Abortion Is a God Issue

John Piper, Desiring God

Abortion Is a God Issue

So you got those options: conception, the first little kick or twitch, a full brain, breath. Where do you choose to identify personhood? (Life is there. Clearly life is there from the beginning. But the argument of some is that it is not a person yet. Of course it's alive, just like a twig is alive.)

My answer is: If personhood happens by God's creative decree, and you're not sure where, which way are you going to push it?

And who can be dogmatic here? Who can say, "I know for absolute certainty it's the breath that the baby takes where human personhood is imparted." Or "I know when the brain stem is this big and he flinches his eyes, God has made him a person." Or "I know that when these chromosomes come together, BANG, God has created a person." Frankly, all I know is this: I'm going to err on the side of not killing a person.

A doctor came to me one time—it was during hunting season—and he said, "I just saw one of the most amazing things in my life. I was working down at Hennepin County, and they brought a man in. And he had an arrow going into his back and coming out of his chest. He was dead. It went right through his heart." The doctor had never seen this in his life. And he asked, "What happened? Is this murder?" And he learned that the man's hunting partner had shot him. He had on a brown coat, looked big, and was hidden behind a bush. And his buddy shot what he thought was his deer or bear. But he shot him.

Now the analogy is that that man was found guilty of negligent manslaughter—or something like that—because when a human life is at stake, you don't shoot. It might be a man! You don't shoot at a moving brown object when you're out hunting in teams! You're guilty!

And if this little emerging person might be a man or a woman, you don't shoot it.

So that's the way I come down. But to me, ultimately, it's because God is at work. God is at work. And if he is supreme, you leave his knitting work alone and you love this woman another way.

And that's the beautiful thing about the pro-life cause in our day. Hardly anybody says anymore, "O, you pro-life bunch of white, middle-aged males that don't ever have to suffer. You're just putting your morality on the world, but you don't give a rip about born babies. You just care about unborn babies."

Hardly anybody talks that way anymore. They did 20 years ago when I was fighting this fight. I got put in jail for sitting in front of abortion clinics, and the abortionists on the other side were shouting that kind of vitriol at us. And my conscience was saying, "Is that true? Yeah, I'm white. Yeah, I'm male. Yeah, I've never been pregnant. But I support and engage in multiple ways of caring for women and for babies born and unborn."

And now there are so many thousands of almost totally Christian crisis pregnancy centers across the world, and they care for the mom and baby both before and afterwards. They do everything necessary to make this transition possible. Hardly anybody says we don't care for born babies anymore.

That's a beautiful thing, which is why the pro-life cause is gaining ground and, I think, will probably win in the end.

© Desiring God. Used with permission.

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Desiring God.

Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org


  • Editors' Picks

    Stop Trying to Read the Bible in a Year!
    Stop Trying to Read the Bible in a Year!
  • The God of All Weather
    The God of All Weather
  • Does Islam Promote Violence?
    Does Islam Promote Violence?