As I’ve blogged on a Biblical framework for the pro-life position we’ve looked at the biblical position that life begins in the womb, we’ve seen that based on God’s ownership we belong to Him – not others, and that God has exclusive prerogative over human life and death.
As we build on those Biblical truths we now look at a principle that reflects the character of a just God, and He is just. God hates, absolutely hates, the shedding of innocent blood.
When the Israelites entered the promised land they were faced with temptation all around them. God exhorted His chosen to reject the practices of the Canaanites who inhabited the land before them. The Canaanites were a morally bankrupt people and had a polytheistic society as was normal in many ancient cultures. One of the gods that they worshiped was Molech (or Moloch), who was considered to be the god of fire. Followers of this false god would sacrifice their children as they offered worship. God is very direct about this practice.
You shall not give any of your children to offer them to Molech, and so profane the name of your God: I am the Lord, (Leviticus 18:21, ESV).
If the Israelites participated in this barbaric practice that would bring dishonor to the name of God because not only would this practice shed innocent blood, but it was also idolatry. God is even more direct regarding what should be done with those who sacrifice their children
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying,“Say to the people of Israel, Any one of the people of Israel or of the strangers who sojourn in Israel who gives any of his children to Molech shall surely be put to death. The people of the land shall stone him with stones. I myself will set my face against that man and will cut him off from among his people, because he has given one of his children to Molech, to make my sanctuary unclean and to profane my holy name. And if the people of the land do at all close their eyes to that man when he gives one of his children to Molech, and do not put him to death, then I will set my face against that man and against his clan and will cut them off from among their people, him and all who follow him in whoring after Molech, (Leviticus 20:1-5, ESV)
This one of many instances where we see that the shedding of innocent blood is to be considered a capital offense. In Deuteronomy 19 we see the establishment of sanctuary cities for those who kill unintentionally in order to prevent the shedding of innocent blood on those who play the role of avenger for the deceased.
God punishes the Kingdom of Judah for their participation in the shedding of innocent blood, (2 Kings 24:2-4). God also brings his justice to bear on Israel because they did not hate bloodshed, (Ezekiel 35:5-6). God from the beginning prohibited the killing of the innocent as we saw when God confronts Cain after he killed his brother Abel, (Genesis 4:9-15).
We also can see in scripture that God also watches over those who are helpless.
For he delivers the needy when he calls,
the poor and him who has no helper.
He has pity on the weak and the needy,
and saves the lives of the needy.
From oppression and violence he redeems their life,
and precious is their blood in his sight, (Psalm 72:12-14, ESV).
The shedding of innocent blood is listed as one of the things that God hates.
There are six things that the Lord hates,
seven that are an abomination to him:
haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that make haste to run to evil,
a false witness who breathes out lies,
and one who sows discord among brothers, (Proverbs 6:16-19, ESV).
God has an intense aversion to the shedding of innocent blood, among other things. The shedding of innocent blood, and in particular the slaughter of children were considered to be a vile and shameful act.
Some may argue that these passages deal with those who are already born. Biblically we have already established personhood of the pre-born. Which really is the fundamental question in the abortion debate – when does life begin… when does a person become a person? If we have personhood while in the womb we have inherit worth in God’s eyes… we are innocent in the womb. No excuse can be made to justify the shedding of innocent pre-born blood.
I’d love to read your comments and discuss this further. Up next in this series is God’s special love for children.