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Ask A PastorDecember 23, 2015

Ask A Pastor

Rev. John Campbell, United Presbyterian, Oakdale

The state Attorney General of Ohio is investigating Planned Parenthood affiliates concerning the disposal of the remains of aborted children. “Basically the disagreement is whether disposing of fetuses is humane or not,” an aide said. “The law requires that fetuses be disposed in a humane manner. The Attorney General believes that putting a fetus in a landfill is not humane.”

The question posed: “Is life truly sacred?” Consider the words used above: “aborted children” and “fetus”. From my Christian point of view: Are the remains that of an aborted child or human tissue? If life is sacred then the human embryo cannot be treated the same as human organs such as gall bladders or appendices.

When we as Christians speak of life being sacred, we are coming from the point that God created this world and all that is in it. Yet because God created humans in his own image, humankind has an entirely different status from other animals. Uniquely in the created order, it is human life which is specially protected in the Bible. Genesis 9:6 teaches that human life is precious and that murder is wrong. And in the Ten Commandments the correct wording is “You shall not murder.”

Only people are created in God’s image and have the capacity for a relationship with God. The Bible talks of God knowing an individual from conception, and David said he was “sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” So David was in need of a Savior from the very point of his conception. Psalm 139 records the Psalmist praising God who has “created my inmost being … [and] knit me together in my mother’s womb.”

The incarnation of Christ also points to the sacredness of human life. The life of Jesus Christ on earth began when he “was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary.” The incarnation began with the virginal conception and not in the manger in Bethlehem. God became flesh as an embryo. The writer to the Hebrews is clear that Jesus had to be made like us in every way, sin excepted. As one writer stated it concerning the Son of God’s human life: “the human life would not be complete unless it began in the mother’s womb. At no later time, therefore, should the incarnation be put, but at that moment when the babe was conceived. There, then, should be found the stupendous event when the eternal Son of God assumed our nature, so that from then on He was both God and man.”

Every single human life bears the image of God. It therefore has special intrinsic value regardless of how young, old, able-bodied or disabled that life might be. Although that image has indeed been marred by sin, God’s image is still present in humanity. We are like God, and that likeness means that human life is always to be treated with dignity and respect.

As we celebrate Christ’s birth, let us remember He came to save us because we are created in God’s image.