When Does Life Begin?
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When Does Life Begin?
When does a human life start? This is key to understanding why abortion is a grave sin—taking an innocent life.
God’s Word describes how the first human life began when God formed Adam and breathed into him the breath of life (Genesis 2:7). Mankind was made in God’s image and likeness (Genesis 1:26). But man was made of earth—matter—while God is spirit (John 4:24).
God describes His planned destiny for human beings in 2 Corinthians 6:18: “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” God is actually creating a family—reproducing Himself—through mankind. This is why we were created and why we are born!
So how does this take place? That spiritual process of how we become God’s children parallels the physical process of how human children are born.
God told our first human parents to “be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth” (Genesis 1:28). They did, and formed the first human family. Every human being since has been the fruit of that process God designed.
Human reproduction started with Adam. God’s divine reproduction of His family started with the second Adam, Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:20-22, 45-49). He was born as a human being. The big difference is that God was His Father in a unique way (John 1:14, 18; 3:16, 18; 5:18). The ovum in the womb of the young virgin Mary was miraculously fertilized by God’s divine Spirit and power, the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35).
Human life starts with an ovum or egg produced within an ovary of a potential human mother. The tiny ovum is barely large enough to be seen with the human eye. The male’s sperm are much smaller, only a fiftieth the size of the female’s ovum. When a sperm penetrates the ovum and joins with the nucleus of that cell, a human life begins.
This start of human life is exactly paralleled by the beginning of divine life as a child of God.
Within every human being is human spirit, which sets us apart as very different from animals. Research into human and animal brains has shown little physical difference between the two. Yet human beings are able to think, plan, reason, acquire knowledge and create in ways that no animal can do. The Bible reveals that within every human being exists a human spirit that sets us apart from the animal world.
Scientists for the most part ignore anything that cannot be detected or measured through physical means, so they refuse to accept the existence of spirit. As we’re told in 1 Corinthians 2:14, “the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
Sadly, in refusing to accept the existence of spirit, many scientists refuse to accept the existence of God, angels, evil spirits and the human spirit. Thus science is unable to provide answers to the great questions and issues of life.
So how, then, does the divine life, which is a parallel to human life, start?
The Bible records an astounding supernatural event that happened on the first Feast of Pentecost after Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. God’s Holy Spirit miraculously came on Christ’s followers who were gathered there in Jerusalem (Acts 2:1-4).
That spirit essence and power of God, like a divine sperm cell uniting with an egg to form a human embryo, joined with their human spirit to make them newly begotten children of God! (See Romans 8:16-17.) Empowered with God’s Spirit, these men and women could now begin to understand the things of God!
As the apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 2:9-11: “But as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’ But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except [by] the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except [by] the Spirit of God.”
Their receiving of the Holy Spirit was their moment of divine conception. They were now children of God—though not yet born as immortal spirit children until the resurrection at Jesus Christ’s return (1 Corinthians 15:20-23, 35-54). Now they would grow spiritually in grace and knowledge (2 Peter 3:18) until that time of ultimate spiritual rebirth. In the meantime, those who are baptized and have received God’s Spirit are His children, partakers of His nature, though awaiting that rebirth (see 1 John 3:1-2; Romans 8:9, 14-17; 2 Peter 1:3-4).
In the same way, a child in the womb is the child of its parents from the moment of conception. So to kill an unborn child is, in the eyes of God who is the Creator of all life, murder. May we all strive to please God and recognize this horrific sin for what it is!