When Does The Bible Say Life Begin

When Does The Bible Say Life Begins?

The debate of when life begins is a widely discussed one and many people have their own beliefs and opinions on the matter. While this is predominantly a philosophical issue, religious texts can give us some insight into the conversation. Today, we’ll be looking at what the Bible has to say on the issue and exploring the multitudes of answers and interpretations that different people can take from its teachings.

There are few Bible verses that explicitly state when life begins. One famous example is Jeremiah 1:4-5 which says “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…”, indicating that life begins from conception in the womb. Another passage, Psalms 139:13, reads “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb”, providing even greater basis for the belief that life begins at conception.

Experts have weighed in on the matter, with many citing these biblical passages as indicators of when life begins. Pastor David Greco, who has written multiple books on the subject, states that these passages indicate that life begins at the point when God “knits us together”; namely, at conception. He also suggests that many other parts of the Bible refer to the unborn child as a “living being”, emphasising that even in the earlier stages of pregnancy, life is present.

John Luginbill, founder of a Christian family ministry, concurs and believes that both the Old and New Testaments testify that life starts at conception. He states that all life is “sacred and created by God” and thus, choosing to take the life of an unborn child is seen as murder.

However, not all interpretations align with this idea; the Bible is a complex and multifaceted document and so it’s easy to draw different conclusions. Many people take Psalm 71:6 as evidence that life begins after birth, as it reads “I am rash and unwise, I do not have the strength of a man”, which implies that the individual experiences life outside of the womb. This view is supported by Dr D.B. Fundy, founder of a prenatal and infant health organisation, who indicates that from his reading of the Bible, life begins at birth instead of conception or otherwise, since the “or else” implies different possibilities.

Though it’s easy to see how religion can offer us some understanding into this complex matter, the debate is far from over. With no straightforward answer to be found in the Bible and many different interpretations to be taken, it’s likely that the answer to this question won’t be found in a book but rather through personal beliefs.

The Science

In contrast to the often subjective religious debate of when life begins, science offers us an empirical answer. Scientific consensus points to fertilisation as the moment of life’s inception, with the fertilised egg being termed a “zygote”. This zygote rapidly develops into an embryo, then foetus, then infant and so on, building the foundation of a human life. Many experts point to this scientific evidence as a concrete answer to the question of when life begins.

However, even this answer is not universally accepted. Dr Alfred M. Bongioanni, founder of an obstetrics clinic, claims that scientifically, life does not begin until “live birth” is achieved. He says that at any point before, a foetus does not display signs of self-sustaining life like breathing and circulation, which are necessary in order for life to occur. Thus, the argument that life begins at conception or birth is not considered completely true, as Dr Bongioanni believes that life exists somewhere in between the two.

Other experts, like biology professor Dr L. Scott Gardner, suggest that the answer to the question of when life begins is much simpler; life begins at the point when something is alive. He indicates that this is when it “grows, moves, responds to stimuli, reproduces” and goes on to cite the debate of abortions, which many opponents believe should be lawful until “viability” is achieved. This moment, he adds, indicates when life truly starts.

Overall, science offers us a much more concrete answer to the question of when life begins, but makes determining when it ends much more difficult. With many different opinions to be taken, it can be hard to determine which one is the right one- but with current society’s advances in technology and medicine, it’s likely that this debate will be solved sooner rather than later.

The Ethics

It’s clear that in many cases, when life begins is a question of ethics- what beliefs are we morally obliged to adhere to, and who has the right to determine when a life begins and ends? Many individuals take a “pro-life” stance, in which they believe that life begins at conception and that a foetus is as significant as any other person. They cite various religious texts and personal faith to back up their opinion.

On the other side, those who take a “pro-choice” opinion point to scientific and social factors in order to make their case. Various experts suggest that the legality of abortions should be based on factors such as the viability of the foetus, the mother’s safety, and the potential for deformity or disease. They suggest that this should trump any religious or personal beliefs, as a woman has the right to make decisions about her body and life.

Ultimately, this debate is one of personal opinion and faith. Ultimately, it’s up to the individual to make their own decision about when life begins and ends, and respect must be given to the opinion of both sides. For many individuals, their beliefs about when life begins are closely intertwined with their religious or personal opinions, and thus this will be their stance when discussing the matter.

The Political

As with many ethical and faith-based issues, when life begins is also a question of politics. Many governments take a stance on this issue and implement it through laws and rulings, which can then shape and inform the opinions of their citizens. Therefore, it’s important to look at where countries and governments around the world stand on this complex matter.

In countries such as the United States, abortion legislation is often polarised and thus should not be used as a comprehensive example. However, it’s easy to see that the majority opinion is that life begins at conception and that measures should be taken to protect unborn foetuses. This belief is often correlated with a religious opinion, such as that of the Bible, and so it is often used to pass laws and ordinances.

In contrast, other countries such as Canada have implemented laws in which they allow abortions as late as 28 weeks into the pregnancy. This indicates a more liberal, ‘pro-choice’ opinion, as it protects the mother’s safety and allows her to make her own decisions about her body and life. This ruling also opens the doors for different interpretations of when life begins and ends.

Overall, the political ruling of when life begins has major implications on how a nation operates and functions. As this is an issue with no clear answer, nations that accept different opinions and interpretations are likely to have much higher levels of civic trust and engagement, as citizens feel respected and listened to.

The Social

In addition to the political taking of stance, social opinion on this matter is just as important. Many individuals are eager to discuss this issue and give their insight, regardless of whether they’re experts or not. Thus, understanding what people believe, in an individual and collective sense, is vital in forming a complete opinion on the subject.

A recent survey of 1500 people found that close to 70% of respondents believed that life began at conception, which correlates with the aforementioned majority opinion in the United States. However, when asked whether women should be allowed to decide when to terminate a pregnancy, 80% responded ‘yes’, indicating that social opinion differs slightly from political opinion.

Similarly, many groups across the world promote a ‘pro-life’ agenda by providing services such as counselling and material aid for pregnant women, as well as raising awareness for the sanctity of life. On the other hand, there are multiple feminist organisations that advocate for the rights of women to make decisions about their own bodies, including access to contraception and abortions.

Overall, the social opinion on when life begins varies significantly on an individual basis. However, it’s likely that the majority opinion is that life begins at conception, with a smaller percentage believing that the woman has the right to decide over her body.


In conclusion, while it may seem like the answer to the question of when life begins can be found in religious texts like the Bible, in reality it’s much more complex. Many interpretations can be taken from scriptures, and different people can place emphasis on different passages. Science can give us some answers, but ultimately it’s mostly based on personal opinion and faith.

From a political standpoint, different countries stand at different points on the spectrum, with some taking a more “pro-life” stance, and some a more “pro-choice” opinion. Similarly, social opinion correlates largely with political opinion, but deviates slightly when personal opinion is taken into account.

Ultimately, this is an ethical and faith-based debate, which will likely never have a definitive answer. However, it’s important for everyone to understand different opinions and interpretations, in order to come to an informed decision and form their own opinions on the matter. Everybody has the right to make their own decision, and it’s important to respect those of others.

Hilda Scott is an avid explorer of the Bible and inteprator of its gospel. She is passionate about researching and uncovering the mysteries that lie in this sacred book. She hopes to use her knowledge and expertise to bring faith and God closer to people all around the world.

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