In the beginning, God said, “…Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…” (Genesis 1:26). What a privilege God has given us — out of all His vast creation. King David was both humbled and thankful for the understanding of such a privilege too. “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well” (Psalms 139:14).
David looked at the intricate creation of man, and it filled him with reverent and devout feelings for God. And he gives a view as to what it is that God sees in each one who has been made in His image. “My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them” (Psalm 139:15-16). God sees our substance, our life, as beginning within the womb—even though it’s still unformed.
God sees life as beginning at conception. Much of mankind today does not. The recent legalization of full-term abortion that was applauded by many in New York stands as a testament to those who have no understanding of the God who gave us life or of His intention for all who will come to Him. What is understood of our physical conception, life within the womb and subsequently birth, is totally misconstrued as a result of not understanding how it perfectly mirrors the development of spiritual life.
Spiritual life begins at conception, too. “Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). Receiving the Holy Spirit at baptism represents the brand-new beginning of our spiritual life. It is analogous to the sperm that unites with an egg in the ovum—a brand new life has begun. Just as God recognizes new spiritual life—even though we are tiny and fragile on a spiritual level in the womb of the Church—so He also sees our life in the physical womb at that same tiny and fragile state.
Birth, however, on either the physical or spiritual level doesn’t happen at conception. We grow as we are nurtured and fed within the womb. The Apostle Paul described the way in which that happens on the spiritual level. “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11–13). God feeds us His word through His servants so that we can become more and more like Christ during our spiritual gestational time. It is a time of anticipation for those outside the womb in both the physical or spiritual sense. “For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God” (Romans 8:19). Physical parents eagerly wait for the revealing of the life that has been developing within – the birth – just as God and all of creation await the spiritual birth of His children.
The spiritual birth is the resurrection for those begotten ones who have died and the change to immortality for those who are alive at the time of the resurrection. Regarding the resurrection, Paul said,“It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. …in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:44, 52-53). The life that God knew at the moment of spiritual conception, He is faithful to work with through gestation (our physical lives) until we are born of spirit at the resurrection— made immortal.
Understanding how spiritual life begins, develops and culminates in birth is a perfect mirror of physical life. At physical conception, our life is not hidden from God. His anticipation and