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Scripture from the NIV® by permission of the International Bible Society

Photos by SuperDuring an interview,1 a famous female

singer remarked how sickened she was

when she heard a news story about

doctors who had used a baboon’s liver to

save a man’s life. “How can you place human life

above every other form of life?” she said. “Who

do these people think they are?”

Who do we humans think we are? If we

listen to the mainstream educators and scientists

in our society, we hear that we are only highly

evolved versions of the bacteria that we trample

under foot every day. These elite intellectuals

have dismissed the once noble idea that men

and women are the cherished fulfillment of an

intelligent design; instead, we are the chance

product of innumerable mistakes.

Each of us must arrive at answers to that

singer’s questions, especially because of the

impact those answers will have on our lives, the

lives of our loved ones, and the lives of every

other human on this planet.

Because our society increasingly accepts the

idea that our arrival in this life is based on little

more than chance, is it any wonder that society

is also approving the idea that our departure

from this life is based on little more than whim?

The unborn, the elderly, the handicapped, the

terminally ill—each has been or could become

the unwary victim of this “easy come, easy go”

philosophy. If we conclude that our presence in

this world is not part of an ultimate plan, then

our forced removal from this world becomes

immeasurably easier to justify.


The Bible has much to say about God’s involvement

in our lives and the sanctity that He gives them.

Just like a potter and his clay, God not only fashions

our lives as we live them day by day, but He

was also planning our lives before we ever

came on the scene.


The Bible says that human life

is sacred because:

God originated human life and

sustains it.

Ecclesiastes 12:7 says that “the dust returns

to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns

to God who gave it.” God originally began life

through the first man and woman that He created

(Genesis 1:26, 27), and He superintends every

life from its earliest moments in the womb

(Psalm 139:15,16). God so thoroughly sustains

every aspect of our life that the Bible says, “If it

were His [God’s] intention and He withdrew His

spirit and breath, all mankind would perish together

and man would return to the dust” (Job



God has stamped His image

upon human life.

The distinguishing factor that sets mankind

apart from baboons, whales, seagulls and all

other animal life is that which forms the most

fundamental part of his being. The Bible says

that “God created man in His own image, in the

image of God He created him; male and female

He created them” (Genesis 1:27). Note well that

this image is bestowed on mankind by his Creator,

not assigned to mankind by other humans

based on a relative standard of individual worth.

In what ways do we see God’s image in the

people He has created? Theologians have for

centuries debated how far that image permeates

our lives, but there are certain areas of common

agreement. Just as God is rational, moral, and

has the ability to make free decisions based on

His reason and conscience, so also we see those

qualities in the people He has created. Self-awareness,

self-sacrifice, intimacy, companionship,

creativity—all of these human traits to one degree

or another testify to the Creator that conferred

them. The Bible also says that God has “set eternity

in the hearts of men” (Ecclesiastes 3:11) so that

mankind is instinctively aware that there is more

than just bare existence, but that there are

ultimate goals and purposes and reasons for life.

This divine image that we bear as humans

gives us value, and it invites God’s concern for

us. Commenting on God’s special care for His

creation, and for men and women in particular,

Jesus Christ said, “Are not two sparrows sold for

a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the

ground apart from the will of your Father. And

even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

So don’t be afraid; you are worth more

than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:29–31).

So precious is this divine image in mankind

that it deserves due protection. Any wanton attack

on men and women created in God’s image

is tantamount to attacking God Himself. So God

commanded, “Whoever sheds the blood of man,

by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image

of God has God made man” (Genesis 9:6).


God has a plan for human life.

We were created on purpose, for a purpose.

David, the Old Testament psalmist, wrote that

“All the days ordained for me were written in

Your [God’s] book before one of them came to

be” (Psalm 139:16). The New Testament is explicit

about our purpose in life when it says

that “[Christ] died for all, that those who live

should no longer live for themselves but for Him

who died for them and was raised again”

(2 Corinthians 5:15).

We might hear the objection that our ability

to bear God’s image in this world is tied directly

to our ability to function at a “useful” level.

However, “useful” is relative, and too often

what is “useful” is defined by what we see when

we look in the mirror. But more than just being

dependent on our ability, God’s purpose in our

life is tied directly to His ability to use us, no

matter what our physical or mental condition.


A Successful Human Being

Marshall and Susan had a daughter they

named Mandy. In God’s plan, Mandy entered

this world with a condition called microcephaly

(small brain). As Marshall described her, “She

would never walk, talk, sit up or use her hands.

She suffered frequent seizures. Cataracts had to

be surgically removed from her eyes when she

was three months old. We never knew if she

could see or hear. Trips to medical facilities happened

so frequently, we started calling these our

Club Med vacations.”

In God’s plan, Mandy lived only two years

before her body was overcome by a bout with

pneumonia. But those two years were filled with

the realization of God’s purposes for her. Christians

in the medical community who treated

Mandy came forward to assure Marshall and

Susan that they were praying for them. She

quickly became “the church’s kid,” often being

passed from lap to loving lap during the

church’s worship services. Strangers would see

her and inquire about her condition, which often

led to the deeper questions of Why does this

happen? What can we learn from her? Where

does the strength come to care for her? Even during

her last hours in the hospital, Mandy was

visited by a stream of people who sensed their

need to be with her, to confess their sins, and to

draw near to God.

After Mandy died, Marshall wrote, “God’s

assignment for Mandy was to live without many

of the resources I previously took for granted.

But His purpose for her was as significant as for

any other. . . .Could a sightless, wordless, helpless

infant who lived to be only two years old

ever be a ‘successful human being’? If success

is fulfilling God’s purposes, I consider Mandy

wildly successful.”

Our human life is sacred not because of

what we can do, but because of what we are.

God has dared to choose “the foolish things of

the world to shame the wise. . .the weak things

of the world to shame the strong. . . .the lowly

things. . .and the despised things—and the

things that are not—to nullify the things that

are, so that no one may boast before Him”

(1 Corinthians 1:27–29). We dare not choose differently,

and we dare not demean those who bear the

Creator’s image and live in the Creator’s plan.


1Michael Specter, “Patsy Cline Meets Judy Garland, “ The New York Times,

July 23, 1992, pp. C1,8.