By Taft Ayers
Ensoulment: refers to the creation of a soul within, or the placing of a soul into, a human being.
As I sit and hold my newborn son, I have a fire that burns within me. It has nothing to do with the election.
It has to do with some of my Christian friends who make argumentation for when a life possesses a soul.
The central focus is over the argument of "when does life begin?" In the past, my argument has been about as deep as the line from Horton Hears a Who, "A person's a person, no matter how small."
It's time for a little more than that.
When does a soul occur? When does the actual human life begin?
The shaping of a potential and accountable being takes place when?
These are some inquiries that have to be addressed if the issue of aborting babies and alleged "murder" is going to be dealt with in a proper format.
Some folks will argue as to whether or not man possesses an imago Dei, but for this post today, we will operate under the presumption that man is spiritual being.
We will dive deeper to find out when exactly he becomes one. It is a man's soul that will make our being different from the rest of creation a reality.
From the beginning, man in the Bible is depicted not as an evolved animal but as a uniquely endowed creature specifically distinguished from the lower animal world and specifically related to God by the divinely bestowed image.
**Dr. R.R. Gardiner, a minister in the United Free Church of Scotland:
My own view is that while the fetus is to be cherished increasingly as it develops, we should regard its first breath as the moment when God gives it not only life, but the offer of life. Now this is not an example of the Christian retreating in the face of scientific attack. This surely is the original biblical teaching that God took a full-formed man and breathed life into his nostrils the breath of life, and thus man became a living creature-Adam.
Here we go:
Dr. Gardiner's argument does not hold any water. Was Adam ever a fetus? No. Those individuals that hold to the theory "at first breath" really picked up some momentum (in their estimation) in the cases of Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs. Bolton.
There are those who will maintain that the soul is present at first breath, and that it is not at conception.
I do not believe that people can claim that with any certainty at all.
The egg that is fertilized, from the moment of conception, may be properly characterized as a human being due to the fact that it contains 46 chromosomes...
..This would, in turn, make it totally different than all creatures that are made up of a different component. Humans are differentiated by the fact that they have an immortal soul, and therefore, the fertilized egg has the guarantee of ensoulment.A new and unique life is present from the time of conception. For the individuals that say ensoulment takes place and time other than conception, they must evaluate passages such as the 139th Psalm, verse 13-16. Reference is made to when he was in his mother's womb. The pronouns "me, my and I" are used throughout the passage in reference to his pre-natal state. The wording, "I was made in secret" and "curiously wrought in the lowest places of the earth" must refer to the development in the womb.
These pronouns will show that he was referring to himself. The 51st Psalm and verse 5 will also show that he considered himself a human being from the moment of his conception. A human being, completely made, WITH A SOUL!
Life is distinguished within the womb. The text here clearly shows the significance of the unborn baby- "thou hast covered me in my mother's womb." The Psalmist gives credibility here to the idea that it is God who makes man from the very start. In Job 10:18, we see that he truly thinks about the sanctity of life.
Despite the efforts of many scholarly folks, I find a very simple, common-sense approach. We study the law of the excluded middle in our universities and marvel at the idea among the bright minds. Something either IS or IS NOT.
Something is either Living or Non-Living. If it is not alive, then it will do absolutely nothing. It will not be capable of growing or dying.
On the other hand, if it is living, then it will be capable of growing and dying.
The egg is fertilized. The embryo and the fetus are either living or non-living.
People will cause a fuss over aborting a living baby, but what makes it alive?
The fact of the matter is that killing a body is killing a soul. One cannot do one without the other.
The idea that a soul is present at conception is also found within the New Testament. In Luke 1.41 and also verse 44, the Bible states that the "babe leaped in her womb." The word for babe used in these verses is brephos and it is used for an "unborn fetus." This is also used in Luke 18.15 and Acts 7.19 for young or newborn children. In Luke 2.12 and vers 16, it is used to describe the newborn Christ.
***According to O'Connell:
The word "brephos" can refer to a young child as an unborn fetus or as a new born infant. In either case, a human being must be under consideration because the same word is used to describe both.
A fetus is a human being, and therefore it must contain a soul.
In the 139th Psalm, and Luke 1, the Word makes no distinction between a fetus of one week or twenty.
One must come to the conclusion that a fetus is a human being from the very instant of conception.
Those that agree with this statement must also concur that the killing of an innocent child would be wrong at any point due to the concept of ensoulment.
*Edwin J Henry "Medical Ethics"
**RR Gardiner "Abortion: The Dilemma"
***David O'Connell "Biblical Ethics"