Click here to view CMI's position on climate change.

Is human life special?

by ,

Published: 27 October 2016 (GMT+10)

Humanity seems to repeat the mistakes of history. The last century was the most bloodstained in all human history, mainly attributed to authoritarian governments inspired by evolution’s ‘culling of the weak’.

Today, the sanctity of life is under attack more than ever before. Life in the womb, the life of the elderly, and the life of the disabled and terminally ill is seen as less valuable, even disposable, once it becomes too expensive or inconvenient. Christians decry this cheapening of human life, but based on what foundation?

Because our culture is increasingly devaluing human life, it is more important than ever to be able to ‘give an answer’. CMI has consistently stood for the only logical reason to value human life above animals: human beings are created in God’s image, being descended from the first man and woman, Adam and Eve.

Is Human Life Special? is a small booklet designed to be given away which defends the value of life from a biblical foundation. Among the subjects covered:

  • Who decides who should live or die?
  • Why are humans more valuable than animals?
  • Evolution provides no basis for valuing life
  • Is human cloning right or wrong?
  • Is euthanasia ever permissible?
  • Abortion: what about when the mother is raped, or the baby is disabled?
  • What about gender-based abortion?
  • Is assisted suicide permissible?
  • Life in light of eternity

You will learn how to defend life at every stage from conception to natural death. Also includes an index of verses regarding the image of God in Scripture. Is Human Life Special? is an invaluable resource for pastors and laypeople seeking to advance the sanctity of life.

Preview from Is Human Life Special?


In most Western countries, it is legal for a pregnant mother to get an abortion if she does not want the baby. Some countries have extreme abortion laws which allow abortion past the time of viability, even up to the time of birth if it is believed that the mother’s emotional well-being or health is at stake. This is despite the testimony of many doctors that there is no medical scenario where the abortion of a viable child is necessary to save the life of the mother.

Biologically, it is an indisputable fact that from conception the growing baby is a distinct living organism. The baby will be dependent on the mother’s womb to survive and grow throughout the pregnancy, but this does not detract from the fact that the unborn baby is an independent living being.

With the development of ultrasound technology, it is impossible to argue that the unborn child is less than fully human—and the abortionists know this. One abortionist who kills babies as late as six months along said, “Am I killing? Yes, I am. I know that.”1

We can now see the baby’s heartbeat just six weeks after conception. A baby only a few months after conception can be seen kicking and sucking his or her thumb. And horrifyingly, ultrasound also shows that pre-born babies struggle to try to get away from the implements of the abortionist and scream silently as they are dismembered.2 But so much of this evidence is withheld from the public and many women considering abortions, so they often do not make fully informed decisions. So, many people today still think that abortion is just removing a ‘lump of cells’ or that the baby is less than fully human.3

Because it is impossible in this age to argue that the child is less than human, the debate in recent years has shifted towards ‘personhood’. Abortion advocates will say that because the child is undeveloped he or she is not yet a ‘person’ with rights, or at least any rights the child has cannot overrule a mother who decides she does not want to be pregnant. However, Scripture treats the unborn child as human from conception on. The word that Scripture uses for the child in the womb is the same as it uses for an infant outside the womb. And Scripture never separates the concepts of ‘human’ and ‘person’. So if a baby is a living human being (which he or she demonstrably is from the moment of conception) in the biblical view, he or she is a person whom God the Creator commands us not to murder. This argument about personhood is also very dangerous ground to tread because one could twist such views to apply to children who are a few months to a few years old! And in fact, some people have done this; Peter Singer, the infamous Australian ‘ethicist’, has advocated for parents to be able to kill their new baby up to 28 days after birth.4

References and notes

  1. Graas, L., Late-term abortion practitioner: “Yes I am killing” babies, LifeNews.com, 14 November 2011, lifenews.com/2011/11/14/late-term-abortion-practitioner-yes-i-am-killing-babies. Return to text.
  2. Cosner, L., When does the unborn baby feel pain?, 22 July 2010, creation.com/unborn-baby-fetal-pain-abortion. Return to text.
  3. An idea popularized by flawed illustrations like Haeckel’s embryos—see creation.com/rehabilitating-haeckel. Return to text.
  4. Singer, P., Rethinking Life and Death: The Collapse of Our Traditional Ethics, Prometheus Books, New York, p. 130, 217, 1995; quoted in Flynn, D., Intellectual Morons: How Ideology Makes Smart People Fall for Stupid Ideas, Crown Forum, New York, p. 74, 2004. Return to text.

Helpful Resources

Is Human Life Special?
by Gary Bates and Lita Cosner
US $3.50
Soft Cover

Readers’ comments

Caleb K.
Forgive me, for I have a large amount of ignorance on the subject of philosophy and consciousness of the mind, but the problem I've found when approaching the pro-death culture is not that they deny that their is life in the womb, but rather that the life in the womb is of lesser value. I find that without adopting a biblical perspective it is near impossible to defend human life inside the womb. Allow me to explain. Most people with a Christian background are not opposed to killing animals. Now I've found that the pro-death are relating the unborn to animals, in that they have a lower level of consciousness than a human outside the womb. Thus the value of life and the basis for killing is based on consciousness, rather than the fact that the life is human. Is it possible to create a value for a lesser conscious human life in an evolutionary society which sees humans merely as higher evolved animals without using Christian values? Any insight into approaching this topic would be greatly appreciated.
Lita Cosner
While they are clearly arguing from a wrong worldview, there is a growing number of secular pro-life people who argue for the inherent dignity of human life, and are anti-abortion from that standpoint. Of course, only Christians can explain why human life should be treated with unique dignity.
Robert B.
" the debate in recent years has shifted towards ‘personhood’ "

Indeed the 'personhood' of the unborn is the single relevant issue. The concept of "brain death" was introduced to help us determine what is appropriate way to treat certain otherwise alive bodies. The key question then is, "Are the unborn living persons? Is the activity we see in a fetus indicative of sentience?

Before we answer that question however, we must have enough comprehension of the mechanism of sentience that we can state with certainty whether that mechanism is present in a fetus or not.

In light of our ignorance now however, it seems that the appropriate public policy would be to have a moratorium on ALL abortions until we can be sure that terminating a pregnancy does not kill a sentient being.
Lita Cosner
While this is a good point, we do know for certain that the human in the womb is developing sentience. It is just as illogical to kill the developing child for not being sentient yet as it would be to kill a sleeping person because he isn't displaying sentience at that point.

Comments are automatically closed 14 days after publication.