What does the Bible say about pregnancy?
Question: "What does the Bible say about pregnancy?"
Answer: Pregnancy begins the moment a male sperm cell fertilizes a female egg within a woman’s body. In that moment, an embryo is formed. Within a few days, that embryo implants in the uterus and begins to grow and develop. For human beings, the length of pregnancy averages 280 days, or 36 weeks. Since the human race is propagated through pregnancies, in accordance with God’s blessing and command in Genesis 1:28, we should expect the Bible to have something to say about pregnancy—and it does.
The first recorded human pregnancy occurred when Eve conceived and gave birth to Cain (Genesis 4:1). Many pregnancies followed as humanity increased upon the earth, but the Bible does not give us any details of those pregnancies until the account of Abram (Abraham) and Sarai (Sarah) in Genesis 11:30: “Now Sarai was childless because she was not able to conceive.” The Bible’s silence about the preceding generations of pregnancies highlights the miracle God performed for this couple by giving them a child in their old age (Genesis 18:11).
What we learn from Scripture about pregnancy is that God is the Author of life. He is intimately involved in the conception and development of every human being. Psalm 139:13–16 speaks of His direct involvement: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
This passage leaves no doubt that God is the Designer of every child. Pregnancy is His workshop. A mother cooperates with God in creating a unique individual, designed for His purposes and to reflect His glory (Colossians 1:16). God speaks for Himself in Isaiah 44:24: “Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb, ‘I, the LORD, am the maker of all things, stretching out the heavens by Myself and spreading out the earth all alone.’”
The Bible gives some specific instances that demonstrate God’s foreknowledge in creating certain people for specific purposes. Since God is not a “respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34), we should assume from these illustrations that He does the same for every baby formed. In Jeremiah 1:5 God says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Isaiah 49:1 reveals that God can call unborn children into His service during pregnancy. We see this happening again before Elizabeth’s pregnancy, before John the Baptist was even conceived (Luke 1:13–17).
Pregnancy is God’s way of bringing new human beings into the world. Each person carries God’s image (Genesis 1:27). Because God is the Author of life and because a woman’s pregnancy represents a sacred partnership with God, a woman does not have a “right” to end what God has started. Abortion is the violent end of a human life that God created. It is the murder of an innocent image-bearer. Such acts are an outrage to the Lord. God strongly condemned the pagan practice of offering infants to idols (Jeremiah 32:35; Leviticus 20:2; Deuteronomy 12:31), and He judged the nations who did such things. God considers pregnancy His workroom, and a woman honors Him when she cooperates with Him in providing safety and nurture for the life inside her.
Recommended Resource: Expectant Parents: Preparing Together for the Journey of Parenthood by Suzanne Gosselin
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Questions about Family and Parenting
What does the Bible say about pregnancy?