Will aborted infants be resurrected in the Kingdom of God? Some related scriptures give us an indication that God may indeed give opportunity to those who had their hope snuffed out in the womb; that otherwise would have lived a healthy and normal life.
Genesis 2:7 states that “…the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being (Heb. nephesh).” Some believe that unless an infant draws air into its lungs, thereby receiving the breath of life, it is not a living being (Heb. nephesh). Consequently, it is not eligible for the resurrection of the dead described in Revelation 20:12.
However, consider the following statements.
The creation of Adam was unique. He was formed as a fully developed adult male. He did not experience the process of birth on which the continuation of life now depends. Adam was lifeless and inanimate before the “breath of life”. After the breath of life he became a living being (Heb. nephesh).
If the breath of life is the only requirement for something to be considered a living being, then just as Adam was non-living before the breath of life, so an unborn child is non-living before its literal, first breath of air. To say that an infant in the womb is non-living, justifies the advocates of abortion, as one has not murdered a human being.
The Hebrew word nephesh, does not strictly mean an air breathing creature. In Genesis 1:20-21 all sea life, including fish, are called living creatures (nephesh). “And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving [nephesh] that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God created great whales, and every living [nephesh] that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly….”
This is significant in that a baby develops in the embryonic fluid of its mother, receiving life sustaining oxygen and nutrients from the blood. If the Bible refers to all non-air breathing sea life as “nephesh,” why should not an unborn child? Leviticus 17:11 states that “…the life of the flesh is in the blood…,” and Paul proclaims in Acts 17:26 that “… [God] has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on the face of the earth….” The implication is that the blood which carries oxygen throughout the body is synonymous with life and defines something as a “nephesh,” more directly than breathing in air.
The Bible does not specifically state that the “breath of life” is required for God to consider a life eligible for the resurrection of the dead. The Bible does, however, reveal at what point God considers an unborn infant, a life. A number of scriptures show that God upholds life from the womb. When Rebekah was pregnant with twins, she became concerned with the activity in her womb. “And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to inquire of the Lord. And the Lord said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels…” (Gen 25:22-23). The future of her children was set from the womb.
In the book of Judges we learn that God appointed Samson as a Nazarite from conception. God explained to Samson’s parents, “Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing: For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hands of the Philistines” (Judg.13:4-5).
Normally, the Nazaritic vow, allowed a man or women to serve God in a similar capacity as a Levite for a limited time period. Under this special vow, the candidate had to grow his hair long as a sign of submission, drink no alcohol, and eat nothing from the grape vine (see Num. 6:1-5). In the case of Samson, because God was placing him under this vow from conception, the mother also could not imbibe in the forbidden foods and drinks.
Paul, in the book of Hebrews, makes a profound statement while proclaiming the preeminence of Melchisedec, king of Salem and priest of the Most High God (Heb. 7:1). While Melchisedec received tithes from Abraham, Paul asserts that Levi, who was not yet born, also paid tithes to Melchisedec through Abraham his great grandfather. “And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, paid tithes in Abraham. For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him” (Heb. 7:9-10). Paul clearly understood that God views life beyond the simple breath of air.
God said to Jeremiah the prophet, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and ordained thee a prophet unto the nations” (Jer.1:5). This example shows that God recognizes a person before the first breath of air. In this case, God knew the person before formation in the womb because of the role he was to fulfill.
The first half of Psalm 22 is remarkable in that it gives detailed accounts of the crucifixion of Christ centuries before the event. The words of Jesus unto the Father are revealed in this prophecy, “I was cast upon Thee from the womb: Thou art My God from My mother’s belly” (Ps.22:10 NKJV).
Jesus died once for the sins of the world. He was God in the flesh, even in His mother’s womb, or else we must say that He died twice. But the scriptures say, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many…” (Heb. 9:27-28). Paul also writes, ” For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God” (Rom. 6:10). Jesus Christ must be recognized as living, without interruption, from heaven to His miraculous birth.
The belief that life begins at the first breath applies in the case of Adam, as well as in the resurrection of the dead. If an unborn child is not eligible for the resurrection until it breathes air and Satan through his human instruments, destroys it by abortion, then he has found a way to retain the power of death. But Christ destroyed Satan’s power over death, through His victory, and He alone holds the keys of life and death. Referring to Christ Paul states that Jesus Christ abolished death (2 Tim. 1:10).
The Bible does not reveal everything that we would like to know about this subject, but it does reveal that God upholds the sanctity of life even in the womb. As to whether the breath of life is required before God considers someone eligible for the resurrection, is best left to the judgment and determination of God. It is certain one cannot prove this belief based on a presumption that life does not begins until the first breath of air.