R.C. Sproul on Abortion

I believe that the greatest ethical issue today is that of abortion. In recent years many have come to see terrorism as more concerning than abortion. I am baffled by that, because more people were killed on September 10 in the womb of U.S. women than were killed on 9/11 in New York City. More babies were slaughtered on September 12 than adults were killed on 9/11. If we had a camera on the womb so that CNN could show us graphic videos of what actually happens in the slaughter of unborn children, abortion would be quickly abolished, but the reality of it is covered up. If there is one thing I know about God, it is that he hates abortion. The German ethicist Helmut Thielicke indicated something unusual in his massive mid-twentieth-century work on Christian ethics. The work appeared before Roe v. Wade; that is, before Western civilization had embraced abortion on demand. In his book Thielicke wrote that abortion has always been considered a monolithic evil in Christian thought among both liberals and conservatives. That is clear from the very first century, in the Didache, which called abortion “murder.” Abortion is an unspeakable evil that God abhors, one that the American church tolerates and winks at. That troubles me deeply, and I do not understand it.

Sproul, R. C.. Romans (St. Andrew’s Expositional Commentary) (pp. 422-423). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

The Sanctity of Human Life

Click here to listen to the sermon audio

Text:  Gen 1:26-27; 9:5-6                                                       8/14/2016

Main Point: Every human, from conception, possesses the image of God.

On May 28, 2016 something terrible happened. A young boy got away from his mother and entered the gorilla exhibit. A massive male gorilla named Harambe picked up the boy and the zoo officials quickly made the decision to shoot and kill Harambe. Apparently tranquilizers would have taken up to an hour to take effect, potentially aggravating Harambe, and injuring the boy. What was surprising was the firestorm which erupted with many claiming the boy should have been risked and Harambe protected. The argument was the DNA of the endangered gorilla was more valuable than the life of the boy. How do we think about these issues and how do we respond? We must learn to think, and interact with others, out of a biblical worldview.

Read Genesis 1:26-28

  1. What distinguishes human life from other life?

In our day it has become necessary to clearly and winsomely defend the biblical truth that humans and animals are in fact fundamentally different. Humans are not simply a more developed stage of the evolutionary process

  • Humans, and only humans, possess the image of God (Gen 1:27)
    1. There is a difference between creation and those created in God’s image.
    2. Creation, living and non-living things, reflects the glory of God. In creation, we see that there is a God who must be glorious. However, the image of God in mankind is different. We are meant to see what God is like when we look at humans. Creation shows us there is a God. Humans show us what God is like.
    3. Here is an important question: Do some people possess the image of God while other people do not? Are some humans like God while others humans are like the animals? The image of God is intrinsic to every member of the human species. No matter the stage of development, every human is an actual person. To be human is to be made in the image of God. Race does not determine the image of God. Physical or mental abilities do not determine the image of God. Being human necessarily means that person was made in the image of God. Every member of the human species is a person, a person made in the image of God.
  • The image of God makes human life sacred (Gen 9:5-6)
    1. Let’s be clear. Killing a horse is fundamentally different from killing a baby because one possesses the image of God and the other does not.
    2. When it comes to taking a life; the taking of a human life is in a completely different category. The taking of animal life should always be done with consideration and purpose. I do not want to give you the idea that what we do with humans matters but what we do with creation does not matter. We have been given creation to care for it and maximize it; not abuse and exploit it. But we need to clearly affirm the biblical worldview that makes a distinction between the value of a person and the value of an animal. Genesis 9:5-6 make a distinction based upon mankind possessing the image of God.
  • What is the image of God?
    1. The image of God includes dominion (Gen 1:28)
      1. Authority and responsibility for the good of all
      2. Great White share and lion- dominion in their sphere but not a dominion for the good of all. A shark is not concerned about the stewardship of fossil fuels under the ocean floor. A lion is not concerned about the populations of zebras compared to gazelles.
      3. God like dominion is about the other
    2. The image of God includes spirituality (Acts 17:26-28)
      1. Your dog is not concerned about what is going to happen to him after he dies. Your cat is not worried about morality. People are different because of the image of God.
    3. The image of God confers the highest value (Psalm 8:3-8)
      1. Dominion- lower than the angels
      2. A human is of greater value than creation- honor
      3. Every human life is intrinsically valuable because of the image of God.
  • When does human life begin?
    1. Human life begins at conception
      1. Scientific argument[1] At the point of conception, when the sperm and egg join, a human life is created. Read quotes from Why Life Begins at Conception
      2. Biblical argument (Psalm 139:13-15)
        1. Human life begins at conception, when God who is sovereign over life and death, forms a person.
  1. Abortion and the image of God

    • Abortion is a real moral evil because it is the destruction of an actual human life; a life created in the image of God
      1. Psalm 106:34-39
      2. Horton- a person’s a person no matter how small
    • Responding to pro-choice arguments using SLED[2]
      1. S- size
      2. L- level of development
      3. E- environment
      4. D- degree of dependence
    • Abortion and the gospel of God

John Piper helps us connect the mission of Jesus and abortion. Listen to Piper, “Jesus did not mainly come to stop abortions in this world. He came mainly to die for abortion-committing sinners. ‘I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance’ (Luke 5:32)….The heart of Christianity is not a culture of life. The heart of Christianity is: Jesus Christ dying and rising from the dead to save sinners, who then become a culture of life.”[3]


  1. We must cultivate a culture where the weak and helpless are protected and valued.
    1. Protecting and valuing all persons reflects the gospel as God came to us, weak and helpless, sick with sin and redeemed us.
    2. We should advocate against abortion and support crisis pregnancy centers as well as adoption groups.
  2. We must cultivate a culture where sin will be dealt with according to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ
    1. We must interact with one another simultaneously feeling the horror of sin and the superabundant forgiveness possible in Jesus Christ. Merciful salt exposes the sin but always under the atoning work of Jesus Christ which covers every sin. We expose sin knowing it can be forgiven through faith in Jesus Christ. To talk about grace without sin is nonsense and to talk about sin without grace is torturous.
    2. But, it is so much easier to be all about grace or all about sin. We look good when we walk around telling people God loves them and it doesn’t matter what they do. We feel good when we walk around yelling at people telling them they will go to hell for what they do. The gospel brings the extremes together. You will go to hell for what you do, but there is restoration, redemption, and forgiveness because of the Father’s love and the Son’s work. What do you need this morning? Do you need a little more law or a little more grace? Who is helping you sort it all out? God has placed you in that house, on that street, and in that job to shine like a bright light.

[1] http://naapc.org/why-life-begins-at-conception/ accessed 8/11/2016

[2] http://www.str.org/articles/the-s.l.e.d.-test#.V6y_cygrI2x accessed 8/11/2016

[3] http://www.desiringgod.org/messages/abortion-and-the-narrow-way-that-leads-to-life) accessed 8/10/2016