The Incarnation & the Humanity of the Embryo

That human life begins at conception is an implicit, but foundational doctrine of Christianity, according to this LifeQuotefrom Lutherans for Life:

“To deny full humanity to a conceptus [embryo] is to deny full humanity to the Savior, ‘qui conceptus est de Spiritu Sancto, natus ex Maria virgine’ (Latin). We worship the coming Savior, we worship the ascended Lord, we worship the resurrected Son of Man, we worship the crucified Lamb, we worship the Boy in the temple, we worship the Babe in the manger, we worship the Conceptus in the womb of the Mother of God. Amen.” Posted on Cyberbrethren a Lutheran Blog.

This is brilliant, decisive, and theologically unanswerable. The Son of God was incarnate when, in the words of the Apostle’s Creed, He was “conceived by the Holy Ghost” and later “born of the Virgin Mary.” If the fetus becomes a human being at some later point–when the soul enters the body, or when the fetus shows brain waves, or some other point–how does that apply to the Incarnation without falling into some kind of modalism or other heresy? Anyone who confesses the Apostle’s Creed must be pro-life when it comes to abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and the rest of it.

And here is a fitting devotion during Advent: Adoring Christ the Embryo.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://truthadorned.org/ Scott Moonen

    To be human is to be created in the image of God and to be in relation with God (whether estranged or adopted) by means of faith or unbelief. Psalms 22 and 71 both indicate that even before birth a child is in relation with God, and at least in the case of covenant children, even belongs to God and trusts in God.

    Psalm 22 is a Messianic Psalm, so this connects directly with the subject of this blog post. The applicability of this Psalm extends from David to Israel to Jesus to ourselves and our children.

    Obviously there is much mystery here, needing care not to deny original sin (Psalm 51); nor the importance of life-long walking in faith, repentance and obedience; etc. But I think this sketches out how the argument in this blog post directly applies not only to Jesus but to all children.

  • http://truthadorned.org/ Scott Moonen

    To be human is to be created in the image of God and to be in relation with God (whether estranged or adopted) by means of faith or unbelief. Psalms 22 and 71 both indicate that even before birth a child is in relation with God, and at least in the case of covenant children, even belongs to God and trusts in God.

    Psalm 22 is a Messianic Psalm, so this connects directly with the subject of this blog post. The applicability of this Psalm extends from David to Israel to Jesus to ourselves and our children.

    Obviously there is much mystery here, needing care not to deny original sin (Psalm 51); nor the importance of life-long walking in faith, repentance and obedience; etc. But I think this sketches out how the argument in this blog post directly applies not only to Jesus but to all children.

  • Another Kerner

    Luke 1:41-44….

    John the Baptizer leaped for joy in his mother’s womb at the news of the coming Messiah “as soon as the voice of thy salvation sounded in mine ears”…..

    And Mary responds with the glorious Magnificat.

    Our God is indeed, wonderfully mysterious.

  • Another Kerner

    Luke 1:41-44….

    John the Baptizer leaped for joy in his mother’s womb at the news of the coming Messiah “as soon as the voice of thy salvation sounded in mine ears”…..

    And Mary responds with the glorious Magnificat.

    Our God is indeed, wonderfully mysterious.

  • Pingback: Re: The Incarnation and the Humanity of the Embryo « Planet Augsburg

  • Pingback: Re: The Incarnation and the Humanity of the Embryo « Planet Augsburg

  • http://www.pagantolutheran.blogspot.com Bruce

    It is a nice method, to work backward in time from anticipating the coming of Christ again to his being in his mother’s womb.

    It reminds me of a friend who used to regularly debate right-to-Life issues with pro-abortionists. He always mentioned his daughter. “At what point WASN’T she Elizabeth?” he’d ask. And backward he’d march, from her current age to her birth to her formation in the womb. It was a potent argument, and along with his patient, winsome attitude, won over many an angry opponent.

  • http://www.pagantolutheran.blogspot.com Bruce

    It is a nice method, to work backward in time from anticipating the coming of Christ again to his being in his mother’s womb.

    It reminds me of a friend who used to regularly debate right-to-Life issues with pro-abortionists. He always mentioned his daughter. “At what point WASN’T she Elizabeth?” he’d ask. And backward he’d march, from her current age to her birth to her formation in the womb. It was a potent argument, and along with his patient, winsome attitude, won over many an angry opponent.

  • fwsonnek

    I always think of the incarnation of our Lord when I ponder the issues surrounding abortion. You are right Dr Vieth. There is only one way to look at things from that point on.

  • fwsonnek

    I always think of the incarnation of our Lord when I ponder the issues surrounding abortion. You are right Dr Vieth. There is only one way to look at things from that point on.

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