Human life is different than any other living thing. Human beings are the only living creatures that are said to be made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26, 27). This being made in God’s image means that, among all living creatures, humanity is the only one that has the ability to reason and contemplate, to use logic instead of just being driven by instinct, to navigate a purposeful life with the combination of emotion and rationality. It is because we have this image of God that man’s life, above all other living things, is “precious.” That is, human life is uniquely valuable with unique sanctity and unique responsibility.
The unique value of human life is seen in high price God placed on taking human life. God said to Noah, ““Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man” (Genesis 9:6, NKJV). So, if a person does not value human life and willfully takes human life, that person’s life is forfeit. This is principle that is found in every part of the Bible! ““He who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death” (Exodus 21:12, NKJV). In Romans 13:1-7, Paul speaks of the Christian’s responsibility to be law abiding citizens. He said that if you did good things then you should have no fear of law enforcement. “But if you do evil, be afraid,” he said (Romans 13:4). Taking human life would certainly be included in that reference to doing “evil” and Paul said the reason such evil-doers should be afraid is because law enforcement “does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.” Human life is precious! And anyone taking human life, according to God’s value of human life, forfeits their own life.
The unique sanctity of human life is seen in how we take care of each other. The sanctity of human life means that we consider human life as something that is sacred. For those we love we strive, from the time of conception to the time of death, to make their lives as full and as happy as we possibly can. Why? Because that life is sacred to us. Those who place this focus only on themselves are never as happy and fulfilled as those who view the lives of others as sacred. To new parents, the life of that child becomes very precious to them from the time they discover that conception has occurred. They spend a lot of time at the doctor’s office making sure everything is well with the child in the womb. Why? Because that child’s life is sacred to us. We go for check-ups, wellness visits, and if anything seems even slightly out of the ordinary we rush off to the doctor again. We spend a lot of money providing everything that child will need to grow healthy and happy. When that child is grown the rolls get reversed and they give that same care to their aging parents. Why? Because the lives of those who cared for us, and spent themselves on us, are precious to us, and rightfully so! When we see children that don’t have that natural affection in their lives, we want to step in and provide it for them – they are precious to us. When we see ageing people with no one to take care of them we want to step in and provide that care for them – they are precious to us. This is what the sanctity of human life looks like. It is part of our nature as those created in the image of God. It is what we are instructed to do as godly people. “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4, NKJV).
The unique responsibility of human life is seen in our accountability to God, Who gave us life. God made us and gave us a unique life (Genesis 2:7). We were created by Him and for Him! “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him” (Colossians 1:16, NKJV). From the beginning of mankind, we have had God-given responsibilities (Genesis 1:28-29; 2:15-17). Sadly, it didn’t long for humans to rebel against their created purpose – to live for the God that created them (Genesis 3). However, because we have a loving God, He made a way for us to be restored to Him. Paul said that when we put to death our rebellious life, we can have a new life of recognition of our God-given responsibilities (Romans 6:3, 4; Galatians 2:20).
Are you living the purposeful life of someone created in the image of God? A uniquely valuable life, a uniquely sacred life, a uniquely responsible life – a precious life! If not, why not start today?