The sanctity of life is an issue being debated front and center right now in our culture. As Christians, we believe that human life–ALL human life–really does matter. Black lives matter, white lives matter, yellow lives matter, big lives matter, and little lives matter!
This is something ingrained in us because of our worldview. We see the world as being created by Yahweh, the God of the Bible, and we see human life has being made in His image (more on that in a bit).
The Pro-Choice Movement
In my opinion, one of the greatest contradictions to be found in the world today is the contradiction of the “humanist.” The humanist believes that human life is sacred–sacred even to the point that we make up our own rules, we are basically our own god, and we will have the final say over our own lives until the end.
Interestingly enough, most humanists are voracious advocates of the “pro-choice” movement, which asserts that a woman has the legal right to decide to take the life of her unborn child if she so chooses. Despite the self-refuting nature of this position, many humanists celebrate this position–in fact–it is fundamental to their worldview.
This is to be expected. Humanists have no way to objectify morality since morality for the humanist would be based entirely on what he or she feels to be best for themselves in any given situation. If it is convenient for the mother and father that the baby not be in the picture, the baby is simply removed. “No harm. no foul.”
The Black Lives Matter Movement
There is a similar contradiction to be found in the “Black Lives Matter” movement. As a matter of history, African American individuals have experienced unjust amounts of persecution. Some of this persecution, unfortunately, has been brought about by individuals falsely using God’s Word to make their point.
The Black Lives Matter movement would be justified were it not for the fact that “demonstrations” supporting this movement often end in riots, looting, the burning of buildings and destruction of property, and in many cases, the death of Law Enforcement officers–even black ones.
It is contradictory to say that black lives matter while at the same time behaving as if other lives do not, since many of the people you will find in this movement hold to an atheistic and even humanistic view. They claim to be for the sanctity of life, all while proving (almost without apology) that they are not.
A Better Alternative
I would argue that a better alternative (in any situation) is a worldview that allows one to be coherent. Webster defines the word coherence as a “systematic or logical connection or consistency.” This is pretty easy to understand.
For example, it would be incoherent to say that you had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that only contained peanut butter. That assertion is not contradictory; rather it is inconsistent.
Pertaining to our context, it is logically incoherent that one celebrates the sanctity of life while advocating (or even allowing) another to take a life without repercussion.
Christianity is a coherent worldview. Our worldview makes good and logical sense of life’s four big questions: Origin, Meaning, Morality, and Destiny. It is also coherent when it comes to matters of life and death. In other words, Christianity does not advocate for death while celebrating life. However, that is not as black and white as it sounds, and we will unpack it later.
Inconsistency within Christianity
Before I give a case for the sanctity of human life from the Christian worldview, it must be addressed that Christians have abused their “authority” in the past. Under the guise of the Truth of the Bible, many in church history have sought to increase their status in the world.
For example, Hitler erroneously used to the Bible to advocate for the killing of millions of Jews. Over 100,000 people were brutally murdered during the Spanish Inquisition. The Crusades carried out by the Catholic Church were an absolute monstrosity–one that would never have been advocated by the God of the Bible.
It has been well said that “one must not charge a worldview based on the actions of its constituents.”
Many church members are hypocrites. So are many Sam’s Club members! Don’t risk eternal punishment and separation from God because you have an issue with Johnny on pew 12.
All things considered, I have developed a 4-point case for why I believe that the Bible is consistent in teaching that all lives matter:
The Imago Dei
In the book of Genesis, the Bible gives a literal and historical account of the events that occurred in the creation of the world. Whether or not you hold this belief is irrelevant to this discussion; for now, it upholds itself as logically necessary for coherence in our worldview.
A worldview should have an explanation for the creation of the world as we know it, and ours does. This answers the “Origin” question I mentioned earlier.
Genesis 1:26-27 gives the account of man’s creation:
“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
Theologians have titled this event the creation of “The Imago Dei”–that is to say, “humans in the image of God.” Now, contrary to popular belief, this does not mean we look like God.
The God of the Bible has always existed. There is plenty of scientific (and biblical) evidence to suggest that space, matter, and time were all created simultaneously. You simply cannot have one without the other two.
An examination of scientific evidence in a biblical context will lead you to conclude that God is space, timeless, and immaterial. Since we know that humans cannot exist in that state, we can confidently conclude that God Himself is not in the form of a human being.
The Bible also teaches that God is a spirit (John 4:24). This presents a problem–The Bible claims that we are made in His image (the Imago Dei), yet we know from reality that there is no way we could represent Him physically.
Here presents one of the greatest problems for humanists: the spiritual nature of an individual.
We are conscious, intelligent, rational human beings. Humans are relational; that is, we realize that left to our own devices, we break down. Put a person in complete solitude for any length of time and they will begin to go crazy (BTW – this would be an accurate description of what the Bible calls “Hell”)!
We have emotions, love deeply, and are able to think clearly and logically. We are able to make rational decisions in completely irrational situations. Also, we are “self-aware” (well, some of us)!
There is more to life than atoms and chemicals–and we know it.
This means that if we are made in the image of God, as the Bible suggests, then we must hold attributes of God that transcend physicality.
If we examine the “spiritual” nature of humanity, we would find that we are:
- Loving–God is love; we can also love.
- Intelligent–God knows all things; we have the ability to accumulate knowledge.
- Personal–God chose to create; only persons are able to make choices.
- Rational–God cannot do irrational things (such as create a married bachelor); neither can we.
- Nurturing–God is our “Heavenly Father”; He loves us in much the same way we love our children.
- Truthful (in that we can know and experience truth)–God is the Source of all Truth; we are able to identify and understand truth (vs. untruth).
These attributes are some of what theologians would call the “communicable” attributes of God. In other words, these are things that are not reserved to God (constancy, justice, supreme goodness, etc.).
So when a Christian says that humanity is made in the “image of God,” we are contending that life has value because God has imputed us with attributes of His. Humans have essential and intrinsic worth because the God who creates everything created us, and did so in His very “image.”
Now, the Bible also claims in verse 27 that He created “male and female.” Those are the only options! We see this in nature, and it makes perfect sense. Male and female have the unique ability to procreate and thus advance the human race.
God designed it this way. If male and male could accomplish this; He would have created in that manner. If female and female could accomplish this, He would have created in that matter.
God created in the way He saw fit for human life to reflect His image well and to bear “fruit” (children) that would also reflect His image. That was God’s plan when He stepped out on nothing and proclaimed, “Let there be…!”
Crucial to understanding why “all lives matter” is the understanding of God’s relationship to (and through) His chosen people, the Nation of Israel.
You probably are wondering why this matters.
The reason is because many consider God’s dealings with the children of Israel to be unjust. There are also times in the Bible where, through the children of Israel, God commanded seemingly horrific acts to be carried out against human life.
It is important to understand the context of these accusations, otherwise, we are going to look crazy trying to justify God’s love with His judgment. The cross is necessary to do this.
Israel and Morality
Philosophers have debated this issue for centuries. The fact is–humanity is broken. We know this! This is not a secret.
Everything tends towards destruction. We have to teach children what is right because they naturally do what is wrong! If the Bible is true, we have the perfect explanation for this: sin.
Recently, there was a scandal in the news involving a very popular and influential Christian family. Of course, society holds those who follow Christ up to a standard higher than society itself is able to live up to, which is another issue altogether.
In all public commentary, the family rightly referred to this incident as sin. The public did not like that. “We should call it what it is,” they say, “a crime!” I’ve got news for that crowd–when a Christian commits open, intentional sin against a holy God–that is a crime. It’s a crime of the worst kind and one that should not be taken lightly.
Here is the point I am trying to make: Atheists and the like will often put Christians (and more importantly, God) on trial by appealing to the same morality they claim does not exist.
In debates and public Q&A sessions, it is not unusual for the questioner to reference Bible passages where God has passed judgment, and claim that this “unjust” practice on God’s behalf is what causes them to maintain their atheism.
Probably the most common accusation against God is His handling of the conquests against the Canaanites.
The account can be found in the book of Joshua. John Piper sums this up this perfectly on his DesiringGod blog:
“It can be summed up like this. Jericho falls in chapter 6. Then after a brief setback due to the disobedience of Achan, in chapter 7, Ai is captured. Then with Gilgal as the base, Joshua subdues all the southern part of Canaan in Joshua 9–10, and all the northern part in Joshua 11. In chapters 13–21, the land is parceled out to the tribes of Israel.”
Throughout these “conquests,” the Lord made sure to emphasize that not even any women or children be left alive. This sounds like a far cry from the God who created life and who values life.
I’m sure that more than a few Christians have been drawn away from the faith when detractors make this point. This is why I am so burdened about apologetics. A bit of further study will give necessary context to this account:
First of all, the Canaanites (which actually included the Amalekites, Moabites, etc.) were a wicked people. They worshiped the pagan god “Molech,” a god of fire. The offerings they made to this god were horrific and despicable. They would bring their young children to this “god,” and lay them across it where the child would be tragically burned to death.
The parents were not allowed to be around when this happened. They would be escorted out past the city walls so that they did not have to hear the screams of their children as they were burned alive. The irony is that even atheists consider this an evil act. They want God to punish evil.
But when He does, they say He is immoral.
Either God has the right to punish evil or He does not. If it is morally wrong for God to punish evil, then by default God must be morally justified when He allows evil. Do you see the contradiction?
As to the women and children–the adult women were obviously already participating and just as wicked as the men, and undoubtedly, the children growing up in the culture would simply repeat the same horrific cycle. One could even argue that He did the children a favor by removing them from this culture and bringing them to heaven. I do not claim to know the mind of God, but this certainly seems like ample justification for God to punish these people.
Secondly, God’s Word teaches that no one really ever dies–they simply change locations. Even if it were justified for God to “kill” whoever He pleases, it would be literally impossible. The soul of a man never dies.
The Bible teaches that the consequence of rejecting God is punishment in Hell–not because He sends anyone there (John 3:18), but because they have neglected the Lifeboat He offered (Jesus).
Israel and Depravity
Equally important to understanding the value of human life is how God dealt with His chosen people during their times of disobedience.
Israel was in nearly a constant cycle of rebellion and repentance all throughout the Old Testament. No matter how gracious God had been to them, they turned their back on Him constantly. Nevertheless, God is not done with Israel (Romans 11:1 – “I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.”). Speaking there was none other than the Apostle Paul.
God used specially appointed leaders (Moses, Joshua, ect.), Judges (Gideon, Samson, etc.), Kings (David, Solomon, etc.), and no one was successful in permanently turning the heart of Israel back to God.
The Old Testament leaves Israel in a mess–a destroyed people with only a believing remnant left. Still, God could say, “All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.” (Romans 10:21). Make no mistake–God values His people. They may have rejected Him for now, but He still loves them, and has not forgotten them.
This brings us to the next important point,
Christ’s Rescue of Humanity
I am going to make a very bold statement here:
[clickandtweet handle=”” hashtag=”” related=”” layout=”” position=””]There is no purpose or value in life if Christ did not die on the cross and raise from the dead.[/clickandtweet]
In other words, this element is the most important piece. Being made in the image of God does not matter if mankind has no path to redemption. The way that God deals with Israel means nothing if mankind has no path to redemption.
If you are a good person, that is simply not enough. If you feed the poor every Saturday or send millions of dollars to needy children, that is simply not enough.
You must know Christ.
The God of the Bible gave us only one option–only one way to get to Him–Jesus.
There are only two religions in the entire world–Cain and Abel. Grace and Law. Do and Done. Every religion in the world says that in order to be “good enough,” you must do, do, do–except one: Christianity.
I will never (apart from my understanding of the Bible) be able to comprehend why people turn down Christ. It is FREE! Salvation through Jesus is a free gift!
Jesus Christ is the Son of God and part of the Divine Trinity–this means that Jesus is the human manifestation of God. Jesus is truly God and truly man. When Jesus died on the cross, God the Father accepted Him as the perfect sacrifice–the only sacrifice acceptable for sin.
Jesus lived the perfect life that you and I are unable to live. He never had a bad thought, He never sinned against anyone, He never got caught up with the wrong crowd–He was PERFECT, in every sense of the term.
God sent HIM to die in your place. But God also raised Him up. 1 Peter 3:18 sums this up nicely, “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.”
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:17, “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.” For Jesus to die was not enough; He must be raised. Why?
So that we (like Him) could be “born again” and walk in “newness of life” (Romans 6:4).
This theme runs all throughout the Old Testament. A beautiful picture of this redemption is found on the night of the first Passover when God spared the firstborn of the children of Israel by passing over the houses with the lamb’s blood spread on the doorpost.
Now when God looks at us, the redeemed and born again, He sees only one thing–the blood of Jesus, which cleanses us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
Now, we as believers can be identified with Christ, and be joint heirs with Him (Romans 8:17).
Do All Lives Really Matter?
To be sure, I must reiterate the coherency of the Christian worldview. Remember–a worldview, in order to be valid, must account for the origin of life, the meaning of life, the way life should be lived, and the way life will end.
Christianity gives a clear explanation and presentation which causes all of those to cohere AND is grounded in historically and empirically verifiable truths.
We have been discussing intrinsic worth–in other words, the idea that human life in itself is sacred. Christianity asserts that human life is:
- Special because it is created in the image of God (the Creator).
- Selected because of God’s choosing Israel as His people.
- Secured because when Israel rejected God, He opened up salvation to the whole world through Jesus’ death and resurrection; the person need only accept the free gift.
Now, this presents a major problem. If this worldview is true, and I have dedicated my entire life to proving that it is, then all lives really matter only IF this worldview is true.
Christianity is an exclusive worldview–in other words, it makes claims that invalidate any other worldview, and all other worldviews make claims that would invalidate Christianity if true.
The essential worth of human life is necessarily grounded in Christianity.
Without God’s creation, there is no human life to mean anything. Without his selecting a person to be His own, there would no path to worldwide redemption. Without Christ, there would be no worldwide redemption.
If evolution and humanism are true, then human life has no essential worth. In other words, there would be nothing special about human life that makes it any different than animal life. Just a little bit of common sense will tell you that humans are different than their cats–therefore, this worldview makes no sense.
Other worldviews DO hold to creation accounts, but most of them borrow explicitly from the creation account of Christianity, yet make claims that exclude themselves from it. No other world religion can stand up to scrutiny like Christianity, therefore, I believe it is necessary to accept Christianity if you are going to assert that human life has essential worth.
So to answer the question posed in the very beginning: Yes, all lives really do matter. But only because we are special from creation, selected by God as His people, and able to be secured by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.
Questions? Feel free to comment below and start the discussion, or click the blue button on the right (desktop only) to ask a question with a voicemail. We will do our best to answer in an upcoming post. Thanks!