image of god
Very few people deny that humans have value, but a point of differentiation comes when we pose the question, “What is the value of human life based upon?” Is human value determined by a government, a supreme court, society at large, or is it possibly a social construct? If any one of these institutions are the sole or combined determiner of human value, then we end up with a sliding scale of value that can be placed on individuals. The life of a baby in a mother’s womb or an elderly person on life support may have less value than a healthy working adult. The value of the life is determined by the action taken against the person. If abortion or euthanasia is the chosen course of action, then the life acted upon is of significantly less value than other lives. So, how you answer the question, “What is the value of human life based upon?” is of the utmost importance.
The biblical worldview says that all people, regardless of sex, ethnicity, age, ability, or socioeconomic status have intrinsic value because they are made in the image of God. Genesis 1:26–27 says, “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness’…God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” In light of this truth, there are at least three implications of being made in the image of God.
First, being made in the image of God is the unchanging foundation and basis for human value. The worth of every human is based upon the One who created them, God Almighty. Since God is of infinite worth, so are those who He created in His image. If human value is determined by anything or anyone outside of God, then you will ultimately end up with a changing standard or sliding scale of human worth. The more our society rejects the God of the Bible—thus rejecting that all humans are made in the image of God—the more society descends into moral depravity. The closer we walk with Christ the more we realize not only our worth in the eyes of God but also the worth of every living human soul. God loves you so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to die on a cross for your sins, so you could spend forever with Him, and that love will never change.
The second implication of being made in the image of God is the sure foundation for human dignity. Being made in the image of God tells us that as humans, we have privileges that no other aspect of creation has. We share some of the same character traits that God has; He designed us this way. God is loving; we can also be loving. God is merciful; we can also be merciful. God is just; we can also be just. God has free will, and so do we. We should respect and honor each person because they are created in the image of God. They may not know, understand, or accept that truth, but that does not change that we are all image bearers of God. People can deny the image of God, but they cannot escape the image of God.
The last implication of being made in the image of God is that it is the basis for loving our neighbors. There is never a good reason for one person to diminish the humanity of another. You may wonder, “What is God’s will for my life?” Let me tell you. God created you to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and to love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37–38). This may look different for each of us, and the Lord may give each of us different platforms to operate from, but still, God’s will for us all is to live out the Great Commandment: Love God, Love People.
All human life is special regardless of sex, ethnicity, age, ability, or socioeconomic status, not because of who we are or what we do but because of who God is and what He has done. Human worth is directly tied to the character of God, and this will never change. People are important to God; therefore, they should be important to us.