The Abortion Argument, The Fertile Egg, and the Bible
by Robin Calamaio 2/26/2008 / Christian Apologetics
When I began writing an ebook on abortion, I found myself "eyeball to eyeball" with the fertile egg. Initially, I considered this "a detour" from where I wanted to go. But, with man's invasion into its domain, and because it is the beginning of the human life line, I knew I had to start there. Even though a pro life advocate for decades, I had never really thought much on the fertile egg. After all, from my life science classes, I already knew what it was - right? Well, my "review" surprised me and I soon realized the abortion argument clearly begins with the fertile egg. So, ... what is it?
For starters, the fertile egg is the result of a successful merging of an egg and sperm cell. But, there is something quite astounding about this union. These two building blocks hold a deceptive power. A sperm cell, left to itself, cannot grow ... into anything. So also, the egg cell. As solitary cells, they soon expire. But, once merged, they become a phenomenally complex life form. With nourishment and time, each fertile egg will become a unique adult - 100% of the time. All this from two obscure ... powerhouses.
Some call the human fertile egg, "potential human life." Scientifically, this is an untenable statement. It is not "potential human life" - it is human life. It is nothing else and it cannot become anything else. The fertile human egg is simply, and only, the earliest stage of human life.
But, the fertile egg possesses an even more fundamental, defining feature. It is living matter. This elemental fact is actually an extremely substantive observation. Most of the matter on our planet is not alive. In fact, there may be no other living matter in the entire universe. If all living matter was weighed against nonliving matter, it would not amount to a speck of dust on the scale. In a universe ruled by inorganic material, the fertile egg is an extremely rare piece of living matter.
The "Life Element"
The human body is composed of twenty-eight elements. None are alive. Indeed, "life" is totally foreign to them all. Carbon is not alive. Iron is not alive. Lead is not alive. Calcium is not alive. Arsenic is not alive. The other twenty-three elements are also nonliving. And it is error to refer to these elements as "dead" - as that infers "life" might, is in some way, be connected with them. Even Organic Chemistry is composed of elements that are, in and of themselves, inorganic. Life, whatever it is, is alien to every element. How any combination of non-living elements is alive ... is a total mystery. When present, the "life element" is obviously there - but, may forever elude the scientist's grasp.
If the fertile egg does not contain all twenty-eight elements, then this "life element" is all the more astonishing. It must attract the missing elements in the right quantities - at the right time - in the construction of the body. It is "feeding" on the inorganics around it. But, too much lead, iron or arsenic will result in the "life element" vacating the matter in which it resides - as will too little of these elements. This is beyond comprehension.
But, is it "a person?"
With that question, we have now entered ... the abortion argument. Is the fertile egg, "a person?" There are three perspectives from which to examine this question - Naturalism, Theism and Humanism. But, actually there is a fourth perspective. Let's start there - now ... with you. I want you to put yourself in the shoes ... of a fertile egg. You are now a fertile egg.
A clock turned on the instant you became a fertile egg. With time and nourishment, you will turn into a unique adult - 100% of the time. Come to think of it ... that is exactly what you did. Now along the way, some people decided to crown you with the title - "being" or "person." Of course, the instant you were so crowned, nothing physically changed. And, had this apposition been withheld ... actually, this title has no physical impact - one way or the other. So, what is this title? Well, it is ... a word. It is a metaphysical, subjective concept based upon nothing but the thin air between the ears of the adult humans bestowing it. One evidence this "designation" lacks foundation lies in the fact that the credentialing adults do not agree on what it is, what it means ... or when it starts. It is bestowed at arbitrary points all along the lifeline. Some wait until a few weeks in, some a few months, and some do not grant this magical designation until air can be breathed. "Being" is synonymous with another word - "opinion." But rest assured, O fertile egg. Your physical march toward adulthood is separate from these opinions.
The Naturalist ... and "Being"
For the Naturalist (atheistic evolutionist), the question of "being" is as ridiculous as it is irrelevant. It is a vain attempt to make humans - more than an animal. No one ever wonders when cows or dogs reach "cow-hood" or "dog-hood." Naturalists summarily dismiss this "being" query as dribble.
Furthermore, any assault on a fertile egg is seen by Naturalists - as actions of fools. Every species is continually battling to survive and adapt. Since profitable mutations arise randomly, each fertile egg is Evolution's jewel until proven otherwise. Any one may contain the needed adaptation(s) for that lifeline to continue. It is a species future.
The Biblical Theist ... and "Being"
For the Biblical Theist, this personhood concept is also irrelevant. Because God "Himself gives to all life" (Acts 17:25), if the "being" designation is one He concerns Himself with, well, that is a transaction between Himself and that life. Everyone else is outside the loop.
In light of this, an assault on a fertile egg leaves the realm of "fool." It is insanity. "The hearts of the sons of men are full of evil, and insanity is in their hearts throughout their lives" (Eccl 9:3). God, "the Lord ... makes alive" (1Sam 2:6), and the stronger among us are given a special charge for protecting the weaker. To attack "innocent" human life at any point on its lifeline ... well, you do the math.
The Humanist ... and "Being"
For the Humanist, this personhood issue is of great importance. By withholding this designation, the "non-being" is relegated to a blob of protoplasm. It depends on which Humanist you are talking with as to when "being" arrives. Some believe a severed umbilical cord ushers it in. For others, being "wanted" by one or more of the parents, earns "personhood" - while still in the womb. Other Humanists talk in terms of trimesters - so, it depends upon which Humanist you are talking with as to what opinion you will hear on the "being" issue. But all Humanists do agree on one point. Before the moment when "being" is reached, anyone can do anything he/she wants with this subhuman blob of protoplasm.
A Word To - "Mom"
Mom, if you search every mountaintop, every ocean bottom, every cave on earth - and even scour the nest of every living thing - in all of nature, you will not find one human egg. If you look into a clear night sky, that vast universe (of which you are seeing the tiniest fraction) does not have ... one human egg. If humanity is valuable, there is only one place it originates. Through you come all the world's thinkers, inventors, artists and leaders ... and no one knows who will come from any particular womb. Many of the world's greatest citizens have arisen from the most humble of circumstances. Your womb, and man's future, are inextricably intertwined. You are humanity's gatekeeper.
Each fertile egg is a genetically complete, one-of-a-kind entity in all of past reality, present reality, and future reality. Each is an astoundingly unique - and exceedingly rare - piece of living matter. It contains genetic "triggers" that engage at the proper times so the correct elements, in proper proportions, are corralled for the construction that unique adult. The fertile egg of the human is the most sophisticated physical entity in the known universe. No matter rivals it. It is filled with inexhaustible wonders. The abortion debate begins here. I now stand in awe of the fertile egg ... and its Creator.