The biblical view is that human life begins at conception, and conception begins when the sperm fertilizes the egg. Human life must not be defined environmentally as, for example, when that fertilized egg is implanted in the uterine wall. We shouldn’t want the definition of life to be dependent on what other people vote to do about you.
Now this means for us that issues of life and death are razor thin. We are claiming that one cell is a distinct human life, and which, so far as it depends on us, is to be granted all the rights and privileges that come with bearing the image of God. Every fertilized egg will live forever.
For the secularists around us, this is staggering obscurantism. We, each of us, have trillions of cells in our bodies, and they cannot comprehend what we are even talking about. One tiny cell is a person? They walk by sight, not by faith, which explains why they cannot see. Because they will not see human life at conception (which must be done by faith), they cannot see human life via ultrasound a week before delivery (which can be seen with our eyes, if we have not lost them in unbelief).
So personhood is a function of the Word. What does God say about it? When does God say, “It has now begun”? The best answer to that question — and there are no serious contenders, really — is that it begins at conception. Conception can occur as soon as half an hour after intercourse, or as late as five hours after. The male sperm — about a quarter of a billion of them each time — are about evenly divided between those that will result in a girl and those that will result in a boy. As soon as one sperm penetrates the wall of the egg, immediate changes occur to prevent others from getting in. And as soon as that happens, the man outside is the father of a little girl or a little boy. The fact that he doesn’t know it yet is nothing to the point. He is asleep.
So instead of asking what to many is an abstract question — when does human life begin — let us ask the same thing in another more personal way. When does a man become a father? We all grant that not all males are fathers, and that all males are born not-fathers, so the transition must happen at some point. When does that transition occur?
We should take note of the fact that God did this to us deliberately. Most of this is not visible to us, and it shouldn’t be. God intends for us to be pro-life with our minds. He is a precise God. This is a human life here, just one cell, and ejaculate, with millions of cells, is not. Human life is not a quantitative thing.
There is another ramification. No one can legitimately get as emotionally distraught over an early miscarriage as over when a five-year-old dies, though in both cases a child’s life is lost. Giving birth, naming, bonding, baptizing, and nursing are all part of the God-designed process, and twine throughout our emotions naturally over time.
This is why a morning after pill doesn’t seem like an outrage to anybody. But follow the analogy out. The morning after pill doesn’t seem like an outrage because the single cell doesn’t seem like a little girl. But we know that if that cell is properly accepted, nourished, loved, and prayed for, she will one day be the cutest thing you ever saw. She will become what she is. In the same way, that morning after pill will become what it is also. Outrages grow, and not just little girls. Outrages have a DNA pattern also. They get bigger.
If children are nourished in the womb, the result will be true blessing. If microscopic outrages are nourished in the womb, they too will grow. They too will come to the day of delivery. And when they do, there will be delivery, but no deliverance.