Relevant question overlooked in abortion argument
I’ve carried this question around in my mind for quite some time. Please bear with me.
I’ve wondered whether the familiar story in John’s gospel about the woman caught in adultery (John 8: 3-11) and brought before Jesus has any relevance to today’s abortion arguments. I’ve never read anything or talked with anyone who even suggested this, but I still believe it’s relevant.
Jesus was sitting in the temple teaching when the scribes and Pharisees brought before him a “woman caught in adultery” and confronted him on a point of the Hebrew law: “Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what do you say?”
Their motive is revealed a few verses later — “And they were saying this, testing him, in order that they might have grounds for accusing Him” — but the details provided about their accusation are intriguing.
The scribes and Pharisees are basing their accusation on tradition they had developed for themselves during the 1,400 years since God had given them the law, as stated in Deuteronomy 22:22 or perhaps Leviticus 20:10. However, they ignore its initial application to both parties in adultery: “If there is a man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, one who commits adultery with his friend’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. (Lev. 20:10). … If a man is found lying with a married woman, then both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman, and the woman; thus you shall purge the evil from Israel.” (Deut. 22:22).
With His response (“He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her”) Jesus chooses to overlook their gender hypocrisy to force them each to acknowledge within themselves their own personal guilt as members of the fallen human race.
Yet, because of the inclusion of one small detail I believe that a gender application is relevant as well. In their initial accusation of the woman, the scribes and Pharisees add that she was caught “in the very act.” If you believe Scripture literally, you have probably come to the conclusion that there is nothing placed there superfluously, so the male partner in the act of adultery was present and available for identification and apprehension along with the woman. Yet he is never mentioned.
And that’s where I believe there must be a relevancy to the ongoing debate about abortion. There must be two culpable parties before the question of abortion can come up, but the male party is never mentioned.
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