The bitter cold wasn’t the only thing sweeping across the United States last week. Millions of Americans swirled with hot anger and moral outrage when they learned that two different states were taking legislative action to expand abortion access to women.
In recent days, many conservatives watched in horror as state legislatures in both New York and Virginia moved to permit abortions at any point in the pregnancy, even as far as the third term when a developing child can survive easily outside the womb.
With nearly 60 million children aborted since the controversial 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision, how do we stem the tide?
What insights can shift our cultural perspective from death to life?
While many logical and ethical arguments can be made against the practice of abortion, the ultimate argument is revealed in Genesis 1:26-27, where the Bible affirms that all human beings are created in God’s image.
In contrast to those who claim our evolution from a primordial mud puddle, or who believe that we’re just an advanced animal, Scripture teaches that human beings are the pinnacle of God’s creation.
But how exactly did God put His special stamp on people? What is it about humanity that should cause us to appreciate it, rather than abort it?
Here are four unique traits that only human beings enjoy:
1.) A unique morality. All people have been endowed with an innate sense of right and wrong— knowing the difference between good and evil (Romans 2:15). This is something special that neither plants nor animals possess. When a dog bites a cat, it doesn’t think up an alibi to defend its behavior.
But human beings know instinctively that rape, murder, and robbery is wrong. This morality is an essential part of bearing God’s image.
2.) A unique spirituality. Most schools teach students about the human body. But humans also have a soul! The Bible says in Genesis 2:7 that God breathed life into Adam, “and the man became a living being.”
In other words, not only do humans have a physical component— we possess a spiritual component too. It is this spiritual component that helps us interact with a spiritual God. Roses, rocks, and rattlesnakes don’t enjoy the privilege of thinking about God, praying to Him, or giving thanks for daily blessings. Only people have this unique spirituality, such that we even consider the prospect of eternity (John 3:16).
3.) A unique mental capacity. Many experts rave about the intelligence of animals. But no matter how many mazes a mouse can run through or how many signs a chimpanzee can signal to its trainer, you’ll never see a mouse discuss Mozart or a chimpanzee write a novel. It was to human beings alone that God granted the mental powers of reason, logic, problem solving, philosophical thought, and verbal language.
Sculpting artwork, composing music, writing literature, portraying drama, calculating equations — these intelligent abilities were imparted by an intelligent God!
4.) A unique relational ability. There’s something heartwarming about a couple who has been married for 40 or 50 years. Watch them closely, and you’ll see two people who have shared the deepest parts of life.
This privilege of sharing life together is something God hard-wired into our human existence. While it is true that fish swim in schools and sheep gather in flocks, only people can truly listen, empathize, hug, and develop deep relationships.
Nothing is more humbling than the knowledge that we are made in God’s image. Every human being possesses an intellect, a range of emotions, and the will to make decisions — just like God. Scripture says nothing else in the universe, not the stars, the Grand Canyon, or the most exquisite rose, possesses the inherent beauty or incalculable worth of a human person.
Abortion strips away “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” of the smallest and most vulnerable Americans among us.
King David understood this when he wrote, “You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor” (Psalm 8:5).
This is why abortion is such a terrible tragedy and the greatest moral issue of our time. Abortion strips away “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” of the smallest and most vulnerable Americans among us.
But at an even deeper level, abortion exterminates precious human lives who are shaped in the image of their Creator.
Endowed with such dignity, they deserve our best defense.
Pastor Ryan Day is senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, where he has served for 20 years. He is also the featured Bible teacher on the “Preaching for a Change” weekly podcast.