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"Life Is Too Precious to Throw Away"
by Dr. H. G. Steward, Australian physician
by Dr. H. G. Steward, Australian physician
An Added Feature: Child of Sorrow...Child of Peace!Your first nine months of life were the most eventful you have ever experienced. Here are the major milestones of that life before birth - the first chapter in your own biography.
Conception. The father's sperm penetrates the mother's egg cell. Genetic instructions from parents, who supply 46 chromosomes, interact with each other, and supply innumerable genes . to begin a new and unique individual - no bigger that a grain of salt.
1st day: The first cell divides into two, the two into four, and so on.
5-9 DAYS. The new individual burrows into the wall of the womb. The sex of the new life can be determined.
14 DAYS. The mother's menstrual period is suppressed by a hormone produced by her child. 18 DAYS The heart is forming, and the eyes are developing.
20 DAYS.The foundations of brain, spinal cord and nervous system are laid.
24 DAYS The heart begins to beat.
28 DAYS Muscles are developing along the future spine. Arms and legs are budding.
30 DAYS.The child has grown 10,000 times to 6-7 mm long. The brain has human proportions.
The blood flows in veins (but stays separate from the mother's blood).
35 DAYS The pituitary ( or master ) gland in the brain is forming. Mouth, ears and nose are taking shape.
40 DAYS. The heart's energy output is 20% of the adult's.
42 DAYS The skeleton is formed. The brain coordinates movements of muscles and organs. Reflex responses have begun. The penis is forming in boys. The mother misses her second period.
43 DAYS. The brain waves can be recorded.( that is electrically.)
45 DAYS Spontaneous movements have begun. Buds of milk teeth have appeared.
7 WEEKS. The baby's lips are sensitive to touch. The ears may resemble the family pattern.
8 WEEKS. The child is a well-proportioned, small-scale baby, 3 cm ( 1 1/8 inch ) sitting up, and a gram ( 1/30 ounce ) in weight.. Every organ is present. The heart beats sturdily. The stomach produces digestive juices. The liver makes blood cells. Kidneys begin to function. Taste buds are forming.
9 WEEKS. The child will bend fingers around an object placed in the palm. Thumb - sucking occurs. Fingernails are forming. The baby's finger-prints are formed and will never change except for size.
10 WEEKS. The body is sensitive to touch. The child squints, swallows and frowns.
11 WEEKS. The baby urinates, makes complex facial expressions - even smiles.
12 WEEKS. The baby's vigourous activity shows distinct individuality. The child can kick, turn feet, curl and fan toes, make a fist, move thumbs, bend wrists, turn head, open mouth, and press lips tightly together. Breathing is practised. 13 WEEKS. Baby's face is prettier, facial expressions resembling the parents'.
Movements are graceful Vocal cords are formed ( but without air the baby cannot cry ). The sex organs are apparent.
4 MONTHS.The child can grasp with hands, swim and turn somersaults.
4-5 MONTHS.The mother excitably senses movements.
5 MONTHS.Sleeping habits appear. The child responds to sounds in frequencies too high or low for adults to hear. Argumentative, high-pitched shouting distresses the babe, while beautiful music and singing, even crooning, comfort the developing babe.
6 MONTHS. Fine hair grows on the babe's eyebrows and head. The eyelash fringe appears. The babe's weight is about 640g. ( 1 lb,6 oz ) and height 23 cm. ( 9inches ) . Babies born at this, and a little less, age survive well.
7 MONTHS. Eye teeth are present. Eyelids open and close. Hands grip strongly. The babe recognises the mother's voice. Later, the child responds to the music heard during the pregnancy. Gentle, joyful music and speech mould the babe.
8 MONTHS.The weight increases by 1 Kg. ( 2.2 lbs ) and baby's quarters get cramped.
9 MONTHS. The head of the child pressing on the cervix ( neck of the womb ) triggers labour and birth occurs, usually 255-275 days after conception.
Of 45 generations of cell divisions before adulthood, 41 have already taken place. Jeremiah wrote, 'Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you came forth out of the womb, I sanctified you, and I ordained you a prophet of the nations.' (1:4,5 ) . God's Spirit sums up the miracle of conception in the expression,' I formed you'. He further describes the three stages of labour in the term. 'You came forth from the womb". God has done this for simplicity, but it does not reduce the sheer wonder of all the stages from conception to child-birth, which He programmed.
In Genesis 1:26, the Lord said, 'Let us make man in our own image', revealing that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit took their part in this marvellous creation. Our scientific understanding of embryology should not rob God of worship due to Him.. .
The Lord God formed man, and breathed on him the breath of life, and he became a living soul. Gen 2:7 . We thus learn of the three-fold nature of each created man, namely spirit, soul and body. Man, therefore, must never mutilate the body that the eternal God has brought to life. In the ministry of our Lord Jesus, He breathed on His disciples, ' saying 'Receive the Holy Spirit'. So, God breathed into man natural and spiritual life.
David continues this discussion in Psalm 100:3, 'Know that the Lord He is God. He has made us. Not we ourselves. We are His people, and the sheep of His pasture'. Isaiah 51:13 rebukes the one, 'who forgets the Lord your Maker , Who stretched out the heavens'. Our human creation was linked with that of the stars and galaxies. We dare not interfere with their majestic course.
Paul adds, ' It pleased God , Who separated me from my mother's womb, to reveal His Son in me.' Galatians 1:15 The Lord orchestrated the entire birth plan to bring Paul to natural life, so that he could then discover His personal God and be born again. This suggests that the delivery of a babe, leading on to personal salvation, pleased God. . Our Lord never changes. ???? HORMONE RELEASES.
Moses faced possible death at his birth, if the Hebrew midwives had obeyed the Egyptian king. " ' If it be a boy, kill him', the heartless Pharaoh had ruled. ( Exodus 1:15 ). However, the midwives feared their God, and firmly resolved to spare each life. God planned to make Moses the Deliverer of the nation of Israel Hence, the babe was safeguarded from birth. His mother kept him in the home, nursing and nurturing him until he was placed in the ark, daubed with slime and pitch, and floating in the River Nile.
Our Lord Jesus was at risk during His development in the womb of Mary. If Joseph had put her away publicly ( for a supernatural pregnancy ) she would have been stoned, and the developing child would have suffered. Joseph wisely decided against this.
3000 years ago, David gave a staggering account of the development of the babe in the womb. In verse 14, ' You have formed my inward parts. You have covered me in my mother's womb. The early milestones show these complex processes. The babe is covered with 2 membranes full of protective fluid, and as much a safeguard as the air bags in the modern car. When a mother falls, the fluid in the covering membranes shields mother and her babe from the jarring. Perfectly engineered.
David bursts into song in verse 14, ' I praise you. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your work is marvellous. My soul ( that is, my mind, emotions and will ) knows full well. He continues, 'My substance was not hid from You. I was made in secret and was curiously wrought in the lowest part of the earth'. Every word tells of God's amazing creative power, for example, 'wonderfully made', 'marvellous work', God's personal control of our substance' and 'curiously fashioned'. There can be no humanistic explanation of this marvel in every developing babe of every nation or generation as being unplanned and accidental. (v15)
Now surprisingly David writes, ' Your eyes saw my substance yet unformed'. Consider the development of the eye, how the sensitive retina forms and ultimately connects with the ophthalmic nerve centre at the back of the brain, crossing over from one side to another in the process. Think of its artery which forms and links with the main arterial supply, conveying oxygen and nourishment for every structure of the eye. . The timing is precise, for God's computerised programme is complex and effective.
David reveals a secret as he writes, ' In your book they were all formed, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them'. (v16) The word 'book' in the original language means 'writing , inscription or code'. Is this a reference to the DNA molecule which conveys all the genetic information through the chromosomes and genes. Man discovered this in the 1960's, but our great Creator had established HIS genetic code from the creation of Adam and Eve.
When our son studied Agriculture, the research work was released, and his excitement was unbounded. " So complex, Dad, so intricate, it could never have 'just happened'; it came from the intelligent, all-wise Father.'
The Living Bible has a masterly description of the developing life. 'You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body, and knit them together in my mother's womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex. It is amazing to think about. Your workmanship is marvellous - and how well I know it. You were there while I was being formed in utter seclusion! You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breath. Every day was recorded in your Book. ' ( Psalm 139:13-16 ).
Medicine has an artificial description of life as an embryo until eight weeks' development, while it is called a foetus from that point onwards. However, it is the same God-given life.
LIFE IN THE WOMB IS TOO PRECIOUS TO THROW AWAY.
No one can estimate the potential of each life. God has richly endowed each of His creatures with specific gifts, such as artisan, athlete, inventor, philosopher, mother, known only to Him.
Every graduating doctor takes the Hippocratic Oath, which was ratified in the Declaration of Geneva 1948, 1968, 1983 and which reads:
I will maintain the utmost respect for human life from its beginning even under threat, and I will not use my medical knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity.
The International code of Medical Ethics ruled: A doctor must always bear in mind the importance of preserving life from the time of conception until death.
The complex hormonal pattern of the mother- to - be is designed to carry her through the nine months of pregnancy and the delivery of a live baby. If this controlled programme is interrupted by accident or design, deep feelings of guilt and depression follow. I pleaded with my patients who became pregnant out of wedlock not to seek a termination of pregnancy, as abortion is often termed. I warned of the despondency that followed such procedure. Many came back after ignoring my urgent counsel, seeking medical and spiritual help for depression. Thank God He is able to forgive such an irrevocable act, and cleanse from the guilt and shame that followed. Our Lord Jesus also cleanses the memories that have plagued many women . Oh, the power of His precious blood.
Victor Chang had immigrated as a boy to Australia from mainland China. He studied medicine and became established as a world-acclaimed heart surgeon. Victor had performed more than 200 heart transplants in his Sydney hospital. He trained Australian heart surgeons, and teamed with Asian Professors in Sydney or in their hospitals in South East Asia. He encouraged some of the great Chinese heart surgeons. He was as deeply loved in the land of his birth, as in his adopted Australia.
' Please pray for my patient, and for me', he often asked. He loved his Lord and depended on Him. 'Gracious, humble gentleman, 'was how many described him.
In his search for an artificial heart, he gathered the finest medical engineers to perfect such an organ, which worked well in a sheep for a trial of 12 months. In his love of the poor, he sought an artificial heart within the financial reach of most, and a fraction of the cost of those available.
The Australian nation grieved when its greatest heart transplant surgeon died on 4th July, 1991. .He was brutally struck down while driving to his hospital to operate. An attempt to hold his family ransom failed, prompting the callous assassination. Australia was shocked. The world of medicine gasped.
Our grieving, Australian nation watched the memorial service, carried by each television channel, with the gentle strains of 'Amazing Grace' accompanying the eulogies, especially from his beloved daughter, who had watched her father operate. Former patients formed a guard of honour, sobbing a common theme, 'He gave me a new heart, and a new life. ' Victor Chang was deeply loved.
His death was so unnecessary. He was cut down in his prime. Only once in a generation does such a distinguished, innovative, compassionate surgeon arise. I plead that no life in the womb be destroyed. Who can tell what great things God has in store for the developing child? Who can fathom God's purpose in bringing that life to know the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour, and to enter into eternal life? And to enjoy such blessed oneness with their dear Saviour through eternity.
LIFE IS TOO PRECIOUS TO THROW AWAY.
This truth forcefully counters the discussion for euthanasia ( or mercy killing ) and for restraint from suicide, which is sadly prominent among our Australian young people.
Adapted from " Milestones of early life" by permission of Heritage House, 76 Inc.
Permission graciously granted - Good News Broadcasters. Wheaton. Illinois. 60187
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