Monday, 29 April 2013

The Dignity, value and sanctity of Life



We live in a society committed to self-love and to each one doing his own thing, pursuing his own happiness, comfort, and peace. This commitment to selfishness, of course, is destructive to any human relationship. Such a course is the product of corrupted influence and delusions and is directly opposed to the direction and injunctions of the Bible. The greatest secret to living effectively on earth is to understand the principle and power of God’s divine law. Our life is the sum total of all the decisions we make every day, and those decisions are determined by our belief system. How we manage our relationship, finance, time and resources every day eventually defines our lives. Thus the key to simplifying life is to know, understand and apply God’s principle. The greatest mandate of that Jesus declared in the Gospel of Mark 12:30-31 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”   Hence, we find in the Bible what we can call the doctrine of One Another. Over and over again in the New Testament we find injunctions and statements concerning our responsibilities to one another.


Human life is the most sacred in the entire creation of God. Bible says in Psalm 139:14 “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Human life has an inherently sacred attribute that should be protected and respected at all times. We are created in God’s image, but sin has corrupted that image. The sanctity of human life is not due to the fact that we are such wonderful and good beings. The only reason the sanctity of life applies to humanity is the fact that God created us in His image and set us apart for all other forms of life. Although that image has indeed been marred by sin, His image is still present in humanity. We are created in the image of God, and likeness means that human life is always to be treated with dignity and respect.

The sanctity of life means that humanity is more sacred than the rest of creation. Human life is not holy in the same sense that God is holy. Only God is holy in and of Himself. Human life is only holy in the sense of being “set apart” from all other life created by God. The sanctity of life should motivate us to combat all forms of evil and injustice that are perpetuated against human life. Violence, abuse, oppression, human trafficking, and many other evils are also violations of the sanctity of life.

In a certain culture, when a male child is born, friends and relatives exclaim congratulations. When a female is born, the reaction is slightly different. Discrimination against girls and women in the world is a devastating reality. In a culture that tends to belittle people based on cast, color, creed and gender, the image of God tells us that all people, regardless of whether they are male or female are created with dignity by the mere fact that they are human beings.  All human beings are created in the image of God. Bible says “God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”(Genesis 1:27)

Man is the Crown of Creation because he is the only created thing made in the “image” and “likeness” of God and, therefore, uniquely distinct in his existence. No other creature is like man; he is one of a kind. Only man has been “crowned with glory and honor” (Ps. 8:5). This is why God values Life. And when we value life and afford them the respect and dignity they deserve as human beings, then we as God’s offspring are revealing to the world around us that God values human life.


We need to begin with the Holy Bible to see what it says about humanity being created in the image of God, and we need to then take a step back and develop the philosophy and theology of being created in them male and female. “Image” stresses a representation or a likeness to something else.  So something about humanity reveals what God is like… we bear His image. 


So when we talk about the image of God, we are talking about some way in which we are like God and in some way in which we manifest and represent God in this world. As image bearers who are created in the likeness of God to rule and reign with Him as vice-regents over creation, we are to steward that moral responsibility like God does. As image bearers of God, we reveal and unveil something about the character and nature of God in bearing His image.

We are to do the right thing as image bearers.  We have been given the capacity, power, and freewill to make moral choices… right or wrong.  So as God is morally responsible and rules and reigns responsibly so we are to as well rule with responsibility. So Understanding the image of God unveils the heart of God.  So let’s consider the key aspect of Genesis 1: 26. It says God said that “Let Us make man…” is better translated as “Let Us make humankind…” The last part of v. 27 validates that… “Male and female He created them.” Humanity is not an evolutionary afterthought.  Humanity is not the chance product of billions of years of evolution.  We are the work of God’s hands.  That is critical for us to believe as we move forward. The creation of humanity in the image of God reflects the reality that God has granted humanity to have rule and dominion over creation with God.


Now another part of the image of God that is crucial for us is the sacredness of human life.  There are numerous issues in our culture that are moving away from the sacredness of life, such as Abortion, rape, child abuse, exploitation, oppression , cruelty, sexual abuse, violence against children and women, and discrimination  all such acts devalues human life.  It all deeply defaces and scars the image of God in those who indulge in such activity.


Men were the first to be created by God, and this is not by mistake. This is not insignificant information but in fact a huge clue to us that God intentionally designed men to be fathers in the family. This leadership position established by God meant that men were not only given this responsibility, but they were equipped to fulfill it. Men are naturally designed to lead, protect, and provide for their family. Physically men have bodies that are capable of accomplishing substantial feats of strength. This doesn’t mean that women are weak and feeble, but it does mean that men’s bodies are engineered to be powerful and strong enabling them to work and protect their home. Men’s brains are designed to be logical and task-oriented, both great leadership qualities. It is apparent that God designed men to take authority over their household from the beginning, but it was to be done with wisdom, love, kindness, gentleness, and discernment.


Bible says in Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” The passage continues to describe how a husband should love his wife as much as he loves himself. A man is designed to love his wife with such an intensity and passion that he would give up his very life for her. This kind of sacrificial, redemptive and unselfish love was to be the checks and balances for the authority given to him over his wife and family.


By virtue of Priority, Position, and the Role, the inherent purpose of all men is fatherhood. Whether a man is married or single, and whether or not he has children, he is designed by God to fulfill the role of father in the lives of those around him. It is his calling to reflect the creative and cultivating nature of God. We must understand the characteristics and master the skills of fatherhood. In other words father is   source, nourisher, sustainer, protector, teacher, leader, head, caring one, and developer. Fulfilling the position and role male were created for means exhibiting qualities of leadership, integrity, responsibility, and obedience to the ultimate Father of fathers—our Father God in heaven.


In Genesis 2:18 we read that “The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a companion for him who corresponds to him."


God looked at Adam and knew that he needed a partner who was a perfect fit for him. So, he caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep, took out a rib from his side, and formed Eve. As usual, this act by God was one that had more meaning than what meets the eye. Marquerite De Valois, rightly said “it is a perfect sum of the scene, “Woman was taken out of man; not out of his head to top him, nor out of his feet to be trampled underfoot; but out of his side to be equal to him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be loved.”
The fact that God refers to a woman as “a partner fit for him” in Genesis 2:18 speaks volumes to His intent for her. He obviously designed women to come alongside of men, honoring their authority, respecting them, and being supportive helpmates. Being a helpmate does not mean that a woman is less than man; it simply means she is complimentary. Women were created to be relational, nurturing beings. Physically and mentally our biological composition confirms this helpful, caring role. God knew that the man’s strength needed a nurturing counterpart.


Ephesians 5:22 – 24 gives these instructions for women, “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their own husbands in everything.” this is not meant to indicate that women are to be the doormat in the relationship. Quite the opposite in respect and reverence for the leadership and authority of her husband, the wife chooses to come alongside of him and allow him to do his job while supporting him. It’s not a lesser position; it’s a complimentary inner strength to the man’s outer strength. Husband must not exert his authority over his wife by words or actions that demean her dignity as a person of equal value and worth before God; and that a man can serve his family better by attending to his own needs first than by putting his family's needs first.
God knew what He was doing when He designed man and woman. Both are strong and equal but different and complimentary. It’s the perfect union. The problem with all of this is that sin entered the picture, distorting and skewing the original design and blueprint for marriage. Men abuse their authority. Women refuse to submit and be a helpmate. Because of these misuses of power and misrepresentation of God’s design for men and women, things have gotten out of hand. Women are rebelling against the authority of men and their God-given supportive role. Men are abdicating their leadership role and responsibilities and lacking in love for their wives.



Men and women are equal but not identical. Each is designed with specific strengths and roles that are complimentary and essential to one another. It is up to each couple and individual to maintain the God-given blueprint of their marriage. It is a daily battle and commitment, but it is the best design possible for a successful marriage.
To be continued….

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