The World's Greatest Genocide: A biblical response to abortion

Updated: Nov 30, 2018

The history of the world has been blighted with many atrocities. Dating all the way back to Cain and Abel much human blood has been spilled. It is not unusual to read authors say that "The 20th century was the bloodiest in history,”[2] the atrocities of the holocaust and Russian genocides spring to mind immediately. However, we are currently witnessing what I have called the world’s greatest genocide which, when we are through will dwarf in comparison every other atrocity in the entirety of human history. What I am referring to is the issue of abortion. According to the World Health Organisation approximately 35-50million abortions are performed every year.[3] This works out to approximately 1.5 every second. Consider the implications of those statistics over five years, ten years, or even twenty years. The numbers are staggering.

In order to consider this hotly debated issue of abortion[1] we will first consider God’s view of mankind in general, God’s view of children and then we will attempt to provide a biblical response to the reality of abortion in New Zealand.

At this point it is right to acknowledge that for many who undergo abortions, they do so under the mistaken concept that they are not aborting a human[4] being but rather a fetus or clump of cells. Therefore, it is good for us to start by asking the question, what is God’s view of man and therefore the baby in the womb? Does God consider the unborn child to be a human being or just a clump of cells? The only way to answer this question of course is to turn to the Word of God and see what God himself declares on this issue.

The starting place has to be human beings in general, how has God made them? “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Gen. 1:27, ESV) God created mankind different to everything else in the world, animals were made good, the world was made good, but mankind was made in his image, in his likeness.[5] Adam and Eve and all of their descendants were made as image-bearers. But how does this help us without the understanding of the unborn child? When we connect this understanding of humans as image-bearers to Psalm 139:13-16, we begin to see that God views the unborn child as a fully-fledged human. David says that God formed him in the womb, made him wonderfully, created in the womb as a work of God. God knew him in the womb, the days of his life were written from his time in the womb. So since all of mankind are image-bearers and since God is making, knowing and planning the life of the baby, it would seem a biblically logical position to say that the unborn baby from conception is an image-bearer of God. God made all people as image-bearers and this applies from the moment of conception till death and beyond.[6]

Since this is so, how does God react to the killing of an image-bearer of God? Gen. 9:6, “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.” Nowhere does God provide the death penalty for the death of any other being other than man, why? Because, as he tells Noah, “God made man in his own image”. It isn’t that the aborted child has their life ended, so much as that someone ended the life of an image-bearer, it is an affront not just on a living being but also an affront on God himself. This raises a question; how does God himself perceive the death of an image-bearer? The story of Cain and Abel is very telling, Gen. 4:10, “And the LORD said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground.” When this image-bearer of God was murdered apparently a blood-curdling cry erupted to the Heavens to the ears of God. So from both an earthly perspective and Heavenly perspective there should be an incredibly strong reaction to the death of an image-bearer of God.

Therefore, since God has made all men in his own image and likeness – from conception to death – and since the murder of an image-bearer is a heinous affront to God himself, then isn’t it biblically logical to conclude that the abortion of any child, of any age, for any reason, is firstly murder and secondly a heinous sin in the eyes of God? And think for a second, if the murder of just one image-bearer’s (Abel) blood cried out to the ears of God, consider, what must the blood of 35-50 million aborted image-bearers of God sound like to God every year?

Someone at this point might respond that this is less of a kiwi problem and more of a world problem. But consider some statistics within New Zealand. Since 1990 (when statistics started being recorded for abortions) there have been over 430,000 abortions performed in New Zealand, when you include an approximate dating back to 1977 when the abortion law changed (using citizenship numbers) you end up with a number somewhere over 600,000. That means since 1977 every 35 minutes an image-bearer of God has been murdered in New Zealand. I specifically use the word murder and not abortion at this point because that – in the end – is what it is. There are many blood curdled cries ascending to the ears of God from New Zealand as well. The cry of the blood of this nation’s children must be deafening in the Heavens.

At this point it would be good to hear what some parts of our government are suggesting for law reform in our land. They are suggesting three options: A – No examination required, up to nine months, see an abortionist no doctor required. B – Abortionist gives an examination to make sure that abortion is a good step for the Mother. C – Combination A up to twenty-two weeks, then B up to nine months.

It is not the place in this brief article to consider these law reforms or provide a response to these changes. The reality is the world is going to continue performing abortions and bringing in more types of corruption and sin as long as it refuses to bow its knee to its Creator, God. The world is declaring that the unborn child is worth nothing and may be murdered at a moment’s whim, yet God who created them is declaring they are beautiful in his sight and precious. Abortions will be pushed and the reality is, they will be pushed with not even the briefest bit of conviction of conscience; for example as one woman who was denied an abortion comments,

Not only should abortion not be a criminal matter in this country, but the process needs a shake-up. For many people, the structural steps that need to be taken are just too hard. If a woman doesn’t want to have a pregnancy, she shouldn’t have to have it and she shouldn’t have to be made to feel like the worst person in the world…People always say to me, “oh, but you wouldn’t wish it any different now, would you?” The answer, as a feminist, is that I would. I love my child to the end of the world, we are an absolute team and I am a fantastic mother. But if I could go back and change it, I would change it. It wasn’t a great life choice for me, my plans for the future, or the type of life I wanted to be living.[7]

We have seen that murder is horrendous, that there is no difference between abortion and murder as they both end the life of an image-bearer of God, and we have seen that this is a problem affecting New Zealand. I have one more point to make before attempting to provide a Biblical response to abortion. This point is by far the most horrifying. We know from the Scriptures that all children are born and conceived in sin (Ps. 51:5, Rom. 5:12). We also know that all sinners justly deserve the wrath of God (Eph. 2:3). Now, if all sinners are justly deserving God’s wrath, and if babies are conceived in sin and therefore justly deserve God’s wrath, then it logically follows that some percentage of children are aborted under the wrath of God and objects of God’s wrath on the judgement day. If you find this offensive, I assure you I do not say these words lightly and they bring true anguish to my own heart. But it is this understanding that should fuel our hearts to respond to the problem of abortion. It is with the understanding that some percentage of 35-50 million babies are going to hell while never receiving the opportunity to breath, let alone hear the gospel. In the same way that people groups dying without the gospel fuel our overseas missions, let us let the millions of abortions fuel our mission to the unborn.

So with the murder of millions of image-bearers, and the souls of many under God’s wrath in our head and heart, let us ask, how do we respond? What can we do? First, let us acknowledge that God cares. God calls himself the protector of the weak (Ps. 68:5); ordinarily God has worked with the downtrodden and mistreated of society. So then how should we respond? We could march on the house of parliament, make picket signs, protest outside abortion clinics, complain on Facebook, post tweets, sign petitions, etc. Some of which might be in some way remotely helpful. However, I think it is high time we acknowledge that the government doesn’t really care what the Church thinks. In fact it doesn’t really care what the public thinks in general[8]. So how can we respond?

I would like to suggest that we see the atrocity before us as a gospel opportunity and do what the early Church did. The early Church went out into Rome and collected the children put out for paedo-exposure and raised them as their own. This is one reason why the Church grew at such exponential rates. The Church would collect the unwanted children of the world and raise them as covenantal children of God. What I would suggest is that we stand up and cry out to that if New Zealand doesn’t want its babies we will take them. If a woman walked into your Church about to have an abortion would you take her in and care for her? Would you adopt her child and sacrifice your time and money in order to care for that child and mother? What if you could be an instrument of grace in that mother and baby’s life? What if you could be the means of saving another baby from death? What if you could be the means of bringing a mother and child into the kingdom of God? All you need to do is be willing to love the unloved, want the unwanted and do what God did for you. God loved you while you were unloved, wanted you while you were unwanted and gave his Son for you. Will you, having received, freely give?

The monster of abortion is big and scary and real. But it is not too big, too scary, or too real for God. Imagine what the GPCNZ Churches would look like if we were all willing to stand up and declare “NZ, if you don’t want your children, we will take them!” Imagine what your Church might look like if there were 10 children growing up who would be dead if it wasn’t for your Churches intervention. Imagine what our country would think if our Churches were willing to do this? Would not the beauty of Christ and his Bride shine out in full radiant splendour to this dark and broken world? Our Church is looking into doing this, we don’t know how this story will unfold, but we do know that when Christ’s Church is willing to stand up and make a difference, amazing things happen. Will you be a part of that amazing story?

[1] The definition of abortion being used is that of induced abortions by human intervention. Not the abortion more commonly called miscarriage.



[4] I will use Human, mankind, man interchangeably to refer to the same thing.

[5] It is not the place to discuss at length what the meaning for likeness/image is, so for the sake of ease we will be using the understanding that God made them like himself, sharing with them his communicable attributes and giving them worth above all of the rest of creation.

[6] Worth mentioning that this has large implications for our understanding of euthanasia

and the care of the elderly.


[8] If you don’t believe me consider the implications of the public vote on the anti-smacking law reform which the government sided with a 5% vote.

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