Do you think all human life is sacred? Most people quickly respond with a head nod in the affirmative or, the more confident among us, with a stretched out arm. The World Health Organization estimates roughly 40 people commit suicide per second. That’s 1 Million people ending their own life each year. By 2020, they expect this number to double and CBS News reports that over 10 Million people consider suicide each year. In 2017, Statista reports there were 1.28 Million violent crimes in the United States of America. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states 650,000 babies were aborted in 2015 in the USA alone with approximately 56 Million babies aborted worldwide according to the Guttmacher Institute – Induced Abortions Worldwide. Between 1982 and 2011, a mass shooting occurred in the USA roughly once every 200 days and between 2011 and 2014 that reduced to once every 64 days. In the USA, nearly 2 Million cases of self-harm are reported each year which amounts to every 1 in 5 females and 1 in 7 males according to Healthy Place.
It’s safe to say, despite what most of us may think, there is a sanctity of life epidemic in our world today. No matter the age, gender, location, or disposition, human life (whether our own or someone else) is not regarded as highly as it should be.
But why is human life valuable? Why is it sacred? Why should we care about our own lives or that of our fellow humans? I’m glad you asked!
Image of God – Imago Dei
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” – ESV Bible
God made humans in His image. The theological term for this is imago Dei. It refers to the unique relationship between humans and God. If I were to make something with your likeness or attributes, it would be a reflection of the original you. But more than appearance, being made in the image of God also means intelligence, thought, emotion, decisions of the will, and understanding.
The Holman Bible Dictionary defines the image of God as the “Biblical designation for he unique nature, status, and worth of all human beings as created by God.”
Remember that term for a moment…worth.
Focus on the Family writes, “We cannot remove the imago Dei from us without creasing to exist. The image of God is not something added to us but it is who we are.”
As image bearers of God, examining God shows us how we should live.
God Values Human Life
And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. Into your hand they are delivered. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.” And you, be fruitful and multiply, increase greatly on the earth and multiply in it.” – ESV Bible
Human life is so valuable to God, He demands an accounting for it. Death does not pass by Him in secret. It screams to Him and presents itself for justice.
Yet, within the need for justice, there is also a need for reconciliation. While administering justice, God also provides a way of escape to the transgressor.
God’s tremendous love for humanity is manifested in His son Jesus, who came to die for the sin of the world in order that we may be reconciled to Holy God.
Murder, Hatred, or Both?
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.” – ESV Bible
Notice the progression we have seen. God created humans in His image. God placing value on His image and thus values humankind. Jesus compares unrighteous anger to murder.
Explore the Bible notes “Because God created humans in His image, every life has value, regardless of age, gender, race, or nationality. Being made in God’s image, we are to affirm the value of every person and protect all human life, including those in their mother’s womb. Truly, being created in God’s image is more than a privilege; it is a responsibility.”
Society often draws the line at murder, even though sometimes that line is hard to see. Jesus draws the line at any thought or deed less than worthy of the imago Dei.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Jesus Christ.” – Romans 3:23-24
Our lives are sacred to God and they should be sacred to us. Not only ours, but everyone’s. I often don’t consider myself as valuable as I ought and I bet I’m not alone in that. But we can change our disposition. We can instill greater value on people than we ever have before.
Let us be a generation of people that respects those who bear God’s image and, in the process, let us respect a Holy God.
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