Sanctity of Life

Birth and Death

The Bible and the Sanctity of Life

Christians believe in the “sanctity of life”: There is something special and holy about life. For Christians, human life is different because we share something of the nature of God. Genesis describes how God made Adam, and “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.” (Genesis 2:7). This did not happen with the animals and the plants, but only with the human.

Genesis also says that people are made “in the image of God”:

“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

This means people are in some way reflections of God. In humans, something of God himself can be seen. Christians believe that humans have a soul which lives on after the body has died. The soul will be judged by God, and can join God for ever in Heaven. Because people have souls, they must be treated as special; they are different from other species.

Some Bible passages teach that God plans each individual human life, and knows everyone completely. This quote says God has an intimate knowledge of each person, even before they are born:

“You created every part of me; you knit me together in my mother‛s womb. When my bones were being formed, carefully put together in my mother‛s womb, when I was growing there in secret, you knew that I was there – you saw me before I was born. The days allotted to me had all been recorded in your book, before any of them ever began. Psalm 139:13-16

Christians believe that human life is sacred - it is more special than other kinds of life. Other animals do not have souls, and are not made in the image of God, although they deserve to be treated with kindness and respect. Christians believe that God knows and plans every human life.

Valuing human life

God makes and loves each person, so everyone has value: new-born, elderly, healthy, ill, useful members of society or in need of care. So Christians should treat all human life with respect. Some Christians become doctors or nurses because of their Christian Faith: they want to put into practise their beliefs
about the value of human life.

Because God has given life, this means that Christians have a responsibility to take care of themselves. They should do something useful with their lives, not just waste it, and they should take care of their own health and other people‛s. Some Christians, therefore, will not smoke, overeat, drink or take drugs,
because it shows ungratefulness for God‛s gift of life.

“Don‛t you know that you yourselves are God‛s Temple and that God‛s spirit lives in you?” 1 Corinthians 2:16

Jesus showed in his actions and teaching that all people should be valued.

"Love your neighbour as yourself." Mark 12:31

"A new commandment I give to you : love one another as I have loved you." John 13:34

Christians believe that when considering issues on life and death such as abortion, genetic engineering, embryo technology, contraception, euthanasia, suicide and life support, their belief in the sanctity of life should influence their decisions.


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