One of the top five answers to, When does life begin? is “At birth.” Once out of the womb, we’re no longer looking at a part of the mother but instead at a separate human being.
Does the Bible agree with that view? Jesus’ birth offers a fascinating answer. In Luke chapter 1, Mary is pregnant and goes to see her relative Elizabeth, who is six months along with the soon-to-be-named John. When Mary shows up at Elizabeth’s home, John, in the womb, starts to jump around like preteen girls at a middle school dance. The Scripture says, “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb” (Luke 1:41). The Greek word used here for baby is brephos. What was in the womb was a brephos.
Jump ahead to Luke chapter 2. Mary makes it to Bethlehem, gives birth to Jesus, and lays him in a manger before an angel shows up to some shepherds and says, “This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger” (verse 12). Want to guess what Greek word is used for baby? Brephos. So Jesus out of the womb and John in the womb are the same thing in the Bible’s eyes. A brephos. A baby.
This detail helps us consider when life begins. Based on God’s view, our Father creates life sometime before Mom’s final push and the child’s first breath. Is that all the Bible says? Or does it offer other truths to help us answer the vital question of personhood? . . .