Systematics are unfortunately frequently inconclusive. I remember ages ago when I studied Grudem I was always turned off by his both sides of the fence attitude.

On defending personhood of the unborn, I always like Luke 1 starting around v40 where the fetal John Baptist recognizes the fetal Christ though separated by two wombs. I think it is great for pointing out that the fetus is not just biologically but spiritually alive.

Expand full comment

Some time ago I reached the conclusion that if I and another cannot agree on a simple answer to the basic question "What is a person?" I would not expect to agree on anything else.

The problem with this, I've found, is that hardly anyone knows how to answer the question. Few have spent time thinking about what 'personhood' actually means - even though it is a bedrock notion for any other political or religious discussion.

I think dehumanization is among the chief threats against the individual in any society, and perhaps against civiliation as a whole... but it is nearly impossible to raise an alarm on this threat - and I think it is due to the extent to which dehumanization has already taken place.

Expand full comment