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Written by Ángel Manuel Rodríguez
Why is human life considered so valuable? Like the animals, we live, then die.
Even those who deny the existence of God marvel at the nature of a life in a cosmos that, in what they regard as an accident, is found only on this planet. For those who accept the biblical narrative of Creation, human life is even more valuable and mysterious. Let me share a few thoughts.
1. A DISTINCTIVE ORIGIN OF LIFE In any of its forms, life on this planet is a wonder and a mystery. Scientists are still searching for the origin of life, suggesting that it is part of a cosmic narrative—the narrative of cosmic natural evolution. The biblical description of the origin of human life (Gen. 1; 2) comes to us in the form of a narrative that is simple and profound. God created humans differently from any other life-form on the planet (Gen. 2:7). The text shows that in some ways we are like other living creatures, formed from the ground and having the breath of life (verse 19), but also that we are fundamentally different from them. While God caused animals to form from the ground through His spoken Word and having the breath of life, in the case of humanity He was a craftsman, forming a human being in His image and likeness, then breathing on him the breath of life (Gen. 1:26, 27; 2:7). This life originated in a unique way.
2. A DISTINCTIVE TYPE OF LIFE On the sixth day God created the mind—a self-conscious life that looks at itself and wonders about its creation (Ps. 139:14). The human brain examines itself in the laboratory, and it is surprised and amazed at its own complexity and at the intricacies of its nature and function. It remains a mystery to itself. This unique piece of matter instinctively searches outside itself for ultimate meaning; it searches for mind, not inert matter, to explain itself. It is satisfied when the Lord speaks, revealing to itself its origin and uniqueness. It is also unique in that it can explore the rest of the natural world. There was something wonderful, majestic, and mysterious in nature; and nature was invited to explore itself through the only center of created consciousness on the planet, the human mind. Through this self-exploration, creation was going to be able to uncover the expression of God’s wisdom and power encoded within itself. God created mind to communicate with Mind.
3. A DISTINCTIVE PURPOSE FOR LIFE The fact that human life was created in the image of God implies that humans are to reveal His character. The first time He is introduced to us, God is a person at work, a creative person; the first thing He asked from humans was to be creative and productive. Their work contributed to preserve the beauty and order of nature. During Creation week, God modeled for humanity their role as living creatures. They would be productive during six days, then on the seventh day they were to rest in order to commune and enjoy fellowship with the divine Mind. During the week human productivity would enrich the existence of all creatures by being totally and absolutely oriented toward the other. Human life is actualized through creativity and productivity intended both to benefit others and to glorify God. This is the unique role of human life. At times our lives may not manifest the divine ideal, because selfishness still lingers. But Christ took our unproductive lives upon Himself on the cross in order for us to receive from Him the imputation of His own life, the most creative and productive life in the universe. His sacrifice makes our lives infinitely valuable.