“Is it human?”
“When does life begin?” When does human life begin? Is abortion simply like blowing one’s nose, or is it much more? Is the fetus ….Etc.
Why, in our present search for answers to these questions, have we Christians not consulted our very Christianity? Neither the questions nor the answers are new; and neither, to a Christian, are really very complicated. The world may indeed change, but our human nature does not.
When the pre-Christian humanists asked how man was different from other forms of life, they settled on three chief characteristics. Man alone used speech, laughter, and the arts.
The Christian, however, discovered a much more basic difference. A human could be defined as having both a body and a unique, immortal soul. This is the first piece of the answer to the questions that so vex us today.
The remaining pieces have been in the hands of all Christians for centuries. They were found and handed on to us by the apostles and the early “Fathers” as they began to define for us the mystery of Our Saviour.
Charismatic, Lutheran. Anglican, Catholic, Presbyterian…all – whatever our recent differences, let us remember that they are only a few centuries old and that we all accept and agree upon the teachings of the apostles, the early bishops and councils.
In the early years A.D., a variety of false teachings sprang up concerning the relation between Our Lord’s Divinity and His humanity. They had various names – Arianism, Docetism, Nestorianism, to mention a few. Some taught that He was just an ordinary man who had been possessed by a God or spirit; others, that He only gradually came to realize He was “divine;” others, that He was a special man, a superman; others, that His human nature was an illusion-stagecraft to hide the God, and so on.
In dealing with these and many other errors about our Lord, the early “Fathers” came to realize a truth, which they affirmed univocally and unambiguously. Our Lord, they said, combined a Divine nature and a human nature, and neither was diminished or enhanced by the other.
In His Divine nature, He was (and is) in every way fully God, the Second Person of the Trinity.
In His human nature, He was in every respect a normal and typical human being –
a new Adam, a new example for us all to imitate. Further, it was (and still is) affirmed that both natures were simultaneous, that Our Lord was fully human and fully Divine from the first moment— from the moment when “God became man,” from the moment of conception.
From that moment Our Lord was fully human – a typical human being endowed with a human soul. Therefore, the same is true of each of us.
All Christians can, indeed we are obliged to, assert the fact that human life begins at conception.