Babies & Begonias

By Greg Koukl

I mentioned earlier that we have to answer the question first and foremost, what is an unborn child, before we can answer any other questions about this issue. Your suggestion that an unborn child is like a seed, the seed is not the flower, was a thought I responded to by saying that yes, you are right, but all you’ve said is that an adult is not the same as an infant. Because the seed, if it is of a begonia flower, is a begonia. They are just at different levels of development. Just like you have a one-year-old who is an infant, a 3- year-old is a child, a 14-year-old is an adolescent and a 25-year-old is an adult. We have identified stages of development. Yet the thing is what it is through all stages. It’s a human being.

There is another stage which I didn’t mention and that’s the stage of embryo. During the embryonic stage, the unborn child is still a human being. It’s just an embryonic human being. It is still what it is. I mentioned last week that a thing cannot change from one thing into another thing. In other words, there can’t be alterations or changes in a thing unless something about that thing always remains the same. You have changed from a child to an adult because the “you” which is you, your soul or whatever, your personhood, has stayed the same throughout the changes. The changes have been to accidental things about you, your body, for example. Different things have happened to your body and the same is true of an unborn child. No, an unborn child is an individual being and that’s absolutely obvious from the biology and also from the reflection that, if you are a female, and you have a being with a penis inside of you, obviously it’s not you because women don’t have penises. So the being inside you is a separate being.

Then you simply have to ask the question, what kind of being is it? It’s a human being. There is no other answer to that. How do we know? We look at the genetic structure to know for sure. But we also know it is a human being because it is the offspring of another human being, and that is the way things work. Beings produce other beings just like themselves. So it is irrefutable that this is a human being. And actually, no one even argues that anymore. They argue in what they think is a more sophisticated level by saying that it may be a human being, but it is not a person. Then the question is, well, what the heck is a person then if it’s not a human being? That’s a different kind of discussion. But the point is that we have a human being here…

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