Why The Preborn have a Right to Life

Why The Preborn have a Right to Life

Why The Preborn have a Right to Life

The discussion of why Human Beings have a “right to life” or not has been discussed for a long time. In the Judeo-Christian worldview, a view that is reflected in the very beginning of The Declaration of Independence and is the presupposition of this article, it is maintained that the argument in favor of the “right to life” derives from the belief that God imbued mankind with such protections.

However, our discussions of the epistemology of the right to life and its implications tend to stop at God’s having granted it by fiat. As a result, it is often overlooked why this right exists. Therefore, understanding why the right to life ensures the continuation of pregnancy to term without premature termination is paramount.

First, right to life in particular must be defined in relation to another human being because nobody truly has a maximal “right to life” as is commonly understood since God can freely take that life as He sees fit without any trial; a Christian dies the same as a non-believer, even if they have their soul saved. In other words, God has no more obligation to sustain a man’s life than to take it since God owes man nothing; God may take our lives as freely as you might step on a cockroach. Thus, the “right to life” is not best understood as a positive right that someone has been bestowed, but rather it is the assertion that the taking of human life at will is an authority that we as a race do not have. This is argued by citing God’s bequeathing of dominion over all life within the world (Genesis 1:26; 1:28) but allotting for the caveat that this authority is not extended laterally (Exodus 20:13).

However, it should be noted that judicial sentencing of capital punishment for a crime such as adultery or murder is not an exception but rather an extension of this model: judicial executions derive their authority to take a sentenced man’s life by virtue of the authority of God via His prescribed punishment for that specific sin (Leviticus 24:17) and thus the executioner it is not a murderer as long as there is an accompanying due process via an appointed governmental authority (Romans 13:4).

Therefore, murder is not the infringement of some illusory or platonic “right to life” that is somehow applied uniquely to human beings, but rather it is the disordering of one’s proper authority within a divinely appointed chain of command. Hence, lynch mobs are evil while judicial executions moral. However, why capital punishment is prescribed by a Holy and perfect God as the legal and moral remedy for a murderer is of primary importance to this discussion, the justification of which is fortunately revealed explicitly: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.” (Genesis 9:6, emphasis mine).

The image of God places mankind uniquely into a protected class, unlike sheep or trees, that their lives are not impugned. However, to understand why being made in God’s image explains our “right to life”, an investigation of the divine image is necessary.

First, this topic has been discussed for a very long time. The problem, however, is that many of the attributes included within common definitions fall short of remaining exclusive to human beings. For example, while Humans have souls, ensoulment is likewise a property of animals (Gen 1:24) and thus cannot be a criteria for the imago dei. In fact, there is no robust set of attributes, combination of properties, or composition of abilities that can uniquely define what makes up an Image of God.

This is a photograph of my son, Eliezer Tarr, right after he was born.

Artificial intelligence will someday supersede our best geniuses while the love and devotion of dogs can often dwarf the love and devotion of fellow men, but neither the mind, body, nor spirit that compose a person can give that person their worth: personhood is irrelevant to the discussion. Michael S, Heiser says it best in His book Unseen Realm when he claimed: “The image is not something we have, but a status” (Heiser, 2019, pg. 43).

In his book, he argues that the word “in” is a loosely utilized word that can be more clearly translated as “as”– man was made as the image of God (Heiser, 2019). This view of man intrinsically being a representative of God shows that every distinct human life has the same legal status before God regardless of capability, capacity, or state of development (a child and adult are both entirely made bearing God’s Image).

The “right to life” is not the logical or legal result of possessing the proper set of constituents; it is solely the result of divine grace crystalized by legal fiat. Thus, it is not what one has but what one is. Moreover, the universality of this understanding of the divine imaging status implies that it is one’s stage in the developmental process is likewise irrelevant. This view is reflected explicitly by the Psalmist in Psalm 139:13-16, where the Psalmist discusses a continuity of their indivisible self both within the womb as they were being formed as well as prior to it via God’s foreknown plans (McQuilkin, & Copan, 2014). 

This principle is applied even further in Hebrews 7:9-10, wherein the author argues that the Levitical priesthood paid tithes to Melchizedek by virtue of being within the loins of their ancestor Abraham when he paid his tithes. By implicitly accepting corporate agency, the bible thus argues in favor of a very strong continuity of any given person extending prior even to their own birth! It is this continuity of an individual identity is that explains why all individuals gain the protected status common to man at conception: by the Bible’s standard, all spermatozoa are considered a form of seed.

The relevance is as follows: by two witnesses, the Apostle Paul and the incarnate Lord Jesus, we know that the death of a seed creates the new life (1 Corinthians 15:36; John 12:24). This is a view of biology that conflicts with our current understanding, however as not only Paul but God incarnate himself asserts this biological paradigm, we must accept it wholesale. Moreover, we cannot dismiss Jesus’s usage as metaphorical as John 12:24 formulation relates directly to the literal crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus and in context of John’s gospel, Jesus uses mundane natural truths to explain deeper heavenly truths (John 3:12). Moreover, Paul labels those who reject this model of biological reproduction as fools (1 Corinthians 15:36). Therefore, when applied to human beings, we find that the new human life begins after the death of that seed: fertilization.

The bible lays out that seed that must die at conception for the new child to be produced, but after conception and into the posterior stages of human development any cessation of that biological life would be a considered either a stillborn and/or a miscarriage even by biblical standards (2 Samuel 12:22-23; Exodus 23:26). Moreover, all instances of a pre-born child posterior to conception are referred to as a child (Luke 1:44; Galatians 1:15; Genesis 25:21-22) with Job calling still-borns “infants who never see the light” (Job 3:16, ESV). Furthermore, a zygote (fertilized ovum) is undeniably a living cell (regardless of whether it’s a person, a part of the mother, a tumor, a parasite, etc.).

Therefore, the new life that results from the death of the seed of the man must begin immediately at fertilization/conception rather than implantation or later and as any death posterior is permanent, a human in the zygote stage of development as well as all later stages fully bears the Image of God. Given these facts, it is undeniable that taking of life at this stage is outside the domain of man unless the pre-born life can be given a due process for some crime and then sentenced to death. For this reason, abortion is the purposeful shedding of the blood of the Image of God and thus according to Genesis 9:5-6. Since it is impossible to legitimately convict a pre-born child of any wrongdoing, it is thus innocent blood being shed.

To summarize, Human life has the status of bearing God’s Image intrinsically at every stage of development as a result of divine fiat, and any death posterior to conception is referred to as a permanent death (biblically considered the death of a child). By God’s Law, taking the life of anyone who bears the Image of God is outside mankind’s authority unless it is prescribed by God. Finally, it is impossible to convict a pre-born child of any capital offense outlined by God. For these reasons, it is undeniable that Abortion is murder.

References

Heiser, Michael (2019). Unseen realm: Recovering the supernatural worldview of the bible. Lexham PR.

McQuilkin, R. & Copan, P. (2014). An introduction to Biblical Ethics: Walking in the Way of Wisdom. InterVarsity Press. ISBN 978-0-8308-6481-2 (digital). https://viewer.gcu.edu/QveWKa

 

Why The Preborn have a Right to Life

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A Life Story Greg Reinert

A Life Story Greg Reinert

A Life Story Greg Reinert 

I just got off the phone with my cousin and I am a bit dazed, to be honest.

Greg is dying and in hospice in Minnesota.

I talked with his mom, my Aunt Joan the day before, and she said Greg would like to hear from me so I called him right away that night.

I had not talked with Greg in a long time so I was a bit hesitant at first.

What do you talk about with someone that has only a short time to live?

Since I am a decent writer and write articles for a Christian Apologetic website and do interviews for a podcasting organization, I decided I would do a written interview with him, if he felt up to it, on his life story.

I set up a time with him for me to call him the next day when he had more energy.

He became very animated and thought it would be a great idea.

Who doesn’t like to talk about themselves, their history, and their family?

This journey would be interesting to unpack for him and me both because our lives intersected so many times in our younger years.

I am a Born Again Christian now but I was a very nasty atheist until I was 30 years old.

I understand what it is like to have a burning hatred toward God and want nothing to do with Him.

I did not believe in an Intelligent Designer behind the creation of the universe but at 30 years old I could not argue with science.

The Big Bang says the universe was created 13.8 billion years old, so if that is true, who pulled the trigger?

Who set time and space into motion at one point in time in the cosmos?

The universe could not just pop into being from nothing.

I started our interview by asking Greg when he was born?

July 22, 1958, was his answer, Evanston Hospital was the location, in the town of Evanston, Illinois. 

I asked him, what was your earliest recollection as a child?

He said he remembers riding his bike and falling off and hurting himself on a Cul-de-sac where they lived on Huron Ct. in Arlington Heights in Illinois.

He also remembers putting on ice skates after an ice storm and skating up and down his street.

Grandma Detzner holding Greg as a baby.

Greg 3 years old

Greg at grandma Detzner’ house – 1 1/2 years old

Grandma and Grandpa Reinert, Uncle Jack (Tony’s brother) and Mom and Greg 4 1/2.

Mom and Greg. Greg’s about 4.

Greg, Grandma Reinert holding Nancy. My and mom. Grandpa Reinert. 1970?

Mom, Nancy, Greg, Linda and dad. 1970?

Greg 2nd grade

Greg 4 and Mom 

Greg, 4th grade 

His father, Tony, was a dentist and he remembers going to his dad’s office and his dad showing him what he did for people when it came to having their teeth fixed.

Tony did all own lab work as well as working on dentures.

Greg said he was fascinated by that and thought that at the time he would like to do that work also and maybe he and his dad could work together someday.

He remembers his dad taking him to lunch from time to time.

When Greg told me this story, I remember going to see my uncle, Tony, when I needed work done on my teeth as a teenager and young adult.

In my junior and senior year of high school, I worked for a photography studio and the studio needed help photographing a wedding, so I remember asking my uncle Tony, who I knew was interested in photography, if he would like to photograph a wedding.

Tony took Greg with him on a couple of these weddings and Greg told me he remembers doing that very clearly and that he liked it so much he started a photography club in Junior High and High School.

I had no idea!

Greg 13 years old

Mom, Dad, Greg, Linda and Nancy. Greg 14 years old

Greg said he went to school his freshman year at Hershey high school in Arlington Heights and then his last three years at Buffalo Grove.

He said he remembers graduating from High School and how proud he was and how proud his parents were of him.

He said he entered a junior college soon after graduation but did not graduate from that school.

Greg said he was a bit aimless at that point and a friend invited him to meet with an Army recruiter, which he did.

He members thinking, “What do I have to lose”.

He liked the visit and learned much about the military.

The recruiter asked him what he like to do and he told them, working with computers, was a fairly young field at the time.

The Amy recruiter had him take a few tests to find out his strengths and interests.

They said the Army would be a good fit for him and would train him in computers as well as electronics.

He decided to join and went through basic training.

Greg said that basic training was quite an experience all by itself.

He said he was not too surprised at how hard the drill sergeant was on all the recruits because he had watched some movies before he went in.

The Army taught him mainframe, and computer repair and made him responsible for maintaining two generators to power the computers, in a semi-van.

He remembers going back to see his mom when on leave and she would take him to church in his uniform.

She was so proud of him he said.

US Army Bases in Germany

He was stationed at different locations in the world but his favorite was in Germany where he was for 3+ years.

He said he lived on base with other German Nationals.

Greg said he made some close friends.

“I miss many of my German friends to this day” 

He remembers getting a Euro Travel Pack for the train and he would travel all over Germany for next to nothing.

He enjoyed the people and the lifestyle in German very much.

“It was more laid back than the US and more friendly” he said.

When he would sometime travel near the DMZ, the border between Germany and Russia, and the tension was always very high.

When ever there was an alert between Germany and Russia, all the US personnel were required to drop what they were doing and pare up with the German military and be ready for action.

One regret was he never got to meet any Russians.

One day, his Master Sergeant asked him if he would like to take over procuring Christmas trees for the different American bases all over Germany.

To see if he liked it, he went with his Sargent to see what it was all about.

It was so much fun that he took on that responsibility right away.

Greg said Germany goes all out celebrating Christmas.

This job took him all over Germany for a couple of years.

He met many great people in the process.

Boy Scouts in Germany would come in and decorate the trees on the bases.

Greg said he really loved this job.

Greg got the chance to drive a A1 Abrams tank

Greg got the chance to train with all kinds of automatic weapons including Grenade Launchers

Greg said he learned German right way and the language was not foreign to him because he remembers hearing his grandmother and mother speak it all the time while he was growing up.

This was something I remember also as a child and teenager. Whenever our families got together the older generation would speak German with each other.

While in the Army in Germany, the military on both sides would make sure you were proficient on many different weapons so they would pare him with different German Nationals for training and then receive a certificate.

He would learn both American and German weapons such as different automatic guns and grenade launchers.

Some machine guns would only fire off a three-round burst every time you pulled the trigger.

He said that was a hoot learning those weapons.

Greg also told me about the time they taught him how to drive an A1 Abrams tank.

He said “Not many people got a chance to do that”

He also said, the funny thing was that they would teach one side of the tread and someone else would run the other side unless they put it in automatic mode.

“The power and complexity behind that machine was amazing” he said.

He was separated from his daughter, Amanda, at this time in Germany and he tried to talk her into coming to live with him, but she did not want to go live there.

She ended up living in a foster home for a while so Greg asked for a transfer back to the United States so he could be closer to her.

Greg said “I was very sad to leave the many friends I had made and leaving Germany”

The military stationed him at Fort Campbell at the Kentucky-Tennessee border.

He retired from the Army at this location after spending 8 years in the military.

While he was stationed at Fort Campbell, Greg said he and his wife Anne bought a house and lived there for a while together with his daughter Amanda.

Greg said the US Army was very good to him.

Before he left the military, he applied for jobs in the private sector and landed a very good one doing computer repair, replacing motherboards, circuit boards, and keypunching as well as computer diagnostics. 

Greg and Matthew 2007 

Greg and Linda’s oldest son Steve. Last time we saw him in 2011. 

He said his relationship was not good with his daughter, Amanda, for many years but it improved before got sick.

I was able to gather this information on my first two interviews with Greg up to this point.

We had a third one scheduled but Greg went downhill at the hospice care very quickly.

The last conversation I had with him, he was in a lot of pain but he said he still wanted to talk because he still had information to give me.

I did not want to push it because of his frail condition.

I wish I had pushed it for his sake.

I did share my belief in Jesus Christ and what it meant to be born again from Jesus’s perspective and enter the kingdom of God.

I told him of my journey of finding God one spring and summer of 1982 and traveling up the coast of California and Oregon to a small community and church in the Little Applegate outside of Medford, Oregon.

This was a story of how I went from a nasty atheist to a believer in an Intelligent Designer and Jesus.

Greg liked my story and wanted to know more.

God had other plans for the end of this story.

I sure hope my cousin and I can finish it up together at some point.

Maybe, having lunch together on one of the moons of Jupiter.

I would like to invite my grandparents and parents to that meeting.

As I end this writing, I feel honored and blessed that my cousin Greg and I were able to connect and that he was in a place to share his life story, and that he could look back with fondness over his past.

What a journey each and every one of us are on!!

 

A Life Story Greg Reinert

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From Death to Healing

From Death to Healing

From Death to Healing

The following two articles were written by a mother whose son had committed suicide.

The first was written over thirty years ago, shortly after her son took his life.

She wrote the first on the advice of her counselor at the time, to help her heal from this horrific event in her and her husband’s life.

The second she wrote just a short time ago.

It was interesting to see how her perspective did or did not change over the last thirty years.


 

Guest Blog By Carole France

 

“My dearest John,

I miss you.

I long to hear your voice and to share days, hours or even minutes with you.

The love I have for you is still in my heart and I am unable to express it to any other human being.

It is yours alone.

When you were born your dad was so happy that he had a son.

He announced that he had a fishing buddy.

You would carry on his name.

I will always treasure the night that you and I spent together when you were a tiny baby.

You brought me joy your entire life from just being you.

You were intelligent, handsome, fun, funny, interested in learning, deep, complicated, challenging, caring, cautions, sometimes fearful, yet you were also brave and independent.

Little did I know how unprepared I was to raise you children and I know I made mistakes that hurt you.

I know the anger and frustration I saw in you as a teenager was really the disappointment you felt over not having the close family you desired.

All that anger in you worried me.

What you needed was our love, support, time, understanding, patience, and guidance.

You needed us to tell you that God knows and loves you beyond any happening ever in life.

He made you, understands you, and is committed to you – regardless of your struggles.

Instead, though, your dad and I lectured to try and get you to do what we wanted you to do.

I want you to know how sorry I am that you missed out on the love and nurturing that you deserved.

My heart will ache always for what I was not able to give you.

You were dealing with painful emotions and circumstances beyond what a teen should have to face.

They obviously consumed you and you felt powerless to fix it.

I wish I could have explained to you that life is like a book… each chapter is different from the other.

When your young and troubled it may seem like the chapter you are experiencing is the only one and that nothing will ever change.

The truth is that 1,3,5 years down the road our relationships, circumstance, and events are all different.

Of course, we always have stress in our lives, but you would have had more life experiences, more answers of your own from which to draw, and more people in your life to help support you when you asked.

John, when you made the choice to end your own life, I blamed myself, but I will not accept that responsibility anymore.

Even though I will forever feel badly about what you did, it was you who made the choice to kill yourself.

There are so many other choices you could have made, and I know we could have gotten through it together.

But I understand that on that day it was just too much.

You took yourself away from everyone who loves you.

Your decision brought deep and lasting pain to many, many people.

If you were here today all our lives would be more complete.

We would still have problems to deal with, but we would face them together.

I can’t help but wonder who you would have grown up to be, who you would have married and what the voices of your children would have sounded like calling me “Grandma”.

I will always wish that you would have talked to me and asked for my opinion on your leaving.

I would have begged and pleaded with you to stay!

You matter!

I truly and fully love and miss you and I want you to be here,

Mom”

A portrait of John from his high school yearbook.

Thirty Years Later

“A few weeks ago, I was asked to write a follow-up some thirty years later to my message expressed to my son John shortly after his death.

Since we as a family talk about John often I wasn’t prepared for the return of painful emotions this would bring.

My thoughts and feelings held the same raw loss and loneliness experienced those first hours, days, months and years so long ago.

The difference this time was that I knew what to do.

After years of crying out to my Savior, Jesus, I realized He had taught me to go to His word for honesty, truth, comfort, and the healing He has offered me over these years.

Has it been easy?

NO!!!

But it has been REAL!

It has been the most helpful help offered in navigating the intense grief and emptiness in losing one’s precious child in such a horrific way.

I’ve learned that God really is Who He says He is and that He makes good on all His promises made in His Bible.”

 

From Death to Healing

 


 

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