The Bible is Pro-Life - No Question about it!

Alec Motyer (imagenews March 2012)

To me, having the Word of God by my side means everything; for all of us pro-lifers having such a potent ally can't be bad.

Psalm 51 verse 5 reads like this in my Bible: "Behold I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.' 'Behold' is an important word in the Bible. It has a job to do, calling special attention to something: 'Have a look at this'; 'Don't miss this.' So what is it high-lighting for us here?

At first sight the English translation seems to be taking a snipe at sex as something sinful. That can't be so! In the Bible marriage and sex are God's ideas, something pure and good; something he planned for our benefit and welfare. Some of you may remember the lovely words from the Marriage Service in the old Prayer Book - Marriage was “given by God in the time of man's innocency”: not our idea but God's; not a concession to our sinfulness but a provision for our purity and holiness.

Well then, what does our verse mean? The first verb refers to the processes of labour in giving birth: 'I was travailed with'; the second verb reaches even further back to the passion of the very moment of conception. It is obviously very difficult to find single words to put these two Hebrew verbs into a simple English. They are easier to describe than to translate.

Let us pass over the sad fact that David teaches that the embryo, back to the earliest second of its formation is infected with the sinfulness inherent in human nature, passed on from generation to generation by inheritance. That is all, as a matter of fact, unfortunately true, but not part of my enquiry into Psalm 51:5 here. What is equally true is that when David speaks of the embryo (whether at the moment of birth or at the earlier moment of conception) he says "I...…me” - not an 'it' but a person; not an anonymous person but one particular person, David himself.

I am not without understanding that doctors and nurses can come to treat abortion as commonplace, immaterial. We are all extraordinary in the things we can accustom ourselves to. But abortion is not a matter of disposing of meaningless tissue. It is the death of a person.