The Dignity of Human Life
THE IMAGE OF GOD IN “THE LEAST OF THESE”
“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” (Genesis 1:26, 27).
January is Sanctity of Human Life Month. It’s the perfect time to celebrate the many ways God calls His people to protect, preserve, and enrich the lives of children – especially those children our society deems unworthy.
Brian Ivie’s film The Drop Box tells the poignant story of Pastor Lee Jong-rak’s efforts to do just that. In Pastor Lee’s native South Korea, there’s a terrible social stigma attached to unwed motherhood. To complicate matters even further, people in that society feel a strong aversion to any child born with mental and physical disabilities. The result? Outright abandonment of babies born out of wedlock or with congenital deformities of any kind has become a serious problem in South Korea, particularly in big cities like Seoul.
Deeply affected by the plight of these children, Pastor Lee – himself the father of a son with disabilities – has attempted to address the need in the only way he knows how: by installing a baby drop box in his church and taking these little children into his own home.
Why does he do it? Because he believes with all his heart that, social stigmas notwithstanding, every human life is inestimably precious.
Why does he believe this? Because as a pastor and a Bible-believing Christian, he is convinced that every person bears the Divine Image.
To his way of thinking, “sanctity of human life” is more than a slogan, a password, or a vaguely inspirational mantra. It’s a matter of personal commitment, founded squarely on the idea that human life is unique in all creation and sacred in the eyes of God—a concept which in turn provides the foundation for such highly cherished ideals as human rights, human dignity, equality, liberty, and social justice. These principles, which we so easily take for granted in western culture, flow directly from the Christian worldview and the scriptural teaching that undergirds it.
According to Genesis 1:27, we are all created “in the Image of God.” That includes everyone: the born and the preborn, the young and the old, the rich and the poor, the sick, the strong, the disabled, the ugly, the ignoble, and the undesirable. It doesn’t matter who or what you are or who your parents happen to be. It makes no difference what you do, how much money you have, or whether you’re able to make a meaningful contribution to society. In some mysterious way, each one of us is a “copy” or “reflection” of the Creator—a formal, visible, and understandable representation of who God is and what He is really like. And that implies that, regardless of our physical or mental capacities, each and every one of us is capable of enjoying interpersonal communion with Him and with each other for all eternity. Nobody – and that includes the children once forgotten who are currently growing up in the warmth and security of Pastor Lee’s family – is excluded from this glorious prospect.
When the whole world comes to believe this, there will be no more need for baby boxes. Lee Jong-rak looks forward to that day. Until then, we can all get excited about joining him in his efforts to care for outcasts and advocate for orphans around the world.
What better time to start than during Sanctity of Human Life Month?