Is Human Life Holy?

Two Hands Two Generations

(cc) Dino Olivieri – Flickr

[PART 2 OF 6]

What exactly do we mean when we talk about the “sanctity of human life”? Is that even a valid concept?

Princeton University’s online WordNet dictionary defines sanctity as “the quality of being holy”. Holy is defined as “belonging to or derived from or associated with a divine power”.

So the question arises, “Is human life holy?” Does human life belong to, or is it derived from or associated with, a divine power?

According to Genesis 2:4-7, human life originated when God took the lifeless body of Adam which he had formed from the dust of the ground, and literally breathed life into his nostrils.

In Job 33:4, Job said that God made him, and that God’s breath was the source of his life.

The apostle Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus in Acts 17:22-25 and spoke to the Athenians, discussing their idol “To the Unknown God”. He said, “Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you.” He proceeded to tell them about Jehovah God, who he said is the source of life and breath for every human being.

Human life is from God. It is derived from divine power, and is therefore holy. We were purposely created by God and intentionally given life from His own breath. That’s pretty cool! But our value as human beings goes even deeper than that.

God Himself tells us in Genesis 1:26-27 that, not only did He create us, He created us in His image! You were purposely created by God, were created in His image, and were intentionally given life from His own breath. Seems to me like that would make you pretty special! In fact, that makes every human being who has ever been born, and every human being who ever will be born, pretty special.

All human beings were purposely created by God, were created in God’s image, and were intentionally given life from God’s own breath.

Human life comes from God, and is therefore holy.

How much does God value our lives?

When God gave Moses the laws that were to govern the daily lives of His people, the Israelites, He spoke to the intrinsic value of human life when He gave the Sixth Commandment: “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13). It is important to note that “You shall not murder” is a more accurate translation of the Hebrew than “You shall not kill”. Not all killing is murder, and we will discuss some specific examples of that a bit later.

From the Sixth Commandment, however, it is evident that God values human life so much, that when He gave Israel the laws that would govern their daily lives, and from which even many modern-day laws have been derived, He strictly forbade anyone from unjustly taking another’s life. God carried this prohibition against murder into the New Testament, the spiritual law that governs our lives today, when He condemned murder as a work of the flesh in Galatians 5:19-21, stating that “those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

To recap:

Human life comes from God.

You were purposely created by God.

You were created in God’s image.

God intentionally gave you life from His own breath.

God values your life so much that He has strictly forbidden any other person from unjustly taking your life from you.

The concept of “the sanctity of life”, then, is a biblically valid concept.
Paul O'Rear Signature

This is Part 2 in a 6-part series entitled “The Sanctity of Life”.
Part 1: “The Sanctity of Human Life
Part 2: “Is Human Life Holy?”
Part 3: “What About Capital Punishment?
Part 4: “I Wanna Be a Policeman
Part 5: “Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines
Part 6: “Abortion

Next: “What About Capital Punishment?

Photo Credit:

  1. Two Hands Two Generations, by Dino Olivieri (Flickr), Creative Commons License.


  1. Princeton University’s online WordNet dictionary

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