THE L. F. NEXUS
ISN’T THERE PROOF THAT THE UNBORN CHILD IS ALIVE?
By Dr. Michael J. Bisconti
Question> Isn’t there proof that the unborn child is alive?
Question> But what about those movies where they show the baby moving around in the womb?
Answer> That only proves that the body of the unborn child is alive, not that the unborn child themself is alive.
Question> Can you explain further what you just said?
Answer> Sure. The Bible (e.g., I Thessalonians 5:23) teaches that every person is made up of body, soul, and spirit. Now each of these parts of a person is alive. There is the body life, the soul life, and the spirit life. When the baby is being formed in the womb, we know for sure that there is body life. We do not know for sure whether there is soul life. We do not know for sure whether there is spirit life.
Soul life and spirit life require that the unborn child have conscious experience. Conscious experience would include seeing, feeling, thinking, etc., etc. No one knows whether the unborn child has any kind of conscious experience. Therefore, no one knows whether the unborn child has soul life or spirit life. In addition, the spirit is that part of a person that can know God. The spirit cannot become conscious until after birth. We will explain this further at another time. Suffice it to say, for now, that no one knows whether the unborn child has conscious experience and, therefore, no one knows whether it has soul life and spirit life.
Now, in order for a person to be alive they must have all three kinds of life – body life and soul life and spirit life. Therefore, since no one knows whether the unborn child has soul life and spirit life, no one knows whether it has all three kinds of life. Now, since no one knows whether the unborn child has all three kinds of life, no one knows whether the unborn child is alive.
Note that, even if we left the soul and the spirit out of our discussion, it would still be true that the unborn child would not be alive if it had no conscious experience. Now, for the super technical among our readers, there is no such thing as “unconscious experience” and, if there were, it would just be another type of conscious experience.
Question> What about the unborn child in the Bible that experienced joy? Joy is conscious experience. Doesn’t that prove the unborn child was alive and, therefore, that all unborn children are alive.
Answer> Like any other unborn child, that unborn child was possibly alive. That unborn child either had only body life and soul life (some might argue that we don’t know whether it was soul life or spirit life but the point is moot [changes nothing]) or it had all three types of life and was, indeed, alive. The emotional response of the unborn child demonstrated emotional sensibility (the ability to have one type of conscious experience) but not necessarily intellectual awareness (another type of conscious experience only possible through another ability – cognitive ability; specifically, the ability to know). God does not give us the same divine revelations about any other unborn child. Now, just because one unborn child had a conscious experience of emotional sensibility, that does not mean that every unborn child has a conscious experience of emotional sensibility. Also, this unborn child was a special unborn child. The Bible says (Luke 1:15) that they were “filled with the Holy Ghost [while in their mother’s womb].” This suggests that their life was in an advanced stage of development compared to other unborn children.
Question> What about the Bible passage Exodus 21:22-25? Doesn’t this prove that the unborn child is alive?
If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.
Answer> No. The key word is the word “fruit.” This word, “everyone agrees,” refers to one or more born persons, not one or more unborn persons. Therefore, God is not equating the life of a born person, a man, with the life of one or more unborn persons.
Question> So, according to everything you have said, every unborn child is possibly alive and, therefore, we need to always be against abortion?
Answer> No, read Abortion: The Smart Pro-Life Position.
· The Bible says (Genesis 2:7) that God formed the body of the man and, after that, the man himself. That is, God formed the body uninhabited by the man and then put the man into the body. This is a clear statement of the existence of the body by itself, apart from the man who was going to reside in the body. Genesis 2:7 says:
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Note the word “became.” One thing became something else. There was one thing – the body of the man uninhabited by the man – that, after that, became something else – the body of the man inhabited by the man.
· It is implicit in the story about Nicodemus in the Bible that people, during the time of Jesus and of Paul, did not believe that a person attained intellectual awareness (a type of conscious experience) until after they were born.
· Regarding the different kinds of life – body life, soul life, and spirit life – note that, in the Bible, there are different ancient Hebrew and ancient Greek words for the different kinds of life – in ancient Hebrew, for body life, for soul life, and for spirit life and, in ancient Greek, “ζωή” for body life, “ψυχή” for soul life, and “πνεῦμα” for spirit life.
Also, read Abortion: The Smart Pro-Life Position and What Does The Bible Say About Abortion? and The Abortion Pages. For answers to other (uncommon and rare) questions see Dr. Bisconti’s 2008, revised and expanded edition of his The Scientific American Abortion Encyclopedia (link not yet active).
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