- Chris Ley
Life is Sacred: In the Beginning...
Life is Sacred.
Life, human life, is the most valuable thing on Earth.
In the wake of the Humboldt Broncos tragedy last month, the importance of hockey (which is highly valued in this country) was instantly eclipsed by the immeasurably greater value of human life. As a nation we wept for the families who lost sons and a daughter way before their time, for the children whose fathers would never come home and for the wives turned to widows in a moment. None of us cared one bit about the Broncos playoff hopes.
Canadians couldn’t care less about the missed hockey games as we mourned, rightfully, for the inexplicable and confounding loss of life.
Human life is the most valuable thing on Earth.
Death is unnatural. Saying, “Goodbye” to a loved one always feels wrong - a violation against our nature - because fundamentally we were never intended to have to depart from one another. We were created for relationships that do not end.
God created a good world where life was made to flourish; and no sooner had He made it than humanity screwed it up, turning from God and in an instant “bringing Death into the World, and all our woe”.(1)
We were created to live.
To live eternally;
To live fully;
To live in perfect peace with God and one another.
To flourish in life,
Life is Sacred.
A Christian is pro-life not because we are anti-woman, or anti-freedoms, or anti-death-with-dignity or anti-sex, but because the Lord who we follow and obey is staunchly anti-death.
God hates death. It destroys His Good Creation. It destroys our human experience. It ends relationships. It brings destruction where He intended for flourishing.
God hates death so much that He sent His Son and, ironically, willingly gave him up to death, in order that the whole world may be delivered from death and rescued to enjoy unending life to the full.
Jesus submitted to death, and in so doing defeated it. Death died when Jesus rose.
Jesus biologically rose from death. He resurrected. He died, but then came back to life. And now He is alive as Lord over death.
Our God is anti-death. He hates death. He experienced death. He defeated death. Jesus is for us all the source of complete, never-ending life, so to follow him we must be anti-death and therefore pro-life.
The Beginning of Life
Human life begins at conception.
My wife and I have gone to see ultrasounds of our children in utero over three pregnancies. Two of those children carried full term and we now get to hold them, love them and know them. One of our children died at around the eighth week of pregnancy.
To tell me that child is not worth mourning because they never were is ridiculous. We saw them. We saw their tiny, hardly-formed body. We observed their rapidly-beating heart and their over-sized alien-like head. They were real. We truly were “with child”. It was our child..
After the miscarriage started, I remember the hospital workers talking about Melissa’s body expelling, “The tissue” from her womb, refusing to give our dead child the dignity of calling it a person. It was offensive. It was idiotic. It was our baby. We mourned for them. We still do. And you would too.
Our son Hudson is rambunctious and he loves music. And he always has. He was our first child, our first pregnancy, and we remember fondly feeling him constantly kicking and somersaulting in Melissa’s womb. He woke her up at night. Her diet doubled because he could not stay still. She gained a ton of weight to support his in-utero-exercise-regime! We went to a U2 concert a month before he was born, and he danced in the arena more than anyone else present!
When he was born, he was huge. And he had legs that incessantly pounded like the roadrunner. Our families and friends had never seen anything like it. Neither had we. And whenever music came on, he danced the night away. This kid was either destined for kickboxing or ballroom dancing. And he was that way before he was born.
Our daughter Julia is the exact opposite. Still. Quiet. Contemplative. Joyful. Measured. Music is a background reality that doesn’t require absolute attention. Movement is hard work, and a waste of energy when your parents will dutifully carry you anyways. And she was like that well before she was born.
Our two living children already had their personalities during pregnancy. We knew them before they were born. We had an idea about their interests, their future diets, their size, their mobility.
Children in their mother’s wombs are children. From the first day of pregnancy you are appropriately labelled, “With child.” This is not a new idea, nor is it an outdated one.
When we lose a baby in pregnancy we rightfully mourn. Trust my grossly simplistic and subjective experience: I knew my children before I saw them on their birth day. I know children are children before they are born.
To end a viable pregnancy willfully therefore is murder. We are valuing convenience, autonomy, promiscuity, or parents’ rights above the most basic right of the most innocent and vulnerable members of society.
Human life is precious. Even if it is an accident or an inconvenience or the result of evil. Human life is the most sacred thing we have been given, no matter how we have been given it. To sacrifice human life at the altar of independence, of autonomy, of self-determination, of status or of sexual dalliance is always wrong.
Pregnancy and human life can often arise out of undesired circumstance. A failed contraceptive. One stupid mistake. Alcohol. Rape.
But the life that comes out of it, no matter the initial circumstance – no matter how unwanted or inconvenient - is a precious gift that is worth protecting.
I am pro-life, because my Lord is anti-death. But He is also pro-woman, pro-sex (with a few caveats!) and pro-freedom. And so am I.
Do not tell me that humans choosing to end innocent human life is a good thing. It never is. Not for the murdered victim, nor for the perpetrators.
God wants all life to flourish.
Because human life is sacred.
Note: If you are currently (undesirably) pregnant or have been pregnant and terminated your pregnancy, there are resources and help available to you. The best one I know to recommend is the Crisis Pregnancy Centre in Vancouver, which has free, confidential counselling whether you are pregnant or post-abortion. There website is: http://optionscentre.ca/
Footnote: (1): From the beginning of Milton's Paradise Lost.