The Sanctity of Human Life
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
Title: The Sanctity of Human Life
In the Southern Baptist Convention, today is Sanctity of Human Life Day, and that is the subject of our Bible study.
It’s sad that not all people believe that human life is precious. Suicide bombers, terrorists, and murders have no regard for human life. Abortion mills and men like Dr. Jack Kevorkian (known as Dr. Death), do not respect human life. A few years ago, we became aware of the Washington DC snipers (John Malvo and John Mohammed) who killed for no apparent reason—men, women and they even shot a child. Sadam Hussein killed thousands of his own people with poison gas. Hitler and the Nazis killed millions of Jews and other races who they said were not human, and last summer the “Arab Spring” began with citizens of the Middle Eastern nations in revolt against their governments; it’s still going on, and thousands have been killed on both sides. We could go on and on recounting examples of people and regimes that had such a low opinion of human life that they would snuff out a life without a thought.
But let me give you some statistics about our main theme; abortion.
• Since 1973, one of every three babies conceived in the United States has been aborted.
• 49% of American pregnancies are unintended.
• 52% of all abortions performed in America are of women 24 and younger.
• 53% of American women will have at least one abortion by the time they are 45.
• 66% of women who obtain abortions have never been married.
These are startling figures and I wouldn’t believe them, except they came right out of my quarterly.
What do you think are some of the reasons that women give for having abortions?
• Children would inconvenience them, interfere with their lifestyles, or cause financial hardship.
• They don’t want to be single parents.
• They are having problems with husbands or partners.
• The largest percentage says that having children is just too inconvenient.
Our first scripture is Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
People have various reasons for respecting and protecting human life. They respect and protect their families and want to see them safe. They may feel the same way about their neighbors and support actions that protect the neighborhood. Human compassion makes us all sad when a life is lost through illness or tragedy. However, believers have an important additional reason for respecting and protecting human life. Human life is sacred because God created man and woman in His own image and gave them life. Therefore, Christians should value and protect human life for the Lord’s sake.
Every human being is special because each person is the specific and purposeful creation of God. God created people in His own image. Chapters 1 and 2 of Genesis record nothing else that was created in God’s image.
What then does it mean to say that people are created in the image of God? We know that “God is Spirit” (John 4:24), therefore he doesn’t have a physical body so what do you say it means?
The quarterly gave these meanings for the “image of God.”
• The moral, intellectual, and personality characteristics that God gave to people. One aspect of God’s image in persons has been identified as dominion or rulership. God created people to responsibly rule over the lower orders of His creation.
• The ability of humans to reason and make moral choices.
• The ability to enjoy fellowship with God.
• Probably it’s all of the above.
We are God’s highest and most unique creation and are to be respected appropriately.
God created both male and female. Both came equally from the hand of God. Each person, whether male or female, boy or girl has equal worth before God since all are created in His image. But I saw something on TV last week that disturbed me. I was watching a documentary on India which was about the difficulties facing women there. They said that in many locals girl babies are just set outside to die; they never have a chance at life. And they went on to say that in some places women must live their whole lives with the possibility that they will be killed if the family faces great hardship. There is a very low value placed on the woman in India.
But because God created people in His image, we should hold all human life as sacred.
Deuteronomy 18:10 says, “There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire…”
This verse is from Moses’ farewell address to the people of Israel as they prepare to enter the Promised Land. Remember, Moses wasn’t allowed to enter the land because of an act of disobedience. In his speech, Moses gave them God’s requirements for entry; there were certain things that they were to do, but there were also some things which they were not to do.
One detestable, forbidden practice was a pagan religious ritual in which a parent sacrifices a son or daughter in a fiery offering. This was the Canaanite practice of offering children as human sacrifices to Molech, an Ammonite god.
Many societies in the ancient world did not value children. Remember, the pharaoh of Egypt commanded Hebrew midwives to kill all newborn male babies. Later he ordered all his people to throw into the Nile every boy that was born.
Some societies have abandoned female babies to die of exposure and neglect.
In Deuteronomy 18:10, the Lord commanded the people of Israel not to kill children by using them as human sacrifices. Moses, whose own life had been spared as a child taught that children’s lives were sacred because God is the giver of human life. We should respect and treat all human life as valuable because God created each of them in His image.
Now, let’s look at the 139th Psalm. It’s a Psalm that David wrote. Throughout the Psalm, the poet focuses on God’s presence with him. David acknowledged that God had an all-encompassing knowledge of him. The Lord knew all about him from the first moment he was conceived in his mother’s womb. These verses are extremely relevant to this lesson on the sanctity of human life because they teach us how God views human life in the mother’s womb. The Psalm reveals that God continues His creative work through human conception. The psalmist indicated that he was already a unique person while he was yet in his mother’s womb.
Verse 13 says, “For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.”
God has His eye on us before we are born. David knew that God’s creative hand was at work in his life from the moment of his conception. David recognized that God knit him together in his mother’s womb. The process of knitting or weaving requires great skill and patience to produce an intricate and beautiful product. That process took place in the womb before birth. What he is saying here is that God had put his parts together as one who weaves cloth, or who makes a basket. The weaving of the bones, tissue, and organs of the unborn child are under the control and guardianship of God. The psalmist recognized that he existed as a person from the time of conception and that God had been with him even in his mother’s womb. We are in a real sense “prescription babies” in that God has a custom design for every individual, equipping each for specific achievement and purpose.