Skip to comments.Teaching against Abortion in the Earliest Church [Ancient Jews/Christians Opposed Infanticide]
Posted on 10/28/2012 4:25:31 PM PDT by SoFloFreeper
...When I was a medical student, I delivered 12 babies... - but I also had to learn about abortion. Fortunately I only had to witness one - I wont describe it to you it is sickening even in a clinical environment - later that day we accompanied the same consultant to an infertility clinic - I remember walking through a room full of sad-faced couples - any of them would have been overjoyed to take away the aborted baby
The term abortion is a euphemism. Medically it refers to natural termination - about 1/10 foetuses have abnormalities which wont survive birth - a few of these come to term, but most of them are aborted naturally - we call these spontaneous abortions, now that we do medical abortions - and we usually use the passive they are aborted, or terminated - this helps us to believe that it really isnt our choice. It just happens.
In the ancient world they used a similar kind of euphemism - instead of abortion (which was very dangerous) they used infanticide - but they didnt speak about killing babies they said they were exposed - we have an example in Act.7.19 saying Pharoah forced babies to be exposed - but of course we know that Pharoah wanted them killed at birth - Miriam was breaking this command when she put Moses in a basket
Originally, in rural Greek & Roman society they did expose infants... - it was easier to quietly smother the baby at birth and throw out the corpse - some people did still leave babies on a hillside, leaving them to the gods - but in practice this left them to the dogs, and to brothel keepers who sometimes rescued infants as an investment for their business.
(Excerpt) Read more at instonebrewer.com ...
The actual Hebrew text of Genesis 9:6 has always been understood by traditional Jews as prescribing a death sentence for abortion. English translations don’t really communicate this.
Jews thought that this Roman custom was barbaric, and they said so
- Philo pulls no punches when he described what actually happened in practice:
“Some of them do the deed with their own hands; with monstrous cruelty and barbarity they stifle and throttle the first breath which the infants draw or throw them into a river or into depths of the sea, after attaching some heavy substance to make them sink more quickly under its weight. Others take them to be exposed in some desert place, hoping, they themselves say, that they may be saved, but leaving them in actual truth to suffer the most distressing fate. For all the beasts that feed on human flesh visit the spot and feast unhindered on the infants; a fine banquet.”(Spec.3.114-5)
- Josephus contrasted Jewish & Roman cultures in Conta Apionem, incl: [2.202]
How does this specifically square with 1 Samuel 15:3?
Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’”
I am not referring to the Amalekite adults who might have been as barbaric as these scriptures mention, but the fact that the killing of the children and infants did not elucidate opposition or revulsion worthy enough to be recorded. In fact, care was taken to record the saving of the animals, which was the basis of the charge of disobedience for not carrying out the commandment to the full. A cultural opposition to killing infants, if it really did exist, would have caused the proponent to oppose the carrying out of the commandment.
If God believed that infanticide were a blessing, why was he directing it’s use against his enemies?
Infants are enemies?
That part of the O.T. always has been troublesome to me...
While I agree it can be hard for us to understand did God not have Abraham go to Kill/Sacrifice his first born? Granted he stopped him but he knew it was going to be accomplished, yes he was older than an infant.
I look at this as obedience also but was there another reason God gave to didn’t he say they were contaminated and if they did not wipe them all out they would contaminated the Israelite’s.
Infants can be born “contaminated” that they must be put to death by the hands of men?
The Amalekites attempted to kill the Jews when they were weak in the desert. Had they succeeded many of them would die. Now, if God was willing to punish the Amalekites as he did - what do you think is going to happen to the nations that attempted to exterminate the Jews in the Holocaust.
God made a promise to Israel that he would be their God - and they would be his people. Mess with Israel and you mess with God himself.
“understand did God not have Abraham go to Kill/Sacrifice his first born? Granted he stopped him but he knew it was going to be accomplished, yes he was older than an infant.”
Abraham had to understand that the blessing of his child was a blessing given to him by God. Not his own works. The child belonged to God and not to Abraham. It teaches us to have faith in God even when we don’t understand his commands. He is the one in control, not us.
Infants didn’t kill anyone.
You a Christian James?
The Israelites would have no way of telling which babies, children, women or men, of the conquered cities, carried within them the race of the giants. The giants had to be wiped out to keep humanity eligible for salvation.
God is the only one who has the absolute right over life and death. God has the absolute right to convey to his servants whom He knows must live or die. The Israelites were acting under the direct command of God, therefore they were acting morally.
So, instead of stopping the genes by preventing conception, your god "knits them" in the monster-human hybrid's wombs, and forces men to crush the contaminated but innocent infants to death. Some "plan", huh?
“Infants can be born contaminated that they must be put to death by the hands of men?”
If you are to believe the lesson was one of obedience then yes who knows Gods intent?
Were they or were they not told to kill everything and take nothing?
I don't read Hebrew, but I was told that this is the correct translation for Genesis 9:6. It got a little off track when it came to be translated as [a man in a man], since in English, "man" is now used to designate "adult male", although the earlier usage as "man=human" can be seen in terms like "mankind".
The commandment was not to kill "a human in a human," i.e. an unborn child in his mother's womb. This is how the Talmud, specifically the Sanhedrin tractate, interpreted it.
You may be familiar with the Sermon on the Mount, which is most prominently featured in the Gospel of Matthew (and alluded to in other Gospels) as the core of Jesus' moral teaching. The largest part of the Sermon on the Mount is the section called the "Six Antitheses" [Matt. 5:1748] in which Jesus takes six portions of the Mosaic Law and calls on his followers to do otherwise (usually, more than the Law requires). He plainly indicates that they had misunderstood the Mosaic Law.
If you will take time to read this section of Matthew 5 (Link) you will see the contrast between His teaching and the false interpretations of the law found in Israelite history and probably stll held by most of Jesus' contemporaries.
He begins each of his "antitheses" with the preface "You have heard...", (שןמע אני), which in rabbinical practice is the formal rhetorical way to present one view and then introduce the opposite view as the only correct one. For example, 'You might deduce from this verse [Lev 19:18] that thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy, but I say to you the only correct interpretation is, Love all men, even your enemies.'
Jesus' six antitheses are on:
As you can see, Jesus ---who is the ultimate and perfect Divine Revelation, expresssed in and by and through His own Person --- unmistakably states that the will of God is against murder (unjust killing), retaliation, and hatred. He calls, not only for abstaining from these practices, but for pro-actively going much further: ultimately, treating your enemy "as neighbor," and treating your neighbor "as yourself."
The Catholic Church does not teach pacifism, but makes a distinction between just and unjust killing: the just use of force must be limited and defensive, and can be employed, even lethally, only by those whose duty it is to defend the community against aggressors. Intentional killing of blameless persons is strictly forbidden.
How that works out in practice is still a very complicated question: but this indicates the assumptions that Christians must adopt.
So if your god revealed itself to you personally, and asks you to kill your friend’s child by crushing its skull as a test of obedience, I take it that you will have no qualms in carrying the order out? Answer honestly.
Mrs. Don-o, what then would the accurate interpretation of 1Samuel 15:3 be, if it is not a command to slaughter infants?