Abortion as a topic is fraught with debate with the feminist brigade claiming this has nothing to do with anyone else other than woman's rights. Pro Life supporters see it as taking a life. It is drama filled.
This article looks at the theology of abortion from an Old Testament ‘in life situ practical view’.
There is a rich theological history of the Covenants and the books written on these are almost too many to be numbered. Suffice to say a Covenant is a statement of commission by God to His people – not an agreement between two parties nor an agreement by the people. A Covenant is a one party affirmation. It is holy. It is sacred. It is unchangeable.
One of the common demonstrators with all these Covenants is the promise to the future – the next generation, the generations following, the generation following ... there is this overpowering emphasis that the Covenant is not static to that current generation, it states specifically to emphasis on the following generations.
The next generation
In a previous article I addressed this idea of the next generation in relation to the same-sex marriage issue. Titled 'The focus – the next generation' with sub headings:
My prayer for my grand children and their children
After providing biblical and secular accounts of how society is focused on the next generation from our education system to the environment, IT .... my comment -
"Some things I observe provide a "shaking of the head". Those who shout for the environment for future generations; and at the same unrepentant about their demands and insatiable pronouncements regarding LGBTI support; me me me me me .... the incompatibility of these two is ..... "
At the end of the article are examples of family prayers for the following generations and the Judges chapter 2, verse 10 quote — our focus must be on the next generation's salvation so that "it cannot be said of us that a generation arose that knew not the things of the Lord."
The Onan story
Genesis chapter 38 verses 9-10: "But Onan knew that the heir would not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in to his brother's wife, that he emitted (spilled) on the ground, lest he should give an heir to his brother. 10 And the thing which he did displeased the Lord; therefore He killed him also."
As we have witnessed above, the Covenant's focus is on the following generations. Each new generation is central to the biblical story. In the Genesis 38 v 9-10 story above - Onan spilt his semen on the ground so as not to make his widowed sister in law pregnant. (The custom was if the husband died then the next brother had to father a child under the dead brother's name).
This act of spilling the semen displeased the Lord and Onan was killed. There is a range of historical teaching on this passage. The diving instruction to multiply. The care of the community that a widow should not be deprived of a child. Children are a blessing from God. Responsibility and judgement.
It seems to me there is also a theological issue with practical implications. Reading the text carefully, the semen creates the pregnancy and subsequently a child is born - as happens today. As soon as the semen connects with the egg and a foetus is created - it seems to me this is the divine process in creating the next generation (even ivf follows this divine model).
In other words, the Covenants with their common denominator to the next generation, then, a story is recorded where that process is interrupted by a deliberate act knowing the divine announcements. It cost Onan his life.
What might this say to our generation in Western democracies where terminating pregnancies is legal, common place and expected to ensure, in some cases. the young woman has a future without an unexpected baby or as a convenience. Yes, I acknowledge there is a tiny number of medical necessities to truncate such a pregnancy, but not the 59,471,000 million (according to this reference) across the world since Roe v Wade.
It seems to me there is a connection between the Covenants' and this story of Onan as highlighting the divine illustration how the next generation comes into being. Yet, throughout the scripture there is also much mercy and forgiveness and such is legion. There are so many broken hearts who have found a sacred comfort in finding God – is also full love and grace.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 25 books, and enjoys writing. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand. Dr Mark Tronson’s Press Service International in 2019 was awarded ‘The Gutenberg’ - the Australasian Religious Press Association’s premier award. In September 2020 Summer Moore presented her commission portrait of Dr Mark Tronson holding the Gutenberg plaque. He and David Chang editor of Christian Today together bought the young writer ministry into fruition in 2009. In 2011 Mark established Laguna Quays Respite (Whitsundays) for missionary respite and replicated at Aldinga Beach 2016 (Adelaide) and Greens Beach Bass Straight (TAS). His ministry is honoured all these years by Christian philanthropist Mr Basil Sellers AM. He is married to Delma (44 years), with four adult married children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/dr-mark-t.html