As people in our culture argue about pro-life and pro-choice, what we should be asking is, "How does God feel about the sanctity of life?" You may feel differently than somebody else feels, but God, in His unlimited power and infinite wisdom sets the standard for our lives.
A major league baseball player hit the ball far out in left field. Bases were loaded. The one who was on second base made it all the way to home plate and he collided with the catcher. Immediately, the one team yelled, "He's safe, he's safe, he's safe." The other team yelled, "He's out, he's out, he's out". Upon looking at both teams the umpire calmly announced, "He ain’t nothing ‘til I call him."
There are things in the Bible we don't understand and there are some things in the Bible we only think we understand. But there are some things in the Bible we cannot misunderstand. One of the things we can be clear about is how God feels about the sanctity of life.
God makes five statements about the sanctity of life. The first statement explains that the sanctity of life was instituted by God because He created us for His glory.
In Isaiah 43:6-7, He says, "Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth — everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made." NIV
We're told in Genesis 1:27, "God created man in His own image."
As we consider creation around us, it obviously gives glory to God. The antelope of Colorado have eyes that are equivalent to a seven-power binocular and at top speed they can run 70 miles an hour. You also likely already know that whales breathe by taking in air though their blowhole. As the world's largest mammal, they are also unique in that they spend their entire lives in water. But what I found to be most interesting is that when they sleep, half their brain remains conscious. This is because they have to remember to go to the surface to breathe.
Giraffes have a unique circulatory system, too including a heart that can weigh up to 22 pounds. As you can imagine, it takes an incredible amount of blood pressure to maintain blood flow to the brain. In its upper neck, there is a complex pressure-regulation system called the "rete mirabile," which prevents excess blood pressure to the brain when the giraffe lowers its head, but then allows for enough pressure when its head is raised again.
Although all of these are nothing short of a miraculous, biological wonders, the human being is the most unique of all. The sanctity of life was instituted by God because only humans reflect the image of their creator.
The second statement explains that the miracle of humanity begins at conception.
Jeremiah 1:4-5 reads, "Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: 'Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.'" God called the prophet to be His messenger to all nations, before He was born.
Psalms 139:13-16 reads, " You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous — how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed." NLT
God says, "We were knit together, wonderfully complex, woven together, every day of our life was recorded, before we were even born." That's how God feels about the sanctity of life.
Another thing that scripture presents as God's feelings on the sanctity of life: even that which does not seem perfect is precious to God.
In Psalms 127:3, we read, "Behold; children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward."
In Exodus 4, Moses is intimidated by God's plan to use him to deliver the children of Israel from Egypt. In verse 10, it reads, "Then Moses said to the Lord, 'O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant, but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.'"
Consider God's answer from verse 11, "So the Lord said to him, 'Who has made man's mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord?'"
God reminded Moses that it was He who made Moses, speech impediment and all. He has fashioned each individual according to His wisdom. Those who would consider killing a baby because there is a chance it would have some imperfection display a profound ignorance of God's view of the sanctity of life.
This understanding has been perfectly expressed in these words, "My father's ways may twist and turn, my heart may throb and aches. But within my soul, I'm glad to know that God makes no mistakes."
The fourth point explains that God is concerned not just about when life starts but also when it stops. Exodus 21:22-25, we read, "If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely, but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman's husband demands and the court allows. But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise." NIV
The double standards of our laws so bother me. If you are pregnant, and a doctor kills that life in you with your consent, it is called "terminating a pregnancy." If death occurs by an injury due to assault or an auto accident, whoever caused it may be charged with homicide.
God's fifth statement about the sanctity of life is explained by His profound and unconditional love for humanity.
In Psalm 51:5, the writer says, "Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me." NIV
Since the fall of humankind, Every one of us has been a sinner. Romans 3:23 states, "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Romans 6:23 adds, "The wages of sin is death..." That's the bad news. But although the bad news is bad, the good news is good, well in all reality, the good news is really great! God loves life so much that He wants everyone on earth to live eternally with Him. That is why one of the best-known verses in the Bible, John 3:16-17, says, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him."
Jesus Christ saved us by dying for us. He took the punishment for our sin, died in our place, and rose again. All God now asks us to do is to receive His salvation as a gift by trusting Christ to save us.
Jesus says in John 6:47, "I tell you the truth, he who believes in me has everlasting life." NIV
There are some things in the Bible we don't understand. Some things we think we understand. But some things we cannot misunderstand. It is absolutely clear how God feels about the sanctity of life.
The Rev. Dr. Henry "Hank" Rosso is president of Midwest Ministries/Midwest Bible Camp in Watertown.
This article originally appeared on Watertown Public Opinion: The message column how God feels about sanctity of life