I’ve heard the comments so many times. “Praise the Lord! As of 5:37 p.m. last night, I’m a grandmother!” “Today we’re celebrating Tom’s first birthday since he became a grandpa.” “It’s so wonderful that we finally have a daughter.”
These are all wonderful, life-affirming comments. Except that almost every time I hear something like this, the statement is factually untrue. Almost all of the people that I hear say this love life, and would never think that an unborn child isn’t a real living person. But in almost every case they speak about the unborn child as if he’s not.
Are the statements above sinful? Hardly. Yet they speak of life in a way that is fuzzy and vague compared to the way our Lord speaks of life, and puzzlingly off from what we Christians believe about life. And, frankly, not even in line as to what the facts of biology confess about life.
“…fertilization is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new, genetically distinct human organism is thereby formed…” (O’Rahilly, Ronan and Müller, Fabiola. Human Embryology & Teratology. 2nd edition. New York: Wiley-Liss, 1996, pp. 8, 29.)
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…” (Jeremiah 1:5, ESV)
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” (Psalm 139:13, ESV)
Remember: When you’re going to speak about children’s lives, add 9 months. We’ve been taught by our culture to only talk about post-birth children as persons. But they have been a person – fully human – for (usually) 9 months prior. Let’s celebrate Tom’s first birthday since he became a grandpa; let’s rejoice that you finally have a daughter. But let’s do so at the proper time. And if we miss it? Then let’s celebrate Tom’s second birthday since becoming a grandpa, and all the other birthdays, too. Let’s continue to celebrate and rejoice in God’s gift of life.