Core & Value of the Sanctity of Life
THE CORE AND VALUE OF THE SANCTITY OF LIFE
The core foundation on which the pro-life movement rests is the conviction that human life is sacred. By this we hold that human life exists on a much higher plane than animal life thus it is uniquely special, sacred, and precious. Since human life is considered “sacred”, we must draw the conclusion that the foundation of this truth rests not in scientific evidence but in the teaching of religion. To be more precise, it rests in the teachings found in the beginning chapters of the first book of the Bible.
In Genesis 1, God declares that He is the Creator all things both living and non-living. This He accomplished in 6 literal 24 hour days culminating with the highest of His creations, the creation of man and woman (Gen. 1:26-28). Humanity was the pinnacle of His creative work because God gave to humanity the privilege of existing in His own image. This image of God gave human life sacredness and made it more precious than any other form of life which God created. Since human life is sacred, God called upon mankind to treat human life with the same respect and dignity that would be in accord with His image.
God shares this truth in three well known passages of Scripture. The first passage is Genesis 1:26-29 where God says, “Let Us make man in Our image. By giving man His image, man was capable of fulfilling God’s calling to become ruler over all the earth and all the life therein.
The second passage is Genesis 2. God considers the creation of man so significant that He adds chapter two to give us further detail about the creation of humanity. In this chapter He has Adam review all the animals to show to Adam that he existed on a much higher plane than any of the other creations of God. Adam’s conclusion was that there was not a “helper comparable to him” (v.18-20).
The third passage is Genesis 9:3-7. As Noah departed from the Ark, God gave him some instructions to govern him, his children and all his descendants (aka you and me). Animals would now be a source of food through their death and consumption. By putting animals on the diet of man, God indicates that the value of animal life is much lower than that of humanity. However, if innocent blood was shed, God would consider this a serious matter and would require a harsh punishment. What made man’s life more precious and sacred than animal life? God explains that human life is sacred because it is created in God’s image. To shed innocent human blood as God views it not only is an attack on man but also an attack on the One in whose image he was created. It therefore must be concluded that if we are going to hold to the sanctity of human life, we must also hold to the truth that man has a Creator in whose image he was created.
At this point someone might raise the question, just when does man receive God’s image? To put it other terms, when does an individual become fully human? Science and society have been grappling with this question for some time with no definitive answer and yet the answer is as close as the nearest Bible. However, before we answer this question we should first answer the question, what defines humanity? God gives three elements that must be present for a being to exist as human. The first is given In Gen. 1:27, God created man in His own image. Since God is a Spirit (Jn. 4:24) His image in man would be Spirit as well. This “spiritual” dimension of humanity God created and placed it in union with the two remaining elements.
Gen. 2:7 gives us the second element: a physical body fashioned out of the dust of the ground. Because this body is from the dust of the ground, man would share many physical traits found in the animal kingdom however the image of God would uniquely separate man from animals. The final element to complete man was the “breath of life” which gave life to man’s body enabling him to become a living being (Gen. 2:7).
Since these are the elements that God declares makes up a human being, than the humanity of an individual is not determined by age, development, ability or lack of ability and etc. As long as these three elements are present, we have a human being and all human beings are sacred in God’s eyes deserving of dignity and respect.
Now to answer our earlier question of when does man receive God’s image. When does he become fully human? God tells us that this all happens at the moment of conception. No one would disagree that the biological parents contribute their physical “seed” which contains the “breathe of life” to bring into existence a human body. Since that “seed” comes from human beings, it is logical to assume that the “seed” also contains within it the spiritual material from which the image of God is also brought into existence at conception. If this be so, conception then brings into existence a fully human being, possessing all three elements of humanity: spirit, body, and life.
With the assumption that the seed of the parents provide all 3 dimensions of humanity, is there Biblical support to back this up. The answer to this question is yes. Consider the following two facts.
1) The Sin Nature: some believe that the spirit of man is created separately by God and inserted into the physical body sometime during the development of the fetus. There is, however, a major problem with this view.
If God is the One who creates and implants His image in each individual, where does the fallen nature of man come from? Anything that God creates is perfect and holy therefore if He creates the Spirit for every fetus, they would be born holy and without a fallen sinful nature. However, since we are all born with a fallen nature resulting in sin (Rom. 3:23; Gal. 3:22), it is only logical to assume that it was passed on from Adam to all his descendants through spiritual material resident in the human “seed.” This is why Paul wrote that through one man’s sin, sin spread to the whole human race.
Ro 5:12, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” NKJV
Ro 5:19, “For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man's obedience many will be made righteous.” NKJV
David also understood that he received his spirit and thus his sin nature at conception from his biological parents when he writes, “Ps 51:5, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.” NKJV
2) God’s call for Humanity to Reproduce: God told man and woman to be “fruitful and multiply” (Gen. 1:28) or in other words, reproduce themselves. Since we have already shown that a human being is composed of a spirit, body, and life, then for humans to reproduce themselves they must contribute all three of these elements at conception. If they only contribute life and a physical body, than they are not truly reproducing themselves. This truth is backed up by several passages of which I give two examples.
Note the way God describes the conception and birth of the first 2 individuals. In Genesis 4:1-2 we read, “Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, "I have acquired a man from the Lord." Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel.” NKJV. Note here that Eve did not just give birth to the human beings, Cain and Abel, but she conceived them as human beings as well. In other words at the moment of conception, Cain and Abel were fully human. Take note of the same statement of the conception of Enoch in Gen. 4:17.
A major factor in the rise of the practice of abortion and the dismissal of the sanctity of life is the teaching of Evolution as fact not theory. Evolution teaches that man was not created as a special creation by God and bearer of His image. Rather, Evolution teaches that man is nothing more than an elevated animal. As an evolved “animal,” there is no more sacredness to human life than there is to the life of any animal. This has resulted in such organizations as PETA, which promotes the idea that it is just as much a murder to take the life of a chicken as it is the life of a human. Likewise, if it is alright to kill an animal fetus, for example an egg, since man is also an animal it should be equally right to take human life during its fetal development. Without a foundation on the Biblical truth that God is the Creator and man the bearer of His image, there can be no sanctity of life. The growing absence of the sanctity of life in our society is resulting in many undesirable events of which the following examples are representatives.
1) Legalized abortion: since man is an animal there are no problems with taking fetal life in the womb. Humanity is not determined by the image of God but rather the stage of development. The fetus is not fully develop therefore it is not human.
2) Legalized Euthanasia: when animals become extremely disabled through age, disease, or accident, it is the humane and expedient thing to end their lives. Since man is animal, therefore this rule would hold true for him as well. Therefore several states have now legalized mercy killing violating the sanctity of life as they end the life of one bearing God’s image.
Rise in Murder and Genocide: evolution teaches survival of the fittest, therefore even within species, there is inequality. This idea lends itself to the belief that since man is an animal, it can be concluded that some races of man are inferior to other races. Therefore genocide and racial bigotry are fully justified as the “superior” races seek to move forward in the evolution of man. Thus Hitler justified the extermination of Jews and the slavery of blacks and today deformed infants in the womb are aborted to keep the race pure.
3) Fetal Stem Cell research: since humanity is determined by the degree of development, therefore a fetus is considered just a mass of cells that can be harvested for stem cell research. Sadly this practice is still pursued even though the greatest advancements have come from adult stem cells.
4) Sex selection: since fetal life is not considered human then couples who want a baby of a particular sex are free to abort children they have conceived if they are of the wrong sex. Such sex selection is not only practiced while in the womb but often after birth in some countries such as China.
5) Cloning: the idea of cloning is to fertilize an egg apart from the male sperm to create an exact duplicate. Since many believe that humans are just animals, then if it works with animals it should work with human beings. However, since the image of God can only be created from the union of the female and male seed, the result of cloning will be human bodies without a soul or spirit. Who is going to care for such monstrosities?
6) Birth control that involves abortion: without the sanctity of life at conception, then birth control that aborts a fertilized egg is a valid action since the fetus at that point is not considered human.
7) Abandonment of Morality: if God is taken out of the picture as evolution does, then there are no moral absolutes. This is often seen in the justification of sinful practices by appealing to animal behavior. For example since homosexuality is found practiced in the animal kingdom and man is an animal, then it is justified or normal for mankind as well. With this abandonment of divine moral absolutes, there are no solid guide lines to govern the actions of man. It is no wonder that we are seeing so many killings, rapes, and muggings going on in our schools, malls, businesses, and homes these days. Human life is devalued to the level of animals.
From another angle this is why it is so important to elect those who are pro-life. Pro-life politicians have a respect for the sanctity of life as well as the moral absolutes of God’s Word and will vote according. Those who are pro-choice will be voting from an amoral world view. This reflected recently in the refusal to deal with scandals in Washington and in the anti-Christian legislation and executive orders. No God, then there are no moral absolutes. No moral absolutes man begins to act more like an animal then he does a human.
9) Abandonment of Heterosexual Marriage and Home Life: without the teaching of Genesis 2:23-25 that God created a male and female and ordained the institution of marriage, all forms of sexual unions and family units are now viable options. After all, there is no marriage in the animal realm. Likewise, in the animal realm can be found homosexuality, polygamy, inter-species mating, pedophilia, incest and the list can go on. Since man is considered an animal, then these practices are right for him as well.
10) Loss of Purpose:if man is nothing more than an animal, then at death he passes from existence. All that he accomplished and known in this life will suddenly vanish and become meaningless to him. If man's only purpose is to exist for a few years and die and nothing more, there is no purpose or meaning to life. He is no better off than if he had never been born. It is no wonder that the suicide rate is so high to day. Why go on existing if there is no purpose and meaning that can be taken beyond this life.
It should be clear by now, that the sanctity of human life based in a Creator and His image found in man, is an essential truth for a well ordered society. Our society’s recent abandonment of this truth for the false teaching of evolution is one of the leading causes of the disintegration of our values and practices that once made this nation great. The “sanctity of life” is more than just about abortion, it is about all aspects of life.