Why should we value human life? What is the basis of human rights? Why do we mourn senseless murder? Why prosecute war crimes? What’s the point of defending children from abuse?
Western Civilization has affirmed the innate value of human life for centuries and has the laws to prove it. The Canadian Bill of Rights includes this preamble:
The Parliament of Canada, affirming that the Canadian Nation is founded upon principles that acknowledge the supremacy of God, the dignity and worth of the human person and the position of the family in a society of free men and free institutions.
The answers to the above questions are grounded in an acknowledgement of the supremacy of God! It is the supremacy of God that permits a civilization to declare the dignity and worth of the human person; a privilege not extended to animals and plant life. Civil law is built from moral law and moral law is revealed by God.
A Dangerous Game
Seemingly intolerant of this, Western Civilization is playing a dangerous game that threatens its own survival. Practically speaking, God is no longer acknowledged as the supreme arbiter of morality. Humanity desires to usurp God’s supremacy and make ourselves the ultimate authority. This will surely spell the end of Western Civilization as we know it, because humanity has been proven incapable of moral consistency without an absolute authority to provide moral law.
We Cannot Govern Ourselves
Secular social scientists will deny it. Adherents of false religion will balk at this claim. Atheists will sneer at the need for God. But it’s true. Western Civilization as we know it will end unless we denounce anthropocentric notions that humans are the qualified arbitrators of their own laws. History has proven that humans are incapable of governing themselves without divine intervention. Simply put, we suck at caring for one another. Contrary to the fools of our age that blame religion for war and civil unrest, it is the pure and undefiled religion of the Bible that is the basis for outrage at injustice and the promotion of human worth. It is the Bible that shapes our understanding of right and wrong. Admittedly, false and perverted religion is tyrannical, but so is atheism and humanism. When God’s Word is denounced, denied or relegated to the fiction section of our libraries, humanity goes crazy. Think about school shootings, terrorism, racism, pornography, genocide, suicide, divorce, and pedophilia. Each of these vile sins is a direct denial of the laws of Scripture. They are impossible to hold in check without an acknowledgement of divine moral law. In short, without God’s law, there is no prevailing basis for moral law and without moral law there is no ultimate basis for civil law and therefore no protection for the dignity and worth of the human person.
Throughout history, humans have been incredibly vicious to one another. To call a serial killer, a rapist, a school shooter or a perpetrator of genocide “beastly” is an understatement and an offense to the animal world. We have done things to each other that lions and tigers and bears are even incapable of. We are beyond beastly, and in many parts of our world where God’s Word has not been permitted to shape civil law, there is still no respect of human life at all. The multitude of crimes and the destruction and hatred people have demonstrated to one another is almost beyond comprehension.
We Need a Law-Giver
When you consider the barbarity humans are capable of, it really is amazing that so many countries affirm the dignity and worth of the human person at all. In fact, what you need to know is that the affirmation of human worth is relatively rare throughout history and only flourished in civilizations that affirmed the supremacy of God. Very simply, the uniqueness of Western Civilization’s emphasis on the value of human life is primarily attributable to the Judeo-Christian message of Bible. It was this divine Scripture which formed the basis for the development of western laws against murder, sexual perversion, slavery, abuse of women and orphans, theft, and more. By attempting to eliminate God, we leave ourselves in a moral vacuum where every man does what is fit in his own eyes. Sound familiar? This is what led to the chaotic period of the Judges in ancient Israel. Things only began to take a turn for the better when a divine arbitrator (a king) was appointed to legislate based on God’s absolute law (Jud. 17:6). My point is not to advocate for a monarchy, but to illustrate the need for a legal precedent-setter (whether it be a king, a democratic government, a benevolent ruler, or written legal code) that reflects the moral standards of God. If Western Civilization chooses to take the path of either less God or godlessness, it walks a path that demeans and reduces the dignity and worth of the human person.
Heed the Warning
Let society be warned then, that an abandonment of the Judeo-Christian message will leave a moral vacuum that will lead to the eventual demise of moral law and therefore the dignity and worth of the human person. Our collective belief in the innate value of human beings is not sustainable through the use of anti-bullying training, diversity training, political maneuvering, flag raisings, harsher penalties, rehabilitation programs, or better education. All of these are foundationless without the acknowledgement of a supreme being that authoritatively reveals what is right and what is wrong. A failure to acknowledge God’s supremacy is a failure to protect the dignity and worth of the human person. And that makes no sense at all.
“You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you. (Neh. 9:6)