When Does Life Begin? - A Life Sunday Sermon

By Paul E. Kaldahl Jr.

Date: January 23, 2005

Category: Bioethics, Creation

Text: Genesis 1:1

“In the beginning God created heaven and earth.”

Dear Friends of Christ, you remember the old saying, “Which came first? The chicken or the egg?” That poses a question for us this morning ... “When does life begin?” Did it begin with the egg? Or, with the chicken? How would you answer, “Which came first?” How you answer the question reflects your belief system. A secular humanist would say that the chicken probably came from the egg or that the chicken evolved from something else-that it gradually developed over millions of years. These evolutionists would say that all things evolved from a rock. They would claim that the whole universe began with a supercharged dense rock that exploded causing the formation of the universe, as we know it today. It’s called the Big Bang Theory. Life therefore evolved when all the right set of ingredients, chemicals, and proteins came together. Once life began with a simple cell, it gradually developed into all kinds of fish that swim in the seas. From there evolution claims reptiles evolved that could walk on land. Eventually the reptile developed wings and became a bird. In the course of billions of years life became such that the chicken arrived on the scene. So, the question, “Which came first; the chicken or the egg?” changes to become, “Which came first; the chicken or the rock?” According to secular evolutionists, the choice is clear. Chickens came from a rock.

Now if you find that hard to believe, you’re not alone. God has given us a completely different story, hasn’t He? The Bible tells us that “God created.” He created all. We want to examine God’s creative work this morning as we consider our theme:  “When Does Life Begin?

As Christians, we know that life had its beginning in Genesis, when God made all things out of nothing in six days. All life came from God because He is the source of all life. Our Creator is so incredible that it took Him only six days to create what secular scientists claim took billions of years. Truly, we have an incredibly awesome God. God called life into existence. He created plants, trees, organisms, animals, and birds. He created chickens, just as we know them today. Dogs were dogs. Elephants were elephants. Chickens were chickens. However, God’s final project of creation was His most important-His most significant. He created human life.

Scripture attests powerfully to God’s creative work. “‘To whom, then, can you compare Me? Who is My equal?’ asks the Holy One. ‘Look at the sky and see. Who created these things? Who brings out the stars one by one? He calls them all by name. Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, not one of them is missing’” (Isaiah 40:25-26 GOD’S WORD). “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky displays what His hands have made” (Psalm 19.1 GOD’S WORD). “Almighty LORD, You made heaven and earth by Your great strength and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for You” (Jeremiah 32:17 GOD’S WORD). So Scripture is clear. It is absolute. Its words are not to be disputed. God created life and continues to create life.

Since we acknowledge that God is the Creator, our understanding of when life began takes a different view than the evolutionists. We value life as He does. We hold it sacred, holy, especially in the womb. Many believe that life begins at birth. We believe that life begins at conception. The disagreement between the two different ideologies continues, as the two groups take their corners to defend their views. This time it is not, “Which came first; the chicken or the egg?” Instead, it is, “When does life begin; at conception or at birth?” Isn’t it the same type of question? Many proponents of abortion loudly proclaim that life doesn’t begin until the child is born. 

Well, let me make this false claim: “I say that life begins whenever people in agreement say it begins.” If we can get enough people to agree that life doesn’t begin until the age of ten, then by common agreement this becomes fact. Is that not true? Of course it is-that is how we make laws in our land. People come together in agreement and pass legislation. Well, if a law were passed that we should kill all children under ten years of age, would that make it right? Who determines what would make it right? Who is the final authority on when life begins? You? Me? Governments? People? Or GOD?

Of course, all of us see the absurdity of killing children who are under ten. That would be a heinous crime-an act of bloodshed and murder. People would never legislate such a law—we think. Those who support abortion might say, “Now wait a minute, Pastor, I see where you are going with this. I see what you are trying to say, and it’s not fair to compare killing children under ten with killing the unborn. It’s not fair!” It’s not fair? Says who?

Doesn’t that depend on when life begins? Let’s assume the voice of the people decided to kill all children under five years old-would that be right? It would be legal if they passed such a law, but would it be right? Some people might love such a law! It would give all parents a five-year trial period to see how they liked parenting or to see how their child was turning out. If a parent didn’t like being a parent, they could terminate the parenthood. Such a law would certainly help our children behave. The kids at daycare would notice little Billy’s absence and begin to ask questions. When asked about Billy, the teacher would say, “Little Billy was terminated because his parents didn’t want to be parents any longer.” That would cause children to be respectful … wouldn’t it? Now, obviously I’m exaggerating a view-wrongly-to make a point. But, does life begin at five years of age?

Perhaps life begins at two. Is a two-year-old person alive? How about one? How about six months old? How about one month old? How about ten minutes after birth … is that child alive? Today’s legislation clearly agrees that the child is alive, and we all agree that a ten-minute-old child is alive. People can’t give birth to a baby and then kill it ten minutes later. That would be an act of bloodshed and murder. It would be a heinous crime.

Well, how about two seconds after birth? Is a person living two seconds after birth? Is that child old enough to finally be deemed alive? Can we terminate the life? Of course not, that would be a heinous crime. It would be wrong. That’s what our law says; such an act would be considered first-degree murder. Well, when is a person deemed alive if not two seconds after birth?

Is a person alive two seconds before birth? Who’s going to make the determination? Who is going to say? In Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court said in effect, a fetus isn’t a person two seconds before birth-but they become a person two seconds after. Now think about this. Does that make it true? Is that how the beginning of life is determined, by judicial decree?

The problem with our nation is that people refuse to acknowledge that the fetus is alive. The truth be told, many abortionists admit that the human fetus could be alive. However, they say, “We can’t prove with certainty that it is human. We can’t know for sure.” That argument is really weak. You guys who hunt, when you hear a rustling in the bushes, what are your thought processes? Aren’t you thinking, “That could be another hunter. It could be a deer. It might be a person, might be a deer—I don’t know for sure, so I’ll shoot.” Of course not! If there is doubt, you protect life! The reasoning of the abortionist camp isn’t rational. If there could be life, we protect it. Look at how the country protects the eggs of birds which are on the verge of extinction. If the egg might be life or might not be life, why do they protect it with such strict laws? These same people who write the laws to protect unborn animal life refuse to protect unborn human life. Why?

Dr. Frank Beckwith served as chairperson for the Republican platform in Nevada. His job was to write platform positions. When he and his committee came to the issue of abortion they wrote this: “We affirm a woman’s right to choose abortion, if and only if it doesn’t result in the death of a child.” At the convention, when this issue came up, lines developed at the microphones. The first speaker said, “Mr. Chairman, we disagree with the wording of the platform.” Dr. Beckwith answered, “What is it you disagree with? Is it the first part, ‘We affirm a woman’s right to choose abortion’?” ”No, we agree with that.” Then Dr. Beckwith said, “So, you must disagree with the second statement (if and only if it doesn’t result in the death of a child)? Perhaps you would like to change it to: if and only if it results in the death of a child?” You see, the issue is the sanctity of human life.

Yet, some claim the government can’t legislate morality. My friends, when the policeman pulls you over for going 20 miles over the speed limit, you can bet he’s going to legislate his morality on you. That is exactly why God created government-so that decent citizens might be protected from the illegal behavior of others. ”Well,” some claim, “abortion is not a religious matter. It’s not a church matter.” Again, I’m reminded of the fifth commandment, “Thou shalt not murder.” I think that’s a church matter. That is absolute truth-God values and protects human life. Simply said, God loves life. He loves life, yours and mine. So much so that He sent His own Son to be our Savior and die in our place and be punished for our sins. He loves little children, the born and the unborn.

Do you see my point? Who decides when life begins in a pluralistic society? Is abortion a religious issue? Yes, it is because God is the Creator of life. He is the one who sets the law of life in order, and what does He say? 

Psalm 139 says, “You alone created my inner being. You knitted me together inside my mother. I will give thanks to you because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made. Your works are miraculous, and my soul is fully aware of this. My bones were not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, when I was being skillfully woven in an underground workshop. Your eyes saw me when I was only a fetus. Every day of my life was recorded in your book before one of them had taken place. How precious are your thoughts concerning me, O God! How vast in number they are!” (Psalm 139:13-17 GOD’S WORD)

In Psalm 100:3 we read, “Know that the Lord Himself is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.” God is the creator of the unborn. The prophet Isaiah declares, “Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, and the One who formed you from the womb, ‘I, the Lord, am the Maker of all things, stretching out the heavens by Myself, and spreading out the earth all alone” (Isaiah 44:24 NASB).

 God creates life! And, He gives us new life in the forgiving shadow of His love. Christ covers us with His blood and the Holy Spirit imparts eternal life into the hearts of men. We need Christ’s forgiving love because we are all guilty of sinning against His creation. We are all guilty of devaluing life in some way or another. Jesus came into the world for all sinners. And this point must be stated clearly—Jesus forgives men and women who have condoned abortion or even had an abortion in the past. He says, “Come unto me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give rest for your souls.” You see, Jesus is the Creator of life, and He offers eternal life into the hearts of all. His forgiving love is absolute because He is the Creator of forgiveness!

So often, when women who have had abortions hear sermons like this they leave church feeling guilty and horrible. They don’t look forward to Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. If I have someone listening to me this morning feeling that way, my heart goes out to you. While I might not understand the hurt you feel inside, I do understand the forgiveness Jesus offers. He offers His blood to cover and cure all sins—all hurts—all pains—all guilt—all burdens. Jesus invites you to have your burden lifted up to the cross, where He comes to give Life. That is what all sinners must do—you and I—no matter how grievously we have wounded the Lord and ourselves with our sins. God’s power to forgive is greater! Come to the flowing blood of Jesus at the cross and let His love and mercy assure you. Don’t allow the devil to work in your life by holding on to the sin and the guilt and the pain. Satan may want to see you suffer. Jesus does not!

The Creator of heaven and earth knows when life began. He knows when life begins. He knows when He arrives in a soul and new life begins and all guilt and sin is washed away. Indeed, God is the creator of heaven and earth. He is also the Creator of our souls. May we grow in the faith to allow Him to recreate our hearts this morning and every morning for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

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