The following is an edited transcript of a message preached by R. Albert Mohler, Jr. for "Sanctity of Human Life Sunday" on January 18, 2009. Today's installment is the second in the six-part series.
In thinking through the implications of Jeremiah’s calling, we have gained a clear understanding that every single human being is made by God, formed by God within the womb.
Now, as we open to Psalm 139, we turn our attention from the prophet Jeremiah to King David. In Psalm 139, we have the most rigorous autobiography we can probably find anywhere in Scripture. David writes a Psalm about his own experience. He says:
O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thoughts from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all. You have enclosed me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it. (Verses 1-6)
Then, in verses 7-12, David speaks of the fact that he cannot get away from God. When David flees, he finds that wherever he goes, God is already there. God is not only omniscient and omnipotent, He is omnipresent.
But then, look at the magnificent message of verses 13-16:
For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.
We are surrounded by so much amazing technology. One of the most amazing of these is the ultrasound technology used in hospital maternity rooms. Now, doctors even utilize miniature, microscopic cameras that take us into the womb, allowing us to see what previous generations have never, ever seen. It is only within the last two hundred years of human history that human beings have even had a very accurate understanding of the development of the human baby within the womb. All this was hidden from view. Before the advent of modern surgery and modern medicine, the only way that anyone even had such a glimpse into the womb was because of some disaster or accident or injury. But now, we have sight to see what others have not seen. We can see the baby forming in the womb. We can see the baby even as these inward parts are knitted together. We can see form begin to come. We can see expression and personality in the womb. We can see a baby suck its thumb in the womb. We can see a baby grab its foot in the womb. We can see a baby smile and grimace in the womb. Only God saw that before, but we have been allowed a glimpse. And what we see is what God is doing.
Both from Jeremiah and now from David, we have a very clear understanding that every single human being is made by God. Every single baby is formed by God within the womb. The biblical world takes us to a place where most of our neighbors do not even think. They do not even understand what it would be to understand that every single human being is made individually by God – an act of God’s sovereign, perfect creation. This is an act that brings God glory as He creates a baby in the womb. So, the worldview of the Bible is so distant from a world in which abortion is thinkable.
But let us leave the world of the Bible for a moment, and let us go into the world where abortion makes sense. Let us enter a world where abortion would be plausible - a world where it would be plausible to say that we will extinguish what life has begun. We will end what has been started. We will terminate a pregnancy.
You see, from the very beginning, the idea that a human being would intervene in this process to bring death rather than life – this is so distant from the world of the Bible, it is its opposite. We have two warring worlds. And as we leave the world of the Bible and enter into a world in which abortion is even plausible, we recognize this is a world that represents fallenness in its most extreme. It is a world that represents human sinfulness in its most self-deceptive form.
In the world of the Bible, reverence for life is axiomatic, natural, and automatic – the only reflex and the only instinct. Respect for life is not based upon the fact that we worship life, but is instead based on the fact that we know and worship the Creator of life, the sovereign of life. A world in which abortion is plausible is a world in which life must not be imagined for what we know it to be. It must be a world in which life is understood as an accident. It must be a world in which human beings are understood to be expendable. In sharp contrast, the world of the Bible is a world in which the willful termination of a pregnancy is unthinkable.
In the United States of America, abortion, basically on demand, has been legal since 1973 in the Roe v. Wade decision. This week marks the 36th anniversary of that day when abortion became legal in all fifty states by action of the United States Supreme Court, a decision that will go down as one of the darkest days in American history.
We now know a whole lot more about how that decision came to be. We know that Justice Blackman was the author of that opinion for the bare majority that prevailed in that decision. By his own reflections and by the words of his own daughter who was a pro-abortion activist, we know that he came up with the determination to make abortion legal and came up with the legal argument later. The legal argument itself is an atrocity. And with that decision, all of a sudden, abortion became legal in all fifty states. The Court ruled that a woman has a right of privacy that extends to a right to kill the life that is within her.
Since January 1973, there have been over 45 million abortions in America, perhaps even as many as 50 million. You are talking about a missing population in those 36 years, a number larger than the population of most nations on this earth. You are talking about a missing generation in all those years from 1973 to the present that adds up to an enormous population of persons whose non-existence, in terms of their earthly life, is perhaps the greatest shame of this nation.
The issue of abortion is a live issue right now because in the coming days abortion is likely to be in the headlines of this country. In the changing of Presidential administrations, decisions are made and policies are changed. We are going to have one of the most controversial issues of our day – and that is the way the media will speak of it – bring forth its controversy once again.
But before abortion brings controversy among us, it must first bring shame and pain and anguish, as in the Bible: “Rachel weeps for her children.”
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Click here for Part One of this message.
Tomorrow: Every single human being is distinct from every other form of life because human beings alone are made in the image of God, distinct from the rest of creation.
In addition to being one of Salem’s nationally syndicated radio talk show hosts, R. Albert Mohler, Jr. is the president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky and recognized as one of America’s leading theologians and cultural commentators. Contact Dr. Mohler at [email protected].