“So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.” – Genesis 1:27
As the Western world moves further away from the Christian Church towards agnosticism, atheism, and secular humanism, the intrinsic value of all individuals as equally endowed by their Creator is increasingly supplanted by an extrinsic, impersonal devaluation of human life. This trend has been witnessed when women in the streets of Ireland cheered the passing of the abortion bill and their “rights” to take the lives of the inconvenient young people within them. This trend has also been witnessed in Switzerland where physician-assisted suicide is not limited by a required diagnosis, age, or symptom state (Davis, 2019). Some countries require that the patient be terminally ill or have unbearable suffering. Not Switzerland. Other Western societies such as Canada, Belgium and the Netherlands have also witnessed skyrocketing rates of euthanasia, which is a grave concern. Pun intended. In 2017, a quarter of all deaths in the Netherlands were induced (de Bellaigue, 2019)! The devaluation of human life is also evidenced by internet porn addiction. According to Psychguides.com, 40 million U.S. adults visit porn internet sites on a regular basis and 88 percent of porn scenes contain some form of physical aggression. The legalization of prostitution in numerous Western countries, including the Netherlands, Germany, New Zealand, Austria, Brazil, Colombia, Greece and France, offers more evidence. In all of these cases, the purity and sanctity of human life has been corrupted by a treatment of our bodies as mere objects, pounds of flesh, clumps of cells, terminations of pregnancies and animals.
It’s no wonder that some atheists I’ve encountered, such as David Smalley, claim that animals are not only equal to humans, but superior. In a recent video on my YouTube channel, Smalley identified the simplistic actions of a few mammals and an octopus to suggest they were smarter than humans. At first blush, his assertions make one snicker. Animals cannot engage in higher level reasoning or plan extensively for the future or their deaths. They cannot build rockets to fly to the moon, skyscrapers to reach into the clouds or iPhones to engage in exchanges with other humans on social media. Animals do not apprehend abstract art or beauty in nature as we do. Animals have no accountability when they forcibly copulate, steal from, or kill other animals. As an example, male gorillas often kill their offspring, yet they are not ostracized by their peers when they do so. Despite these protests, I discovered that David Smalley was dead serious. Second pun intended. He claims that since humans are contributing to climate change, animals have superior intellects. Of course, his assertion ignores the methane their droppings contribute to air quality, but that’s a topic for another day. He and other atheists and agnostics flatly reject the idea that humans are exceptional. They deny that we are made in the image of God.
What does it mean to be made in the image of God? The implications are enormous, suggesting we are a special and exceptional species. We have intrinsic value and have been elevated by God to the top of the food chain. We are called to align with our conscience, which nags at us when we mistreat our Lord, others or ourselves. We are called to be fair, loyal, honest, trustworthy, just, loving, empathetic, forgiving and thankful.
This is not merely about adapting to our environments through mutations and social norms that benefit our security, survival and social positions. This is about the discovery that we have a higher calling, purpose and meaning.
We have a role model in Jesus Christ, to whom we should all aspire. Christianity calls on us to elevate all individuals as equal in the eyes of the Lord, whether rich or poor, healthy or sick, young or old. Christianity calls on us to value our bodies, those sacred vessels with which God has endowed us. Christianity calls on us to work within our communities, yet values us intrinsically as individuals. As products of the divinity of our Lord, we are not to take our own lives or the lives of others, including the unborn.
“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you” (Jeremiah 1:5).
Not only are we blessed with sacred bodies, but we are blessed with conscious minds, which are aligned with the greater conscience and soul of the Source of all value: Our Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Just as a river cannot exceed its Source, we cannot exceed our Maker in any way. We are a thread in the fabric of humanity, lovingly knitted together by our Maker. When we devalue our own lives or those of others, we fray the fabric, contributing to humanity’s destruction. For these reasons and more, let us repent and return to the grace and love of our Lord.
Click here to access the referenced video with David Smalley: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLydyCickos
Davis, N. (2019). Euthanasia and assisted dying rates are soaring. But where are they legal? The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/news/2019/jul/15/euthanasia-and-assisted-dying-rates-are-soaring-but-where-are-they-legal
de Bellaigue, C. (2019). Death on demand: has euthanasia gone too far? The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/news/2019/jan/18/death-on-demand-has-euthanasia-gone-too-far-netherlands-assisted-dying