Pregnancy: too badly designed? Zygotes not implanted, miscarriages... where's God?


I don’t think God micro-manages the pregnancy process.

Psalm 139:13-14: For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.

Does God literally knit us? No, that’s a metaphor. Anyways, the verse doesn’t suggest that things like pregnancy are immune from any bad things ever happening. Miscarriages are well known to the Bible. The idea could well be that God is the reason why humans exist and develop in the first place, without God there would have been no creation, therefore nothing else. Thus, all good things are a product of God. The verse also suggests that we, while in the womb, remain valuable in God’s sight. I frankly doubt that, given all this, the verse is about God actually micromanaging the pregnancy process.


The whole Psalm is about how well God knows David, and by extension us. If you want to start taking this literally how do you explain verse 15?

Last I checked babies aren’t formed in the depths of the earth.

(Phil) #43

Good thoughts, Bill. That goes to my ambivalence about how to interpret Psalms, moreso than Genesis. I seem Psalms quoted as prescriptive on a daily basis as being straight from the mouth of God, yet the next Psalm is about dashing babies against the rocks etc. and is obviously not God’s words, but is the cry of man reaching out to God. Jesus quoted Psalms often which complicates matters, but then why should it as Jesus was also human, reaching out to the Father- but that is another post. In any case, how do we decide which words are directed from God, and which words are man’s words directed to God? Is seems the answer is “Whatever you feel it sounds like” but that is not very satisfying.


Just had to run out and see which OT books Jesus quoted the most. I found this list

Psalms 11 times
Deuteronomy 10 times
Isaiah 8 times
Exodus 7 times
and we all know Genesis 1 time

Interesting that He used Deuteronomy almost as much as He did Psalms. Of course how He used the OT would fill a book.


I have a somewhat different view of how God relates to us and whenever I hear people talking about God I try out how their questions would sound in reference to my understanding of who God is.
It goes like this. God is not a part of this universe. He moves through it at will and can intervene at will. He seems almost never to intervene in ways that can be used to prove his reality – that is, he uses the existing laws of physics to get things done. He also does not give his own, those who love him, a free ride in this world. If he did, this would soon be noticed, and people would become Christians for physical safety and comfort rather than because of love for him.
God lives in what I call the invisible realm. I don’t know where it is or how you get there; but God does. I believe that God created us originally in this invisible realm. That is why Adam could walk and talk with God. They were both spirit. But we decided we would “rather rule in hell than serve in heaven,” as Milton put it. We decided to follow another spirit, possibly Satan, and live without God. Perhaps we immediately realized that this was a mistake and in mid step called out in distress. Or perhaps not. For whatever reason, God decided to give us a way back to him. Since we wanted to live without him, he created this physical universe we now live in where, since everything is physical, God, being spirit cannot be seen. In order for us to live here, God invested us in physical bodies. How this was done, I don’t know, but the study of genetics and evolution may help us figure some of it out. It is because we are these spirits invested in physical bodies that we are said to be created in the image of God.
Now, while we live here in the physical universe, we live without God. We are on our own. We can communicate with him, and he with us, but only with the difficulty that comes from being in two entirely different realms. I believe that he does intervene to cause things to happen in the physical realm, although he always does it unseen. This is all the easier because of the apparent randomness built into this universe. He need only nudge a molecule or two and the butterfly effect does the rest. It is not and never was his purpose to set us up in a beautiful and safe environment. There are many beautiful things in this world that remind us of him, things that keep us from going crazy – sunsets, blue skies, kittens. But there are many terrifying things as well – tornados, volcanos, diseases. Neither the kitten nor the tornado has any concern for us. The kitten is just being a kitten; the tornado is just the swirling of winds of various temperatures.
All these things happen, at God’s will, through the processes he set up in the making of the universe. Evolution is a marvelously clever process for making an extraordinary array of living creatures. It is also quite efficient, deleting that is not needed. It takes a lot of time from our perspective, but who is God to count time? He lives outside of it. Evolution has produced our own bodies, and quite impressive these bodies are. But as is everywhere the case in this universe, they are not the way we want them to be. They are the result of a process, never entirely complete. We want everything to be pretty. God has given us many pretty, even beautiful things, but not everything is pretty. Much of this universe is terrifying and ugly. Especially when it comes to living organisms.
When as a child I first heard about childbirth, I thought it was the most horrible thing I had ever heard of, and it probably was; I lived a protected life as a child. If you look inside the human body, the sight is not appealing; things are wet and slippery, made in peculiar colors, in oddly shaped masses. Sex, in fact, is an odd and ugly business in which none of us would engage if we did not have the hormones that make us crazy enough to want it. This is just the way life on earth is. Life is not pretty. We often try to comfort ourselves by saying that childbirth is a beautiful thing. But it is also peculiar and more than a little terrifying and ugly. Is a placenta beautiful? Not really. Is the newly arrived infant beautiful, with his mashed face and distorted scull? Not really. The beauty in life comes scattered, here and there, just when we need it, just when we look for it. Beauty is a great comfort, but it is temporary in this life. You are looking for the wrong thing if you are looking for God in the physical processes of life. He has left his fingerprints there, but he is elsewhere. Many people extoll nature as the thing we should trust. This is a mistake. The lithe strength of a tiger is beautiful, but when its jaw is broken by one of its prey, the tiger will die a terrible death from starvation. Poison ivy is natural, so is ricin. If you expect everything in nature to be beautiful, if you think all of the arrangements that God made for us in this realm are soft and easy, you will be very much disappointed.
The real comfort, true beauty, is to be reunited with the God we left and have yearned for ever since.

(Chris) #46

Each person has about 100 mutations (genetic defects) more than their parents. Allowing a generation time of 25 years the genetic load has increased by 10,000 defects over the last 2,500 years. The more genetic defects we carry the greater the chance that a conception will have a lethal combination that is not viable. Obviously if we are born we got a not lethal combination of defects, although many people have diseases related to genetics.
It is quite reasonable to believe that Adam and Eve were created with perfect genomes and would have had 100% successful pregnancies. Following the fall the corruption of the world would include genetic defects and the accumulating genetic load and high failure rate of conceptions today would be the result.

Adam and Eve had Perfect Genomes (The Genetic Entropy Argument)
(Matthew Pevarnik) split this topic #47

6 posts were merged into an existing topic: Adam and Eve had Perfect Genomes (The Genetic Entropy Argument)

(Bill Wald) #48

This topic should be but is not a factor in the “abortion” issue. If God creates a new soul at conception then the majority of the “people” in Hell, Heaven, or wherever were never born. What kind of a god would create that situation? Does a person who was never born need a savior? How can a dead collection of undifferentiated cells be a “sinner?”

(Jay Johnson) #51

You raise some good questions, which is why I am not removing your post (for now), but if anyone wants to discuss this with Bill, please message him directly. Abortion is not a topic to be debated on this forum. My apologies.

(Steve Buckley) #55

Here are a few thoughts.
1- God is very involved. Psalm 139, and Jeremiah 1.
It appears that he chooses, out of millions of sperm, which gets access to the egg. Just because we cannot identify any specific patterns, does not mean he’s not.
2- Genesis 3.
Man kicked God to the curb, according to Genesis 3. We see that man would die, and indeed does die. According to Romans 1, there are those who simply do not want anything to do with God, and so God leaves them be.
3- Hosea 4:6.
This one leaves me reeling. God’s people perish for a lack of knowledge. And because the priests ignore the knowledge of God, God will forget their children.
I.e., people who ignore God will be ignored by God.
4- All of this leads to one very fundamental idea…
Ecclesiastes 9:1-2.
All things come to all alike. Those who pray, offer sacrifices, honor God, vow to God, the same thing that happens to them, happens to the wicked, and ungodly-- those who ignore God, those who refuse, and reject God.
What if the issue here is that God is intimately involved, but because we’re so incredibly finite, and limited, we are not able to recognize the infinitude, and unlimited nature/perspective of God. Isaiah 55.
As for my background. 41 years following Jesus. An AS in Math, and undergraduate studies in physics. I am also a stage 4 metastatic melanoma survivor, with 6 surgeries, 4 years of a clinical drug trial- chemo. 5 weeks of radiation, over 60 MRI’s of the brain, 60+ whole torso CT scans, 13-14 whole body PET scans.

Simply put, we live in a fallen world. Humans opened the door to giving God the boot, resulting in his giving us exactly what we want. Sadly, the consequences are far more convoluted, and complicatedly painful than is easily explained.
We have however brought this all on ourselves, because of our sin.
Now… for a couple of classic meme’s…
The issue is not “why hasn’t God stopped evil, pain, etc… Rather, why would God let us live, when we violate his laws with impunity, and he plainly stated— in the day you eat thereof, dying, you shall die.” Genesis 2.

I don’t think this is an easy issue by any stretch of the idea.
I do however think it’s quite simple.
God gave us life. We blew God off, so he gave us what we wanted. Now we’re griping because life is so filled with heartache, grief, pain, misery, etc…, and we’re looking for someone— anyone except for ourselves— to blame, and God is the easiest one.
Thankfully, God does not leave us to our own devices. He gave his own son, allowed him to be miserably treated, manhandled, viciously and brutally murdered.

THere was a man in John 9 who was born blind. Indeed a miserable thing. The disciples asked who’d sinned that he was born blind— parents, or the child…?
Jesus said neither- but so that God may be glorified.
Huh? That’s a new one. How can God be glorified? Apparently by Jesus healing him, and giving him his sight back!
Here’s another. Some people came to Jesus and complained about a really gruesome, and heinous act against the Jewish religious practices of animal sacrifices.
Jesus responded— are you bothered that Pilate had some men killed, and then mingled their blood with sacrifices?
He then responds— No… I tell you that unless you repent, you too will perish.
Then he mentions a recent earthquake, where a tower fell on some people and they were killed. Again, he said— I tell you that unless you repent, you too will perish!

Now… think about these two events. They’re incredibly random, and seemingly vicious-- in the case of the first event.
What surprises me is Jesus’ response— unless you repent, you too will perish.
It strikes me that he’s acknowledging the randomness of life, and saying that there are simply some things we have no control over, but those things we do have control over, we must deal with! There’s no escaping death, but we can escape judgment for our sin.
So… as stated… some thoughts. I’m older now, and have experienced a lot in life. Some quite heinous, some quite nice. God however has been faithful to me through it all.

(Richard Mohr) #60

Not to mention ectopic pregnancies where the fertilization happens outside the uterus.

(Any of you remember the Simpsons episode when the family needed money and Homer suggested that Marge be a surrogate mother? She refused to consider it. He replied that they were a team: it’s uter-us, not uter-you.)

How about the laryngeal nerve and the claims that only evolution can explain the circuitous route it takes in species, including the giraffe?

This is one of those things where I accept the conclusion that Job made about how there were things that he wasn’t capable of understanding.

The Laryngeal Nerve and Giraffe Evolution

Really? How do you know God is choosing a particular sperm cell? And why release so many at once? Does the same hold true for eggs?

(Matthew Pevarnik) #62

If I’ve learned anything it’s that God likes fireworks (how can you explain the universal human fondness of fireworks) so he put some at the moment of fertilization:

And how do you @beaglelady explain how the other sperm can’t get in and this one just comes right in out of nowhere:

Pevaquark note: I mean the second part in jest as it is known why earlier sperm do not penetrate the outer membrane and the slow/more directionally challenged have an easier time slipping in after the hard work’s been done!

(Randy) #63

@Steve_Buckley @beaglelady–I like your Anasara sign, Mr Buckley! (Nazarene; I grew up in Islamic West Africa and we Christians are called that there, too).

But if God chooses the sperm, and at least 50% of zygotes (fertilized eggs) don’t implant, where then does the choosing occur? Good discussion.


(Steve Buckley) #64

Hi @beaglelady .
Had you not clipped what I’d posted, and then actually read the references, you’d already know the answer to your question.
Simply put, the bible explicitly teaches that God is aware of everything that occurs, all the way down to the origin of our thoughts. Psalm 139.
It also says that God is Sovereign. This means he oversees all activities, and they all go according to his plans. Isaiah 40-49.
Then, in the new testament it teaches that God has foreordained those who follow him to conformed to the image/likeness of Jesus. Ephesians 1, and Romans 8.
Thus, it seems quite clear to me that God chooses. As for why there are so many sperm if that’s the case… I’ll refer back to my statement in my initial post.
We live in a fallen world, where there are natural consequences for sin/evil/bad/wrong/selfishness.
Perhaps not a pleasant set of ideas, but based on historical fact.

(Steve Buckley) #65

Sala’am @Randy.
(I selected the Nasrani as a means of solidarity with those Jesus followers who suffer for his name sake in the Islamic countries)
The choosing occurs in a realm far above and beyond ours. Please read Isaiah 55.
I don’t claim to understand it.
We’ve been given a limited amount of information, and it’s slowly been percolating in my mind over the decades.
Also, please read Psalm 90.


I doubt God planned for 11-year-old Jaycee Dugard to be kidnapped, raped, and impregnated twice by her perverted adult kidnapper. Sorry, but I just don’t. She didn’t escape until she was 29! And don’t play the “mysterious ways of God” card on me because it’s not going to work. Her story is told in an autobiography called, appropriately, “A Stolen Life.”


God gave this wiggler the password.

SmartSperm™ All rights reserved.

(Matthew Pevarnik) #68

Psalm 139 also says pretty plainly that the author was made in secret and sewn together in the depths of the earth.

(Randy) #69

Mr Buckley, Alaikum salamu! Our words were related to Arabic, but actually Hausa–so the endings were often different.

We also get Voice of the Martyrs and did a Bible study in Sunday School recently with that theme. I’ll get back to you after some work. God bless.

The interesting thing is that Muslims are very fatalistic and believe God also ordains everything–“ba mai yi sai Allah” is a common phrase people write on the back of bush taxis (“no one does anything except God,” literally, though it may mean more “without God.” So, we have a lot in common when we use the OT to talk with them.