One of the most dangerous things about fudging on the first few chapters of Genesis—or really, on any part of the Bible—is what you lose. See, I do believe that genuine Christians can continue on in their faith in error, sometimes even in serious error. And I’m the first to admit there are undoubtedly some things that I am in error on, perhaps even seriously.
But one of the things we can’t back away from, even when we consider all the weird and wonderful stuff we read in the Bible, is this important passage in Genesis:
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:26-27)
Upon these verses, Christianity’s concept of human dignity cling. They are central to what we believe about human beings (even the awful ones). And the fact that Jesus—God the Son, the second person of the Trinity—would come to earth and take on human form… well, my goodness, that just compounds humanity’s value, doesn’t it? God’s plan of redemption stems even from these verses—they give us the reason why he would send Jesus. He redeems because he loves us in a way that is unique from all the rest of creation. He loves us because of how he made us. And he redeems us in order that we might be as he intended us to be. Russell Moore captured this truth so well in Onward. This is how he puts it:
A Christianity that doesn’t prophetically speak for human dignity is a Christianity that has lost anything distinctive to say. The gospel is, after all, grounded in the uniqueness of humanity in creation, redemption and consummation. Behind the questions of whether we should abort babies or torture prisoners or harass immigrants or buy slaves is a larger question: “Who is the Christ, the Son of the Living God?” If Jesus shares humanity with us, and if the goal of the kingdom is humanity in Christ, then life must matter to the church. The church must proclaim in its teaching and embody in its practices love and justice for those the outside world would wish to silence or to kill. And the mission of the church must be to proclaim everlasting life, and to work to honor every life made in the image of God, whether inside or outside the people of God. A vision of human dignity can exist within the common grace structures of the world, but a distinctively Christian vision of why humanity should be protected must emerge from a larger framework of kingdom and culture and mission. (138-139 [ARC])
You don’t have to be a Christian to be opposed to abortion, for alleviating the suffering of those living in poverty, or wanting to see the end of sex trafficking. But what that conviction is grounded in matters. For the pro-life—and whole life—Christian, we truly do have an unshakeable foundation. Let’s not forget that.