Many pro-choice “Christians” will cleverly use Numbers 5:11-31 as “proof” that God prescribes abortion when a husband suspects his wife is unfaithful. But the devil is also clever, and his head was crushed. Their argument does not work for two reasons.
First, they ignore the disagreements among Bible translators on how to translate verse 21. They only read the NIV that says, “when He makes your womb miscarry and your abdomen swell.” However, many scholars translate this differently, such as “when the LORD makes your thigh fall away and your body swell” (ESV), which the KJV and NKJV also translate similarly. This translation is much closer to the original Hebrew.
Most Bible translations do not translate this verse as the curse of miscarriage but rather as the curse of barrenness. Therefore, according to the majority consensus of biblical scholars, this verse has to do with barrenness and not miscarriage and, furthermore, has nothing to do with abortion. (There’s also the fact that miscarriage is not the same as abortion, but pro-choice dogma has never been the result of intellectual critical thinking.)
The text states that if the mother is innocent, she’ll be able to bear children. But if she’s not innocent, her womb will continue to be barren. The bitter water she drinks is not akin to a modern abortion pill that causes a miscarriage, as the pro-choice Docetists say. Rather, the bitter water simply confirms the barrenness, i.e., the lack of a foetus, not the killing of one.
Second, even if the NIV translation were correct, this woman is not exercising her right to choose but rather it is God exercising His divine right to judge. Not once does this text describe the woman as making an empowering decision for herself. Thus, if the NIV translation were correct, this text would be about the husband forcing the abortion rather than the woman’s autonomous right to choose, which doesn’t support pro-choice rhetoric.
As Job confesses, the Lord gives, and the Lord takes away (Job 1:21). Even if the NIV translation were correct, it would be God taking that life, not the woman. God is God; you are not. God is the author and creator of all life. As such, He has the divine prerogative to take life and to give it. Therefore, just because God has the right to take life doesn’t mean we do. To put that power in our own hands is to play God, which is exactly what pro-choicers are doing when they violate the woman’s womb with their hands, forceps, and pliers to literally tear the infant apart limb from limb. Lord, have mercy.
Theology Terms Used
- Docetism: a 1st century Christological heresy that taught that Jesus was not truly human but only appeared to have a human body (a phantom appearance). (For example, if they take their dogma seriously, pro-choice individuals must admit that at some point Jesus was not fully human in the womb. Pro-choice, therefore, is simply this Christological heresy rearing its ugly head again.)