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The Word of God Against Abortion Exceptions for Rape and Incest

by | Sep 21, 2022

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In Ezekiel 18, that prophet gives us this rebuke to Israel from her God: “Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine: the soul who sins shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4). This verse is often taken out of context to mean that sin causes spiritual death. While that doctrine is true, it has nothing to do with the prophet’s message here. As the rest of the chapter goes on to tell us, this verse is about God’s justice. The soul that sins shall die for its own sins, not the sins of another person

“If a man is righteous and does what is just and right -… he is righteous; he shall surely live, declares the Lord God” (Ezekiel 18:5, 9).

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“[Then] if he fathers a son who is violent, a shedder of blood… Shall this son live? He shall not live. he has done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon himself” (Ezekiel 18: 10, 13).

So the prophet gives a hypothetical case of a righteous man with a wicked son. Shall the righteousness of the father preserve the wicked son from the just consequences of his wicked acts? No, it shall not. 

Now we are given the case the other way:

“Now suppose that this man [i. e., the wicked son] fathers a son who sees all the sins that his father has done; he sees, and does not do likewise… He shall not die for his father’s iniquity; he shall surely live. As for his father, because he practiced extortion, robbed his brother, and did what is not good among his people, behold, he shall die for his iniquity” (Ezekiel 18:14, 17-18).

So now the wicked man has a godly son, the grandson of the earlier righteous man. Shall this son die for his father’s wickedness? No. In fact, the wicked son, even though he is between two generations of godly men, is also not excused thereby, but is required still to receive justice. 

“Yet you say, ‘Why should not the son suffer for the iniquity of the father? When the son has done what is just and right, and has been careful to observe all My statutes, he shall surely live. The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself” (Ezekiel 18:19-20).

This was a remarkable statement at the time! It was the common practice to kill whole extended families for the crime of one member. God declares that the common system was not His standard of justice. 

We have moved beyond such primitive concepts as described here, haven’t we? We like to tell ourselves that, but it just isn’t so. Do not most prolife Americans take for granted that exceptions for abortion in cases of rape or incest must always be allowed? Why is that? Has the preborn child committed a crime worthy of death? I would say that he obviously has not. Rather, in either case, it was his father who committed the crime. So why do we grant that killing the innocent baby is a just response? 

I think that this passage from Ezekiel shows that God does not grant such injustice. 

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