Summary: Human life is set apart from all other forms of life. L.I.F.E. forms the outline of this message. Sanctity of Human Life Message

Today is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. Consider the paradox of setting aside a day to remember human life.

✎ According to the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (a government agency) many different species of life are endangered or threatened right here in the United States. This is the “box scores” as of September 1, 2003 for endangered and threatened species:

> Mammals: 65 - 9 > Birds: 78 - 14

> Reptiles: 14 - 22 > Amphibians: 12 - 9

> Fishes: 71 - 44 > Clams: 62 - 8

> Snails: 21 - 11 > Insects: 35 - 9

> Arachnids: 12 - 0 > Crustaceans: 18 - 3

>>Total number of animals: listed 388 endangered and 129 threatened. You can check out a daily updated list at their web site:; we all need to be careful not to kill any of these animals or disturb their habitats. Are we making a big deal about the wrong things?

✎ I remember in the early 1980’s the fight against extending Route 8 freeway from Akron to Peninsula because the construction would require a pond to be filled in. This pond was home to three ducks and mosquitoes.

Needless to say we Americans have gone out of our way to protect all kinds of life. However we have overlooked one species: we have failed to protect human life.

What does it mean to say “Sanctity of Human Life?” Sanctity means the quality of being holy or sacred. Put simply then the sanctity of human life means human life is set apart from all other life; human life is unique.

How is human life set apart from other life? God has shown us the answer to that question in His word, so we are going to the highest authority.

As we begin let me make one thing clear. When I talk about life today I am not referring to all kinds of life. I am talking specifically about human life. I’ll let the government and special interest groups take their stand to protect animal and plant life. My purpose is to show us how God has set your life and mine apart from all other life.

As we look to the scriptures today I have chosen to use the word LIFE as an acrostic to help us understand how human life is uniquely different, and why human life should be cherished and defended. LIFE is God’s Special Creation

+ Psalm 139:13-18 13For you created my inmost being;

you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful,

I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you

when I was made in the secret place.

When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

16 your eyes saw my unformed body.

All the days ordained for me

were written in your book

before one of them came to be.

17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!

How vast is the sum of them!

18 Were I to count them,

they would outnumber the grains of sand.

When I awake, I am still with you. (NIV)


David said, “You created me.” Life is not the product of evolution. You and I are not here by chance; we have been created by God.

+ Genesis 1:26-27 26Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." 27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (NIV)

The Message Bible puts it this way: “God spoke, ‘Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our image.’” HUMAN LIFE IS CREATED IN THE LIKENESS OF GOD. You and I reflect God’s nature.

Being created in the image of God is how human life is set apart and different from all other life. You and I reflect the likeness of God. Neither your dog or cat, nor your flower garden can do that. Only one kind of life reflects God’s likeness: human life.

How do we reflect God’s image? David touches on to one way when he said, “You created my inmost being.”

The Hebrew word translated “inmost being” literally means “kidney.” David is playing off a common saying in his day which said our emotions were held in our kidneys in much the same way we refer to our heart. If we say something touches our hearts, we don’t mean our chests have been cut open to expose the organ that pumps our blood, so it can be physically touched. When something touches our hearts we mean it has touched our emotions; it has made us happy or sad.

God has not just made us physical beings, but like God we possess a triune nature. We are created body, soul and spirit. God has made us to reflect His image; no other form of life is made in the same way.

Evolution tears away at the uniqueness of human life. For the evolutionary scientist human life is no different from any other form of life because all life comes from the same origin (whatever that may be).

Evolution not only changes how we think about God (if there is a god at all for that matter). Evolutionary thought changes how we think about ourselves as human beings. This is why many people have no problem accepting abortion or euthanasia.

Dr. Leo Alexander consultant to the Secretary of War in the Nuremberg Trials had extraordinary access to accused Nazi war criminals in the medical community. He wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1949 that compassionate killing of the terminally ill set the stage for the Holocaust:

“Whatever proportions these crimes finally assumed, it became evident to all who investigated them that they had started from small beginnings. The beginnings at first were merely a subtle shift in emphasis in the basic attitude of the physicians. It started with the acceptance of the attitude. . . that there is such a thing as life not worthy to be lived. This attitude in its early stages concerned itself merely with the severely and chronically sick. Gradually the sphere of those to be included in this category was enlarged to encompass the socially unproductive, the ideologically unwanted, the radically unwanted, and finally all non-Germans.”

How much have our attitudes towards life been affected today? Do we believe there is a “life not worthy to be lived?”

Why are children aborted? The Alan Guttmacher Institute which is the research arm of Planned Parenthood, a “Pro-Choice” or what I like to call a “Pro-Abortion” organization has sited the following reasons for an abortion:

> 75% of abortions occur because a baby would interfere with work, school, or other responsibilities of the mother.

> 2/3 of abortions occur because they cannot afford a child.

> 50% of abortions occur because the mother does not want to be a single parent or is having problems with her husband or partner.

> 4% of abortions are the result of doctors saying the health of the mother would worsen if the pregnancy continued.

> 1% of abortions are the result of fetal abnormalities.

> 1% of abortions occur as the result of incest or rape.

C. Everett Koop former U.S. Surgeon General says during his 35-plus years of practicing medicine, “Never once did a case come across my practice where abortion was necessary to save a mother’s life.” Ironically the reasons cited for the fewest number of abortions are often the reasons “pro-abortion” groups will shout as reasons to protect the rights of women to have an abortion. How often do we hear “Every child should be wanted,” or “We must protect the life of the mother?”

Have we as a society believed the lie saying, “There is a life not worthy of being lived,”? Have we forgotten every human life is created bearing the likeness and image of God?


+ Psalm 139:13-14 13For you created my inmost being;

you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful,

I know that full well.

15 My frame was not hidden from you

when I was made in the secret place.

When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,

16 your eyes saw my unformed body.

Human life follows the intricate design of its creator. The working of the human body and the processes of life are truly complex and detailed. We are “fearfully and wonderfully made!”

Pregnancy is counted from the first day of the mother’s last period. This means that at conception the baby is already counted as two weeks old! The development of life is amazing.

At two weeks conceptions occurs; the fertilization of the mother’s egg and father’s sperm join in the fallopian tube to form a unique human being. Forty-six chromosomes combine, which pre-determine all of a person’s physical characteristics. By three weeks the unborn child is only one-sixth of an inch long, but is rapidly developing. The backbone, spinal column, and nervous system are forming. The kidneys, liver, and intestines are taking shape. At four weeks the embryo produces hormones which stop the mother’s menstrual cycle; the mother will soon begin to suspect she is pregnant. In the fifth week, or just 21 days from conception the baby’s small heart has already begun to beat.

At seven weeks facial features are visible, including a mouth and tongue. The eyes have a retina and lens. The major muscle system is developed, and the unborn child practices moving. The child has its own blood type, distinct from the mother’s. These blood cells are produced by the liver now instead of the yolk sac. The unborn child, called a fetus at this stage, is about half an inch long. The tiny person is protected by the amnionic sac, filled with fluid. Inside, the child swims and moves gracefully. The arms and legs have lengthened, and fingers can be seen. The toes will develop in the next few days. Brain waves can be measured.

By the tenth week the heart is almost completely developed and very much resembles that of a newborn baby. An opening the atrium of the heart and the presence of a bypass valve divert much of the blood away from the lungs, as the child’s blood is oxygenated through the placenta. Twenty tiny baby teeth are forming in the gums. At twelve weeks vocal chords are complete, and the child can and does sometimes cry (silently). The brain is fully formed, and the child can feel pain. The fetus may even suck his thumb. The eyelids now cover the eyes, and will remain shut until the seventh month to protect the delicate optical nerve fibers.

The pregnancy then enters the second trimester. At fourteen weeks muscles lengthen and become organized. The mother will soon start feeling the first flutters of the unborn child kicking and moving within. At fifteen weeks the fetus has an adult’s taste buds and may be able to savor the mother’s meals. By the sixteenth week the baby is five and a half inches tall and only six ounces in weight, but eyebrows, eyelashes and fine hair appear. The child can grasp with his hands, kick, or even do a somersault.

At twenty weeks the child can hear and recognize her mother’s voice. Though still small and fragile, the baby is growing rapidly and could possibly survive if born at this stage. Fingernails and fingerprints appear. Sex organs are visible. Using an ultrasound device, the doctor can tell if the child is a girl or a boy. The baby then enters the third trimester and continues to grow and develop until it is time to be born at week 40. (Westside Pregnancy Resource Center:

Too many baby’s never reach their birthday. Their lives are tragically ended. Most abortions take place between week 6 and 12 and are considered routine through the 16th week of pregnancy.

Does an abortion end a human life? Does life begin at conception or at birth? Doctors determine a person to be “alive” if there is either a detectable heartbeat and brain-wave activity. A baby’s heart is beating at week 4 of the pregnancy only 21 days after conception. Three weeks later brain-wave activity is detectable. Most if not all abortions happen in week seven and later when the baby is medically alive.

Dr. Seuss wrote in Hoton Hears a Who, “A person’s a person no matter how small.” The intricacy of human life knit together by God in the mother’s womb is amazing. Not only does human life bears the Likeness of God, and is Intricate in its detail, but there is more.


David wrote, “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” God has a plan and a purpose for each human life. With God no life is an accident.

+ Jeremiah 1:5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." (NIV)

President Ronald Regan said, “If you don’t know whether a body is alive or dead, you would never bury it. I think this consideration itself should be enough for all of us to insist on protecting the unborn.” Too many are willing to end the life of an unborn child with little or no thought.

Not God. The Lord’s thought of our lives are precious. David wrote: “How precious are your thoughts about me O God” (NLT). He sees each life before it is born and establishes His plan for their lives. Every human life is special to God; He imagines what their lives will be before they are born.

Some may argue, “If God ordained all the days of my life, then God must have planned the abortion; God ordained the life to end prematurely.” Abortion and human tragedy is not a result of God’s plan but is a consequence of sin.

Remember human life bears the likeness of God; we are created in His image. Another part of you and I being created in the image of God means we have been given a free will; human beings, like God, have the ability to make choices and to act on those choices.

✎ On September 11, 2001 the world watched in horror as over 3,500 lives were ended at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a rural area of Pennsylvania. Only God knows what it means for those lives to have been cut short; what dreams and possibilities will never happen because 3,500 lives were lost? The world grieves the loss of these lives.

Unfortunately the world does not grieve the other 3,500 plus lives lost September 11th, and again more than 3,500 on September 12th and on the 13th and each day following that terrible day right up to today.

Since the Supreme Court’s ruling January 22, 1973 over 43 million lives have been lost to abortion here in the United States. That’s over 1.3 million per year; over 116,000 per month, over 3,800 per day, over 159 each hour, 3 each minute.

God had a plan for each these 43 plus million lives, but unfortunately their life was cut short through abortion. The foreknowledge of God did not plan their deaths. Their deaths were the result of “misinformed mothers” who made a terrible choice or were pressured by others to “fix their problem.”

Our nation and the world is poorer today because of the loss of life through abortion. God alone knows the plans he had made for each of these lost lives.

How can we judge what a single life lived will offer the world? Consider these “classic cases” for a baby to be aborted:

> Let’s start with a poor family (today they would be added to the welfare lines). A husband and wife who love each other, but already have 14 kids. Now she finds out she’’s pregnant with her 15th. Considering their poverty, and the excessive world population shouldn’t this baby just be aborted for the good of everyone involved? If you abort this baby then you ended the life of John Wesley one of the greatest evangelist of the 19th century and founder of the Methodist church.

> How about this one. The father is sick with syphilis, the mother has TB. They have had 4 children. The first is blind, the second is dead, the third is deaf, the fourth has TB. Now she again. Given the extreme situation, would you consider recommending abortion? If you do then you just took the life of Beethoven one of the world’s greatest musicians and composers.

> A white man raped a 13 year old black girl and she got pregnant. If you were her parents, would you consider recommending abortion? If this baby is killed then we’ve lost Ethel Waters a great gospel singer.

> A teenage girl is pregnant. Although she is engaged to be married her fiancee is not the baby’s father. He’s understandably upset and wants nothing to do with the scandal. Shouldn’t this girl have an abortion and just try to get on with her life? If she had an abortion, then we just killed Jesus before He was even born.

Human life is God’s special creation. Your life and mine bears the likeness of God, our life is created with intricate detail, our life is foreknown and planned by God, and finally:


+ Psalm 139:17-18 17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! [or–CONCERNING ME] How vast is the sum of them! 18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you. (NIV)

The Message Bible puts it like this: “Your thoughts —how rare, how beautiful! God, I’ll never comprehend them! I couldn’t even begin to count them—any more than I could count the sand of the sea. Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with you!”

One further way you and I reflect the likeness of God is we have been created to live forever. Our birth marks the beginning of a life which will never end. It is not a question of if we will live forever; it is a question of where we will live for all eternity.

In Luke 16:19-31Jesus tells the parable of a rich man and a beggar named Lazarus. Jesus says that both men die and are buried; their physical existence on this earth ended, but their lives continued. The rich man is found living a tormented life in hell while Lazarus is comforted in heaven.

“The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 3:23 NIV). God has given us life through the death of His Son on the cross of calvary. Our sins can be forgiven and we can live forever with the Lord!

Psychologist Vincent Rue says, “Abortion has a painful aftermath, regardless of the woman’s religious beliefs, or how positive she may have felt beforehand about her decision to abort.” If you are here today and have had an abortion, you know all about the lingering emotional pain which comes from an abortion. God doesn’t want you to carry that pain. God wants you to find forgiveness and healing at the cross.

+ 1 Peter 2:24 [Jesus] used his servant body to carry our sins to the Cross so we could be rid of sin, free to live the right way. His wounds became your healing. (MsgB)