Abortion: The Culmination of Secular Thought
(By Rob Webb)
To effectively counter abortion arguments, we need to understand their anti-Christian and secular foundations and history.
Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work? (Proverbs 24:11–12)
In Genesis 2, we see God’s created institution of lifelong, monogamous marriage and his command for Adam and Eve (and, by extension, all humanity descended from them) to be fruitful and multiply. Family is the first institution established by God, long before the government’s attempt to redefine it.
When Christianity confronted the Roman world, one striking difference between those who followed Christ and those who followed the false gods of the Romans was the value that Christians attributed to babies, children, women, and slaves—all classes of people who were seen as the chattel of the free Roman man. Contrary to the culture, Christians called men to love their wives and to see their slaves as fellow human beings and even brothers in Christ (e.g., Philemon 1). Christians not only rejected abortion and exposure for their own children but rescued children that others had exposed.
This Christian way (worldview) of seeing other humans as fellow image-bearers of God took time to seep into the pagan culture. Eventually, these cultures, after being sufficiently influenced by the Christian worldview, began to truly value children and women and became the first nations to abolish slavery — the first nations to even see slavery as a wicked thing. These nations also outlawed abortion and infanticide, not only because abortion was about as likely to maim or kill the woman as to kill her unborn child but also because the child was seen as a valuable image-bearer of God, even in the womb!
It should not be surprising that people who hate God also hate the family model that He instituted. As secular worldviews begin to dominate a culture, the family unit is always the first to be attacked, especially the vulnerable members who benefit the most from Christian influence. Consequently, every key element of the family gets attacked. The permanence of marriage is attacked through no-fault divorce. The definition of marriage itself is attacked through same-sex or “open” marriage. The fruitful design of marriage is attacked through premarital relations, unwed parenting, and ultimately, through abortion on demand, even in the context of marriage.
Secular activists (rebels against God) have been in constant war against God’s designed family unit. Today, we’re seeing commercials, cartoons, and even children’s books promote the message that families can have two mommies, two daddies, or any number of other family structures. For instance, popular commentator Dave Rubin and his homosexual partner recently announced that they had used donor eggs and two surrogates to conceive two babies and were roundly congratulated by “conservative” media figureheads.1 This horrible scenario potentially turns babies into commodities who can be created on demand by anyone with enough money to rent a womb, particularly when these distortions are presented as suitable, if not better, “alternatives” to the biblical family unit (with a mom and a dad who stay married for life).
In our current culture of death, a daily average of nearly 118,000 unborn children are systematically murdered through abortion worldwide.2 Abortion is not only promoted but actually encouraged today (Romans 1:28–32) by those who hate the biblical family unit. And this hatred is fueling a deadly plague that’s killing millions of people around the world every year. This is the lethal result of a culture that is saturated in rebellion against God’s authority and his Word, which plainly states that those who reject God ultimately love death (Proverbs 8:36), and we’re seeing evidence of this truth today.
The Cultural Replacements of Christianity That Devalue Life
Those who oppose the cultural influence of Christianity need something to put in its place. Whether one examines Karl Marx’s philosophy or that of the Enlightenment-era skeptics, there has been a consistent, conscious attempt to elevate man’s thoughts above God. That is, man tries to define right and wrong apart from God’s revealed Word. And the deadly result of this rebellion against God’s Word was recently seen in the twentieth century, when hundreds of millions of people were slaughtered, all in the pursuit of secular “utopias,” such as in Soviet Russia, Maoist China, and other communist nations. This also includes the millions upon millions of unborn babies across the world who have been sacrificed on the altar of human autonomy.
People in the (past and present) culture have accepted secular definitions as a “good thing” to help progress humanity. For instance, Karl Marx promoted a Darwinian idea that the family unit is merely a “primitive stage” that needs to be abolished and ultimately “replaced.” More specifically, traditional socialists have advocated for the replacement of monogamous marriage with a system allowing much greater latitude for sexual passion . . . that monogamy was an institution contrary to human nature and was thus an impediment to human happiness . . . that children be raised communally, so society would be one, big, harmonious family rather than fractured into competitive, squabbling family units.3
Today, most feminists are pro-abortion and see this as essential to women’s equality. Biologically speaking, “free love” is more costly to women than men (because men don’t get pregnant). And this results in them shouting for more access to contraception and abortion, which they believe are required to enable women to engage in the same promiscuity as men without the “consequences” of a baby.
Thus, abortion is frequently touted in our culture today by feminists and pro-death Marxist advocates as a reproductive right for women that’s simply part of their “family planning” or “healthcare.” But at its core, this ideology is really just an idol that is built on autonomy (emphasis on “bodily autonomy”) that ultimately reduces babies in the womb to nothing more than simply “a clump of matter” (with perhaps less worth than cats, dogs, or even rocks). Some pro-abortion advocates unashamedly acknowledge that the unborn child is a human life from fertilization yet, nonetheless, still believe the child has less value than the mother’s ability to choose abortion. As one pro-abortion advocate stated, “I would put the life of a mother over the life of a fetus every single time—even if I still need to acknowledge my conviction that the fetus is indeed a life. A life worth sacrificing.”4
The Crown Jewel of Satan Is Abortion
Overall, this is the tragic consequence of the evolutionary worldview, which is really built on the religion of secular humanism. But this religion is actually nothing new and has existed since the fall of humanity. Behind these idols of presumptive happiness and comfort is our great adversary—Satan, the one who deceived Adam and Eve (Genesis 3) into the short-sighted thinking that they could be a law unto themselves, thus elevating their own autonomous thought/reason in rebellion against God’s ultimate authority.
Satan has been using this same tactic for thousands of years on humanity (and especially parents) in retaliation against that first Messianic promise (Genesis 3:15). So in an attempt to destroy the “seed of the woman,” his wicked desire has always been the destruction of the family unit. That is, by continuous enmity, his purpose is always to steal, kill, and destroy humanity (John 10:10). This means Satan doesn’t care whether parents sacrifice their child to Molech (as the Israelites did in the Old Testament era—Leviticus 18:21) or hand their child over to an assassin to be murdered at places like Planned Parenthood (the modern-day version of Molech); he is pleased anytime he deceives someone into murdering their offspring, who bears the image of God.
Despite Satan’s head being victoriously crushed by Jesus Christ and ultimately destroying Satan’s work via the cross (1 John 3:8), our enemy remains determined in his hatred of the church. And since he knows the victory is certain and imminent, he’s looking to take casualties with him, prowling around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). So, in his feeble attempt to prevent God’s kingdom from expanding (Matthew 6:10), Satan still deceives many to do his bidding and destroy our unborn neighbors, all under the pretense of “choice.”
As the “ruler of this world” (John 12:31; Ephesians 2:2), Satan has blinded and ensnared many (2 Corinthians 4:4; 2 Timothy 2:26) to ultimately doubt the truth and authority of God’s Word, which plainly states that every child is a gift and blessing from God (Psalm 127:3–5), who is fearfully and wonderfully made from the moment of fertilization (Psalm 139:13–16). And most importantly, the truth is that every child is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), thus deserving of care and protection.
So biblically speaking, abortion is the literal destruction of image-bearers of God. And that is why it’s Satan’s “crown jewel” and his deadliest weapon against the church and the family unit, which has existed in different forms throughout history.
The Role of the Church
But how should the church respond to this evil afflicting our society today? The way the church has always responded. Just as the church both condemned abortion potions and the exposing of children, we need to condemn the murder of unborn children in the clearest, strongest terms possible. Just as Christians rescued children who were exposed by their Roman parents, we need to create a culture of adoption to rescue otherwise unwanted children. And just like Christians proclaimed the gospel to a world that hated and devalued entire classes of humanity, we should be salt and light in our culture by proclaiming God’s forgiveness extended to all who believe, including those who have committed the heinous sin of murder of the unborn.
In short, this darkness needs to be exposed by the light (Ephesians 5:11). As Charles Spurgeon (who, by the way, actually lived at the same time as Karl Marx) once famously put it, “A church that does not exist to reclaim heathenism, to fight evil, to destroy error, to put down falsehood, a church that does not exist to take the side of the poor, to denounce injustice and to hold up righteousness, is a church that has no right to be.”5 Or, as my old pastor once put it during a sermon, “the culture around us is the report card of the church; how are we doing?”6
Simply put, our society today truly depends on the condition and well-being of the church—the bride of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:25–27). Clearly from God’s Word, we see that the church foundationally rests on the family unit (e.g., Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5; Ephesians 5:31–32). Biblically speaking, the family unit is the establishment of God’s kingdom in the home, where God originally commanded man to multiply and fill the earth (Genesis 1:28). And this is only accomplished by faithfully producing godly offspring through the biblical standard of the family (Malachi 2:15).
Throughout our recent history, the church has unashamedly brought this biblical standard of the family as redemptive liberation to pagan societies around the world. And this was considered radical to these civilizations that largely allowed men to leave their wives and children for any (arbitrary) reason. At the same time, as part of the biblical worldview, women were also elevated as equal in value to men (this was, and sometimes still is, unheard of in these cultures), which ironically is the “goal” of the modern feminist movement today (that logically and utterly fails due to their lack of commitment to biblical authority).
But really, starting with the “sexual revolution” (that primarily took root in the West in the 1960s), the church began letting the world influence it away from the biblical standard of the family by allowing godly institutions like marriage to be controlled and defined by popular opinion rather than by God. This also inevitably resulted in sexual immorality (e.g., pornography) rampantly becoming more normalized, where this lust of the flesh became not only tolerated but also “accepted” (and even promoted as having certain “benefits”7). As a result, sexually immoral behaviors like prostitution and places like strip clubs became more permissible (e.g., if a woman was burdened and desperate for money). In the end, children in the womb became the victim of this new “revolution,” being viewed as a “parasite” that women should have the “right” to murder at any time and for any reason.
We live in a culture today that sees the happiness and comfort of a mother as more important than the life of an innocent (defenseless/voiceless) child. So now is the time for the church to boldly start speaking truth once again into this culture of death to rescue those stumbling to the slaughter. And the church will not be able to make up any excuses like “we didn’t know.” For God knows every heart and will judge every action accordingly (Proverbs 24:11–12).
To the Pastors in the Pulpit
But what is the proper (biblical) role of pastors in the church to combat this evil? Sadly, in many churches today, pastors fear “troubling” their congregation by preaching on cultural issues like abortion. These pastors opt to take the “easy route” of just staying away from any real “controversial” matters and instead focus on topics that promote “self-help” (or “self-love”) messages. As a result, critical issues like the murder of our unborn neighbors are avoided in the pulpit.
Although pastors may still decide to do their annual “pro-life” sermon on the third Sunday in January (commonly called “Sanctity of Human Life Sunday”), many will be cautious for fear of “offending” those in the congregation who have participated in abortion (and this includes men!). The problem is, rather than calling the sin of abortion what it is biblically (murder and child sacrifice), they simply skirt around the issue by describing abortion using the same language as the secular culture (e.g., using common euphemisms such as “terminating a pregnancy”).
The Bible repeatedly warns not to conform to this rebellious world nor use its vernacular (e.g., Romans 12:1–2; James 4:4; 1 John 2:15–17). Instead, church leaders are called to disciple their congregation to be the salt and light in this world (Matthew 5:13–16). As Charles Spurgeon once said, “You are the salt of the world, not the sugar candy; something the world will spit out, not swallow.”8
To equip the church to fight this war, pastors need to edify the saints by not “watering down” or truncating their messages. They need to speak biblically on repentance and sin (including abortion) from the pulpit. That is, they need to get back to preaching all of God’s Word (2 Timothy 4:2), speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), to ultimately please God rather than sinful man (Galatians 1:10).
There’s no doubt that this culture of death via abortion is being driven not only by deadly Marxist ideology, but really by our greatest enemy—death (1 Corinthians 15:26). That’s why we (especially as Christians) should not compromise at all with this evil and allow it to easily survive while destroying millions of innocent lives every year. Rather, it must be utterly defeated and placed completely under the feet of our Lord (Psalm 110:1–2). But this can only happen by the church speaking the gospel message of repentance and faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 1:16) to transform hearts and minds.
To drive this point further, I’ve personally spent numerous hours ministering and offering help to mothers and fathers outside of abortion “clinics” (i.e., mills), who were waiting to pay an assassin to rip apart their child. And due to their God-given conscience (Romans 2:15), they already knew what they were doing was wrong (i.e., they clearly knew their baby was about to be slaughtered). All this to say, it’s not a matter of merely providing the right scientific evidence to parents (which, in my experience, rarely ever helps). Rather, it’s about the proclamation of the gospel, enabling the Holy Spirit to make them into a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), thus giving them the ability to turn away from that place of death and to let their baby live.
And this proclamation should remind everyone who hears that God’s laws, which undergird the gospel, are not “suggestions,” but actual commands from our holy God. Sinners are commanded to completely turn from sin, which includes abortion (child sacrifice), trusting alone in Jesus as their only hope for salvation from the wrath of God to come (Romans 5:9), and truly confessing he is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:10–11). Sharing this Good News will genuinely save lives and is really the most loving thing we can do for others (Romans 10:14–17).
- Bethel McGrew, “Why Dave Rubin’s Use of Surrogacy Should Give Conservatives Pause,” National Review, March 25, 2022, https://www.nationalreview. com/2022/03/why-dave-rubins-use-of-surrogacy-should-give-conservatives-pause/.
- Based on the nearly (rounded) 43 million children killed by abortion worldwide in 2021, as per Worldometer, a database that keeps track of the number of abor- tions performed worldwide based on data obtained from the WHO, http://web.archive.org/web/20211231114052/https:/www.worldometers.info/
- Richard Weikart, “Marx, Engels, and the Abolition of the Family,” History of European Ideas, 18, no. 5 (1994): 658. https://www.csustan.edu/sites/default/files/ History/Faculty/Weikart/Marx-Engels-and-the-Abolition-of-the-Family.pdf.
- Mary Elizabeth Williams, “So What If Abortion Ends a Life?” Salon, January 23, 2013, https://www.salon.com/2013/01/23/so_what_if_abortion_ends_life.
- Charles Spurgeon, Christ’s Words from the Cross, (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1986), 24–25
- Pastor Jeff Durbin of Apologia Church, located in Mesa, AZ. (Paraphrased quote.)
- For example, in 2012, the NY Times covered a story on how “Pornography Can Be Good for Consumers”, https://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/11/11/ does-pornography-deserve-its-bad-rap/pornography-can-be-good-for-consumers.
- Charles Haddon Spurgeon, “Feeding Sheep or Amusing Goats?,” Reformation and Revival 2, no. 1 (Winter 1993), https://www.galaxie.com/article/rar02-1-08.
This article originally appeared on www.AnswersinGenesis.org. Copyright © Answers in Genesis. All Rights Reserved. The article is reprinted here and used by permission of Answers in Genesis, which is a non-denominational ministry (Answers® and Answers in Genesis® are registered trademarks of Answers in Genesis Inc.) For more information regarding Answers in Genesis, the Creation Museum, or the Ark Encounter, please go to www.AnswersinGenesis.org, www.CreationMuseum.org and www.ArkEncounter.com.