By R. Lucas Stamps, The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.
The fight against abortion is a hearts-and-minds campaign.
Pro-life advocates rightly pursue legislative and judicial means to end the evil of legal abortion, but a large part of our struggle is persuasive in nature. And we need all kinds of arguments in our tool belt as we seek to persuade people both inside and outside of our faith communities that unborn life ought to be defended. We should appeal to Scripture to demonstrate the dignity of all human life, including life in the womb. We should appeal to science to show the undeniable truth that unborn human life is indeed both human and living. We should appeal to philosophy to show the capriciousness of denying human personhood to a particular class of human beings.
Jesus at conception and the dignity of the unborn
But there are also theological arguments that we can marshal in our fight against abortion. As Christians around the world celebrate the seasons of Advent and Christmas over the next several weeks, it is worth considering a specifically Christological argument that can buttress our belief in the dignity of unborn human life.
Consider that the central claim of the Christian faith is the belief that God the Son—the eternal Second Person of the Godhead—became a human being in the womb of the Virgin Mary. As the classic Christmas carol “O Come All Ye Faithful” puts it, “God of God, Light of Light; Lo, he abhors not the Virgin’s womb!” God the Son became a human being by taking to himself a complete human nature: a true body and a rational soul (see the Definition of the Council of Chalcedon, AD 451).
And the New Testament makes it clear that this assumption of a human nature began at Christ’s conception, not at his birth.