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Does “Breath of Life” in Scripture Mean an Unborn Child Isn’t Human Until They’re Born and Breathing?

The breath of life is from God, not a technical reference to a person’s ability to breathe. Since science clearly shows us that the unborn takes in oxygen from his mother, why does this not qualify as breathing? If someone has one lung removed due to cancer, are they now half a human being? If a patient is capable of breathing only 40% of the oxygen he needs, is he now only 40% human, and 60% nonhuman? A legalistic association of breathing and humanness is not only unbiblical, it’s ultimately bizarre.

Sadly, everyone I’ve interacted with who’s taken this position has admitted that they are using it to justify abortion. In my study of Scripture, I believe it’s nothing more than a distortion of God’s Word.

By the way, I would personally love to believe that life doesn’t begin until birth. It would take away mourning over miscarriages, grief for millions of children killed annually, great inconvenience and financial costs of helping save lives, and minimize any sense of guilt for apathy about dying children. (It would also make it easy to always immediately pull the ventilator plug from an older person or accident victim“They’re dead already, so no big deal.”)

But the reality is that the logic of “no human life until birth” simply doesn’t hold up biblically OR scientifically.

This article about the unborn originally appeared here, and is used by permission.

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Randy Alcorn is the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries (www.epm.org), a nonprofit ministry dedicated to teaching principles of God’s Word and assisting the church in ministering to the unreached, unfed, unborn, uneducated, unreconciled, and unsupported people around the world. Before starting EPM in 1990, Randy served as a pastor for fourteen years. He is a New York Times best-selling author of over fifty books, including Heaven (over one million sold), The Treasure Principle (over two million sold), If God Is Good, Happiness, and the award-winning novel Safely Home. His books sold exceed ten million copies and have been translated into over seventy languages.