“You shall not murder.”
Murder meaning: the killing of another human being.
Let’s just get right to it and start there.
(As promised, we will do our very best to keep these posts straightforward and with as few traces of opinion as possible. That being said, let me tell you, it’s incredibly difficult to write a piece covering a topic that you feel passionately about and keep those traces of passion and opinion out of it. So, my plan is simply to inundate you with Scripture.To let God and His Word speak for themselves and settle in your heart however they will.)
In the middle of the wilderness way back when, God spoke very clearly and directly and provided His people with a set of rules to govern their life. They were not just any people and therefore could not lead just any lives. They were His people selected and called out for His purposes and He knew they needed guidelines in order to live lives that would represent Him well in the midst of a messy and Godless world.
So, He called Moses, His chosen leader of His chosen people up onto a mountain and He spoke some basics into a couple of stone tablets. The above being one of them.
There were only ten, but He was careful to give ten that covered absolutely everything necessary for living a Godly life. Therefore, if it makes that list of ten, we should probably take it pretty seriously. We see these commands repeated later in the New Testament by Jesus Himself in Matthew 19:18, again by Paul in Romans 13:9, and several other times throughout.
Let’s for a moment flip the pages back to the very beginning of it all.
God who has always been created, spoke into existence from nothing, the whole of creation. Earth and sky and sea and light and dark and vegetation and creatures to fill them all, and then the gem of His creation, man and from the man the woman. In this particular moment the phrase “last but not least,” would most certainly not apply. Here God saved the very best of His creation for last. The only piece of His creation formed and made in His own image.
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Genesis 1
So from this we can take away that God values human life. God created humans from a very special place in His heart in His own image.
Probably why one of His original commands and rules to follow was not taking life from another. Murder implies that you do not value the life of another and to Him that is unacceptable.
Hold that thought.
Certainly we would all agree that every life is precious and important and that murder is wrong. At least I would think so and hope so.
If we can all agree on these points, then the natural questions to follow are these. The questions that have created such a hotly debated issue and all sorts of confusion and passionate disagreement surrounding it.
When is a human a human and when is taking a life considered murder?
Let’s move forward from here by asking some of these harder questions and allowing the Scriptures to shed light on them. In our humanity and limited understanding we will not be able to answer questions like these, sort through their complexities or even begin to make sense of them on our own. There must be some standard, some source of absolute truth by which we can judge right and wrong. For us, that is the Bible. God’s Word and Truth that is living and active and still relevant and applicable in our world today.
It is clear in Scripture that God (as He is inspiring men through the Holy Spirit to write) considers unborn babies to be children. The original language uses the same word to reference John and Jesus before and after their births. We can see this in the following passage:
We also see over and over again in Scripture that God is very much involved in the forming of life in the womb. It is not simply some physiological coincidence that results in the formation of life, it is God carefully and intricately weaving life into the womb of a woman with divine thought and purpose.
The above passages also show us that it is God who determines when life begins. He is the creator of life and therefore it is His right, and only His right to determine when life begins and ends. We being the created should place the same value on life as our Creator. To take life, is not the right of the created.
Let’s end here:
In Proverbs chapter six, we find a list of five things which God hates:
“Hands that shed innocent blood.”
Of course for many, the debate remains whether or not the fetus inside the mother’s womb is even a human prior to birth.
I once heard this illustration taught in my philosophy course at university, and I will leave you with it in hopes that it will bring all of the above together for you some how. Our prayer is that by presenting God’s heart and thoughts on these issues, that your heart will in turn begin to beat along with His.
My professor stood in front of us with a tiny acorn that he had picked up from the ground outside. He asked us what it was. Of course we answered that it was an acorn. He asked us what it would become. We told him an oak tree. He then put the acorn inside of a jar and asked us the same questions. Of course we gave the same answers. Just because the acorn was now inside of the jar, it still was the same and held all of the same potential.
In my research of this illustration and others, I stumbled upon this quote: