Now, ignoring for the moment that I am fanatically agnostic, I started to contemplate today the pro-life argument against abortion. The argument I most commonly hear is that a fetus is a living person with a right to life, even if that life is a miserable one. Sometimes, in the case of the pro-lifer being a Christian, this is backed up my a statement that life is a precious gift from God, and that it is a sin to cast it away, no matter what the circumstances.
What I wonder is this: If God is omniscient and omnipotent, but permissive in the sense that He wishes humans to have free will, then can we be so sure that the life of a fetus has independent value in His eyes? Before you dismiss this possibility without further thought, please allow me to expound.
We know from the Bible that God has traditionally placed more value on some lives than others. We also know that He sometimes likes to test people, and thereby improve their mettle. If having sex is a choice (which of course it is in most circumstances) but the creation of life is divinely inspired, then God must make the choice as to in what circumstances conception occurs. Obviously, God would not choose to impregnate the unwilling as a curse if all life were of equal value, as this would be obscenely unkind to the child-to-be. Therefore, there must be some other point. It is possible, of course, that God impregnates the unwilling because he wishes to test them as he tested Job, to give them the opportunity to believe in Him and follow his Word when all their dreams are tested and taken. But the New Testament God seems to be kinder than that.
What other explanation could there be, then? What if God provides these circumstances in order to give us opportunity for personal growth and development? If that were the case, it does not necessarily imply that He is opposed to abortion. Assuming, as stated above, that God is too loving a God to intentionally place a child in harm’s way, then perhaps the important thing is how we accept responsibility for our actions and deal with our decisions regarding their consequences. Is there, at any point in the Bible, as passage which states that a soul is forever bound into a body before birth? If so, I will reconsider, but I have yet to find it.
If not, then perhaps the soul of the child-to-be is not harmed in the decision to abort, but merely goes on to another waiting body (or perhaps sticks around, waiting for the time when the potential mother is more willing). Perhaps God cares more about how we grow than whether we choose to birth a child at a given time or not?
Moving back into territory with which I am more familiar, let’s look at the scientific assertion that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. This has, by some new-agey types, been used as a justification for the concept of reincarnation, and while I cannot whole-heartedly ascribe to that belief system either (though it would be nice), I must say that if there are souls which are comprised of some sort of energy, it is certainly one possibility. Let’s run with that for a moment. If souls do exist, as in most religious philosophies, then perhaps a soul (even a Christian one) cannot be destroyed by something as mundane as the death of a body. Even a non-fully developed one. If this were the case, then the primary consideration must be given to the soul which is already in development in a body–in this case, that of the mother-to-be. The undeveloped soul of the fetus could easily start from the same position as it would have been in at birth, just in another body, whereas the mother already has many years of practical spiritual development behind her. If she were to choose to abort the child, then she may learn and grow from that decision just as thoroughly as she would have had she made the decision to raise the child. Surely, that is the point of this whole exercise?