How much is one human life worth? Does it matter if you know the person in question? Is the life of a family member more valuable than a stranger’s life? I have listed some questions and information below in an effort to get us to think about life, and death. While I expect that there are some who will rail against me for posting this, my purpose is not to set down a doctrine; I just want to get people thinking.
Recently Dr. George Tiller, the famous (or infamous) abortion doctor, was murdered. I read a number of comments, by people claiming to be Christians, praising the fact of his death. Most went along the lines that “he got what he deserved.” Dr. Tiller was responsible for performing an unknown number of abortions including controversial “late-term” abortions. Was Dr. Tiller’s death warranted? Was Dr. Tiller’s life valuable?
Soldiers go to war and, under the direction of their governments people get killed. David, in the Bible, was known for being a “man after God’s own heart”. David was also a warrior. A quick cross reference of the key words “David” and “slew” in the Old Testament drew 19 separate verses. 1 Chronicles 18:5 details one time when “David slew of the Syrians two and twenty thousand men.” (1 Chronicles 18:5) David, was a man after God’s own heart. The apostle Paul said, “for he [the king or government] beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.” (Romans 13:4) So it seems that there are times when killing is accepted.
Whose life is of more value, a stranger’s or a family member’s? If someone was breaking into your house, by law in most places you are allowed to defend your self. Yet if this same person were seen walking down the street you certainly would not be allowed to harm him. So it seems that it is okay to defend family and property. Are we, biblically, allowed to place someone else’s life above that of our family, or even our own?
Whose life is more valuable?
Mary (of Nazareth) had a son. He was a wonderful child, and grew to be a teacher and miracle worker. This Son was, in fact, God “manifest in the flesh”, come to dwell with man. (Timothy 3.16) He hurt no one and committed no crime. It is recorded that He healed, cleansed and taught righteousness to every one. He fed the hungry and even raised the dead. How valuable was His life?
I can’t say how I would react if forced to choose between my life and that of someone else. I would like to say that I would willingly lay down my life to save another, but if put in that position, would I? I don’t know. I can’t say how I would react if forced to choose between family, friends and strangers. I pray that I will never be forced to make these choices. I don’t have any answers for most of the questions I’ve posed. But there is one answer that I do have. Jesus’ life was the most valuable of all lives. He was perfect, without even the inherited sin of Adam that we all share. Jesus should have never died. Yet He willingly gave up that perfect life. Jesus knew the value of human life. As God, He created life. Why did He give up His life?
“For God so loved the world, that he gave [the life of] his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) Jesus died on that cross so that our life would never have to end. Jesus was raised from the dead to show that He has overcome death. You and I can live forever, with God, because the most valuable life ever to be born was freely laid down in death.
It is my hope that someone reading this will see that there is more to life than the few years we live on earth. It is my hope that you have been stimulated to look deeper into this subject. I can’t answer questions about capitol punishment or self-defense. But I can say that Jesus’ death was our life.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave [the life of] his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” He did this for George Tiller, Billy Graham and even Adolph Hitler. He did this for you and for me. Not everyone accepts what Jesus did for them, and in not accepting, they miss out on the promise of everlasting life. Think about it, please.