Summary: I want my audience to better understand the place human life should hold in their thinking and to apply this by putting away hatred and anger and apathy toward others’ lives
Timothy McVeigh, the OK City Bomber. His terrorist attack was the worst on US soil before 9-11, killing 168 people and injuring more than 800. McVeigh was executed June 11 2001. Not only did he confess to his crime, but he also granted 75 hours of interviews for the writing of a book about him.
McVeigh had some things to say: “To these people in Oklahoma who have lost a loved one, I'm sorry but it happens every day. You're not the first mother to lose a kid, or the first grandparent to lose a grandson or granddaughter. It happens every day, somewhere in the world.''
McVeigh had no serious regrets for the 1995 bombing. He called the 19 children killed in that explosion “collateral damage.” His only regret is that it soured people’s view of the bombing.
Dan Herbeck, one of the authors of the book about McVeigh, told Prime Time, "He has never expressed one ounce of remorse for the Oklahoma City bombing," though McVeigh did get choked up when he spoke about once killing a gopher.
Shocking? I want to suggest to you that the average person in America is just a few steps away from the same thing, because we’ve lost regard for the value of human life. All around us are daily reminders of that.
The command that we’re looking at this morning is a call for just the opposite. It’s a call to respect the sanctity of human life. So, this morning, I want to give 3 Safeguards to reinforce the sanctity of human life:
1. A Proper Understanding of Human Life
Command #6 of the Big 10 is simple: You shall not murder. The word is murder, specifically, not just kill. It’s about the destruction of innocent human life.
When we adopt a proper understanding of human life, the command “You shall not murder” is a no-brainer.
But, to get where our society is now in the way it regards human life, there are some important presuppositions that have to be deliberately set aside. The most important and basic one is that God is the author of life. Take away this fact, and none of what I’m about to tell you is true or relevant. So, if you don’t accept what the Bible says about human life – its origin, its uniqueness, its value – then you won’t care much about this. But please do listen, because you’ll need to consider where the alternative leaves you.
I’m assuming that the Bible is right on this one. And that being true, here are some basic truths about human life from the Bible:
1. Human life is God’s creation and therefore God’s possession
Psalm 24:1-2 The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.
It’s by virtue of being Creator that God is our owner and rightful authority.
This is the most primary problem with the theory of evolution, and the driving force behind it. If human life occurred by chance, then no one can have authority over it. Every person owns himself. Every person is the authority of himself.
Alongside much of today’s policy-making in regards to human life issues is the assumption that man is his own god and that no outside entity has the right to tell us what to do.
In your proper understanding of human life, start with this beginning: Human life is God’s creation, God’s possession.
2. Human life is uniquely in God’s image
Genesis 1:26-27 Then 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." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
The Latin phrase is imago dei. It means “the image of God.” I’ve heard different attempts at explaining this. Does it mean that God has 2 eyes, 2 arms, 2 ears? If it does, then monkeys would have the same image too, just with more hair! No, it has to be something more than just our physical appearance, otherwise lots of animals would share the honor of bearing God’s image.
This image of God thing most importantly means that, of all the rest of creation, man is distinct. Human life is different. Only it’s not because of what we’re made of, or even how we look…
Fact is, we all started out as dirt!; (Genesis 2:19) You and Bossie the cow. And we all physically die and physically return to dirt. Physically, we’re actually quite similar. That’s why you dissected a frog or a fetal pig in 8th grade biology! But when it comes to human beings, there’s something different: man is created in the image of God. It doesn’t say that about any other part of creation. God breathed the breath of life into man. It doesn’t say that about the rest of creation. God made man into more than just a physical animal. He made him into a spiritual being with a soul and the free will to choose right from wrong and to freely choose to fellowship with God. It doesn’t say that about the rest of creation.