This essay delves into the profound concept of human dignity, which emanates from the very essence of God Himself. The human being stands as the pinnacle of God's creation, and mistreating an individual is inherently immoral. Christian anthropology enriches our understanding of the enigmatic nature of humanity. Conversely, modern sciences attempt to explore the human condition through innovative technologies but often fail to acknowledge the intrinsic value of human life. Human dignity originates from God, as we are fashioned in His image and likeness.
Our existence is sacred, marked by supreme purity, owing to the supernatural gifts bestowed upon us, including intellect, which distinguishes us from other creatures and enables us to know and love God. This inherent goodness goes beyond mere attributes, legal obligations, personal merit, or accomplishments. Our dignity as individuals is irrefutable, an essential characteristic inherent in all of us, indivisible from the other fundamental qualities that define us.
The concept of human dignity as originated from God
We are created in the divine image, vested with the authority to rule and fulfill our vocation responsibly, as custodians of the universe. By manifesting qualities such as mercy and fidelity, we mirror God's nature. We possess the ability to cultivate and shape the world according to our needs, a power that reflects God's own dominion as He formed us in His likeness. In fulfilling this command, we participate in the works of the Creator, becoming His collaborators. Through our labor, we find self-realization and further develop our humanity. The ultimate purpose of work centers on personal growth. Another dimension of our vocation is found in the community of people, both men and women. Marriage, as a sacred union, mirrors the mysteries of creation and carries an inherent responsibility. It serves as the vital conduit for life's transmission to future generations. The foundation for this responsibility lies in the Creator's words in Genesis, commanding us to be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth. Thus, a man leaves his father and mother to be united with his wife in a profound bond that makes them one. This sacred union mirrors the structure of communion within the Holy Trinity, as humanity is created in the image and likeness of this divine relationship. Marriage, therefore, serves as the sanctified realm for the conception of new life.
Additionally, from the outset, we are called to live in communion with God, offering ourselves to Him as participants in truth and love. We are innately receptive to God's Word in our lives, becoming conduits to transmit His message to others. Our connection to God propels us to transcend our limitations, constantly striving for growth, seeking renewal and abundance in life. Even the humblest among us can dream the impossible dream and believe in its realization, thanks to God's great gift. Thus, our hearts and minds find ultimate solace in God alone. Furthermore, despite being sinners in a flawed world, our dignity remains intact, and our sacred life must be preserved inviolable. We retain the capacity to reflect God's qualities, and our worth remains boundless, endowed with the greatest gift of all—life itself. Moreover, our closeness to God extends beyond the spiritual realm, as our physical bodies are inseparable from our souls or spirits. Oneness with God is achieved when we unite our spiritual, physical, and human aspects, including our behaviors, characteristics, movements, necessities, and desires. However, the ideal state we were called to at creation was disrupted by original sin. To restore this relationship, God sent His only begotten son, Jesus Christ, to Earth, redeeming us. Christ embodies the new man, reflecting the invisible God and revealing divine mercy and fidelity. He fulfills humanity's destiny to be the glorious and perfect image imprinted in creation. Christ exemplifies God's covenantal virtues through a human framework and exercises dominion in a manner that reflects God's activity in His creation. Therefore, the perfect realization of the image of God lies solely in Christ.
Understanding this foundational philosophy of human life, we explore various ethical issues surrounding the commencement and termination of life, including abortion, euthanasia, and the treatment of vulnerable individuals, such as children, the disabled, and the elderly.
The act of killing an unborn child is unequivocally immoral. We find support for this stance in biblical readings, emphasizing the value of human life and prohibiting the destruction of life by any means. The issue of abortion revolves around when human life begins. Presently, scientific consensus holds that life commences at conception, aligning with numerous texts in Sacred Scripture that affirm the personhood of a fetus within a mother's womb, reflecting the image and likeness of God. Debates surrounding abortion often present two contrasting viewpoints. The pro-choice camp advocates for a woman's right to decide on abortion, while the pro-life perspective asserts that society should prohibit abortion under all circumstances, considering the unborn child as a human being from the moment of conception. The Bible does not offer arguments supporting the idea of pro-choice, leading us to acknowledge that terminating a fetus equates to taking an innocent life, a practice sternly forbidden by the sixth commandment. In this context, we are reminded that God abhors those who shed innocent blood.
Euthanasia, the deliberate termination of a person's life due to severe illness without physical injuries, comes in two forms: active and passive. Active euthanasia is explicitly condemned by the sixth commandment, even if the suffering person requests it. The story of King Saul serves as a clear biblical and moral reference. When faced with grave injuries, he instructed his armor-bearer to end his life, but this was not carried out in accordance with his will (1 Sam. 31:3-5). On the other hand, passive euthanasia involves withholding life-sustaining provisions, such as food, water, air, or artificial life-support technologies, in order to cause death and alleviate pain and suffering. Negligence leading to death is also forbidden by the sixth commandment. Similarly, individuals with disabilities, vulnerable children, or the elderly possess intrinsic worth comparable to all others in society. Their value remains constant regardless of the degree of their suffering. As demonstrated in the biblical context, Jesus extended compassion to people with various afflictions, both physical and spiritual. As Christians, it is essential and profoundly spiritual to show kindness and support to those facing life-threatening challenges, addressing their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.
In conclusion, the study of human beings is an endless journey, investigated through various disciplines such as Christian anthropology, theology, philosophy, and psychology. Each of these perspectives attempts to unravel the complexity of human nature from distinct angles, for human existence defies comprehension through a single lens. Materialistic pursuits alone cannot satiate our lives, as we are rooted in something deeper. True peace and happiness are found only when God dwells at the center of our hearts and minds. To achieve a tranquil existence, we are compelled to obey and heed the guidance set forth in the Bible.
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