"Then God said, `Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness ...” (Genesis 1:26). "And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being" (Genesis 2:7). "So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him..." (Genesis 1:27). God imagined man, incorporated him, and imbued him with life. On the day of man's making, God blessed the capstone of His creation (Genesis 1:28), teaching us that He who "...forms the spirit of man within him" (Zechariah 12:1) counts His creation valuable. This truth was further communicated in His declaration to Noah: "Surely for your lifeblood I will demand a reckoning; from the hand of every beast I will require it, and from the hand of man. From the hand of every man's brother I will require the life of man. Whoever sheds man's blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man" (Genesis 9:5-6). Clearly then, life is sacred, and its taking no small thing.
The world has forgotten that. "...[E]ven as they [do] not like to retain God in their knowledge, God [has given] them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness...full of murder..." (Romans 1:28-29). According to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia, over 1,200,000 unborn children were murdered in the United States just in 1995 (and that number represents only the reported instances!) (p. 4). Since 1977, over a million such murders have taken place each year in this country (p. 4). Mothers who ought to love their children are killing them. Did not the Scripture rightly say that "...in the last days ...men shall be ...without natural affection" (2 Timothy 3:1, 3)?
Abortion (a euphemism, by the way) is justified by some of its adherents by asserting that human life is not being taken, because human life does not yet exist. Yet, in 1981, after an eight-day hearing concerning the "Human Life Bill" in which 57 expert witnesses gave testimony, the final report made by the Senate Subcommittee read: "Physicians, biologists, and other scientists agree that conception marks the beginning of the life of a human being--a being that is alive ...There is overwhelming agreement on this point in countless medical, biological, and scientific writings" (p. 4).
But abortion is only one part of the whole. Were no more unborn children ever murdered, man's hands would still be covered in violence, for suicide (self-murder) plagues our culture, as well. 30,575 Americans murdered themselves in 1998. "On average, eighteen elderly Americans take their own lives each day." "...[In 1998] the [Center for Disease Control] reported that there were 1.7 times as many suicides as homicides." In the United States more people die from suicide than from homicide. These statistics will only grow worse as we begin to feel the full force of decisions like the one made in Oregon in 1994, to legalize assisted suicide (p.10).
Worthy of mention, as well, is the acceptance that euthanasia (literally, "good death")--the practice of killing those who are by the judgment of the physician, family, or state, no longer fit to live (with or without the patient's approval)--has received in Holland. "One study reported that euthanasia in the Netherlands continued to increase, and that now doctors not only are killing the terminally ill, but also those with chronic, non-life-threatening conditions ...As late as 1995, 1 in 42 deaths in Holland was determined to be an assisted suicide. Even more alarming is the fact that 1 in 4 doctors admits to killing patients without the patient's request or approval" (p.10). Life that was not in their power to give, doctors have now decided is within their right to take.
What drives these people "...who practice such things (that) are deserving of death..." and "...approve of those who practice them" (Romans 1:32)? The answer may be found above: "they [do] not like to retain God in their knowledge ...." (Romans 1:28). Choosing to believe that we are the product of cosmic chance, rather than the creation of God, they have in their own minds done away with the intrinsic value of life. As Robert Reilly stated: "The problem is that, by denying the possibility of a relationship between God and man, atheism also denies the possibility of a just relationship between men ...Human life is sacred only if there is a God to sanctify it. Otherwise man is just another collection of atoms and can be treated as such" (p. 11).
(Many thanks to Brad Harrub, Ph.D. of Reason and Revelation for his article, "The Inherent Value of Human Life", containing research which was liberally used in the above.)