The majority opinion in the Supreme Court case of Roe v. Wade in 1973 stated the following, “We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man's knowledge, is not in a position to speculate as to the answer.” (Article X, Section B, Paragraph 2) But, it should be asked, was medicine, philosophy and theology unable or unwilling to arrive at a consensus. Often, when personal interests are at stake, truth is abandoned in favor of uncertainty of thought.
Consider the chief priests and elders of the people in Matthew 21. Having asked Jesus a question concerning His authority to teach, He responded by stating He would answer their question if they would first answer one of His. The question dealt with the authority of John the Baptist. The Jews rightly reasoned that if they answered that John’s authority was from God, then they would be guilty of disobeying God. However, if they answered that John’s authority was self-generated, then they would lose the respect of the people who held that John was a prophet. Their response to Jesus then was, “We cannot tell.” The truth is they simply were unwilling to tell because of what it would cost them to deal with truth.
From a theological position, there is no doubt that life begins with conception. Consider the generation of the body of Jesus Christ. The angel Gabriel appeared to Mary telling her that she would be the one to conceive Israel’s Messiah and the world’s Savior. Not willing to violate the law of God, Mary questioned how that would come about. Assured that the Holy Spirit would do that which was compatible with the will of God, Mary consented. In assuring Mary that this was possible, Gabriel declared that Mary’s cousin Elizabeth had conceived a child in her old age. After Gabriel departed, Mary went “with haste” to where Elizabeth lived; a city in the hill country of Judah. Most Bible commentators believe that this city was Hebron, and if so, a journey of 3 to 4 days. Assuming that Mary became pregnant immediately after Gabriel departed, Mary was only 4 days pregnant when she arrived at Elizabeth’s door.
Recent research in the conception/birth process has revealed that the fertilized ovum (blastocyst) at four days after conception has just left the fallopian tubes and entered the uterus. At this point it has not attached to the uterine wall (usually around the 7th day). When it does attach itself to the uterine wall it triggers a number of hormonal changes in the mother’s body. With these hormonal changes a mother may, for the first time sense that she is pregnant. Before this time, there would be no real evidence that could be detected by the senses of pregnancy. So when Mary entered Elizabeth’s door, she could not say with certainty (apart from faith) that she was pregnant. Yet, John, 3 months from birth in the womb of Elizabeth leaped with joy. But even more importantly, Elizabeth called this blastocyst her Lord, indicating the approximately 100 cells of “tissue” was a real living person.
When it comes to life, every person has the option to choose what they believe about it. The Scriptures declare that life is found in the person of Jesus Christ (John 1:4) but unfortunately, all too many seek to find life somewhere else. After all, they say, if we faced the truth, it might force us to give up some things that we prize. In reality, if they faced the truth, it would cause them to gain those things that are literally “out of this world” in value. To borrow from American Express, “Life, don’t leave earth without it.”