08 agosto 2006

Early Christian view on abortion

The view of Abortion being wrong, stems not from the bible, but from Western Philosophy during the time of the enlightenment.
~Some misguided soul on a message board

Not so. These early Christian writings make it clear that since the inception of the Christian faith, abortion has always been considered a sin.

The Didache(1st/2nd century AD)
Thou shall not slay thy child by causing abortion, nor kill that which is begotten; for everything that is shaped, and has received a soul from God, if it be slain, shall be avenged, as being unjustly destroyed.
Link

Epistle of Barnabas (dated 70-138 AD) :
Thou shalt not slay the child by procuring abortion; nor, again, shalt thou destroy it after it is born.
Link


Tertullian(155-230), Treatise on the Soul, Chapter XXXVII.
The embryo therefore becomes a human being in the womb from the moment that its form is completed. The law of Moses, indeed, punishes with due penalties the man who shall cause abortion, inasmuch as there exists already the rudiment of a human being.
Link

Athenagoras the Athenian, 2nd Century:
What man of sound mind, therefore, will affirm, while such is our character, that we are murderers?.... For when they know that we cannot endure even to see a man put to death, though justly; who of them can accuse us of murder or cannibalism? Who does not reckon among the things of greatest interest the contests of gladiators and wild beasts, especially those which are given by you? But we, deeming that to see a man put to death is much the same as killing him, have abjured such spectacles. How, then, when we do not even look on, lest we should contract guilt and pollution, can we put people to death? And when we say that those women who use drugs to bring on abortion commit murder, and will have to give an account to God for the abortion, on what principle should we commit murder? For it does not belong to the same person to regard the very foetus in the womb as a created being, and therefore an object of God's care, and when it has passed into life, to kill it; and not to expose an infant, because those who expose them are chargeable with child-murder, and on the other hand, when it has been reared to destroy it. But we are in all things always alike and the same, submitting ourselves to reason, and not ruling over it.
Link

St. Augustine, On Marriage and Concupiscence Ch. 17:
This infliction of cruelty on their offspring so reluctantly begotten, unmasks the sin which they had practised in darkness, and drags it clearly into the light of day. The open cruelty reproves the concealed sin. Sometimes, indeed, this lustful cruelty, or; if you please, cruel lust, resorts to such extravagant methods as to use poisonous drugs to secure barrenness; or else, if unsuccessful in this, to destroy the conceived seed by some means previous to birth, preferring that its offspring should rather perish than receive vitality; or if it was advancing to life within the womb, should be slain before it was born. Well, if both parties alike are so flagitious, they are not husband and wife; and if such were their character from the beginning, they have not come together by wedlock but by debauchery. But if the two are not alike in such sin, I boldly declare either that the woman is, so to say, the husband's harlot; or the man the wife's adulterer.
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St. Jerome, Letter to Eustochium, (384 AD) Some, when they find themselves with child through their sin, use drugs to procure abortion, and when (as often happens) they die with their offspring, they enter the lower world laden with the guilt not only of adultery against Christ but also of suicide and child murder.
Online: Link

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