commentary: They Know!
When Human Life Begins
Martin G. Collins
Given 19-Jan-19; 12 minutes
January 22, just 3 days from now, is the 46th anniversary of the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion. It stated that the law protects only “legal persons” and that “legal personhood does not exist prenatally.” It authorized no legal restrictions on abortion in the first three months. Abortion was allowed until birth if one licensed physician judged it necessary for the mother’s “health.”
Their term “health” includes physical and mental health. Of course, that "mental health" they have exaggerated and used for every reason possible. But I don’t want to dwell on abortion; I want to talk about human life.
Scientifically, when does biologic human life begin? Biologic human life is defined by the secular world by examining the scientific facts of human development. This is a field where there is no controversy and no disagreement. There is only one set of scientific facts. The world knows when life begins, and they admit that they know that they know in their own scientific papers.
In March 2017, the American College of Pediatricians published the article: “When Human Life Begins.” The abstract reads:
The predominance of human biological research confirms that human life begins at conception—fertilization. At fertilization, the human being emerges as a whole, genetically distinct, individuated zygotic living human organism, a member of the species Homo sapiens, needing only the proper environment in order to grow and develop. The difference between the individual in its adult stage and in its zygotic stage is one of form [design], not nature [evolution]. This statement focuses on the scientific evidence of when an individual human life begins.
Here are some significant excerpts from this scientific paper:
“… it was with the advent of the cell theory developed by Schleiden and Schwann in 1839 that it was recognized that the embryo develops from the single-celled zygote. Directly based upon this observation and the knowledge that the single-celled zygote was alive and an independent being, in 1859 the American Medical Association published a statement strongly opposing abortion, particularly commenting on the independence of the zygote during the time between its formation and its implantation.
This is a scientific paper, so it is going to get quite heavy. You will have to do some concentrating, but I think you will get it because it almost explains itself sufficiently.
Although the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1965 attempted to redefine “conception” to mean implantation rather than fertilization, medical dictionaries and even English language dictionaries both before and after 1966 define “conception” as synonymous with fertilization (sometimes via the intermediary term of “fecundation”).
Moore’s 1974 edition of a human embryology textbook states that development is a continuous process that begins when an ovum is fertilized by a sperm and ends at death. It is a process of change and growth that transforms the zygote, a single cell, into a multicellular adult human being. Moore’s 2008 edition emphasizes that development does not end at birth but extends into early adulthood.
Professor Emeritus of Human Embryology of the University of Arizona School of Medicine, Dr. C. Ward Kischer, affirms that “Every human embryologist, worldwide, states that the life of the new individual human being begins at fertilization (conception).”
Even authors who philosophically lean towards not attributing the same value to human life at the one-cell stage as they do to later stages of development admit that “As far as human ‘life’ per se, it is, for the most part, uncontroversial among the scientific and philosophical community that life begins at the moment when the genetic information contained in the sperm and ovum combine to form a genetically unique cell.”
In the last century, and particularly in the last decades, much more detailed observation has been made of the first 24 hours of the life of a human being. During this time the cell membranes of a sperm and ovum fuse and the first cell division occurs.
So, when, during these 24 hours, does a new human life begin?
During the first 24 hours, once the sperm and egg bind to each other, the membranes of these two cells fuse, creating in less than a second a single hybrid cell: the zygote, or one-cell embryo. To protect his or her bodily integrity, within minutes the zygote initiates changes in its ionic composition, releasing zinc in a spark that induces “egg activation,” first modifying the surrounding zona pellucida blocking further sperm binding to the cell surface.
Cooperation between sperm and egg components to achieve replication of DNA, cell division, and growth occurs as maternally and paternally derived factors in the zygote begin interacting with and chemically modifying each other to initiate the final round of meiotic division in the maternally derived nucleus to enable DNA replication.
Finally, the nuclear membranes of the pronuclei break down (called syngamy—technically, pronuclear membranes). No new nuclear membrane encompassing both pronuclei is formed; rather, mitosis occurs and two cells, each with its own identical nucleus encased in a nuclear membrane, are formed.
An organism is defined as “(1) a complex structure of interdependent and subordinate elements whose relations and properties are largely determined by their function in the whole, and (2) an individual constituted to carry on the activities of life by means of organs separate in function but mutually dependent: a living being.”
It is clear that from the time of cell fusion, the embryo consists of elements (from both maternal and paternal origin) which function interdependently in a coordinated manner to carry on the function of the development of the human organism. From this definition, the single-celled embryo is not just a cell, but an organism, a living being, a human being.
The American College of Pediatricians concurs with the body of scientific evidence that corroborates that a unique human life starts when the sperm and egg bind to each other in a process of fusion of their respective membranes and a single hybrid cell called a zygote, or one-cell embryo, is created.
As physicians dedicated both to scientific truth and to the Hippocratic tradition, the College values all human lives equally from the moment of conception (fertilization) until natural death. Consistent with its mission to “enable all children to reach their optimal physical and emotional health and well-being,” the College, therefore, opposes active measures that would prematurely end the life of any child at any stage of development from conception to natural death.”
That is what came from their article; that is what they say. The world knows—it knows; it knows exactly when life begins. Although scientists, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers scientifically and intellectually know when human life begins, many deny it out of hostility against God.
The Bible has always given the answer, and the more science learns through study and research, the more science affirms the Scriptures. Life begins at the moment of conception. When a zygote (i.e., “genesis” cell) is formed by the fusion of the sperm and the egg, life commences.
In Psalm 139:13-16, David wrote,
Psalm 139:13-16 For You [God] formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.
The apostle Paul was inspired to write that God has His will so carefully planned that He chose us before the beginning of human civilization.
Ephesians 1:3-5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will
It is the Great God, not the social engineers or the progressive academics, who sets the beginning, length and extensiveness of life for each of His creations. We are instruments of His power and providence through His gift of procreation. We are evidence of His abundant love. The overwhelming picture of children in the Bible is that they are cherished by their parents, by their nation and by God. Parents dote on their children with devotion unparalleled in other relationships.
Biblical descriptions of children add warmth and depth to the promises that God looks on us as a father looks on his children. Younger and different from adults in maturity and innocence, a child is dependent on others, in a position to learn, and reflects the present situation and future hope of his or her parents. Above all, a child is cherished.
The murdering world knows when life begins; they are without excuse!
We are so thankful for God's creation and His love for us, and that He cherishes us as much as He does.