (Leviticus 17:11).
What is the biblical definition of life?
This is not easily defined. Men over the ages have pondered this question. I asked a few PHD’s and they were not able to reconcile it sufficiently.
Whatever has breath seems to be one definition. Respiration I guess then is one indication of life? A friend said to me, “It’s life when God puts a spirit of life in it and it is dead when it is removed”.
The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life. Job 33:4
Here Job is referring to his conception. God is the giver of all life. Whether animal, plant or person, It is God who sustains.
God breathed into Adam; he became a living being.
Babies in the womb do not breathe in the technical senses as we would understand it; however, the processing of oxygen is a pseudo breathing and since God defines how a person process His breath, I contend that the fetus is a living being as well as the zygote, embryo and fetus. God begins the knitting as early as when the seed and egg joining. It is miraculous in and of itself and we understand that at that point, we see life beginning.
It is important to note that animals have the breath of life in them, but not the image of God:
Ecc says: The spirit of man goes up, the spirit of animals down.
The spirit of man goes upward; That does not mean that all men go up to glory; this is correctly interpreted as all men go before Gods throne at death. The field is the Lords; The Lord sifts the wheat. He separates the wheat and the tares. He sifts the wheat and separates the chaff from the good grain. Everyone goes to their appropriate place.
Who gives Life?
Genesis 1:27 – So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
Job 33:4 – The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
Psalm 95:6 – Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.
Psalm 100:3 – Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his, we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Psalm 119:73 – Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands.
Acts 17:24-25 – The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else.
Decreed prior to the womb
Genesis 25:21 – Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was barren. The Lord answered his prayer and Rebekah became pregnant.
Genesis 29:31 – When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren.
Job 10:8-12 – Your hands shaped me and made me. Will you now turn and destroy me? Remember that you molded me like clay. Will you now turn me to dust again? Did you not pour me out like milk and curdle me like cheese, clothe me with skin and flesh and knit me together with bones and sinews? You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your providence watched over my spirit.
Job 31:15 – Did not he who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same one form us both within our mothers?
Psalm 139:13-16 – For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. God is the creator of life. God creates and fashions life within the womb.
Isaiah 44:2 – This is what the Lord says — he who made you, who formed you in the womb, and who will help you.
Isaiah 44:24 – This is what the Lord says — your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb…
Isaiah 49:1.5 – Listen to me, you islands; hear this you distant nations: Before I was born the Lord called me; from my birth he has made mention of my name. And now the Lord says — he who formed me in the womb to be his servant . . .
Jeremiah 1:5 – Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.
When does life start? Is it at conception? Some say that it starts at implantation in the womb, prior to that it is not an actual ‘pregnancy’.
The association of pro-life physicians writes:
According to this elementary definition of life, life begins at fertilization, when a sperm unites with an oocyte. From this moment, the being is highly organized, has the ability to acquire materials and energy, has the ability to respond to his or her environment, has the ability to adapt, and has the ability to reproduce (the cells divide, then divide again, etc., and barring pathology and pending reproductive maturity has the potential to reproduce other members of the species). Non-living things do not do these things. Even before the mother is aware that she is pregnant, a distinct, unique life has begun his or her existence inside her.
Furthermore, that life is unquestionably human. A human being is a member of the species homo sapiens. Human beings are products of conception, which is when a human male sperm unites with a human female oocyte (egg). When humans procreate, they don’t make non-humans like slugs, monkeys, cactuses, bacteria, or any such thing. Emperically-verifiable proof is as close as your nearest abortion clinic: send a sample of an aborted fetus to a laboratory and have them test the DNA to see if its human or not. Genetically, a new human being comes into existence from the earliest moment of conception.
Biologically, from the moment of conception this new human being is not a part of the mother’s body.
Who takes away Life?
Job 1:21 says:
“I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The LORD gave me what I had, and the LORD has taken it away. Praise the name of the LORD!”
The 6th commandment
Thou shall not murder
Murder is sin.
Genesis 9:6 – Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.
Exodus 20:13 – You shall not murder.
Exodus 21:22-25 – If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.
Suicide is a form of murder; it spits in the face of the creator; murderers will not have a share in the kingdom. I know what you’re thinking. Is Scott saying that all those who commit suicide perish???
many great saints struggled with the idea:
King David, (Psalm 13:2-4), the prophet Jeremiah, (Jeremiah 20:14-18), and Job, (Job 7:15-16) among others, all reached low points where they despaired of their very lives. Job says, “So that my soul chooseth strangling, and death rather than my life. I loathe it; I would not live alway: let me alone; for my days are vanity” (Job 7:15-16).
While suicide is sin, it is not the unpardonable sin.
Mark 3 writes:
13 And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. 14 And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach 15 and have authority to cast out demons. 16 He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom bhe gave the name Peter); 17 James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); 18 Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Cananaean, 19 and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
20 Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. 21 And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, “He is out of his mind.”
Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit
22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.” 23 And he called them to him and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. 27 But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house.
28 “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— 30 for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”
No. Believers who have a mental illness or a severe depression and who commit suicide remain safe. If they are elect, they persevere. A sin does not ruin Gods decree. It is God who is high and lifted up, not men.
Is Dr. Assisted ok? This is another form of suicide with a fancy name; it is an assault on Gods law.
All Christians know the arguments here. We are unanimously pro life- we are against abortion; it is murder and God hates it. Medical RU486.
Have you hear of the most recent events w/ Dr. Kermit Gosnell? Late term abortions are of the deepest depravity. Doctors literally deliver the child, and based on the law, deliver the child breach, leaving the head in the birth canal. Once the child is in this position, the mutilation begins. In the case of Dr. Gosnell, it has been reported that he delivered children, 1000’s of them, out of the birth canal and performed this murderous ritual-to grisly to even talk about. I mentioned to someone if this guy had a pet at home?
It’s a funny thing when you think of the Pro-choice advocates. Many of them are animal activists as well. They care more for their animals then they do for human life. Many are vegetarians or tree huggers. Don’t get me wrong; some of these convictions are good convictions. God even says, a man is concerned for his beasts of burden. Pull your beast out of the pit on the Sabbath, etc. The Redwoods-lets build a highway and cut them down. No! I guess it is all a matter of perspective.
God’s people have vision. The Lord has given us sight. We see the matrix. Why is it frustrating when the non-believer rejects Gods word-He has not been given sight. Gods word is spiritually discerned. The unbeliever, the abortionist suppresses Gods truth in their unrighteousness; That’s what the word says, doesn’t it?
The law of the land is at odds w/ Gods law and word. They are God haters. You might say, they don’t really hate Him, Scott. They are God haters in that they are at enmity w/ God-they need His Son and without Him, they fall into the category of God haters. They reject God; their father is the devil and they submit to him. In this submission, they show where their devotions are. They are God haters.
This is a difficult subject. I want to be gentle with it as many believers practice birth control. There are believers who use different methods; Some use interuptus, others use cycles. Some use coverings or mechanical intervention, i.e. IUD. Gods word says that children are a gift from God and that all men should desire a full quiver; a quiver of arrows were 7. The children are equated w/ arrows. Arrows are used for specific purposes, hunting, protection, and entertainment. Back in earlier days, having a full quiver was prestigious. It showed that the man and wife were healthy. It showed that the family was prospering under the hand of God in more ways than one. One had to be prosperous as it took finances to provide for housing, food and clothing. Large families were beneficial in that the more family members, the more on your team; more workers. Most men were either shepherds, tradesman or farmers. It cost to hire on people. Train up your child in the way he should go and later in life he will not depart from it!
Look what it says in Malachi:
10 Have we not all one Father?
Has not one God created us?
Why do we deal treacherously with one another
By profaning the covenant of the fathers?
11 Judah has dealt treacherously,
And an abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem,
For Judah has profaned
The Lord’s holy institution which He loves:
He has married the daughter of a foreign god.
12 May the Lord cut off from the tents of Jacob
The man who does this, being awake and aware,d
Yet who brings an offering to the Lord of hosts!
13 And this is the second thing you do:
You cover the altar of the Lord with tears,
With weeping and crying;
So He does not regard the offering anymore,
Nor receive it with goodwill from your hands.
14 Yet you say, “For what reason?”
Because the Lord has been witness
Between you and the wife of your youth,
With whom you have dealt treacherously;
Yet she is your companion
And your wife by covenant.
15 But did He not make them one,
Having a remnant of the Spirit?
And why one?
He seeks godly offspring.
Therefore take heed to your spirit,
And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.
16 “For the Lord God of Israel says
That He hates divorce,
For it covers one’s garment with violence,”
Says the Lord of hosts.
“Therefore take heed to your spirit,
That you do not deal treacherously.”
Tree of Life?
Random thoughts on the trees in the midst of the Garden:
8 And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked
*Adam and his wife ate from ‘the tree of the knowledge of good and evil’. It is questionable as to whether they ate from the Tree of Life. God never commanded that they not eat of the tree of life, directly. Eve says that God said, ‘tree in the midst of the garden’; singularly.
15The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
“It was a real tree, to be sure, but let me suggest that it was also symbolic of the fact that God was, and is, the source of eternal life and blessing. Adam and Eve were to have their life centred in Him, even as the Tree was in the centre of His Garden.”
God never said ‘Do not eat from the Tree of Life’. It is a position of some that the tree of Life sustained Adam and Eve during their time in the garden. One tree, sustains and the other brings death.
The tree that sustained was by their active obedience, not by the fruit per se; though as previously mentioned, it does have beneficial properties that we will experience in glory, but I am still unclear as to what; we will not need healing; the leaves are for healing…..
I don’t believe they were denied access to the Tree of life prior to the fall; we see no command. I could be wrong. They did lose their rights to it after they partook. Some believe that the obedience, i.e. partaking of the tree of life and rejecting eating from the tree they were denied, saved them; in may ways, it did as they were under the Covenant of Works at that time.
The Lord told Adam that he was free to eat the fruit of any tree in the Garden, except for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil for by doing so he would surely die (Genesis 3:16-17). The tree of life was provided to be continuous reminder that immortality was a consequence of obedience. As long as Adam and Eve were obedient and did not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they had access to the tree of life. Once they sinned, they were driven from the Garden, and God placed an angel with a flaming sword to guard the tree of life so they would no longer have access to it. Eternal life was now no longer theirs.
This is a form of discipline; the tree of life was sacramental and it had a form of discipline attached to it. God actually excommunicates the pair out of the garden.
Was it at satan’s urging that she chose that tree? Why would satan focus on that tree in lieu of the tree of life.
Genesis 3:22-23 (ESV): “Then the Lord God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever””‘ therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken.”
Interestingly, the Tree of Life bears 12 kinds of fruit and bears them around the clock, monthly rejuvenating itself. Maybe it was 12 crops. It produced one kind of fruit 12 x’s a year?
1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 And inight will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
14 Blessed are those who wash their robes,1 so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. 15 Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
There are more than one tree of life. They are planted on both sides of the river. I am not perfectly decided on the tree of life and it’s properties. It does hold healing properties. As mentioned in the Genesis passage, it does give eternal life. If Christ is our salvation, what part did the tree prior to the fall hold compared to glory, hold? Instantanous salvation? Why? In glory, maybe it is for those washed in the blood alone and the title tree of life just shows that the glorified church will partake alone. A sacrament that is akin to the supper? Additionally, the tree bears edible fruit-12 types, mind you! Maybe it bears a different fruit every month. The scripture mentions ‘months’, which is interesting; chronology, time frames, cycles. Wow! The Covenant of Works was based on the command to Adam to ‘Do this and live, eat and die’. The fruit that the tree of Knowledge possessed was obvious based on the outcome.
1) Two trees inn the midst of the garden; the tree of knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life
2) Adam and Eve are commanded not to eat of the tree of knowledge of G&E, not the tree of life.
3) The tree of life represents Christ or the Godhead;
4) All covenants have sacraments; in the garden, the sacrament for the Covenant of Works is the tree of life; Adam and Eve partook of the tree of life; It is akin to the supper.
5) Adam and Eve are under the Covenant of Works; they fail and fall. They are excommunicated from the garden after the fall showing Gods discipline. They are no longer able to partake any longer form the tree of life.
6) There are more than one tree of life in the celestial city; they are on both sides of the river.
7) The river gets it’s life from the throne of God
8 ) The tree of life bears either twelve types of fruit or has 12 crops per year; the twelve types of fruits or crops may represent the 12 tribes. Since Christ is the federal head of the church, if the twelve fruits are analogous to the twelve tribes, it would lead me to believe that the tree does represent Christ and not the God head.
9) The leaves may represent the church universal or the gospel.
10) The leaves have healing properties; that may lead us to believe that it is the gospel as the gospel heals; In the celestial city, there will be no pain nor tears. The Greek word for healing is θεραπείαν [therapeian], which can also denote serving, service, care.
11) How much of this is allegory or metaphor is undetermined.
A quick summary is:
God gives life.
Life can be equated w/ God putting His breath is a person.
Having life cannot be equated w/ breath in that life must be accompanied by the image of God.
There is a big difference between the processing of “breath” and oxygen.
Plants and animals process O2, yet they cannot in the technical biblical sense be considered living in the way God brings life to mankind.
Animals and plants do not have the image of God.
They are made by God, but lack the image.
When breath is given to the egg and seed, a biological process starts.
The combined seed and egg are then considered by God to be a life. This process can be considered breathing, although there are no lungs.
In that cellular activity is the full image of God.
To destroy that embryo is not only an attack on the person of the fetus, but primarily an attack on Gods Himself
We defined children and how God gifts His people with a quiver of kids.
Maalachi says that God seeks a Godly seed and the husband and wife should pursue that according to council, prayer and biblical research.
We spoke a bit about birth control and whether it is biblical;
we were exhorted that this is a prayerful issue and before we consider these interventions, we should seek biblical council as well as commit it to prayer.
We spoke about the idea that since God gives life, it is God who takes life away at His decree.
These decrees are worked out in many ways that God only knows.
Abortion, outside of a decree of God is murder.
Euhtenasia is no more than a fancy word for suicide.
The elect who fall to sickness and or psychological thorns, and commit suicide, persevere.
The believer understands predestination and is confident that God has the best interest in mind of the child of God.
This brings us to the final topic that I found very interesting: The Tree of Life The tree of Life was in the Garden of Eden. It is an actual tree.