The Sanctity of Life is one
of our organisation's guiding principles. Human life is of inestimable worth and
significance in all its dimensions, including the pre-born, the aged, the
widowed, the mentally and physically challenged, the unattractive and every
other condition in which humanness is expressed from the single-cell stage to
In short, human life is sacred and respect for human life
should be at the center of all we do. In order to put the "life
ethic" into words and practice, it helps to consider where it comes from,
what it looks like and how can we incorporate it into our daily lives:
The Life Ethic: Where Does It Come From?
The Bible establishes that human life is sacred in Genesis
"So God created man in his own image, in the image
of God he created him; male and female he created them." (ESV)
To be created in the likeness of God means that each human
bears His image and with it, a value beyond our unique characteristics or
individual attributes. Nothing else in God's created order has the
distinction of reflecting
His image; it's a privileged status reserved only for humankind.
This is a bit of a mystery as God's image in us isn't
something tangible we can see, taste or feel; yet it establishes our
significance and worth at the highest level. The Bible says we are
"fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14). From the miracle of
life in the womb to the body's ability to regenerate cells and tissue for
healing, we see God's amazing fingerprint at work. Humans are
breathtaking creatures embodying a touch of the Creator Himself and reflected
in the wonder of human life.
The Life Ethic: What Does It Look Like?
Contrary to cultural messages, our value isn't determined by
our ethnicity, race or gender; nor by our age, ability or location. It's
our divine membership in the human family that sets each of us apart as sacred.
Men, women and children (including pre-born children in the womb) should be
respected, regardless of their mental capacity, physical ability, or social
position. Some people may not exhibit attributes of God or behave in ways that
recognize their own value, yet their intrinsic worth remains.
The concept of human dignity comes from the sanctity of
human life. Since humans are made in God's image, we hold a distinctive
status that sets us apart. Human dignity is bestowed upon us by God. It's not
based on our ability to care for ourselves or competence to complete the task.
Dignity is not a concept that can be forfeited, so being dependent on others
cannot cause us to lose our dignity.
Our failure to recognize and honor human dignity is apparent
in phrases like "quality of life." Dependency is viewed as the
ultimate weakness and as a result, some people would rather die than continue
living if it means living with a disability. This attitude increases pressure
for the acceptance of physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia instead of
providing a compassionate response to those who are disabled or face a terminal
A common fear among the disabled or terminally ill is that
of becoming a burden. We help restore human dignity through our witness of caring
for each other, especially in our times of dependence and need. The sanctity
ethic reminds us that God is ultimately sovereign over the affairs of our
lives, including our frailty and infirmity.
The Life Ethic: How Can We Incorporate The Sanctity of
Human Life Into Our Lives?
The cornerstone of living out this fundamental truth is to
recognize the value of our own lives and the lives of others.
In fact, knowing who you are is a big part of understanding
the sanctity of human life. Do you value your own life as sacred? Do you
embrace your worth and significance as one who bears God's likeness?
Comprehending this is the first step in embracing the truth of who we all are!
The second is in the way you view others. Do you see
others through God's eyes? Does your gaze stop at their physical appearance or
ability, or do you look deeper to try and see the image of God in each life?
Hidden heart attitudes of pride, superiority and contempt prevent us from
seeing others with the respect and significance they deserve.
Finally, to live out the sanctity truth requires action: to
remind those around us of the value of all human life by speaking out for
"those who cannot speak for themselves" (Proverbs 31:8). Look for
opportunities to talk about and act upon your pro-life views. Teach your
children and grandchildren to respect all human life and demonstrate that
respect in your own word and actions.
Together we can live out and communicate the beauty, wonder
and reverence our Creator intended for each person in the human family.
Adapted from The
'Sanctity of Life' Ethic by Carrie Gordon Earll. © 2014 All rights
reserved. Used by permission from Focus on the Family.