Focal Passage: Genesis 1:27, 9:1-7; Matthew 5:21-22
Several years ago a friend of mine and I were discussing the differences between humans and animals. She mentioned that she and her husband had a dog after they married, and that he was precious to them both. Then, they had their first child. One day that precious dog behaved like dogs do. He angrily nipped at the baby. In that moment, the contrast between the value of an animal and the value of a child shone in her heart. Within 24 hours the dog was gone from her home.
So, what made the difference?
Genesis 1 teaches us that God created everything and pronounced it “good.” This fact gives every created thing intrinsic value. Yet, verse 27 says that God created mankind uniquely in His image and according to His likeness.
While theologians differ regarding the precise interpretation of this verse, at the very least it means that we are special among God’s creatures. We possess value that no other created thing possesses.
Consider the Bible’s teaching with regard to the taking of life.
After the Flood, in Genesis 9:1-7, God explicitly permits the killing of animals for food.
However, in this same passage, God pronounces judgment upon the individual who would take the life of another human being.
His reason is that man is created in the image of God. To kill an animal is not an affront to that image. To kill one’s fellow man is.
Jesus takes this even further: “… everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court” (Matthew 5:22).
How one views and treats his fellow man, even when explicit acts of evil do not follow, is eternally valuable in God’s economy.
For believers, this means that every human life, from conception to death, from both sexes, and from every race among men, deserves to be protected and served.
In this we bring great glory and honor to the Father who created us all.