Abortion Violation: Eye for an Eye

This is a portion of our book that deals with God’s consistent view of justice for the born and preborn. He makes no distinction and neither should we, if we call ourselves God’s people.

“Those who erroneously believe God’s Word does not address abortion have not studied the Bible. God’s law specifically deals with the child in the womb. Exodus says:

If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine. And if any mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life, Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. And if a man smite the eye of his servant, or the eye of his maid, that it perish; he shall let him go free for his eye’s sake. And if he smite out his manservant’s tooth, or his maidservant’s tooth; he shall let him go free for his tooth’s sake. (Exodus 21:22–27)

Contrary to popular interpretations, this passage does not promote vigilantism or revenge. In truth, it displays the brilliance of God’s justice. The essence of the passage deals with a vital legal principle known as Lex Talionis, Latin for “law of retaliation.” In the science of criminology, this tenet translates, “The punishment should fit the crime.”

The penalty should not be less than the crime deserves. Otherwise, there is a danger that injustice may spread. Ecclesiastes 8:11 warns, “Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” On the other hand, if retribution exceeds the crime, it can turn lawful authorities into abusive tyrants. In a sense, this legal principle is God’s Golden Rule applied in the area of justice (Luke 6:31).

In context, this passage addresses men fighting among themselves. As is prone to happen, a woman may become involved and hurt in the struggle. If she is pregnant and no harm comes to her or the child in her womb, her husband may still plead his case. The judge will determine whether his case holds any validity. But if mischief follows and the woman or the child in the womb are harmed, God’s Word demands, “Life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.” Undoubtedly, God’s justice extends to the child in the womb.”

This does not exclude the church having compassion upon the criminal. The state is the ministry of justice that should be concerned about the physical welfare of its citizens, protect life and stop the shedding of innocent blood, while the church, is to be the ministry of grace that is concerned about the spiritual welfare of men and nations. These are not in conflict with each other. They both represent divine attributes of God, justice and mercy. You cannot have one without the other. Mercy indeed triumphs over judgment, but mercy cannot be obtained apart from judgment.

This is why the Micah mandate is so important. Micah 6:8 declares, “He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” The order is important to God. First justice, a justice that will lead to victory, then it is mercy and a humble submission to God.

Jesus rebuked the religious system of His day for failing to demonstrate the Micah mandate in His generation (Matthew 23:23). As we consider the response of the church when it comes to the injustice against the preborn, what do you think the Lord would say to us today?

Rusty Thomas's photo.