BEGINNING OF HUMAN LIFE
Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.
Question: When does human life begin?
Answer: This question is at the heart of the abortion debate between pro-life and pro-choice
advocates. But do the Scriptures shed any light on this question?
One of the many definitions of “life” in the dictionary is: The condition that distinguishes
organisms from inorganic objects and dead organisms, being manifested by growth through
metabolism, reproduction, and the power of adaptation to environment through changes
originating internally. From this definition, undoubtedly most would conclude that life, or in the
case of human life, begins at conception, for human embryos surely exhibit the characteristics
But the Bible also speaks about human souls: “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” (Genesis 2: 7). God did not give a soul to man, but He created man a soul or being. The
word “soul” is translated from the Hebrew word nephesh, which means “a breathing, sentient
being” – that is to say, God formed Adam of the dust of the ground, and breathed, or blew into
his nostrils the breath of life, and the result was a living, breathing, animate being. Then for the
first time, he could properly be termed a soul.
The word “soul” is not applied to man only, for the lower animals are also referred to as souls, as
seen in the first, second and ninth chapters of Genesis. Man as a soul differs from the lower
animals as souls because of his higher and finer organism, including his superior intellectual
qualities. Additionally, man will be given the opportunity to gain everlasting life, and it will be
given to all who faithfully live up to the Creator’s conditions for lasting life; whereas the lower
animals receive the privilege of temporary life.
Considering the above, what a privilege God has given to human beings to procreate, a privilege
that the angels have not even been given. And what a privilege parents are given, to bring up
their children to become conscientious, just and loyal to God and the principles of righteousness
(Proverbs 22: 6) – a training that will surely work advantageously toward their children in this
life, and when they go on trial for life in the Millennial Age.