Just how precious is human life?

An ultrasound scan showing a human life inside the womb

by Lucien Tuinstra

What value do we place on human life—in the womb, and later in life—and what role does our worldview play? A recent news bulletin reported that abortion clinics are seeing a rise in women that use abortion as ‘birth control’ (as a last resort), rather than contraceptives.1,2 The Bible views sex outside of marriage as fornication. However, in today’s society abstinence does not even seem to come into the equation, yet it is the only way to be 100% sure of avoiding pregnancy! The sad fact is that many men and women do not deem the life of the unborn child as something precious.

Atheist view

An unwanted pregnancy means abortion is tragically the first thought that comes to mind for both the pregnant woman and her (usually unmarried) partner. In a society that has left God behind, the answer is to end life if the methods to prevent conception have failed. These men and women do not see the baby as precious, so s/he may simply be discarded. Unfortunately, such thinking is commonplace. Arch-atheist Richard Dawkins has this to say, referring to human life in general:

“Disagreeable as the thought might be to starry-eyed idealists not used to thinking like economists, human life is not infinitely precious. We put monetary value on it.”3

Applying Dawkins’ words to pregnancy, those who find themselves in this position do not even pay the “monetary value” of the abortion. The financial cost, in many countries, is given to the taxpayer, many of whom might be among those “starry-eyed idealists”.

Dawkins’ callous, evolutionary view of life connects with his rejection of the Bible, and God’s image in human beings, as is also clear from agnostic philosopher Michael Ruse:

“There was no original Adam, we are descended from a group of people, and there were sinners before Adam, going back to the monkeys—and they weren’t too well behaved either.”4

The idea is that people are no different from animals. Strangely, some people elevate the value of animals over that of humans.5

Christian perspective

Most accept the killing of animals is morally acceptable (if done humanely), and necessary where human food is concerned. Animals are part of God’s creation and we should not abuse them. However, animal life stands in stark contrast to that of human beings. Only people are image-bearers of God (Genesis 1:27):

So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Atheists deny this, but they are inconsistent; according to Owen Strachan, professor of theology, Grace Bible Theological Seminary (US):

“Although many mouth secularist cosmological and personal formulations, in their hearts they cheat. They treasure the wonder and mystery of this place, and act as if life is purposeful and meaningful. They do so because we are the image of God, and no one can erase this truth. We are stamped by God, and no one can scratch out the seal of God’s making.”6

Do we call these two masses of cells?

Strachan implies that very few actually live as if they are just lumps of cells and matter is all there is—a depressing belief if followed to its logical conclusion.

A YouTube clip shows an abortion-abolitionist man and his sign. Next to him, a person holds a sign saying, ‘PRO-human rights PRO-abortion’.7 She shakes her head vigorously at the suggestion that humans are made in the image of God. The abolitionist follows this truth by asking her, “Why do humans have rights?” The pro-abortionist’s response is telling: widened eyes and a puzzled look. Driving the point home, he asks whether humans are just “masses of cells”. This description—or ‘lump of cells’—is often used for the unborn life in the womb. Thinking materialistically, this term could easily be applied to any person; e.g., the mother of the baby.

Society of death—Word of life

The active, premature ending of life applies also to people other than the unborn. Euthanasia is increasing at alarming rates, and it is not just the elderly. As an example, Canada is ‘progressive’ when it comes to suggesting that people end their lives, rather than caring for those who are physically or mentally unwell, and the terminally sick.

A case in point is Rose Finlay, a paralysed woman who reportedly might have to wait “up to eight months to receive disability support money, but [it] only takes around three months to qualify for Medical Assistance in Dying”.8 Examples could be multiplied, but the point is that once a society becomes detached from God’s Word, the vilest atrocities become mainstream and are almost a given.

The Bible puts the highest price on human life, including the unborn (e.g., Psalm 127:3–5, 139:13–16, Jeremiah 1:5, Luke 1:41, 44). Not only in the Old Testament (an eye for an eye, Leviticus 24:17ff), but most particularly, the price the Lord Jesus paid at the Cross to ransom the guilty (Philippians 2:3–11) and give them life everlasting.

Published: 14 May 2024

References and notes 

  1. Ersoy, S. and van Hulzen, D., Abortusklinieken zien vaker jonge vrouwen die anticonceptie wantrouwen, nos.nl, 12 Jul 2003. Return to text.
  2. Christian Network Europe, Netherlands: contraceptive pill used less, number of abortions rising, cne.news, 15 Jul 2023. Return to text.
  3. Dawkins, R., Flights of Fancy: Defying Gravity by Design & Evolution, Head of Zeus Ltd., London, p. 68, 2021. Return to text.
  4. Michael Ruse, in: Copan, P. & Reese, C.L. (eds.), Three Views on Christianity and Science, Zondervan Academic, Grand Rapids, MI, p. 21, 2021. Return to text.
  5. See creation.com/priceless, for example. Return to text.
  6. Strachan, O., Reenchanting Humanity: A theology of mankind, Mentor, Christian Focus Publications, Ross-shire, Great Britain, pp. 20–21, 2019. Return to text.
  7. AbolitionistsRising, The silence is deafening, youtube.com, 13 Jul 2023. Return to text.
  8. The Christian Institute, Canada is pushing the vulnerable down a ‘euthanasia death funnel’, Christian.org.uk, 15 Jul 2023. Return to text.

Helpful Resources

Is Human Life Special?
by Gary Bates and Lita Cosner Sanders
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Who am I?
by Thomas Fretwell
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