Last night my daughters and I got into an unexpected discussion about when life begins. Without tipping my hand, I asked the girls when a baby becomes a baby, a question that led them to scratch their heads a bit. One of them commented, “When you can see that little heart beating.”
Without knowing it, my daughter offered one of the top answers to abortion’s biggest question—When does life begin? Her answer was recognition. When we can recognize, through an ultrasound, that the mother is carrying a fingered, toed, spinal-corded, heart-beating baby, then we can be sure that it is a baby.
Does the Bible agree with that view? Psalm 139 offers a helpful hint when King David says to his Creator, “Your eyes saw my unformed body” (verse 16). Unformed. Without a definite form. Without a clear shape. Even at that early stage of development, what did God’s eyes see? My body. That was David’s body and not just a part of his mother’s body.
Advances in technology have turned our ultrasounds into breathtaking images of curled-up cuties whose heartbeats bring tears to their parents’ eyes. But, once again, the Bible pushes us back even further, claiming that life began even before we could identify the images confidently, even when our bodies were yet to be formed.
So is it true? Does the Bible really claim that life begins at conception? Let’s explore that question next.