What Value is Life in the Womb? – Judges 13:5-7
Last time we began a study of Samson and we came to Judges 13:5 and in Judges 13:5 and the following verses where the angel of the Lord has appeared to the mother of Samson, she is informed about the fact that this child that she is already pregnant with, we saw that it's poorly translated in most versions as a future tense, in the Hebrew it is a perfect tense and should be understood in the sense that she has already conceived and that she is already pregnant and that she is going to have a child and this child is going to be a Nazirite. We looked at that last time and saw that in the Nazirite vow, it was a voluntary vow that was taken for a temporary period of time. With Samson it is going to be different. Samson is not a voluntary vow; God is imposing the vow on him and it will be for the duration of his life, from birth to death.
But, uniquely, his mother is told that she too must follow at least a portion of that vow. There were three things that were part of the Nazirite vow. Number one, they were not to not only avoid drinking any wine, they were not to have any contact with the fruit of the vine at all; no grapes, no grape juice, and remember Samson is near a culture that's influenced by the Greeks so they couldn't have any grape leaves, you know the Greeks are always wrapping something up in grape leaves so they couldn't eat that, they couldn't have anything to do with grapes. Secondly, it seems to be a vow, I can't find where it applied to women, a vow that was specifically for the male and they were not to cut the hair of their head at all. That was the outward visible sign that they had taken the Nazirite vow and the third aspect of the vow, they were not to have contact with anything that was dead. Of course that was also part of the dietary law of the Mosaic Covenant which forbade eating of certain foods and if you do a study of the foods that are forbidden it doesn't have anything to do with health.
Every now and then you're going to run into somebody who is going to say they have some great diet for you and they're going to base it on the Mosaic Law and that's why the Jews had that diet is because of course they didn't now how to adequately prepare these foods and it wasn't until that later they could eat them and they try to make the whole thing hygienic but that's false because everything is made clean and declared clean and that believers in the Church Age can eat anything, no dietary restrictions. In Acts 10 with the vision God gave to Peter where He was informing him of the inclusion of Gentiles into the Church, and of course, He didn't instruct Peter at that time that now you have to cook pork until it's at least medium well in order to kill all of the bacteria, you don't need to cook other foods to…there was no change in the way in which they prepared food, there was no scientific advance when it was clearly an issue of spiritual truth. And what God was teaching through the dietary law was that death was the result of sin and that God could have nothing to do with sin. God is holy; the word "holy" even though it's a rather antiquated term and over-used in a lot of religious verbiage and not everybody knows what "holy" means; it comes from the Hebrew word qadash which means set apart and it emphasizes the uniqueness and distinctness of God, and that God cannot have anything to do with sin. And so what God was teaching through this physical training aid of the dietary law was that if you ate anything that was a scavenger, that had something to do with death, then that made you ceremonially unclean, it's not that it was a sin, but it made you ceremonially unclean and you had to perform certain sacrifices of the Levitical sacrifices before you were cleansed and could go into the temple and the whole point was to train people to think in terms of how pervasive sin was and how it affected everything.
So this is really a visual aid, a Nazirite is a visual aid that his focus is on God; the Psalmist tells us that God gave wine for the joy of man's soul and the word for "wine" there is not grape juice, it is wine and it was an alcoholic beverage and so clearly God recognizes that there is a validity to drinking alcoholic beverages. It's drunkenness that's forbidden by Scripture, not enjoying wine or beer or whatever you might enjoy; it's avoiding getting to the point where you're rational faculties and your volition is impaired to any degree by that. So it is temperance, it is not abstinence. But the Nazirite was to abstain to show as a visible _expression that his joy, his happiness was based exclusively on God. So there was this unique facet to the vow of the Nazirite.
Now when the angel of the Lord comes to the woman, we don't know her name, just the mother of Samson, she's told that she too is to avoid drinking wine herself and not to eat anything unclean because of the child that is in her womb. Then we come to verse 5 which states, "For behold, you shall conceive," and that should be translated "you have conceived, and will give birth to a son, and no razor shall come upon his head, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb; and shall begin to deliver Israel from the hand of the Philistines."
So we raised the question last time, because this question should occur to people who are reading this text, especially in light of the tremendous controversy that has been going on in this nation ever since the Supreme Court decision of Roe vs. Wade, what exactly is the value of human life and what is the value of life in the womb? And what exactly is the life in the womb and how should that affect decisions that are made, legislative decisions and judicial decisions? Is abortion legitimate, illegitimate; is it simply a moral or spiritual issue or is it a criminal issue? And these questions, of course, have become litmus tests for almost orthodoxy in Christianity, conservative Christianity and some cases even conservative politics. And yet what happens more often than not, about 99.9% of the time is you get a lot of heat and not a whole lot of light when discussing this. And yet as believers we need to recognize that God addresses every important issue in life, and the Scripture tells us that it is sufficient for all matters of life and godliness, the spiritual life.
So it is going to give us insight truth about what is going on inside the womb and what our position as believers should be. And there is clarity there; it is not dark. In the next hour we're going to look at issues related to inerrancy, infallibility, and one of the points is that God has communicated to be clear, not to be unclear. He has communicated to be perceived and not to confuse man. And yet what we find in this area is a lot of confusion. This last week I was reading through a contemporary volume on systematic theology, one that is popular today, it came out in the 80s and has become a major textbook used in many seminaries today, most conservative seminaries; the author is considered an evangelical. I would put him pretty much to the middle, to the left of whatever evangelical means and in many cases I don't care for the author myself because in many cases he says these are the three options and I'm not sure which one it is but these are the strengths and weaknesses of each position and he basically bails out of a lot of issues where he should be making decisions, because the bottom line from all of that well, isn't God clear. I mean, you're supposed to have a degree, a PhD and you know the original languages and you don't know what God's saying about this? That's what he did in the issue, in his section discussing the nature of human life and the origin of the soul, he goes to the historical positions as we will, and then he concludes by saying we really can't say that the Scriptures are clear; science really can't tell us when the soul is present, that is not a factor of empirical data and so the only thing we can conclude is that since abortion is wrong, obviously there must be full human life in the womb. See, he back-argued the position and that's the kind of lousy logic you find in so many treatments of this subject, on both sides of the issue. So we need to address what the Scripture says and I began last time by looking at the Hebrew that is used here for the phrase, "from the womb."
So our first point is that this is a technical prepositional phrase from the Hebrew, min is the preposition, plus the noun for womb, and here it is a full or plenary word, min ha beten, whereas normally what you find in the Hebrew there is sort of a contraction where it is the preposition is just joined directly to the noun and it comes across as minbete. And here the min, the preposition has a local meaning, indicating the point of departure and therefore means away from or from. It is not talking about inside the womb because that would be the preposition B in the Hebrew which means "in." So it is outside the womb, it's not talking about life in the womb and the text here in Judges 13:5 is simply stating that the boy will be a Nazirite to God from birth.
Now I want to review why I say it is "from birth." It's talking about him, that he's going to be a Nazirite to God from birth, because the three mandates to be a Nazirite, dietary law, uncut hair, and not touching a dead body all relate to his volition. And the reason it says "from birth" indicates that his volition isn't active in the womb. It's not activated until he is born. Prior to birth there is a mandate to his mother. Now why is that? At least what this is going to indicate and what we're going to see by the time we get to the conclusion is that God places a value on what's going on inside the womb and her life and her abstinence from wine, from strong drink which we saw last time is the Hebrew word shakar which means barley beer, and the fact that she had to give up wine and beer for the period of her pregnancy is to be a visible symbol that God is doing something special through her. It really doesn't say anything specifically about whether or not there is full human life inside the womb. So the first point we looked at last time was the technical phrase that's used here.
The second point is that is this an idiom? Is it possible, and there is at least one or two authors that I've read that try to claim that mibeten is an idiom for "from conception." But as I noted last time there is a Hebrew word, hareyon from the verb harah, you have on the one hand a verb, harah, and then you have its noun, hareyon and this is the noun; harah is the verb. When you have the word for birth you have the verb yalad, but there is no corresponding noun. So my argument is that if you're talking about conception, the Hebrew does have a word to state literally "from conception." You would say min hareyon. But if you're talking about "from birth" there's no word; the language is lexically impoverished at that point and there is no word, literal noun for birth, so you have to use an idiom and the idiom that they used was mibeten. If you want to talk about birth you used the phrase mibeten. Now there's a couple of things we need to understand here that I want to make sure everyone is clear on. First of all, this is a difficult…number one, it's a flash point doctrine for some people, sometimes when I teach what I teach some people think it automatically justifies abortion and it doesn't, that's a non sequitur, it's irrelevant. There have been many, many Christians over the years who have taken this identical position and that was never an issue. It's just become such an emotional flash point over the last 25 years or so that everybody jumps to illegitimate conclusions.
The second thing I want to do, if you haven't been around very long, if you haven't been a Christian for very long, maybe some things that we're going to cover are a little difficult for you, that's okay, you have to follow the procedure. When you're eating spiritual food all you can eat is oatmeal and cereal and you have to put the steak aside and say I'll come back to it and study that at a later time when I have a little better frame of reference and can understand it a little better, a little more clearly.
The third point that we have to get to is to understand the basics of how God made man and the composition of mankind, of a human being. So turn to Genesis 2:7 where we see the mechanics of how God created Adam, the first man. There we read, "And the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground," now we must remember there are at least four different words in the Hebrew language to describe God's creative activity. There is the word bara' which is used only of God as the subject and expresses His divine creative activity. There is the word asah; asah generally refers to making or doing, it's the more general word for making or manufacturing something. Then there is the verb yatsar, and yatsar is the word that is used of, let's say a potter forming an object on his potter's wheel and it means to shape or to form an existing material.
So we read here that "the LORD God formed man," it's not bara', it's not asah, it's talking about the physical formation of his body, that he "formed man of the dust from the ground," that means he used the chemicals in the soil to produce the human body. And that's what he's talking about here, is the material part of man, that there is a distinction in man between a material body and an immaterial soul. If man was simply material, if everything were material then when man died there would be nothing to go to heaven. But Scripture says that at the instant of death we are absent from the body and face to face with the Lord and that indicates that the soul is distinct from the body as well as many, many other passages, this being the first one. "The LORD God formed man of the dust from the ground," and so that forms his biological life. This is the formation of his physical body and everything necessary. At that point you have biological life and of course the text doesn't go into it, doesn't go into the fact that there is cell life and there are all kinds of things going on at the cellular level on the body. This even happens after death, the soul is departed to go to heaven and there are certain cell things that are still going on, there are still certain reflexes, they diminish rather rapidly after death. Some continue much longer, a year, two years down the road; your carcass is still going to be growing hair, fingernails and toenails, and five, ten, fifteen, twenty minutes after death somebody can tap your knee with a little hammer and you're still going to get a muscular reflex. There is still cell life even though the soul is no longer there, even though the brain wave is flat and the heart wave is flat there is still life at a cellular level and it gradually over time, in some cases more rapidly, that life at the cellular level begins to dissipate and disappear.
So there's a distinction between that must be made between biological life and biological activity and soul life, and that's the second part of the verse. It says that God "formed man of the dust from the ground," that is related to the body, "and He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life," and the Hebrew word there is neshamah for "the breath of life," God breathed naphach, the breath of life, neshamah into him; it is that breath that imparted to the physical body of biological life the immaterial soul of Adam, and it was only at that point where you had biological life united with soul life that you had real human life. When there was just a body and no soul there, there is no full human life there; it's potential human life and it's important because it's potential human life. It's not just a mass of cells; it was important because of what it was designed to be. God had not completed the task yet but once the soul was imparted to the body then man became a living being. It wasn't until you had the unity of biological life plus soul life that you had human life. And that is what makes true humanity. And until you have both elements present there is no human life.
So we start off with biological life plus soul life and that equals human life. Now let's look at some other passages that teach this distinction between the soul and the body, between the immaterial part of man and the material part of man. In Isaiah 10:18 we read, "And he will destroy the glory of his forest and his fruitful garden," and the glory of his forest and his fruitful garden refers to mankind, "he will destroy the glory of his forest and his fruitful garden, both soul and body." They are viewed as distinct elements, "both soul and body, and it will be as when a sick man wastes away." Another passage is in Genesis 35:18, "It came about as her soul was departing," this is talking about the death of Rachael, "It came about as her soul was departing (for she died)," so that indicates that when her soul left the physical body, when soul life departed biological life that is when death occurred; "when her soul departed," that's when Rachael named Benjamin.
A three-fold division is stated in 1 Thessalonians 5:23, "Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." I don't want to get diverted and run down a rabbit trail on the makeup of man but there are two views on the makeup of man; one is called dichotomy and the other is called trichotomy. A true dichotomous in the true theologically accepted use of the term believes that man is made up of two elements, material and immaterial and that all of the different facets that are mentioned in the Bible, from the mentality, the heart, the soul, the spirit are all just different aspects of the immaterial and they all blend together and that's as far as those folks want to press things. Now trichotomists is the second position and trichotomy teaches that man is made up of three parts, three components: a body, a soul and a spirit, and that in some passages these words are used in a very technical sense. And they are here, 1 Thessalonians 5:23 as they are in Hebrews 4:12, "that the Word of God is alive and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing of the body, the soul from the spirit…" in these verses, Hebrews 4:12 and 1 Thessalonians 5:23 the Bible makes a clear distinction between the soul and the spirit.
Furthermore, in Jude 1:19 we read, "These are the ones," talking about the false teachers, false prophets and they were unbelievers, "These are the ones who cause divisions," and then it's a horrible translation, worldly minded," it's not worldly minded, that's kosmos in the Greek, it's psuchikos here, not kosmos, and psuchikos means soulish, and then you have an appositional phrase which defines what psuchikos means, and it's again an interpreted translation in the New American Standard, "devoid of the Spirit," and they capitalize "Spirit" and that is an interpretive decision by the translator. But psuchikos means soulish, and in 1 Corinthians 2:14 we're told that "the psuchikos man cannot understand the things of the spirit of God for they are spiritually discerned." And there we again see that the unbeliever is called psuchikos and he can't understand the Word of God because there's some portion of him, something in his makeup that he's missing; he's soulish, he's not spiritual. In other words, Jude tells us he's devoid of…literally it means not having spirit and it should be lower case "s" referring to the human spirit.
So the position that we teach here at Preston City Bible Church is that man was originally created in the Garden with a material body and an immaterial soul and spirit. The soul is comprised of his mentality, his emotion, his volition, his conscience and that comprises the image of God, and that was linked together with a human spirit and it was that human spirit that enabled man, the creature, to have a relationship with God and to understand doctrine. But at the point of spiritual death, when Adam disobeyed God and ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil he lost that human spirit; he died spiritually. That's what spiritual death means; we are born dead in our trespasses and sins; we don't have a human spirit. And at regeneration something is born again and see, this is a problem with the dichotomous is he doesn't really want to make this distinction between soul and spirit. He'll go to passages like the one we looked at the other night in Daniel 2:1 that the spirit of Nebuchadnezzar was troubled and there are other passages that talk about the spirit, ruach, the spirit of Pharaoh was troubled, and that's just a generic non-technical use of the word ruach to refer to the immaterial part of man. We do that all the time in every day conversation. Sometimes we talk about…even within a paragraph we'll use the same word in a technical and in a non-technical general sense. And the Scripture does the same thing as well and you can't run around and every time you see the word "spirit" impose a technical definition on it. And some people do that, we saw that just now in the translation in Judge 19, that some translators every time they see the word "spirit" they have this knee-jerk reaction and they want to translate it with a capital "S" and they don't bring enough theology and background to the text to correctly and properly interpret it.
So what we've learned in this sub point here, point number three, is that the soul is distinct from the body, Isaiah 10:18, the soul departs the body at death, and third, the soul is part of two aspects, two immaterial aspects of humanity, and man is born without a human spirit and he acquires a human spirit, he's given a human spirit by God at the point of faith alone in Christ alone. At the point that anyone puts their faith in Jesus Christ and accepts Christ as Savior they are regenerated and God the Holy Spirit creates and simultaneously imparts that human spirit to you as a believer and that now gives you the ability, to potential to be able to understand Bible doctrine, to be able to understand the Scriptures so that it now can make sense to you, especially under the teaching ministry of God the Holy Spirit. So that leads us to point number four.
Point number four is what we've stated already and that is that human life, full human life is the joining of biological life with soul life. The question then becomes when does that occur? At what point in time does that occur? Does that occur at conception? Does that occur somewhere between conception and birth? Does it occur at birth? Furthermore, is it transmitted through procreation or is the soul a special act of God each and every time? Those are the questions that must be addressed? Is the soul a special creation of God that's imparted at birth or at conception or some time in between, or is the soul physically transmitted through the act of procreation?
With Adam we see that the soul life was created and imparted to his biological life almost at the instant that God created the biological life. There wasn't much of a time differential but then Adam's human body did not have to go through the normal growth process, the normal nine month gestation period. So we need to ask, is this a one-time event where breath comes only to Adam and consequently after that for every other person, it comes at…the soul is transmitted either through procreation or given at conception.
A couple of passages will clarify this. Ecclesiastes 12:7 talks about death and the death of a human being, "then the dust," that is the physical body, "the dust will return to the earth as it was," see we were formed from the dust of the ground, the chemicals of the soil, and Ecclesiastes says then at death "the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it." And there that is a non-technical use of spirit; it's talking about the immaterial part of man. See, spirit means breath, wind, sometimes it means thinking, sometimes it's almost used synonymously with the soul, but here it just refers to the immaterial part of man. This is the Old Testament equivalent of Paul's statement, "absent from the body and face to face with the Lord." "….the spirit will return to God who gave it." Now notice that, God is the One who gives the spirit, it's not God who gives the body in this verse. We want to make that distinction because what happens in the process is that with Adam God initiated two procedures; biological life was created and given the ability to procreate and replicate physically. God is still involved in the process but in an indirect supervisory manner. We're going to see that that's not purely passive at all so just because it's indirect or what is also called mediate doesn't mean it's passive and it's sort of almost like a deistic idea of God, you know, God just lets nature take its course. He is involved and that's part of what we're seeing with the dynamic with Samson.
Soul life, on the other hand, comes from God according to Ecclesiastes 12:7 and that soul life comes from God indicates that God is directly or immediately involved in the creation of each and every human soul. Other passages support this. For example, in Job 33:4 Job says, "The Spirit of God has made me," asah, "and the breath of the Almighty gives me life." "…the breath of the Almighty gives me life," so Job recognizes that it is when he breathes his first neshamah, that's the Hebrew word translated breath here, it's the same word that we saw in Genesis 2:7, that when God breathed into Adam he became a living being. So Job recognizes the fact that it is neshamah that gave him life and at that appoint he became a living body, he became full humanity.
Again, we read in Isaiah 42:5, "Thus says God the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and its offspring, who gives breath to the people on it." There we see it is God directly providing neshamah, breath, to people on it. So there is a distinction, and then in parallelism, and those of you who went through the Old Testament intro course last year when I talked about poetry, we have synonymous parallelism here with the "spirit to those who walk in it," again spirit is a general use of the word ruach, referring to the immaterial part of man, that God is the One who gives that to man; it is not your parents who gave you that, they gave you your physical body, they didn't give you the neshamah, the breath, the soul life. That came from God. And that's what these passages stress over and over and over again, is God is the One who directly imparts that through breath. And the first breath that a baby takes after birth is when he inhales through neshamah, inhales his soul and it's at that point that full human life is present; it's at that point that the material biological life is joined with the immaterial soul life.
Now there's always been a level of controversy over this among theologians and there are three positions that have been taught throughout the history of Christianity on the origin of the soul. The first is heretical and non-Biblical but in the early church it was taught by some because they were influenced by the philosophy of Plato and that is called the pre-existence of the soul. We're not going to spend any time on that because there's no Biblical support at all and when we talk about creation of the soul and impartation at birth there's no time gap between the creation of the soul and its impartation to the body at birth; the soul did not exist a minute, two minutes, five minutes, five years, ten years, five centuries before it was joined to the body; it was simultaneously created and imparted to the body. So there is no pre-existence of the soul. That is a pagan doctrine.
The second view is a view called traducianism. Traducianism was first articulated by an early church father by the name of Tertullian and Tertullian lived from 160-225 AD. Tertullian is most widely known because he's the one who coined the word Trinitas in the Latin for Trinity. Tertullian also held to a view that the soul was material. And so he taught that the soul was transmitted through physical procreation, which would make sense if the soul is material then it is transmitted physically. So that was the first position.
The other position also documented early in the Church is the view of creationism. And that is the view that I am teaching, that each soul is immediately created by God, the body is mediately created and imparted, and the body is produced through the physical act of procreation. Now the thing is that we need to recognize the dominance of creationism. A hundred years ago W. G. T. Shedd, who was a traducianist argued against creationism but he commented that at that time the majority of theologians were creationists. Now that shocks a lot of conservative evangelicals today because they think that creationism means…they just automatically think that means you're pro-abortion and they can't accept this. But men like John Calvin, Charles Hodge who was head of the theology department at Princeton and among the Princeton theologians was among those who fought off liberalism and help to craft our current understanding of inerrancy and infallibility. Contemporary theologians, 20th century conservatives like Louis Berkhof as well, Martin Luther, Jerome and Aquinas all held to creationist positions. Aquinas, Jerome, these are great (quote) "saints" (end quote) in the Roman Catholic hierarchy of saints. Aquinas is considered the greatest theologian by Roman Catholics and Aquinas states in his Summa Theologica that "it is heresy," notice that, he didn't mince words, "it is heresy to think that the soul is transmitted through the semen." That is a strong statement. You won't find too many Roman Catholics or pro-lifers that are aware of that. I just want you to understand that there has always been this level of controversy.
Point six introduced the three categories, theologically of the origin of the soul. Point seven; let's look at technical terminology and how it is used throughout the Old Testament. For example, in Job 1:21, he said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb," that's mibeten again, "and naked I shall return there," not literally to the womb but he will return to the LORD, "the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, blessed be the name of the LORD." Notice, mibeten means from birth; the parameters of life here are from birth to death. Over and over again we're going to see the Bible indicate that the parameters of human life are not from conception. Job had a word, he could have said min hareyon, but he doesn't, he says mibeten, he doesn't say "from conception," he says "from birth."
Job 3:11 he says, "Why did I not die at birth," he doesn't say why was I not aborted, why didn't my mother miscarry, why was I even conceived, he says, "why did I not die at birth, and come forth from the womb and expire." So he recognizes in that statement that he wasn't a full human, the soul was not present in the womb. Job 10:9, "Remember now, that Thou hast made me as clay," that's the biological life, "and wouldst Thou turn me into dust again." It's referring simply to the biological life, that's not talking about the soul life.
Psalm 22:9, "Yet Thou art He who didst bring me forth from the womb," from birth, "Thou didst make me trust when upon my mother's breast," it's talking about life outside the womb. Psalm 22:10, "Upon Thee I was cast from birth," not in the womb but "from birth," and notice there the translator in the New American Standard translates mibeten as an idiom for "from birth," not "from the womb," but that's what it literally says in the Hebrew, but it is from birth. Then it reads, "Those who speak lies go astray from birth," if it was conception there would be an active sin nature inside the womb but they "go astray from birth" because that's when the soul life enters and that's when the sin nature is activated.
Point number eight; birth and death are the Biblical parameters for life. Over and over and over again and I never hear anybody address this. Ecclesiastes 3:2, "A time to give birth and a time to die," it doesn't say a time to conceive and a time to die, it says "A time to give birth and a time to die." Isaiah 9:6, "For a child will be born to us," not a child will be conceived for us, but "A child will be born to us, a son will be given to us." Matthew 11:11, "Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not arise anyone greater than John the Baptist," not among those who are conceived but "those who are born among women." Luke 2:10-11, "And the angel said to them," this is the announcement to the shepherds at the time of Jesus birth, "Do not be afraid for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people,  For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." There wasn't an angelic announcement to the world of conception but at birth. Job 15:14, "What is man that he should be pure, or he who is born of a woman that he should be righteous." Job 38:21, "You know, for you were born then, and the number of your days is great." Job 10:18, "Why, then, hast Thou brought me out of the womb; would that I had died and no eye had seen me." Why was I born? Job 10:19, "I should have been as though I had not been, carried from womb," mibeten, from birth, "from womb to tomb." From birth to death! That's the parameters in the Scripture, not from conception.
That leads us to point number ten; nevertheless, life, that is biological life in the womb has significance and value as God's indirect creation. This doesn't mean that what is going on in the womb is simply a mass of cells. This is not simply a mass of cells, this is not simply a tumor, this is not just a… it is a potential human life. And so you can't go along with the argument of the pro-abortion crowd that it's nothing more than a meaningless mass of cells, like a wart or like a tumor or something else that you just want to excise. There is something of significance and value there. For example, in Job 10:8 we read, "Thy hands fashioned and made me altogether, and wouldst Thou destroy me?" And it's talking there, using an anthropomorphism for God's hands, talking about God's involvement in the physical process.  Remember now, that Thou hast made me as clay," see, God is indirectly involved because God's not involved directly in procreation. God uses the means of physical human procreation to form the biological life but God is involved in the process, and this is a tremendous comfort to people. This is something you never hear.
Remember in John 9 when Jesus heals the blind man, He comes to the blind man outside the temple and the disciples said who sinned, this man or his parents? And at this point we're going to get a profound understanding of divine involvement in the formation of our physical life. The Jewish thinking at that time was that any kind of birth defect like this was a result of this person's sin or the parent's sin and Jesus' response is neither, he was born this way for the glory of God. In other words, God was involved directly in the formation of this man's biological life such that he was born blind, with this physical defect, so that God could get glorified. Now that's a profound thought because when people are born with birth defects or with physical handicaps, and they say why God, did You make me that way? It's for God's glory because through that limitation God…the potential is that God is going to be glorified if that individual applies doctrine to the situation and overcomes that physical handicap, that test, through the use of doctrine.
So we see here that even…this builds our understanding of the fact that we can't come along and say oh, there's going to be some birth defect so let's abort the baby. Just think of what would have happened with that syphilitic mother who gave birth to Ludwig von Beethoven if somebody had said you're going to have a child that's going to be born with defects and you're obviously sick so let's just go ahead and have an abortion. See, that's human reasoning but the Scripture is saying God is involved in the process.
Psalm 139 is a passage everybody goes to to try to prove that there's full human life in the womb but it can't be used for that. Psalm 139:13 says, "For Thou didst form my inward parts," inward parts is not talking about the soul, inward parts is talking about the internal organs, it's talking about how God is involved in the process of developing every aspect of biological life. "Thou didst weave me in my mother's womb." That's parallelism and it's talking about how God is involved in the process of forming biological life; it is not that it is just a mass of biological cells.
Psalm 139:14, "I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made," because of what God did in the womb in forming biological life, there's no mention of the soul here, David now gives thanks to God because of what he has physically, because of his biological life. He says, "Wonderful are Thy works, and my soul knows it very well." Verse 15, "My frame" that is the physical body, biological life, "My frame was not hidden from Thee, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth.  Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Thy book they were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them." So it's talking about even in the womb God had a plan for David and that plan included imparting a soul to that biological life, but first the biological life had to be formed as the home for the soul and then at birth the soul would be imparted to it.
Conclusion, therefore, is physical biological life is so significant that God instructs Samson's mother, that just as in his physical life he is to be manifest as a Nazirite so she must not defile him or herself even when his body is in the womb. There is value to the human body in the womb; it's not just a mass of cells, there's something valid there.
Now let's stop and talk about the implications of this in terms of social law. First of all I want you to remember that in the history of Christianity, you know, someone might say up until the present time, and believe me if you read the scholarly literature by some evangelicals, like the theologian I mentioned earlier, there's not even consensus today, but some would try to argue that there is, and there's probably greater consensus today because of the reaction to Woe vs. Wade back in 73. But throughout the history of the Church there has always been tremendous disagreement about just when the soul and the body are united. And they argue from Scriptures. Now if, and I'm just using this as an argument; if, assuming it's true that the Scripture is just unclear, if we can't know from Scripture when the soul is united to the body, and we can't know from science when the soul is united to the body, then how in the world can we legislate laws making abortion murder and criminal.
My argument is that unbelievers are never held accountable to spiritual truth that is discernable only from direct revelation of God. Unbelievers are never held accountable to any mandate in Scripture that is discernable only by revelation of God. Why is that? In 1 Corinthians 2:14 we're told that the natural man cannot understand the things of the Spirit of God because they are spiritually discerned. Turn there, this is an important passage and it's important for understanding how we learn doctrine as well. Let's start at 1 Corinthians 1:9 so we pick up the context. "But as it is written," and here we have a quote from the Old Testament, from Isaiah 64:4, "Eye has not seen nor ear heard," that's empiricism, what is discoverable and learnable through the senses, "Eye has not seen nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man," that's rationalism, the mind of man, "Eye has not seen nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things," and here we have an neuter plural of a relative pronoun, "the things which God has prepared for those who love Him." Now what are "things?" Well, in context the "things" are doctrine, that which is revealed by God. And it is saying in this quote that rationalism can't get there, it hasn't entered into the heart of man, the mind of man, empiricism can't discover these truths, "eye has not seen nor ear heard the things which God has prepared for those who love Him."
1 Corinthians 2:10, "But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit," so revelation comes through the Spirit of God, and they have been revealed to whom? "To us." Who's us? "Us" is believers, it is not believer and unbeliever, "God has revealed them to us through His Spirit, for the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God." And the "things" once again refers to doctrine, it's got to go back… on a relative pronoun you have to go back to its antecedent so "the things" here is talking about doctrine, "the Spirit searches," the Spirit exposes, "all things, yes, the deep things of God.  For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so, no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God." Now here we have…there's at least three different meanings to the word pneuma, translated "spirit" in this passage. "What man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him?" this is like a proverbial statement and saying only a man can know what's inside him, only his immaterial soul and there "spirit" almost means soul, and Paul uses that way in parallelism because he's bringing out the aspect of the Spirit of God, that no one knows the things of God, no one knows, that is, the thinking, the doctrines, the ideas of God except for the Holy Spirit. It's the Holy Spirit's domain for revelation.
1 Corinthians 2:12, "Now we have received, not the spirit," that here means attitude or thinking, see, spirit, pneuma, doesn't mean the same thing every time you read it; within this verse from clause to clause Paul shifts the meaning. "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world," that is the attitude or the thinking of the cosmic system, "but the Spirit," capital "S", "the Spirit who is from God." Now the King James translates that with a capital "S" but this should be a small "s" and I don't have time to go into the exegesis of this passage but everywhere else that we have the Holy Spirit mentioned here, pneuma is in the genitive case, the Spirit of God, Spirit of God, Spirit of God, Theos is in the genitive case, but we have spirit of God, pneuma Theou, but here we have a distinct change; it is the pneuma ek tou Theou; it's the only time spirit is used in this whole section where you have a prepositional phrase defining the ultimate source of God. "The Spirit from God" is not the Holy Spirit here, it is the human spirit, "but we have received the human spirit who is from God." Paul makes a precise distinction when he uses "spirit" here; he could have said pneuma Theou and it would mean the same thing, "spirit of God," but everywhere else he uses pneuma Theou in this passage he's talking about the Holy Spirit, "but we have received the human spirit," that's what enables us to understand doctrine, "we have received the human spirit who is from God, that we might know the things." See, if that's Holy Spirit then Old Testament believers who never received the Holy Spirit wouldn't be able to understand the revelation of God.
Let me make that clear again. I saw it go right past half of you. This is how you have to think exegetically when you go through a passage. If this is talking about…when it's talking about the "spirit who is from God," if that's the Holy Spirit, and the reason we receive that is to "know the things," which is revelation in this passage, doctrine, "to know the things that have been freely given to us from God," if that spirit is the Holy Spirit and He's given to understand the Word…now the Holy Spirit is given to understand the Word, but if that's what this is talking about, then the Old Testament saints who did not have a Holy Spirit could not understand doctrine. But he did receive the human spirit and it's the human spirit that is that portion of man's immaterial makeup that enables him to have a relationship with God and to understand Bible doctrine. So therefore it can't be the Holy Spirit because that would leave out the entire Old Testament rank and file of believers and it must refer to the human spirit from God, "that we [believers] might know the things [Bible doctrine] which have been freely given to us by God." Notice, it's very important; we're going to get to a verse in a minute and if you don't understand that "things" refers to doctrine revealed in the Scripture you'll really get confused. He says "these things," what's that—things? It's doctrine.
1 Corinthians 2:13, "These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches," and here it's Holy Spirit clearly and the Holy Spirit teaches doctrine to the apostles and then they communicate it, that's the process of revelation, "comparing spiritual things," spiritual concepts, "with spiritual words." So that's the process of building a frame of reference and developing doctrines.
1 Corinthians 2:14, "But the natural man," that is the psuchikos man, the unsaved man who just has a soul and no human spirit, see, if this is Holy Spirit then you get into real problems when you try to apply any of this to Old Testament saints. "The natural man," the soulish man, "does not receive the things of the Spirit of God," that is the things, the doctrines that are revealed by the Holy Spirit, "for they are foolishness to him, nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned," they are discerned through the human spirit. So the unbeliever can't understand these things. So we're going to pass legislation on a national level based on something that is discernable only by revelation under the teaching ministry of God the Holy Spirit and available to believers only? That's absurd! That is absolutely fallacious! You never make law on the basis of something that's discernable to Christians from revelation alone.
1 Corinthians 2:15, "But he who is spiritual," that is the person who is born again and has a Holy Spirit, "judges," that is evaluates or is able to understand "all things." Now what does "all things" mean? See, everybody reads this and oh, well now that I'm a believer I can discern all things…out there. But that's not what it's talking about; "all things" refers to what in this passage? We've seen it every verse, it goes all the way back to verse 9, the "all things" refers to doctrine. What that is saying is that the person who is spiritual, that is born again and has a human spirit, can understand everything in the Scripture. It's not dependent upon your human IQ, it's not dependent on your education level, it's not dependent on your cultural background, it's dependent on being regenerated, having a human spirit and then walking by means of God the Holy Spirit. Verse 16, "For who has known the mind of the LORD," that's Bible doctrine, "For who has known the mind of the LORD that He may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ." This is the Word of God, it is the very thinking of Jesus Christ. How do you know what God is like and what Christ is like? Study your Bible, that is the source.
So what we learn from this is that in this whole issue of the value of human life, by teaching creationism we are not diminishing the value of life in the womb. In fact, it emphasizes the value of life in the womb but it recognizes that full human life is not in the womb, only biological life but that biological life is not insignificant or irrelevant or just a biological mass, it is potential human life and for that reason it must be treated with respect and with value and a mother that is expecting a child should watch her diet and take care of herself and all of those things that are involved in making sure she has a healthy child. And that unless there is some extremely good reason for stopping that pregnancy no one should interfere with the normal process that God has set in motion. But abortion, therefore, would not be murder, it is immoral, perhaps, in many cases, it is sin, perhaps, in many cases, I'm not going to get into the details of when it is and when isn't, but it is not murder.
And so Samson's mother is instructed to take particular care because of what God is going to do through her son and she is to follow the same dietary laws, not because of what it's going to do to what's in her womb but because she too is a visible sign to the nation Israel that God is doing something to deliver the nation and so she too must be set apart because of what God is doing in her womb.