All life has value

Friday, February 1, 2019

Last week, the New York Legislature passed a bill which Governor Cuomo signed into law that allows abortion for full-term pregnancy in certain circumstances where the life and well-being of the mother is in question. Other states including New Mexico, Vermont and Rhode Island are also in the process of passing such laws. Summarily, other states are increasing protections for the unborn such as Iowa, which passed the “fetal heartbeat” law. That law has since been struck down by Judge Michael Huppert. Judge Huppert wrote that the measure violated the state’s constitution.

There seem to be few issues of our day that cause more division than that of abortion. Both sides are passionate about their position, even stating that God’s work is abortion. And while both sides fight their positions, many women live in regret over a decision they made at a different or difficult point in their lives. For those women, God’s grace is sufficient and he offers forgiveness.

Yet, in all of the banter, what does the Bible say about abortion? The truth is, the Bible is silent because abortion was not an issue at the time it was written. The first campaign against abortion occurred in the early 1800s. And yet, few other issues of our day are directly mentioned in God’s word. Must we read in God’s word that placing children in a car and driving them into the lake is wrong to know that it is?

It seems that one of the background issues of the entire debate about life can be traced back to this simple statement, “All human life has value.” On the surface, that seems like something that everyone can accept, but not so fast. What about the immigrant who seeks access to a better life? Do they have value? Certainly! What about the elderly person who is just days, months or even years away from meeting their creator? Certainly!

Life has value because God says so. In Psalm 139.14, the psalmist acknowledges, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” God, our creator, forms us and makes us in the womb.

Many would say that a life doesn’t actually have value until the person is able to begin writing their own story. And once the person no longer has the ability to write their own story, to live out their journey, their worth has diminished. Certainly not!

Even the weakest, the marginalized, the ones in despair, the “lowest of the lows,” have the same intrinsic value designated by God. Our worth does not come from self, or society, or success, or worldly gain. The value of life comes from the hand of God.

With that understanding of value, we can see it magnified in many scriptures; too numerous to quote all in the span of this column. Even the baby in the womb, John the Baptist, leaped for joy when Mary, the pregnant mother of Jesus, walked into the room. The fetus within Elizabeth knew full well the power of Almighty God abiding within Mary’s womb.

In Jeremiah 1:5, God states, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” Again, God forming. God’s creation has value.

While the act of abortion itself is a relatively new construct, people seeking to go their own way is not a new thing at all. As far back as the munched apple, men and women have been seeking their own way to fulfillment, success, desire and power. Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is always death.”

There is no more direct correlation between this principle of value and this stated way that ends in death than what we see in our culture today. Whether it is the abortion clinic or the dark corner of a suicide victim’s room. The college campus with an active shooter or the basement abode of a gamer playing startlingly realistic games of war. The fact is, every place we devalue life as a nation, we see the effects on our culture. And as far back as the book of Deuteronomy chapter 30 verse 19, we can find a prescription for us, even today, “Therefore choose life that you and your offspring may live.”