CBS’s popular crime drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigators ranks consistently in the top three shows. Its intriguing plot lines, wit and characters appeal to just about everyone, especially those in the pivotal 18-49 age bracket. There is even a recognized “CSI effect,” where members of the general public have become sophisticated enough to apply what they have learned on the television program to their jury duty or another real-life situation.
That’s what had me worried when I saw a recent CSI episode dealing with abortion.
One of the show’s pivotal characters is Dr. Gil Grissom, a beloved mentor who is viewed with awe by just about all his co-workers. Paige Newman, movies editor for MSNBC, describes Dr. Grissom as a “quintessentially cool, detached scientist” who is also “compassionate and human.” He is our new Mr. Spock. So, when Dr. Grissom gave a Biblical passage in support of abortion, I was taken aback. I know the Bible, but I had never heard Dr. Grissom’s argument before.
In the episode titled, “Secrets and Files,” Christina, a young, single mother of an infant, is murdered. Investigation reveals that she was still a virgin, but that she had in fact given birth to the baby. (Any similarities to Scripture are intentional! Bring on the Biblical scholars!) How did Christina get pregnant?
Grissom and CSI Willows find out that Christina had been implanted with an “extra” fertilized embryo through a pro-life agency called Project Sunflower. Not surprisingly, the program negatively portrays the agency’s director. When Investigator Willows argues with her over the beginning of life, Dr. Grissom presents his argument. He quotes Leviticus 17:11: “Life is in the blood.” When blood enters the embryo on the 18th day after conception and the heart begins to beat, it becomes alive, he explains.
According to his argument, there is an 18-day “grace period” when abortion should not be condemned.
However, Scripture has to be taken in context. The full passage in Leviticus 17 reads, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul” (NKJ). This reading makes it obvious that the Biblical reference is about sacrifice and atonement, not about when life begins.
Leviticus 16 and 17 have been called The Laws of National Atonement. In these chapters, God tells His people how to atone for their sin. He emphasizes the necessity for sacrifice.
Nothing in the chapter has anything to do with when life begins, and it is erroneous for anyone to use the Leviticus passage as support for abortion. While it is true that blood enters the embryo on the 18th day, one cannot argue that Leviticus 17:11 supports a pro-abortion position.
So, once again, Biblical truth does not contradict science.
Kelli Wait, a graduate of Texas Wesleyan University, is an intern with CWA’s Ronald Reagan Memorial Internship program.
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