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yet another abortion thread...

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by jewscout, Feb 24, 2005.

  1. jewscout

    jewscout Religious Zionist

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    Not that i want to add fuel to the fire but i was thinking about this...
    Is there a verse in the bible that specifically prohibits abortion...or considers the aborting of an unborn fetus as murder?
    I've been weeding through several of the threads on abortion on this forum and have yet to find anyone who can quote a verse saying that abortion or the aborting of an unborn fetus is murder...
    I could be wrong...wouldn't be the first time and if this has already been discussed on a previous thread i apologize for the repetition of the topic....

    Just curious....
     
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  2. Ceridwen018

    Ceridwen018 Well-Known Member

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    No, I do not believe abortion is specifically mentioned. It's all in interpretation.

    "Thou shalt not Kill" + speculation on the when the soul develops + other stuff, I'm sure = no abortion!
     
  3. standing_on_one_foot

    standing_on_one_foot Well-Known Member

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    It's all down to when you think the soul comes in, it's a person, etc. I don't know if there are biblical passages on that (although there are some Rabbinic quotes I know of)
     
  4. jewscout

    jewscout Religious Zionist

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    However the translation from the hebrew, i believe, is "Thou shalt not Murder".
    Soldiers die in war all the time, but that would fall under killing, not murder.

    I mean the bible is real specific on male homosexuality, and not "eating a kid in it's mother's milk"
    But i can't recall a verse that is specific when dealing w/ abortion...
     
  5. standing_on_one_foot

    standing_on_one_foot Well-Known Member

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    The thing is, they consider it murder to kill an innocent human being...
     
  6. jewscout

    jewscout Religious Zionist

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    Yes but does an unborn fetus, by biblical standards, constitute a human being? is it murder if it hasn't been born?
     
  7. Ceridwen018

    Ceridwen018 Well-Known Member

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    By biblical standards, the fetus would be a human when it gets a soul. Which is.....uh.....
     
  8. standing_on_one_foot

    standing_on_one_foot Well-Known Member

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    Exactly where the problems come in, you see. Christian tradition says it's at conception, Jewish tradition generally says a human life begins at birth...
     
  9. jewscout

    jewscout Religious Zionist

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    But that still doesn't answer the question at hand...
    People get violent over the right to life arguement, going so far as to murder people and bombing abortion clinics...
    And they call people who have abortions and perform them murders...
    What verse from the bible says that the abortion of an unborn fetus is murder?
     
  10. BUDDY

    BUDDY User of Aspercreme

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    I know that there will be others that may may interpret these differently than I do, but here are some of the more straight forward verses that I have found, that point towards a protection of the unborn.

    Psamlms 139:
    13. For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. 14. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. 15. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

    Jeremiah 1:
    4. Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 5. Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

    Isaiah 49:
    1. Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name. 5. And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God shall be my strength.

    Genesis 25:
    22. And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to inquire of the LORD. 23. And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.

    Romans 9:
    10. And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; 11. For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth

    Exodus 21:
    22. If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. 23. And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life,

    Is this the type of thing that you are refering too? As I said, there are others that I personally look at that have more to do with my life belonging to God, Christian commanded to love and other doctinal issues that tie in, but I think that these more adequately answer your query. Please let me know if you are looking for something else and I will try to find it.:)
     
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  11. jewscout

    jewscout Religious Zionist

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    The Psalm quote is pretty good...i'll have to look into it in my Tanach and read what some of the commentary says...though i don't know of any Law of the Jewish faith taken from Psalms since they were written by David, not HaShem.

    Jeremiah and Isaiah are dealing with prophecy of the coming of the messiah though i can see where one could interpret them as being about an unborn child...
    I believe Romans is discussing the verse from Genesis you pulled, which is dealing with the birth of Jacob and Esau and the chosenness of Jacob

    The quote from Exodus i applaud you for EEWRED, this was exactly the verse that brought up this idea in my head... ok here's what i've seen...
    This is the sentence for murder
    Exodus 21:12 If one person strikes another and [the victim] dies, [the murderer] must be put to death.
    Which like all laws in the Torah is re-emphasised in other places...
    Leviticus 24:17 One who takes a human life must be put to death.
    Numbers 35:30 If anyone kills a human being, the murderer shall be put to death on the basis of eyewitness testimony. However, a single eyewitness may not testify against a person where the death penalty is involved (interesting thought i'd just point this out...)

    However your quote from Exodus..
    Exodus 21:22 [This is the law] when two men fight and [accidentally] harm a pregnant woman, causing her to miscarry. If there is no fatal injury [to the woman], then [the guilty party] must pay a [monetary] penalty. The woman's husband must sue for it, and [the amount] is then determined by the courts.

    So by how i'm reading this if the woman doesn't die then it's a monetary penalty...which is different the penalty for murder which is the death sentence.
    So by the standards of these laws it is not murder...
    i'm not saying that unborn children shouldn't be protected or that we should have weekend abortion parties or some craziness like that...but by biblical standards...it's not murder. It is only considered murder if the woman dies in the process...
    Exodus 21:23-24 However, if there is a fatal injury [to the woman], then he must pay full compensation for her life.

    It actually seems closer to loss of property or live stock...
    Exodus 21:33-34 [This is the law] if a person digs a hole in the ground, or uncovers a hole, and does not cover it over. If an ox or donkey falls into it, the one responsible for the hole must make restitution, restoring the full value [of the animal] to its owner.
     
  12. BUDDY

    BUDDY User of Aspercreme

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    Okay, I can totally see where you are coming from on this, and I think it goes back to the questions of interpretation.

    Exodus 21:
    22.
    If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. 23. And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life,

    The way I read it is this, "if men argue, and in the process hurt a pregnant woman, so that she miscarries, and yet the child live: he will be punisheed by the husband and pay acording to what the judges decide. But if the child dies, then he shall pay with his life."

    Anyway, that is how I read it, but being more familiar with the Law of Moses, maybe you can show me where I am wrong in the language and syntax. The references throw me ff a little bit anyway. I can't recall anywhere else that the terms "fruit" in reference to pregnancy, or "mischief" in reference to the life or death of the child. So that could be throughing me off too. Thanks for the feedback.
     
  13. jewscout

    jewscout Religious Zionist

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    Again the thing i love about Judaism is that there are more opinions on things than there are jews on the face of the planet:D
    I'm sure there are commentators who would back both of us up...but that fact that we can throw doubt into this whole thing i believe opens it up for a bit more discussion...i'll have to check my tanach, it's got some good commentary on the laws and stuff and have to get back to you!
     
  14. linwood

    linwood Well-Known Member

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    I don`t read it that way.
    We`d need to define what is meant by "Mischief" because the first verse explicitly states that "her fruit depart from her" which I take as the child was aborted/killed.

    The fact that a woman is now the master of her own body and not her husbands personal property negates any involvement by any man as far as rights to the child or woman goes so that part must be ignored unless we want to roll back any and all womens lib we`ve gained.

    So we are left with the "judges" decision.

    Our courts have decided abortion is legal.
    Thats the judges decision.

    Thats how I read it.

    Mischief to me in this context would mean hiding the crime, running, lying about his culpability..
    I`m open to another interpretation though.

    Not that it matters since in order to actually live by that piece of scripture we would indeed have to give the man who concieved the child rights over the woman carrying it and the child being carried.
    I`m not game for that and it makes the entire scripture irrelevent to this topic.
    You can`t hold up a piece of scripture as law and then say we only have to follow "part" of it.
    It`s all or nothing.
     
  15. jewscout

    jewscout Religious Zionist

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    I fail to see how it is irrelevent to the question i brought up at the beginning of this thread.

    I'm not talking about instituting this or any other scripture as law
    ah but place it in the context of a society living 3500 years ago and it makes perfect sense...again i'm not talking about using any scripture to change laws or base laws on scripture...

    What i was trying to ask was, for the pro-life camp who more often than not use religion as the base of their arguement, where in the bible is there scripture saying that an abortion is murder...
     
  16. linwood

    linwood Well-Known Member

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    I`m sorry, I wasn`t being clear.
    I mean the scripture eerwed posted must be considered irrelevant as far as Biblical justification against abortion because our society won`t accept the return to dominance over women.

    I know you`re not Jewscout.
    I`m refering to those who would have society ruled by the implications of this scripture and others like it.
    Also how they harmonise the patriarchal part of the verse with the rest in order to use it as basis for their belief.

    Yes, I know ..I`m just pointing out why that particular scripture isn`t a very strong persuader.
     
  17. BUDDY

    BUDDY User of Aspercreme

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    Well, I just thought it relevant in light of how I interpret it in that it gives us some insight into how God sees the pregnancy. Again, that is just my understanding from my religious standpoint. I believe that was the question.
     
  18. standing_on_one_foot

    standing_on_one_foot Well-Known Member

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    To the Hebrew, then. The words used here (ason) seem to mean "no further damage or disaster," which I'd take to mean injury to the women. It's then followed with, "but if there is damage [to the woman], the punishment will be a life for a life, an eye for an eye, etc" which backs that translation up. It also seems to imply, to me, that the child is not considered a life. The only time the punishment is one for murder, "a life for a life," is when it's the woman's life that's lost.
     
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  19. standing_on_one_foot

    standing_on_one_foot Well-Known Member

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    The language in the Hebrew, by the way, refers to the woman (described as pregnant) losing her child, and doesn't use a word for fruit at all.
     
  20. Scott1

    Scott1 Well-Known Member

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    As the early Christian writer Tertullian pointed out, the law of Moses ordered strict penalties for causing an abortion. We read, "If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely [Hebrew: "so that her child comes out"], 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" (Ex. 21:22–24).

    There is also writings from the era before the Canon of Scripture was defined, showing how early Christians felt about the subject:
    The Didache
    "The second commandment of the teaching: You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not seduce boys. You shall not commit fornication. You shall not steal. You shall not practice magic. You shall not use potions. You shall not procure [an] abortion, nor destroy a newborn child" (Didache 2:1–2 [A.D. 70]).
    The Letter of Barnabas
    "The way of light, then, is as follows. If anyone desires to travel to the appointed place, he must be zealous in his works. The knowledge, therefore, which is given to us for the purpose of walking in this way, is the following. . . . Thou shalt not slay the child by procuring abortion; nor, again, shalt thou destroy it after it is born" (Letter of Barnabas 19 [A.D. 74]).

    The Apocalypse of Peter
    "And near that place I saw another strait place . . . and there sat women. . . . And over against them many children who were born to them out of due time sat crying. And there came forth from them rays of fire and smote the women in the eyes. And these were the accursed who conceived and caused abortion" (The Apocalypse of Peter 25 [A.D. 137]).
     
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