John Jefferson Davis, in his book Evangelical Ethics, points out that the incarnation of Jesus Christ has an important role to play in affirming the value of human life (p. 158). He points out that the Creed places the beginning of the life of Christ not at birth but when “he was conceived by the Holy Spirit.” Likewise, he references Hebrews 2:17 which applies the efficacy of the incarnation to the fact that “in all things He had to be made like his brethren.” Many of the early Church fathers understood the significance of this in terms of their Christology. The early maxim was ‘whatever is not assumed is not healed.’ Thus, God became a zygote in order to heal all zygotes. God became a morula to heal all morulas. God became a blastocyst to heal all blastocysts. God became an embryo to heal all embryos. God became a fetus to heal all fetuses. God took upon himself the entirety of human nature from conception on. God became human to heal humanity. Thus, abortion, at any stage of pregancy, is an implicit attack on the incarnation.
Wow. That is cool — not an angle you hear much, but very well said. And a trip to think about… isn’t there a verse about “He knew you before you were born”? (my apologies for mis-quoting)
You have been a blessed and powerful influence in my life, as you know. You have challenged notions which have long been fixed in my mind, and have expanded my horizons. I profit greatly from reading your blog, and look forward to worshiping with you in the coming years. But, regarding this post, “God Became a Zygote,” I must respectfully disagree. It could be that I am misinterpreting the logic, here, but what seems to be implicitly required presents several areas of concern to me. First, if God became a zygote to heal all zygotes, and if God became a blastocyst to heal all blastocysts, and so on, you are making a case for universal salvation of all preborn human babies. I am well aware that many of our historic brethren and many of our contemporary brethren do believe this to be true, but the inevitable question then arises as to what the age of accountability really is, unless one confesses universal salvation altogether. There must be some age or stage before which a human is considered as sinless and, a moment later, bears the awful load of guilt from Adam’s and his own sin, only to be relieved by faith in Christ. Second, if God needed to become a zygote to save a zygote, and needed to become a fetus to save a fetus, this requires one of two suppositions. Either the zygote or fetus is not considered to be human at all, or Jesus did not come to save women, or really old people, or … If Jesus needed to be made like His brethren in order to save them, to what extent did He have to be likened to them? I completely believe that Christ is the Savior of covenant zygotes, and covenant blastocysts, and so on, but I believe that to be so simply because these are all humans, just as women and older people than Jesus ever lived to be, also are humans. In the same way, even children born with chromosomal aberrations like Down’s Syndrome or Turner’s Syndrome, or hundreds of other genetic conditions in which their genetic material is not like what Jesus had, are saved by Jesus, simply because they are human.
On a similar and wonderful note, Rich Lusk wrote a book called Paedofaith which I have read with great joy. I am thoroughly convinced that covenant infants are born with covenant faith, which is the faith OF Jesus. (See KJV: Galatians 2:16; Galatians 2:20; Galatians 3:22; Philippians 3:9; Ephesians 3:11-12.) In the same way that a zygote can be covenantally attached to Adam in his covenant unfaithfulness, that lowliest of human beings can also be attached to the Second Adam in His covenant faithfulness, if growing in a covenant womb (Romans 5:12-19). There is a lot more to be unwrapped in this realm, to be sure, but the traditional and mature formula for faith – knowledge, assent, trust – cannot be the fundamental requirement for all saving faith. Indeed, this concept of the faith OF Christ being that faith which is justifying faith (the sufficiency of the active and passive obedience of Christ) is liberating, and it wonderfully reaches into the womb while it also surrounds covenant members in the frailty of their last days, especially if the mind grows weak and impotent at those times. And, it includes those whose minds never allow them to personally envelop knowledge, assent and trust.
Finally, I agree with your conclusion, as well, that abortion is an attack against the incarnation, because it denies the rule of Christ over the littlest of people.
Yeah, it is wild to think about. I think you’re perhaps thinking of passages like Ps. 139:14-16 and Jer. 1:5. Blessings.
Thank you for the kind words and the comment. I realize that what I’ve written *could* be taken to embrace some kind of universalism, but my point (and I think the point of the early church fathers) has more to do with the nature of the incarnation. While it is true that Jesus did not become a woman or an elderly person or a person with Down’s, all people were once conceived and were zygotes, blostocysts, etc. God became fully human, and the church fathers emphasized this particularly with regard to the beginning of his life as a human. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. This is also why the orthodox insisted upon the title ‘theotokos’ for Mary. It was not so much veneration of Mary as it was a confession of the full humanity of Christ. This full humanity of Christ is the pledge of God to save and heal the human race, but of course not all have/will take advantage of God’s kindness.
I hope that helps!
I too have greatly profited from Rich Lusk’s book.
Blessings and Merry Christmas!
Matthew N. Petersen says
Not entirely related, but how did God heal femininity? “Whatever is not assumed is not healed.” God assumed humanity in its entirety means God assumed femininity for “it is not good for a man to be alone.”
LESLIE ALLEN STELTER says
I am a Roman Catholic priest. Is. 7:14 speaks of the Incarnation of Christ. It is the great sign that a virgin will be “with child.” No member of the human race was a zygote, an embryo, or a fetus. All members of the human race started their existence as immortal, human, rational persons! In a full term pregnancy, each human person spends 4.5 months in the womb before birth. They are created by the Holy Triune God at the moment of upper brain birth, the body organ that contains within itself the natural disposition of the human body to be animated by a rational, immortal, spiritual, human soul. The opinion that ensoulment of the human body with a rational soul at conception is a very dangerous error which puts all of our lives at risk! That diabolical error has to hold that the disposition of the body to have the soul and more important, to keep the soul, is not in the formed organ known as the cerebral cortex, the upper brain, the higher brain. We can replace a human heart with a mechanical heart to save a person’s life, but if the upper brain of a person was removed and replaced with a “computer central processing unit, this process would cause the wrongful death of a living human person. That is why the Roman Catholic Church must teach as a dogma that a human person begins to exist during the 5th month of pregnancy, 137 days before the end of a full term pregnancy. Sincerely yours, Father Leslie Allen Stelter, a missionary priest of the Thare Archdiocese in Thailand, now living in Coloma, WI, retired.