The best of Fred Hutchison
The babe in the womb is a person
Fred Hutchison, RenewAmerica analyst
September 19, 2013

Originally published October 18, 2007

Columnist Jonah Goldberg's heart is in the right place about the right to life, but he is a naive innocent when it comes to theology. (See his column of Oct. 17, 2007, "Why be pro-life?") He wrote that "Not even the most adamant pro-lifer claims...that consciousness exists at conception." Some theologians actually do make that claim.

According to the biblical theology of Watchman Nee, man consists of body, psyche, and spirit. The psyche is translated as the "soul" in most English Bibles. It includes the mind, emotions, and will, and is a hybrid entity of spirit and matter. The spirit itself is "incorporeal" – that is to say, it is non-physical.

The person subsists in the spirit. The person-spirit survives the death of the body. That is why eternal life is possible. Personhood is expressed as personality through the psyche. While it is true that the fertilized egg has no personality, it is false to say that there is no person associated with that egg.

The incorporeal spirit of a new person, created by God at conception, is bonded to the fertilized egg. While personality is a developmental construct, a person is a created being. We do not protect the life of the babe in the womb because of the incipient emergence of personality. We protect the babe because he or she is a person.

Consciousness subsists in the spirit. The unborn babe is conscious of the body, the mind, the personality, and the self, because it has been observing them from the spirit being. Even as a fertilized egg, that spirit observer was there.

The fertilized egg is conscious through its spirit. It is a different kind of consciousness than the normal waking conscious of an adult, but it is a valid form of consciousness. In like manner, a man in a coma has a form of consciousness. A dead man is conscious as he awaits resurrection day.

When we murder the babe in the womb, we tear its body away from its person-spirit. We prevent that person from having the human life in this world he or she was meant to have. There was an intricate design and plan for that life – which has violently been terminated by meddling fools. We send the person off to eternity without allowing him (or her) to fulfill his rightful destiny on earth.

Desist, you fools! Allow the conscious person in the womb who has been sent to us from heaven to join us. "[T]railing clouds of glory do we come from God, who is our home" (Wordsworth).

A message from Stephen Stone, President, RenewAmerica

I first became acquainted with Fred Hutchison in December 2003, when he contacted me about an article he was interested in writing for RenewAmerica about Alan Keyes. From that auspicious moment until God took him a little more than six years later, we published over 200 of Fred's incomparable essays — usually on some vital aspect of the modern "culture war," written with wit and disarming logic from Fred's brilliant perspective of history, philosophy, science, and scripture.

It was obvious to me from the beginning that Fred was in a class by himself among American conservative writers, and I was honored to feature his insights at RA.

I greatly miss Fred, who died of a brain tumor on August 10, 2010. What a gentle — yet profoundly powerful — voice of reason and godly truth! I'm delighted to see his remarkable essays on the history of conservatism brought together in a masterfully-edited volume by Julie Klusty. Restoring History is a wonderful tribute to a truly great man.

The book is available at

© Fred Hutchison


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They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. —Isaiah 40:31