Monday, 5 July 2010

human but not a person?

A recent news Times article reported that "abortion is the killing of a human being but this is less important than a woman's right to control her own life". Abortion is killing but women’s rights rule.

Over three millennia ago God enshrined universal law in a series of instructions given to the people we call Israel. The principles of the law were universal but the Exodus 20 application of it was unique to a group of people who entered into a solemn and binding covenant to keep it. We call it the Ten Commandments, although the full law contained hundreds. The Ten Commandments all deal with a very modern topic 'respect'. The first few commandments are a commentary on the fact the God has rights and that they must be respected. The remainder are based on the principle that human beings have rights and they must also be respected. (Noticeable by their omission are any commandments that deal with 'my rights to my rights'.) These simple commandments instruct me as to how I must respect God's rights and how I must respect the rights of other human beings.

There is an underlying revelation truth which is as the base of all the commandments directed at respecting the rights of others. It is staggering in its simplicity and in its implications. [color=0033FF] “Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man. Gen 9:6 NKJV[/color] Human rights are derived from a very simple truth; human beings are in the image of God and that sets them apart from every other life form.

There are many noble souls who have died for the rights of other people but the only sure foundation of a right attitude to others is the truth that human beings are in the image of God. That means old human beings who no longer have an economic function. It means tiny human beings whose lives hangs by a thread. It means tiny human beings whose presence is an inconvenience to other human beings. It means damaged human beings whose bodies or brains do not function 'normally'.

As mere creatures at the top of some evolutionary pyramid human beings have no more rights than a wood louse. Their only right is their might; their traditional ability to impose their will on other life forms. But if mankind, and even the tiniest scrap of it, is truly in the 'image of God' it must transform forever my attitude to their 'rights'. For those rights are not created by arbitrary judgements of other human beings but are a God given heritage and a God given trust.

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