Why Should We Care About the Dignity of Human Life?

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Let’s begin in the beginning. God created the heavens and the earth, on purpose and with pleasure. He called it good. And then He made the Human.

Why did He make the Human? Silence for a moment the familiar chorus that “God made us to be in relationship with Him.” True. But, Genesis doesn’t say that. What it does say is that God made the Human to be His image-bearers and to reign. From a place of loving communion with God, the Human was to bear His image and reflect His wise order and loving rule into the world.

When we grasp this broad framework of God’s first creation and the first humans’ role in it, we begin to see what new creation and new humanity are about. In Christ, new creation has begun; in Christ, we become a new humanity, regardless or race, gender or social status. For the Christian, then, our identity and our vocation have been restored. We are not what we used to be—rebelling against God and degrading other humans. Instead, we have become a sign in the world of what God is like. We bear His image and reflect His rule.

To be clear, this doesn’t mean imposing some kind of theocracy upon unwilling people. Rather, it means showing the world a different reality. You see, in the world where Jesus is King, life—from the womb to the tomb—is holy.

When a Christian speaks and works for the dignity of human life, he is not engaging in a public relations campaign, but he is reclaiming an Image; she is not imposing her cultural values on others, but she is recovering a vocation to bring blessing to all peoples. For the Christian, life and justice and mercy are not fashionable ideas that can fuel a clever campaign and give church folks a nice feeling of fulfillment. Carrying hope to the hopeless, being a blessing to all peoples, is our original design, a design now restored to us in Christ.

Why do we care about the dignity of human life? Because God’s new creation has begun in us. The work that God will do to remake earth and heaven has begun now in the renovation of our hearts by the Holy Spirit. And that renewing work in us spills out into our work to set things right in our world. Every time we welcome the stranger and open our hearts and homes to orphans, every time we meet the needs of a vulnerable pregnant woman, every time we release people from oppression or help the poor, every time we visit an elderly shut-in and give a cup of cold water in Jesus’ name, we are announcing the Kingdom of God. We are living now as it will be then. We are bearing the image of a loving Creator and reflecting His rule in our world.

We are participating in God’s arriving Kingdom and His will being done on earth as it as in heaven.  And this is what we were made to do.

Glenn Packiam is the lead pastor of New Life Downtown in Colorado Springs, Colorado.