The Judeo-Christian worldview teaches that human beings are different from animals not just in degree, but in kind. Animals are creatures, but humans are a special kind of creature, one that is uniquely created in the image of their Creator. Genesis 1:27 says it succinctly: “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”
The other day, I lifted a cabinet in my garage and saw two rats scurry for cover. That’s not good. I don’t want rats tunneling through my house, leaving feces in my garage, or dying behind the drywall. So, I did what every homeowner does and laid two traps. After a few hours, I heard a loud SNAP! Just an hour later, I caught the second one. Problem solved. Not one cop came after me.
If I accidentally hit a toddler with my car, though, that would be a big problem. The police would get involved, and depending on the circumstances, I could go to jail.
Why? What makes rats so trivial and toddlers so treasured? It’s a single thing that makes a world of difference: the image of God (the imago Dei). The Judeo-Christian worldview teaches that human beings are different from animals not just in degree, but in kind. Animals are creatures, but humans are a special kind of creature, one that is uniquely created in the image of their Creator.
Genesis 1:27 says it succinctly: “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” This short verse set the foundation for human rights in Western civilization for the past 2,000 years. It’s why the United States’ Declaration of Independence states that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.”
In its attempt to jettison Judeo-Christian values—and, consequently, the idea we’re made in God’s image—society is removing the sole justification for treating humans the way most people demand they be treated: valuable and equal. If there’s no image of God, it follows that people who identify as gay and lesbian aren’t valuable, African Americans don’t deserve to be treated equally, and you can’t claim there’s a right to an abortion.
It’s the ultimate shoot-yourself-in-the-foot move. People haven’t thought through the implications, so let me spell out the significance of Genesis 1:27.
- Being made in the image of God makes humans valuable. If there’s no God, there’s no chance we’re made in His image. That means we’re the result of an impersonal process like evolution. The same blind and mechanical forces that led to a swarm of mosquitos led to humans. Nothing makes mankind more valuable than the 8.7 million other species on this planet. Had humans never evolved, it wouldn’t have mattered because no species matters more than the next. In fact, to suggest humans are special because we’re humans is to be guilty of a form of discrimination known as speciesism. Only if we’re made in God’s image can we be something different than every other living thing.