GUEST BLOGGER: Kyle Richter – This complete article can be found in the current edition of the Compass.
The dictionary defines sanctity as “the condition of being considered sacred or holy, and therefore entitled to respect and reverence.” The argument is often made that life demands respect and therefore abortion and euthanasia are wrong. According to the definition above the object must be sacred or valuable in order to be entitled to respect. However, the majority view in the world discredits the worth of human life. The value and sanctity of life depends on how one believes life began. If life began as a result of a random event in the universe where and explosion occurred 14 billion years ago and humans are just highly developed apes, then that life does not demand such respect. According to this view, man is the result of a purposeless and natural process that did not have him in mind. Killing a baby or a sick person is not considered wrong because the life itself does not have value. In this view, life is not only left without value, but is also void of any real meaning or purpose.
In contrast, the Bible gives man an explanation of life that offers value and purpose. We know from Scripture that “God created man is His own image, male and female”(Gen. 1:27). We were created by God to be spiritual and physical beings, which is unique from all the rest of creation. Furthermore, the Bible teaches that our creator God cares for us as His creation. The psalmist asks the question in Psalm 8:4-5, “What is man that You think about him, and the son of earth that You care about him?” Then, the writer declares that “God crowned man with glory and honor.” God cares for us as His children, in fact, God uses the title Father to describe Himself more than any other in Scripture.
We see clearly from the Bible that God is the giver of life and values life. Now, the next question to ponder is when does that human life begin? Psalm 139:13 teaches that each unborn child is uniquely and carefully formed by God. David writes, “For you formed my inward parts, you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” As amazing as that is to know, it is enhanced by the truth that before God formed us in the womb, He knew us and ordained a unique purpose for our life. David continues praising God by writing, “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in Your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” God has not only created us with value, but also He has created each of us with great purpose. Knowing these truths from Scripture or response must be to treat human life with the highest respect, and this must include life in the womb.
The truths of Scripture do not contradict the teachings of science. In fact, science encourages the idea that life begins at conception. When sperm meets the egg, the gender of a child is determined and genetic traits are determined. As early as 18 days after conception the heart of a baby begins to beat. By the time the pregnancy has reached 8 weeks, there are recognizable brain waves, and the child has individual fingerprints. At week 10 the baby has developed a face that is recognizable, and at 23 weeks the baby has the potential to survive outside of the womb. Even with advances in medical knowledge there are 126,000 abortions each day resulting in over 46 million babies’s lives being taken each year. In fact, the lifetime average worldwide is one abortion per woman.
Life is a gift from God, and He has commanded us to do all we can to honor, protect and preserve life. We fall short of fulfilling this when we have abortions, but we also dishonor life when we fail to take care of the bodies God has given us. Regardless of how we have dishonored or disrespected life in the past, God is more concerned with how we respect and value life from this day forward. God has given each of us the precious and valuable gift of life. What are you going to do with this gift?
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Distinctive Discipleship. He is married to Amanda and the father of two sons and one daughter. Travis graduated from North Greenville University with a B.A. in Christian Studies and earned his M.Div. and D.Min. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, with his doctoral focus on family discipleship.