Reproductive Rights


Question: “What does the Bible say about reproductive rights?”

In the broadest sense, reproductive rights are the rights of individuals or couples to determine if and when they have children and how many children they have. The term is also used to mean that everyone should have access to free birth control, health exams, and medications pertaining to childbearing. But in the last 50 years, the term reproductive rights has been used almost exclusively to refer to the legal right to abortion on demand—the right to terminate a pregnancy at any stage for any reason. Since the Bible was written thousands of years before chemical birth control, medically induced abortion, and the sexual revolution, does the Bible say anything about reproductive rights?

As far back as the Garden of Eden, God has been involved in the reproduction of humanity. He instructed Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (Genesis 1:27–28), so reproduction is not just a “right” but a command. Interestingly, the command to multiply immediately follows the statement that God had created the humans “in His own image.” So God’s directive to the first people was to fill the earth with others who bore His image. With that clear command ringing in their ears, Adam and Eve did not have “rights” to disobey the Lord.

God continued exercising His authority over reproduction at Mt. Sinai. When God gave the Israelites His Law, He included several commands pertaining to reproduction, all of which validate the life of an unborn child. The laws concerning a woman’s period and a man’s nocturnal emissions also included purification rites that significantly limited the number of days each month when a couple could have sexual relations (Leviticus 1518:1920:18Deuteronomy 23:10–11). So God had already instituted “birth control” and a natural rest time for a woman’s body as part of His Law. The Bible contains several examples of barren women, and Scripture explicitly says that it was God’s direct intervention that enabled those women to conceive (Genesis21:129:3130:221 Samuel 1:19Ruth 4:13).

Our “reproductive rights” do not trump God’s authority. A dominant theme throughout the Bible is that God is the sole giver of life and that He alone has the right to take it. After the flood, God reinforced the value of human life by declaring the rule of a life for a life: “And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being. Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind” (Genesis 9:5–6).

Today, “reproductive rights” is almost synonymous with the right to abortion. The closest the Old Testament comes to mentioning abortion is in Exodus 21:22–23. If someone accidentally caused a pregnant woman to go into labor, but the baby survived, the culprit was only fined. However, if the fetus died, the culprit was to be executed as well, because God required “a life for a life.” We can infer much from that command. If those were God’s instructions for accidental miscarriage, how much more inexcusable does God consider intentional miscarriage?

Our “reproductive rights” cannot be used as a cover for sinful behavior or as an excuse to destroy the innocent. Sexual relations are reserved exclusively for married couples (Hebrews 13:4); therefore, any sex outside of that bond is sin and does not entitle anyone to any “rights.” In the case of non-consensual sex that results in pregnancy, the right of the child to live must supersede the right of the mother to control her body. Ending the life of an innocent baby only compounds the evil of the situation.

A woman has the right to reserve her body for her husband. A man has the right to reserve his body for his wife (1 Corinthians 7:2–4). A couple has the right to determine together the size of their family by using appropriate methods of birth control. But no one has the right to violate the higher right of an innocent child to live. Reproductive rights end when another life has begun. Possibly the clearest declaration of God’s heart on the matter is Jeremiah 1:4–5: “The word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.’” Reproductive rights are always superseded by the rights of our Creator. Before He formed any of us in the womb, He knew us (Psalm 139:13–16). And no human being has the right to destroy a developing child who is already known by God.



Big Bang Theory

Question: “Did God use the ‘Big Bang’ to create the universe?”

Prior to the twentieth century, before the Big Bang theory had been developed, philosophers and scientists debated whether the universe had a beginning. Some argued it had always existed: that it was “infinitely old.” This agreed with the worldview of ancient philosophers and then-current atheism. On the other hand, there were logical reasons to think the universe could not be “infinitely old,” such as causality. For most of history, there was no empirical evidence proving the universe had an objective “beginning.” Atheism particularly held to the idea of an “infinitely old” universe as a reason to dismiss God as unnecessary.

This situation changed drastically in the first half of the twentieth century, as several discoveries were made leading to the formation of the Big Bang theory. Over several decades, those who preferred the idea of an eternal universe made many attempts to explain away hard evidence, but to no avail. The result was secular science lending tremendous support to the creation account of the Bible.

Einstein’s theory of general relativity, published in 1916, suggested the universe either had to be constantly expanding or constantly contracting. So, Einstein added a “cosmological constant” to his equations, for no other reason than to maintain the possibility of a static, eternal universe. Einstein later called this the “biggest blunder” of his career.

The work of Edwin Hubble in the 1920s proved the universe is expanding. This finding contradicted Einstein’s cosmological constant and left non-believing astrophysicists unhappy. Their discomfort was made even worse with the contributions of Georges Lemaître, a Roman Catholic priest and astronomer. Lemaître noted that the combination of general relativity theory and Hubble’s discoveries implies a beginning. If the universe is currently expanding, then at some time in the past, the entire universe would have been contained in some infinitesimally small point. This idea is foundational to the Big Bang theory.

Over the next several decades, physicists tried to salvage the eternality of the universe by proposing everything from the Milne model (1935) to the steady state theory (1948). In many (if not most) cases, these models were proposed explicitly because the implications of a non-eternal universe were “too religious.”

The year 1964 brought about the Nobel Prize-winning discovery of cosmic microwave background radiation—something predicted by the earliest Big Bang theorists in the 1940s. For all intents and purposes, that discovery made the “beginning” of the universe an inescapable fact of modern science. The question was no longer “did the universe have a beginning?” but “how did the universe begin?”

Evidence for the Big Bang, regardless of how one interprets it, is a stunning example of science and theology intersecting. According to objective, empirical science, all space, time, and energy came into existence together in a single moment: a “beginning.” Before the Big Bang, there was no time. There was no space. Then, suddenly, an exceedingly dense, incredibly hot, infinitesimal ball of something—everything—appeared somewhere, somehow for reasons unknown and began to expand rapidly with our whole universe inside of it. If true, the Big Bang theory all but confirms the view espoused by Judeo-Christianity for thousands of years.

Astrophysicist Dr. Robert Jastrow phrased it this way in his book God and the Astronomers (New York: W.W. Norton, 1978, p. 116): “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”

Why? Because, as Jastrow explained in a subsequent interview, “Astronomers now find they have painted themselves into a corner because they have proven, by their own methods, that the world began abruptly in an act of creation to which you can trace the seeds of every star, every planet, every living thing in this cosmos and on the earth. . . . That there are what I or anyone would call supernatural forces at work is now, I think, a scientifically proven fact” (“A Scientist Caught Between Two Faiths: Interview with Robert Jastrow,” Christianity Today, August 6, 1982, pp. 15, 18).

It’s important to note that, prior to these discoveries, disbelief in God was tied closely to the idea of an eternal, un-caused and un-created universe. Afterwards, however, non-believers began to claim that these advances in science actually disproved God. What had always been interpreted as clear support for a Creator—and resisted for that very reason—almost overnight turned into the claim that atheists had been right all along.

This attitude, unfortunately, led to a corresponding reaction from the creationist community. Just as many astrophysicists felt that the expanding universe theory was a ploy to inject religion into science, many Christians have come to feel that the Big Bang is an effort to undermine the biblical account of creation. Other Christians, however, feel that the Big Bang is consistent with the Bible’s account and welcome such compelling evidence for the creation of the universe.

With that said, it is important to understand that the Big Bang theory is just that—a theory. The exact nature or cause of that “beginning” has not been explicitly proved by empirical science, nor can it be.

If Christians are to have an objection to the Big Bang theory, it should only be in the atheistic presuppositions that often go along with it. The idea itself—that the universe came into existence in an instantaneous expansion from an infinitely small point—is compatible with an orthodox view of creation. Scripture only says that God created (Genesis 1:1); it does not specify how. The fact that non-believers were so opposed to the Big Bang theory, on religious grounds, speaks to how powerfully it supports the Genesis account.


Recommended Resources:

The Case for a Creator