In James 1:26, the Apostle James used a comparison of the body and spirit to show the correlation between faith and works. “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” For our discussion today we will see how it is the spirit that makes the body alive. The life of the body depends on the presence of the spirit.
Life is an intangible essence that cannot be separated and analyzed unto itself. It is invisible. The spirit is infused with the body, evidently at the time of conception to give the body life as we shall see. After birth, the person lives out his normal life until death. Death is the point at which the spirit leaves the body causing it to cease to be alive. The body returns to dust from whence it was made and the spirit returns to God to give an account of itself while inhabiting the earthly physical body from whence it came.
David said in Psalm 139:13: “For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.” The Hebrews believed the reins to be the innermost part of the human where the emotions resided. They ascribed desire, affections, knowledge, joy, pleasure, and such other emotions to the reins.
The reins were metaphorically used for “heart” and were represented as being the constitution of man’s moral nature. Thus, expressions such as “God trieth the reins” and “having bowels of compassion” were commonly understood terminology to mean the same thing that we mean today when we attach emotional factors to the heart.
The Hebrews also believed that the reins were the beginning of the formation of the human zygote. That could be the reason the Psalmist David declared that God had possessed his reins and covered him in his mother’s womb. Connecting these statements together in the same sentence seems to make them related to a common act.
A child is formed in the womb from a combination of minute elements from the mother and father. But, as found in the verse from James, which was quoted above, we know that “the body without the spirit is dead.” We must conclude then, that when the proper elements of the mother and father come together nothing would happen in the way of a new life being created unless the life principle was infused into it at that time from God.
We know that the body is formed by multiplication of new cells that grow to form the various organs and parts of the body.But we seem to stall out on at what point in this process a zygote becomes a human being.
David said, “thou hast possessed my reins.” What does this mean in relation to life and birth? The word ‘possessed” denotes the indwelling of one by another spirit. Genesis 2:7 tells us that God breathed into the nostrils of man and he became a living soul. No life was present until the breath of God entered his being. This is what David seems to be implying.
Therefore, at the moment of conception, the life principle from God enters into the zygote (the initial cell which incorporates a unique individual life) and at that point it becomes a living soul.
It would seem that this happens at the beginning of the forming of the zygote, which act David seems to be referencing by stating that God has possessed his reins. His statement, “thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.” Refers to the weaving or forming of the body in the womb. This revelation from God’s eternal Word gives a very strong argument against the evils of abortion. God has counted human life precious and has put a shield around it by declaring, “Thou shalt do no murder” (Matt. 19:18).
The Apostle Paul told the Athenians at Mars’ hill that we are the offspring of God (Acts 17:28). Offspring means progeny, which implies that we issued or originated from God. The element of life that God puts in us in the womb is when and where the off springing (conception) takes place.