Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in 1973.
Let’s move on, shall we?
But we haven’t. For 40 years the conversation remains irrepressible in our public policy discussion, elections, films, sitcoms, newspapers and coffee klatches. We can’t move on because the issue won’t go away. Our consciences, individual and corporate, can’t let it.
We’re still talking about the sanctity of life because the mere mention of it generates a moral friction on our human souls – souls fashioned after the Creator God who makes human beings distinctive among His created order.
It is this imago Dei – image of God – imbued to human beings (Gen. 1:26-27) that makes us human in the first place. This is the genesis of the biblical worldview: that God created and imprinted His image upon each person, giving dignity and value to every single human life despite its stage of development.
In this biblical understanding, to attack an unborn or any “image-bearer” is to attack the very image of the creator God (Gen. 9:6). Assaulting or enslaving another human being is nothing more or less than an attempt to eliminate the reminder that we are created by and accountable to the one true God.
James tells us we kill because we “desire and do not have” (James 4:1-4). These impulses are birthed and fueled by our Genesis 3 desire to put ourselves in the place of God where no such warrant exists. We do great evil when we use or destroy lives to suit our whims and warped worldviews.
So it stands to us – the redeemed – to pray, defend and cry out for the unborn and oppressed. These fragile image-bearers cannot speak to policies and procedures created by an increasing culture of death, a culture that ruthlessly places human desires on the throne of creation while negating the significance of human life.
Take heart that this Herod-like hatred of human babies and beings is not without precedent in the history of God’s people. Such evil has been faced before, and the Lord has shown a great light and preservation of life in the midst of such darkness.
Russell Moore writes in the March 2009 issue of Touchstone magazine:
The so-called culture of death around us now is no different from that of the past. The hostility to human babies is happening exactly the same way. The Prince of the Power of the Air excites evil passions. Satan uses Pharaoh’s lust for military stability that says, “I don’t want another king,” in exactly the same way he uses a Southern Baptist deacon’s lust for maintaining his reputation to get him to load his teenage daughter into a car and driver under the cover of night to a clinic in a nearby city so no one will ever know she was pregnant. The blood of children flows, but the problem is spiritual to the core.
Like Pharaoh and Herod, we refuse to allow another king to rule on the throne of our lives and will go to murderous lengths to maintain (perceived) control. The depraved human heart is on display for all the world to see in abortion, slavery and human trafficking. Life is given lip service only to be denied true stewardship. The care and defense of life we are to uphold as image-bearers requires a holy love, patience and sacrifice that can only come from outside ourselves in the form of a righteous King.
Our gracious God invited us into the act of creation itself when He said, “be fruitful and multiply” (Gen. 1:28). This is the decree of true “rights.” We are to pray toward and encourage the multiplication of life under God.
Our love of the Lord compels us to keep talking and praying for the sanctity of life to be realized fully by an unbelieving world that suppresses and destroys the image of its Creator. We are called to intercede as the prayerful and public voice for those lives in the balance, for those who are unable to speak up for themselves.
As we pray for the work of God in revealing the sanctity of life to our culture of death, I share with you one of my most resonating petitions: that by the time my 19-month-old son is an adult, abortion would be as alien to him as segregated restaurants for blacks and whites are to his daddy.