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Is God pro-choice or pro-life?

baby hand, parent
(Photo: Unsplash/Liv Bruce)

If someone asks, “Is God pro-choice or pro-life?” they are usually asking in reference to the issue of abortion. But if we step outside of social and political discussions, the question goes a lot deeper. My answer in that case would be, “Both.” Let me explain.

First of all, God is pro-life. He is the one who created life. In fact, He is life itself. John 1:4 says about the Word (Christ), “In him was life.” And in John 14: 6, Jesus says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.”

God is also pro-choice. He is both sovereign and pro-choice. To some this sounds contradictory. They believe that since God is totally sovereign, He has dictated everything that ever is, including what we think are our choices. But I think that idea is actually a limited view of God’s sovereignty.

If God is totally sovereign, He can choose what He does or does not dictate. He can, for His own reasons, choose to create choice. In the Bible, God repeatedly calls on us to make choices. For instance, “I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life” (Deut. 30:19) and “[C]hoose this day whom you will serve” (Josh. 24:15). The concept of choice was behind the first prohibitive command God ever gave: “And the LORD commanded the man, saying, ‘You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die’” (Gen. 2:16-17).

Along with the ability and right to choose, God also gave us the right to experience the consequences. The above passages in Deuteronomy and Joshua both name consequences. In Deuteronomy, He was in effect saying, “Choose your consequences.” In Genesis He said the consequence of disobedience is death.

When God gave us choice, he gave us consequences. That only makes sense. If a choice does not have a consequence, is it a real choice? Consequences are evidence that God did create choice, real choice.

Okay, now. I did say. “For His own reasons.” So then, why would God create choice? Why would a sovereign God let us choose to not love Him, even to disobey Him? Why would the God of life allow us to choose death? Choice must mean very much to God for Him to create it. Look at the consequences of real choice: Life allowing death. Love allowing hate. Harmony, peace and unity allowing dissonance, strife and division. Intimacy allowing estrangement.

I believe that what God values about choice is His creatures (us and the angels) freely choosing to love Him, obey Him, and serve Him. To Him, it is worth all the hurt that comes when we reject Him. He values choice so much that before creating the universe He planned to restore our choice, let us change our choice.

This is not strictly a New Testament concept. The Old Testament is full of calls to repentance with promises of forgiveness and restoration. In Ezekiel 18:23 God says, “Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord GOD, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?” Repentance and life are what God wants. Echoing this, Peter wrote that God is “not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

The preplanned means of restoring our choice and our relationship with God is the Incarnation, sinless life, death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God (1 Peter 1:20). He is the one

“who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). All the Old Testament sacrifices were validated by His sacrifice on the Altar of Wood, the Cross.

Romans 8:29 says, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestinated to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” In other words, God knew who would choose Him. He chose to renew His image in them as the image of Christ, who is the perfect human image of God.

This means God also knows who would not choose to repent, to accept His means of redemption. So why doesn’t he not let them reach the age of accountability so they won’t sin and be lost? To do so would violate choice, which God chose to create.

My shorter conclusion is that God is pro-choice, and He wants us to choose life.

All Scriptures from the English Standard Version

Wesley G. Vaughn lives near Dover, Ohio with his wife. They have seven great-grandchildren. After working for many years in manufacturing, he now writes and edits for online clients. The article, "Is God Pro-Choice or Pro-Life?" was originally written for a local Christian paper.

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