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News 310

Channel 9 TV, April 25


When is a child soul-equipped ? or when does it have a spirit ?

Before we proceed to this question, and its answer's environment, with the help of the good and gracious Lord Jesus, let us see the reason why it is to be raised. It is in terms of potential, programming and personality, a useful analogy for history and its development, yes and for the history of the soul as well.

In the Bible, there are broad and vast domains of discovery, presented to our panting minds and eager souls. In addition, in some chronological areas, there are vignettes, such as the millenium, the destruction of the beast, the invasion of Israel before the Lord obliterates the predators' army. There is a quietness of assurance in these presentations, and often a development is to be seen, as evil or grace gain governance and dominance in a given situation. In the former case, it is often associated with disastrous judgment, but not always by any means,  at once! God is gracious.

Having raised these related issues, let us pursue the former first, to gain maximum impetus for our major question, to come next. Thus we turn to another potential, this time not history as such, but the history of an embryo.

One major folly in discussing the 'arrival' time of the spirit in a babe is just that people often turn surreptitious and even unconscious materialists, and imagine that there has to be some sort of equipment issue involved, from the spirit side. By definition, spirit is without flesh and bones, as Christ put it in Luke 24. Hence to seek some sort of DNA or other limit, license or issuance is mere self-contradiction. The matter is rather to be related to two major components: Spiritual functionality and available equipment. The latter is not the determinant but the means for expression.

Let us consider an embryo with this in mind. First there is the generative aspect, where ingredients of equipment are presented for relevance. Then there is the abstract potential, in the zygote: it can be conceived in the mind as a thing to issue in usability. Thirdly comes the formative, as the structure begins to develop, slightly reducing the abstraction and increasing the visual.  Fourthly comes the represented analogy of a human being,  clear to the sight, then the separable phase, or that of more declarative measure of independence,  at birth, following by maturation after it.

It is not hard to conceive for our present purpose, these phases. God being beyond our time limits, sees these as fact, beforehand, with all the ingredients of knowledge of specific developments, contrary to the norm ... such of course, as abortion, which is an interruption. His understanding is infinite, and He knows all things (Psalm 147:5, Ephesians 1:4, Romans 8:29ff., Isaiah 46:10).

In this as in all things, His vision is not vitiated by the unknown, muddled by confusion or compromised by comparable powers against Him. There are no comparable powers against Him (Romans 11:33, Ephesians 1:11, Psalm 115, Isaiah 43:13). Its inexorable quality, the event, not from itself but from His counsel duly made, pertains to His infinite compassion, a mutual involvement which bears to the Cross, His plan and His pain, with His remedy.

From that, NOTHING was be able to turn Him (Psalm 40, cf. Joyful Jottings 22-25, Isaiah 50, Luke 9:53, Matthew 26:36-39). For this plan, there would be 'no repentance', no turning aside,  as in Hosea 13:14; for its vision is victory. Here the fruits of freedom misused are fed to the stricken mouth of mercy inventive with wisdom, and the medicine is divinely taken, so that the case is cancelled for the perpetrators of sin, who repenting desire that sublime divorce, from sin's control! BECAUSE GOD would not 'repent' of His mercy, therefore they repenting, may feed on it! It is THERE and available.

With man, accordingly, as in Colossians 1:19ff., God seeks repentance, always as in Jerusalem (Luke 19:42ff.) exposing new opportunities for the same thing: correction, cleansing, conversion, regeneration and restoration in redemption, Himself the payor. He can expound with passion what is yet to be rejected, because knowledge does not capture the heart of God, but enables it a better expression, in that perfection of truth which is His.

A change of years - by our earlier human growth analogy - may be manifested to man, as the protests, protestations and pleas become assurance of doom (Ezekiel 21:7-27), or entry to life (Acts 9, with Saul who became Paul).

In neither case is there heart lacking, whether to eternal joy or everlasting destruction; for nothing has been evacuated from His passion, zeal and principles, nor does time cause decay in these, or memory erase the outcome. Yes nothing is missing from this painful zeal, divinely apt to pay and to defray where there is avenue of payment: not even He Himself is missing, but in human format, on the Cross, He kept the counsel of eternity in the courts of time.

So does POTENCY relate to POTENTIAL and to actuality.

Does someone abort a mercy offered ? It is himself, herself who however is the aborted one, since the mercy is unstained. Is another slow in development: in vacillation avoiding the issue, yet not consigning it to result ? Then is there slow growth and a near paralysis, till the issue be manifest.  Sometimes by mere ignoring of it, until the heart that sidesteps, develops a strain and is spoiled, there comes a cripple who is confined to the reward of negative nullity, as is fitting (cf. II Thessalonians 2:10). Delayed growth can resemble a post-mature baby, which can be ... dead on arrival.

Spiritual things have their reasons and ways, disparate from the programmatic, above all that, which however is often a means to it, not necessary but frequently expedient. 

So is the case with the potential for disaster, yes doom, now like flames in a forest, lurking about this world. The end is sure; is known, is protested; the offers proliferate, and that with passion; there basis is performed and that in divine passion, deity relenting not at all in the payment opportunity, or in the work of application to man.

Graphically, in some phases, the Bible shows vignettes of these progressive developments in history,  for stated purposes; and these are to be seen within the main, major thrusts. Such vignettes with their own precise and sometimes chronological position, at times need very careful scrutiny. To this, we may give attention in our next chapter.

What then do we find ? It is that God makes man think - it is the glory of God to hide a matter, the honour of man to search it out (Proverbs 25:2 - of 'kings'). This is good teaching: enticing, inviting, insisting that mere vain repetition be not the highway, but UNDERSTANDING. However, these matters are more minor in final substance, than the main pathway and criteria of salvation. Not without a certain significance, however, they need attention. They are like photographs of embryonic stages, as the birth comes near, and their sequence can cause a fascinating challenge to concentration!

God shows us, thus, some of the structural generation of the  reality of our history, especially in Genesis but in Colossians 1, John ; something of its institution to become meaningful for man, of the arrival of man's comparative independence, and of his maturation as time pulses to its coming earthly terminus.  So does history become generated, structured, liberated with freedom, confined in condition, developmental in a measure of independence and then mature! So too the comparison bears the addition of the history of the individual SOUL!

Is abortion then right ?

You may be aghast at this question. However, the analogical relationship is intensive and intended. We have two related themes, contrapuntal, and they walk well together.

Consider again the generative phase, the zygote of abstract (partly) programmatic possibility, leading to backboned foetus, with lively progressively apparent possibilities, leading to the reactive, fully-formed embryo, or one substantially so, a matter construable as sleeping, but lively possibilities. When new-born, it has outgoing form with potential, at say 2 years,  it is a child-person with potential. At 7 or so it is substantially operational in spirit, as one integral whole, though as yet immature, and not versed in the full scope of its reality, or those relationships and powers to come.

Now attempts in the continuous stream of life and growth - here given some relevant construed snap-shots - to segmentalise progress, do not relate to some spirit-physique interface or connection in terms of physical forms. Rather is the physical noted as providing means of expression in such a world as this for the spirit of man. The errors made in equating or improperly correlating the spiritual with physical methods of performance confuse the invisible with the visible, as if there might be some physical link, platform or coupling for the spirit of a person, laid bare in the body.

This, for comparison, would be like seeking in a lake-woodland setting, to see the coupling or site fitted, as in a brain, or neural arch or gateway, where restraint might plug-in, or beauty be inserted.

Such a thought is ridiculous, a mere contradiction in terms. Hence searching for spirit's advent is likewise astray. It is not a question of advent, of arrival (in place), of insertion (by valve or whatever you conceive).

Always from birth, there is a living potential, ready to declare itself with growth and scope.

Always, from the time that personal response is equipped for declaration, there is a sleeping lively possibility, slowly being actualised.

What then of MURDER of a living potentiated being, of this or that stage or phase of an embryo ?

The term murder, however,  usually refers to beings with a measure of independence not found in an embryo, so that it might be better to refer to slaying, a less specific, but still not neutral terms, as if there were nothing much involved.  Yes to annul a slowly developing, sleeping but lively possibility, slowly awakening to its formed state, is to ... slay. The term would seem inept at the zygote stage, in its programmatic possibility, and nul integral actuality as person equipment. It would seem ill-advised perhaps, at a stage when feeling is not yet personal. However, quickly comes the personal equipment actuality, even in the developing potential, and after that abortion readily becomes simply a death by adventure, parentally controlled.

One said in a TV show, April 25, focussing the USA, by memory from Channel 9: that politics is to be kept out of the bedroom! Well, but is slaying to be kept out of prison ? Obviously, conception from rape is excluded, since this IS violence and violation both; and it is not far different when there is a serious question as to whether the child or the mother will remain alive, so that one or the other is expected to die.

Choice is operative where violation has occurred or where death is impending, one way or the other. Yet in the USA, how many women are unable in the first few days after violence, let alone weeks, to have the early cell-division stopped before any question of personal involvement, on the part of the embryo, is perceptible ?

What possible excuse could there be except unexpected sickness, in such a situation, where it may well seem unfair to mother or child or to both, to continue, vitality being defective: for letting things lapse only to seek abortion considerably later! There may be exceptional cases of mental deficiency; but as to ignorance, it is not in that land, so easy to imagine on any substantial scale, in this particular field and to this extent. In any case, it is by no means the major thrust of the ‘liberty’ being sought.

Psychological horrors may be invoked, for someone lacerated in soul by violence; but responsibility is not annulled by suffering by itself. It is necessary to consider the child, and to face the issue; though of course compassion must minister to the stricken in heart, the numbed in mind after assault.

Let us pursue once more the parallel we have earlier used.

It is like aborting salvation, known to God before the world was founded, but still actualised in the event on earth when the glory is dismissed, and the opportunity, perhaps adorned by the very real action of God on the reluctant soul, is lost, the heart hardening and the life never regenerated. One is abortion spiritually, the other abortion physically!

Who dare lay hands on a child formed into an expressive unit or being for personal existence, because of convenience or preference alone! Who dare lay hands on the life of God become available, but dismissed, even though the heart is made aware of its condition, and so tread underfoot, the blood of Christ, dispensing with what would have been dispensed for them! Let us be clear, this is for the stimulus of analogy. It is not a confusion of salvation with abortion, but a mental inducement to see the seriousness of spiritual interruption of potential, this being in some ways LIKE an abortion.

What aweful appetite for autonomy can lash the soul into its shrinkage, like a babe undesired, exposed to death in saline solution; or who can expose the soul to the scalpel of the word of God, to condemnation! This not by His intrusion as if to force destruction, but through His sovereign knowledge of all things, attending to the case as He knows it to be. As to Him, HE WEPT (Luke 19:42); but the case was as it was, and Jerusalem was destroyed. HE DIED, but the heart was as it was, and He was not received, whose reception leads to the very friendship of God. He GAVE ALL that could be given, and it was ENOUGH, but despised.

Therefore ? Therefore the life of the city was aborted, as by a remiss parent! "Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who stones the prophets, and stones those who are sent to her! How often I would have gathered your children together, as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, but you were not willing. See! Your house shall be left to you desolate!" There had been a cumulative development over hundreds of years in Jerusalem, and this was the culmination. The message was clear, the offer was profound, the opportunity was unlimited. But life ? It did not take its source, find its origin in its Saviour, and went on as if the companion of death.

So it was in the aborted city! He wept, but it occurred, for He did not force, and knew His own.

The aborted child however IS forced.