The Foundational Starting Point
The unwavering foundation for an accurate comprehension of the sanctity of life must unapologetically be the Word of God. Unless human beings know God, they will not rightly understand how to view each other in this world. According to secular humanism, ethical constructs must change as new social situations arise.1 Humanistic standards fluctuate and cannot provide any real stability to ethical issues in life. Christianity alone grounds ethical understanding in submission to God, and so Christianity alone can truly offer accurate answers to questions regarding life. The biblical position asserts life is sacred and innocent life must never be taken. Therefore, for anyone to take innocent life is wrong in all circumstances. This truth must be asserted by the church firmly, for the humanistic culture of the day is one which celebrates the murder of innocent life.
Humanity In God’s Image
All life in the universe is valuable to God, as demonstrated by the fact that in Proverbs 12:10, humans are urged to have regard for the lives of their animals. However, humanity is distinct from the animals and is given dominion over everything in the earth in the first chapter of Genesis. Secularism asserts human beings are essentially just one of the animals.2 Biblical Christianity gives humanity dominion over all animals and all the earth because humanity is made in the image of God. Mankind is stamped by God with his image, and it is God himself and the holy mandate given to us by him for humanity to take dominion, which provides purpose for our lives.3 The book of Genesis, which communicates the purpose of humanity and the truth of its origin, serves to define humanity as God’s special creation above all other creatures.
To be made in the image of God ontologically means functionally mankind serves as the representative of God upon this earth.4 Essentially, anything which one does to another human being they are doing to a God-created representative of himself. This fact does not mean every human is saved, nor does it mean any man or woman always represents God rightly. However, by way of implication, it does mean every human being is worthy of dignity and respect. Any person should treat a representative from a mighty king with honor, and so also any representative of God must be treated with great care. Any violation against a representative of a king would be viewed as an offense to the king himself. So also, any evil committed against a human being is an offense to the Creator God of the universe whom humanity is called to represent and glorify. The implication of humanity being made in God’s image is very simple yet deeply profound. Every human is commissioned to obey God, and every human is also inherently special and valuable because they are created in God’s image.
Abortion and Scripture
Goodness and evil are defined by God in his Word, and so when looking to determine the morality of abortion, one must start with Scripture.5 Psalm 139:16 says, “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” God takes value in life in the womb and has preplanned all the days of each person. This Scripture points to the truth that even the baby in the womb of the mother is valuable to God, and he has purposes for their specific life. In Jeremiah 1:5, the prophet talks about God knowing him in the womb and appointing him as a prophet to the nations. The biblical evidence illustrates the value of human life even in the earliest stage of fertilization, for even there God knows the human. The text does not say he knew something less than human in the womb, no it says he actually knew Jeremiah, the human prophet chosen by God. Consequently, it is not a stretch to say the tolerance of abortion is as evil in the sight of God as the systematic genocide performed by Adolf Hitler of Nazi Germany.6
In the case of Jeremiah, not only does God know him, but he also has a plan for him before he was born. Therefore, not only is life in the womb known by God but it is also special to God and for specific preordained purposes determined by Him. Scientific fact has also shown life begins at the moment of fertilization. Since God has created humans in His image, which means they are His representatives, and since babies in the womb are humans, then anytime they are aborted, the death of a representative of God has occurred. Life in the womb is special in the eyes of the true and living God. It is the taking of innocent life to kill such a person and it is nothing short of murder to take life. Certainly, if an operation must be performed to save the mother’s life and the child dies, then that death is tragic but not murder. However, very clearly from Scripture, it is seen to kill babies in the womb is evil in the sight of God.
Euthanasia and Scripture
Proverbs 16:31 says, “Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.” The Bible holds the viewpoint of old age as being considered valuable. Biblically speaking, those who are elderly are not to be looked down upon but are to be esteemed because of the wisdom and experience which they possess. Living to old age is considered to be a blessing from God as seen in the promise of God to Abram where it is said he will live to a “good old age” in Genesis 15:15. The value of a human being does not come from whether or not they are old or young, but from the fact that God created them. Therefore, every person, including the unborn and the elderly, have tremendous worth and value in His sight.
The Scripture is also very clear concerning the truth that the human body deteriorates with age. However, Christians should also grow spiritually the longer they live. 2 Corinthians 4:16 states, “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” God does not call upon human beings to despair because they age, rather he urges them to take heart because they are growing spiritually. Paul does not urge elderly Corinthian believers to hasten their deaths nor to ask others to assist them in dying quicker. Instead, he tells them to take encouragement from their spiritual growth. The time of death is appointed by God, and human beings are to live life for His glory until they are called home.
The Bible condemns the taking of life except for cases of self-defense. Of course, war is a separate issue altogether. Exodus 20:13 says, “You shall not murder.” This text is referencing the intentional taking of innocent life, and that action is forbidden no matter the circumstance. The Hebrew word for murder in Exodus denotes the taking of a man’s life by specifically murdering him. Clearly, Euthanasia would be the taking of an innocent life, and so it would fall underneath this category. The idea of killing oneself or having another person assist in that process is unbiblical and immoral according to the standard of God.
Sacred In The Sight of God
Human life is sacred in the sight of God. The taking of innocent life is immoral because of God’s commands and because humanity is made in His image. Killing a person is not the same as killing a thanksgiving turkey. Therefore, human beings must be treated with dignity and respect. Babies in the womb must be protected, and their lives must be considered as valuable, just like any other member of humanity. Comparatively, those at the end of their lives should see inherent worth and dignity in that stage and not seek to end their lives through euthanasia. Human life is sacred because God has created humanity for His glory. Every single moment of life is of great value because we have been commissioned for tasks for the praise of God. Our goal is to honor Him, those who would disparage the value of life not only sin against humans but they insult the Creator. God has ordained humanity to take dominion over the earth, and every time life passes from this earth, it is tragic. Thus, we are not to take life, but to enjoy living it for the glory of God according to his commands.
1 Francis Schaeffer, A Christian Manifesto, p. 58.
2 Owen Strachan, Reenchanting Humanity, p. 9.
3 Reenchanting Humanity, p. 20-21.
4 Reenchanting Humanity, p. 29.
5 R.C. Sproul, Truths We Confess, p. 600.
6 Truths We Confess, p. 600.
7 John MacArthur and Richard Mayhue, Biblical Doctrine, p. 433.