Abortion and the Unknowable God: An Attempt at a Neutral and Faithful Discussion

As a Christian, I find myself in a strange position on abortion. I am pro-choice. I have not always been as I have not always considered myself Christian. I was an atheist/deist, pro-lifer in my younger days. However, my journey gives me a unique perspective because I was pro-life based on black and white facts, and I became pro-choice based on God.

That is the problem with God. For me, God has taken away my black and white thinking. Before I had faith, I would reason out a situation based on my perspective and whatever I decided was the truth. So for abortion, I decided that when an egg and sperm met, they were a life and that life was more important than the life of the woman in which the baby grew. I made little-to-no exception for rape as I saw rape as terrible but babies as good. I didn’t think much about other exceptions such as incest and the death of the mother because I didn’t have many people around me to debate the issue. Since I had no concept of a power beyond me, I didn’t have to consider beyond my thinking process.

But within 5 or 6 years, I found God or God found me or a little of both as spiritual journeys go. And I now had this concept that wasn’t me and wasn’t you and wasn’t anyone I knew. In fact, one of the definition was He was unknowable. My brain couldn’t comprehend His plans and designs. I had to take leaps of faith and trust in the process and pray for some help and ask those who also had sparks of spiritual life in them (I was informed that was everyone) and put it all that together with my experiences and pray and be patience and finally take action in the hopes that my decision reflected the God I liked to say “of my understanding” but actually I didn’t get to understand at all because He is God. And even in using a pronoun like “he” or “she,” I’m not helping myself since I constantly want to remake God in my image. God gets to be petty, mean, jealous and loves shoes much to often than I’d like to care to admit.

Now people often argue at this point that if God is so unknowable we will just fall back into relative morality, but the amazing power of having a sense of God is we don’t. Most of the time. We want to be better just because we like God. We try to love more. Care more. We realize how unimportant our every feeling and whim and need is in the great scheme of humanity. And when we forget, we often have meditation books, the Bible, spiritual texts, friends, family and more to give us a push in the right direction. We focus on what we can give first and what we receive second. Why? I don’t know. Humility often follows faith.

Now what does this all have to do with abortion? Well, it’s not a black and white issue once we have God. The morality of getting pregnant, keeping a child, raising a child, aborting a child is not drawn along pro-life and pro-choice. We may want it to be because how easy it is to stand and yell at each other. I like yelling and being right. I have taken a side and I think it’s okay to take a side. But I think it must be done in a thoughtful way and in the acknowledgment that God is much bigger than pro-life and pro-choice. God doesn’t hate either side nor is He standing around yelling at each side either.

Even if we turn to the Bible for answers on abortion, it’s not obvious. Which Bible do we even use? The Bible wasn’t originally written in English. How many times has it been translated? Why is this church using a version different than that church? How many definitions of that word exist and which one did God mean? And before we get into words, how do we even know which verses to read? Does God think life starts at conception, like in Jeremiah, or at the quickening, like in Exodus, which would be about 20 weeks, so first and most second trimester abortions would be okay? Or if we are made in His image like the verse in Genesis, is it when we look like humans, which is definitely not when we are a clump of cells and maybe in keeping with Roe v Wade? It’s all so much more muddled with God than if I just decide I think abortion is wrong.

And then we get into the reality of abortion. What if a woman is raped? The man acted in self-will not God’s will. Does God really want that baby on Earth? How do we know? What about casual sex? If God doesn’t believe in it, which we could debate another time, does God want baby here? What if the act of abortion changes the woman forever? Maybe that was God’s plan. Perhaps, that woman will now change the lives of hundreds of people and the abortion of the fetus was the catalyst. The woman doesn’t have to become a pro-life advocate. What if she becomes a doctor or a mother or a saint?

If God is unknowable, who are we to say where He stands on abortion and what He will do with our decisions? Perhaps, God does not take a stand like we take stands. Perhaps, the morality of this difficult decision is not A or B at all.

In the end, God gave us brains to use. The people I worry about in this contentious debate are not pro-life or pro-choice. They are those who have no one in their lives willing to ask and answer the hard questions. I don’t seek to make anyone believe as I believe. I only want each of us to find our way with a little more understanding of the humanity in the middle of it all.


About the writer: Alex Iwashyna went from an undergraduate degree in political philosophy to an medical doctor to a stay-at-home mom, writer and Christian liberal by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog except when it’s serious about life, parenting, marriage, culture, religion and politics. She has a muse of a husband, two young kids and a readership that gives her hope for humanity.

Review & Commentary

One thought on “Abortion and the Unknowable God: An Attempt at a Neutral and Faithful Discussion

  1. I enjoyed reading this. I find a lot of merit in the idea of God not taking sides in so many of the things we tend to believe she/he/it does, whether it’s a favorite football team or abortion.

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