Around the third Sunday of every January, as a memorial to the 1973 Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision, we observe Sanctity of Human Life Day. Roe v. Wade and its far-reaching consequences—more than 50 million children aborted in its aftermath—is a poignant reminder of why, at least once a year, we need to do some deep soul searching to affirm anew the sanctity of human life.
At Elizabeth’s New Life Center we find daily reasons in the beating hearts of babies, clearly visible to us through ultrasound. But even if we didn’t have those living examples, we’d have good reasons to embrace the idea that life is sacred:
Human beings are created in God’s image. According to Genesis 1:27, “God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them (NIV).” Sure, there’s some mystery about exactly what this means. But we know it is a marvelous thing to be created in God’s image.
God has a purpose and plan for every human life. The Apostle Paul, writing to the church in Ephesus, assured them that “we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:9-11). Not only does God give life, but He intends that each of us do good things with it. It doesn’t matter whether His purposes for a particular person turn out to be common or uncommon, they can be fulfilling and meaningful.
We cannot predict the potential of a single life. Some people beat terrible odds, given opportunity. For example, Apple founder Steve Jobs was adopted and grew up to change the world. Doctors recommended that Heisman Trophy winner and Broncos football player Tim Tebow be aborted because of health risks with the pregnancy; his athleticism and faith have since amazed the country. Others, like Marilyn Monroe or Babe Ruth, who grew up in orphanages or foster care, managed to rise above their circumstances to leave a lasting legacy.
Every person has value. Even though some people, such as the ones mentioned above, are striking examples because of their accomplishments, in truth a person’s value is not attached to fame, power, or even our good works. The worth of anything is measured by how much someone will pay for it—and Jesus Christ paid it all. God sent His Son as much for the fatherless and disadvantaged as the rich and famous.
Every life can bring joy. The opportunity to live and move and to have our being, as the Apostle Paul once referred to it, is the greatest wonder in this world and a source of pure joy. To observe life or nurture it in someone else is perhaps the second.