This post originally occurred as a comment here: http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2015/07/30/some-thoughts-on-life/
Let me first get out of the way the fact that any woman who is going to die or is in incredible risk of dying because of their current pregnancy should have the pregnancy terminated. I think every action should be taken to save both the mother and the unborn child, but when one has to be chosen, sadly the little one will have to go on into eternity. I think this is most consistent with God’s love of life in Scripture.
That being said, we have a fundamentally wrong view of life in general. What are we here for? To have a good, happy, successful life, free of hardship and suffering? Is that the point? To make sure we get our best life now? Are we supposed to make sure that no tragedies or hardships ever come our way, and if they do, make sure and do everything you can to get rid of them? NO! An absolute NO!
What did Jesus say about this life? “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. “After they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:21-22. Right now, during this life, we should expect it to be hard. We should expect suffering. We should not be seeking to have our best life now. That is for the next life. Suffering now; best life later. People speak of an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy or even a tragic pregnancy as a hard thing and so that is a legitimate reason to terminate it. Before we even get to the fact that we are talking about babies, let’s put this “hard” thing in context. What about other people who are suffering who cannot abort their hardship? What about the soldier who had his legs blown up and subsequently amputated? Where is his right to terminate his lameness? What about the patient diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and only has months to live? Do they get the right to terminate their doomsday? What about the little girl whose daddy committed suicide when she was only 11? Does she get to terminate her dad-less and question-stained life of suffering? The point is everyone suffers, at least at some point in their life. Many of them have no legitimate way of alleviating their suffering. I am not saying that we should abstain from alleviating suffering when we can. That was a huge part of Jesus’ ministry, and we would do well to mimic it. However, a situation that is perceived as hard and as “suffering” does not automatically qualify it as a situation that should be terminated. Sometimes, God in His eternal plan, calls us to suffer without the suffering being taken away.
So the question comes up: should an unwanted, unplanned, or even tragic pregnancy be terminated because it is hard, a form of suffering? I think the Biblical answer is no. “Surely I will require your lifeblood; from every beast I will require it. And from every man, from every man’s brother I will require the life of man. “Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man. “As for you, be fruitful and multiply; Populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it.” Genesis 9:5-7. This passage teaches that God takes life very seriously. He takes seriously the life of animals, and the life of man. Why is the life of man so important? Because he is made in the image of God. God’s image is so important that not only should it not be killed, but it should be propagated in the world.
So when it comes to abortion, when it comes to that hard pregnancy, what would God say about ending the formation of His image?
For the unplanned or unwanted pregnancy, please, do not let yourself begin to think negatively about the image of God being formed in the womb. While it may truly be hard or inconvenient, or possibly embarrassing, please do not group yourself in the suffering of those who truly suffer and cannot do a thing about it. For those people who have been raped, this truly is a much harder matter, and while I may have been less gentle in my words previously, let me now say with all the gentleness and sympathy I can muster: I am so sorry for your suffering, for you truly have been wronged and have some serious consequences in your life that were not of your choosing. My heart goes out to you, and my wish for you like the lame soldier or the stage 4 cancer patient is that this hard thing might be taken away from you. Yet, even in this hard thing, God has said that to those who love Him, all things work out together for good, even this little life in you that you did not ask for. That little child did not choose this either, but the child is still there, being formed into the image of God. Do we even in this situation destroy that image in the making? Again, if we are talking about a child that has been raped and the pregnancy is putting her life in danger, then that child who is in the image of God must be protected. But in other cases, the worst tragedy that we could think of may result in the beginning of life. Just like in other horrible tragedies that God brings good out of, could this not also be the same? Even that little life is innocent and should be protected. It’s an image of God in the making.
Abortion is not a complicated issue. It only becomes so when we have elevated our personal plan for happiness over God’s plan for our life, and the life of a child, an image of God in the making.