When does human life begin? Is the unborn a human being?
God sees children as children, whether unborn, newborn, toddler or youth.
The Hebrew word “child” (yeled), refers to an infant in Ex 2:9, a toddler in Gn 21:8, and a youth or young man in Gn 4:23. But in Ex 21:22 it is used to refer to unborn children. Likewise, the Hebrew word, habanim, means “children.”It is used to refer to children born and unborn. In Gn 25: 22, concerning Rebekah’s unborn twins, we read, “The children struggled together within her.” Elsewhere, the word is used for children in general. For example, Ps 113:9, says, “He gives the barren woman a home making her the joyous mother of children.”
David saw himself as a person in the womb and referred to himself in personal pronouns.
“You formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb” (Ps 139:13).
The Greek word “baby” (brephos) is used to refer to unborn and newborn babies alike.
“When Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb” (Lk 1:41).
“They…found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger” (Lk 2:16).
The unborn child, John the Baptist, worshipped the unborn, yet fully human, Son of God. It was a womb to womb worship service.
“When Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb… and she exclaimed, ‘…blessed is the fruit of your womb! …For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy’” (Lk 1:40-44).
The person, Jesus, was developmentally a zygote (just a few days or perhaps a week old) when John worshipped him from the womb. How do we know this? The virgin, Mary, lived in Nazareth when the angel appeared and told her that she will become pregnant by the Holy Spirit (Lk 1:26). Verse 39 says Mary received the news and traveled “with haste” to visit Elizabeth. Elizabeth lived in “the hill country of Judah” near Jerusalem, where her husband served at the temple (Lk 1:5-9). Mary traveled approximately 115-150 KLM (70-95 miles). When she arrived, Mary was pregnant. Depending on her travel speed, and actual distance, Jesus was a day, a few days, perhaps a week old, when Elizabeth greeted Mary. John, as an unborn child, leaped for joy and announced the coming of the Lord to his mother. This Lord, fully God and fully human, was fully present, though probably smaller than the period at the end of this sentence.
The Bible points to conception as the beginning of a person’s life. For example, Gn 4:1 says, “Now Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bore Cain.” Cain’s life started at conception. Likewise, Mary is told that she will conceive “a son” and then give birth to “a son” (Lk 1:31). She is told that Elizabeth has also “conceived a son” (Lk 1:36). This formulaic description of the beginning of human life is common (Gn 4:17, 21:2, Job 3:3, Ho 1:6).