by Stephen Story
Every January, millions of American Christians observe Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. The annual observance marks the infamous Roe v. Wade decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that legalized abortion nationwide in 1973. Beyond this one Sunday, the issue is given special attention throughout the entire month of January.
Nearly a half-century on, some may wonder why the occasion continues to be memorialized so faithfully. Wasn’t that my parents’ generation? Isn’t abortion just another political issue? What’s the big deal with abortion?
Christians know that abortion is a big deal because it cuts to the very heart of what it means to be human. It undermines the identity and purpose of humanity, and is an affront to the one who made us.
These things are revealed to us in the first pages of Scripture as part of the biblical account of creation.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
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 ESV)
Hand-made by God
Human life takes on unique and special value because of the one who creates and gives source to that life. The more renowned the artist, the more value is placed on his work at auction. What, then, must be the value of a masterpiece hand-crafted by the one and only God of the universe?
The Genesis narrative reveals a life-giving God who takes great delight in crafting ex nihilo each piece of His creation. Things did not come into existence by random chance; God spoke into being every part of the created order.
God’s attentiveness to human life not only was present at the birth of mankind, but continues in a very personal, individualized way with each human being. “You knitted me together in my mother’s womb,” wrote King David (Psalm 139:13).
“So God created man… male and female he created them.”
Abortion is the willful destruction of a one-of-a-kind masterpiece that is being custom designed by the greatest of all craftsmen.
Made to look like Him
Human beings are not just another species in the animal kingdom. People are qualitatively different from every other part of the created order. This is no accident.
“Let us make man in our image, after our likeness,” says the triune God. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him.”
It would be impossible to exhaust the implications of what it means to be made in the image of God. At the most basic level, this means that humanity bears some level of resemblance to the creator. Humans are endowed with characteristics and qualities and capabilities that give glimpses of who God is. We are made to look like him.
This reality is difficult to comprehend, especially from our vantage point on this side of the fall into sin. “Sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” (Romans 5:12 ESV).
The most noble among us are only broken image-bearers, even in our best moments. But God, by His Spirit, redeems what is broken and enables humanity to continue to reflect certain of his divine attributes, albeit incompletely and imperfectly.
When a disaster strikes and we see citizens selflessly rush to the aid of their neighbors, this is what we are witnessing. Human intellect, creativity, morality, capacity for caring and sacrifice — these things are unique to humans and offer small glimpses of what God is like.
Abortion, then, deprives the world of specific people who have been intentionally created to resemble God.
Made for a purpose
God’s image-bearers are designed not for a static existence, but from the beginning have been intended to put their God-mirroring attributes to practical use. God gave people the authority and responsibility to “have dominion” over every other part of his physical creation.
Much is made of trying to find one’s purpose in life. This is a pursuit for which there is an end. While it may take one of ten thousand forms, God intends for the men and women he creates to use their God-imaging attributes to influence other parts of the created world for good.
When a specific human being is destroyed, then, the God-given purpose they otherwise would have fulfilled goes unrealized. This is not just a sentimental pro-life cliché. Who knows if the little girl aborted today would otherwise have grown up to discover the cure for cancer?
Our world needs tending, maintaining, caring for, and fixing. God has provided people as the ones to do these things. What folly to destroy the very vessels of God’s grace, while wringing our hands over the unsolved problems of our time!
Adoption instead of abortion
There are countless resources and many alternatives for those considering the dark path of abortion. The act of selflessly giving birth to a baby and selecting a family to adopt and care for that child into adulthood is one of the noblest and most admirable paths imaginable. This is why Covenant Care exists.
Adoption rejoices over the unique, one-of-a-kind gift designed by God in the form of every single human life. “Children are a gift of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3 NASB).
Adoption protects the likeness of God that is borne by each and every child. “[Jesus] said to them, ‘Whoever receives this child in my name receives me” (Luke 9:48 ESV).
Adoption sees not only today’s child, but tomorrow’s steward of the world. “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:16 NIV 1984).
Yes, abortion is a very big deal to Christians, and it always will be. This is why we work so diligently to offer access to life-giving alternatives like adoption. This is what Covenant Care has been doing faithfully for nearly three decades. By God’s grace, we will continue this work for many years to come.