Focal Passages: Genesis 9:1-7; Psalm 8:4-8; Proverbs 24:10-12; Philippians 2:12-16a
The Sanctity of Human Life issue often arises in abortion discussions. This past October/November demonstrated the importance of understanding this issue across the lifespan. Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old California woman, chose to move to Oregon where she could legally end her own life. She had been diagnosed with a stage four glioblastoma, an inoperable and incurable brain tumor. And from her perspective, she thought: “My quality of life, as I knew it, would be gone.” The question is: “Who gets to define life’s quality and value?”
God Himself has determined human life’s value as He uniquely created mankind – distinct from all the rest of creation – in His image. Human life’s value, then, is found here. It is to this very fact that God points Noah when God both tells Noah to go and fulfill the creation mandate to multiply the earth with more image-bearers, as well as to value all human life (Genesis 9). The Psalmist likewise recognized the unique value of human life, rooted in the creation purpose of God.
Contrary to our contemporary culture’s perspective, the value of human life is not based on functionalism (what I am able to do) or Epicureanism (where the presence of pleasure and the absence of pain are the greatest goods).
In the Disney movie, “Pirates of the Caribbean,” Captain Jack Sparrow was guided by a special compass that pointed not toward true north, but toward “the thing you want most in this world.” If man is guided by “what he wants most,” then when pain and suffering come, we want relief at any cost. When man is guided by the compass of God’s Word, it will always point us toward truth. It is God’s Word that tells us that life’s value is determined by our being created in God’s image, not simply the absence of suffering. This is the truth we must proclaim to a world tossed upon the sea of confusion, pain and suffering. Humanity’s only hope for finding the port of rest is ultimately in God.