Fearfully & Wonderfully Made – The Sanctity of Human Life
O God, our Creator, we give thanks to You, who alone has the power to impart the breath of life as You form each of us in our mother’s womb; grant, we pray, that we, whom You have made stewards of creation, may remain faithful to this scared trust by constantly safeguarding the dignity of every human life.
The theory of Darwinian Evolution rests upon the premise that all biological life, as we know it, is the result of time plus chance plus mutation. In other words, unpredictable, random changes in gene frequency, over millennia, have caused one species of plant or animal to evolve into a new organism. No hint of intelligent design or divine spark lies behind the existence of everything from algae to zebras; life on earth is nothing more than one huge cosmic accident.
As a former biologist, I lived, moved, and had my being in that thesis of life—that was until I stood at my wife’s side and watched our first child birthed into this world. Nothing I learned through my genetic or life history studies with marine invertebrates prepared me for that event, though I had successfully raised sea urchins in the laboratory by stimulating adult urchins to spawn, precipitating fertilization by mixing their sperm and eggs in a petri dish, and rearing the resultant larvae under carefully controlled, environmental conditions, until such time as they metamorphosed into juvenile urchins. No need for supernatural intervention, just good, sound science. Then, again, our newborn son was no sea urchin!
I can remember with great clarity how overwhelmed I was to behold John just seconds after his birth. Totally undone by the intensity and soberness of the moment, I found myself light-headed and had to take a seat on a nearby stool. Although the attendant nurses were certain the sight and sounds of the birth were too much for a young, first-time father, what weighed heavily on my mind and equilibrium was an entrenched scientific understanding that my infant son, like other life forms, was simply the product of time, chance, and mutation. Those few moments in that delivery room after John’s birth changed forever my understating and approach to human life, for I knew unequivocally that my son was no accident.
In Genesis 1:27, we learn that humans are crafted in the image and likeness of God, who has lovingly knit each one of us together in our mother’s womb such that we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:13,14). Therefore, from conception to natural death, human life is anything but cheap, disposable, or simply a matter of choice. Rather it is sacred, for each of us is a unique work of our divine Creator, placed on this earth to worship and serve Him, no matter how far from those purposes our sin and self-will have led us.
As we approach Sanctity of Life Sunday this weekend, let us not ignore the cultural and political influences working relentlessly to desensitize us to the attack on the unborn and elderly alike through abortion and physician-assisted suicide. Let us not turn a blind eye or deaf ear to those least able to help themselves. Instead, let us rejoice in the gift and sacredness of human life. Let us serve as salt and light, doing our part to preserve and protect the most vulnerable of God’s children.
How? Get involved with Anglicans for Life. Write to your senators and congressmen encouraging them to support legislation that protects and upholds the dignity of human life. Offer to volunteer at a pregnancy center or donate your financial support to one of those life-saving organizations. Participate in a local march for life event. Finally let us ask God the Holy Spirit to convict each of us of those words in the Lord’s Prayer which states, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. For if that be our sincere desire, we can in no way support, or surrender to, a culture of death by doing nothing.
Written by The Rt. Rev. John Miller, III. Bishop Miller is the Dean of the Gulf Atlantic Southern Deanery and rector of Christ Church Anglican in Vero Beach, FL.