Christian teachings on the nature & value of human life

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Posible Meanins of 'the image of God' - 'imago dei


  • Physical resemblence - God's appearence to ours


  • Human life in relation to God - the love we share is love from God


  • Human Domination & Freedom - we resemble God's power through our lives
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The Creation Acounts

Genesis 1:

God created the heavens, night/day and then "God created man in his image"

Genesis 2:

Adam was created first, then all of nature

It was decided Adam needed a partner, so Eve was made for Adam


Gen 1: Men & Women created at the same time after evrything else

Gen 2: Adam first and Eve was created as a partner for Adam

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Human Nature

Christian Theology suggests that humans have a unique nature in creation & are superior over all types of creation

This is because it is said humans have sanctity as we are made in the image of God

As a human we have 2 dimensions:

  • Natural dimension - moral decisions & rational thought


  • Supernatural dimension - where our ultimate aim is to be with God
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Human Condition

God has given us purpose and therefore we should act upon it, and share God's love with our neighbours

Lactantius a Christian thinker said - God made us sacred so we had dignity in comparision to nature

Humans could reject God's love, but they would then be going against their own purpose - and then therefore flawed/imperfect

Protestants - Dignity can be lost when acting sinful

Catholics - We have a stain of sin after Adam & Eve ate the apple

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Human Condition & Ethics

God intended us all to enjoy life together

But Adam's choice of eating the apple meant we have been seperated from God, meaning there is now a gap between us and God

Throughout time we have tried to reach God through work , but we failed to fill the gap

So, God sent Jesus to build the bridge between us and God

Meaning we now see God through the acceptance of Jesus Christ who was sacrificed to let us reach God again

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Original Sin

It is suggested, after the actions form Adam & Eve we have agined original sin which has stuck with us through out humanity

This sin led to men having to work and women having painful childbirth

Because of this original sin (a condition we're born with) we are more inclined to sin, despite having free will to make decisions

- When baptised the vicar washed away any of the original sin that we have

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Free Will - the ability to make our own decisions

Evidence we have Free Will:


 Adam & Eve chose to eat the apple

Made in the image of God so we have the power to make decisions


St. Augustine - Dignity is God given

Aquinas - "man choses not of necessity but freely"

Problems... God is omnipotent and can tell what we are going to do

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Fatalism - the view that everything is predetermin

Evidence to support Fatalism:


Psalm - "The lord guides us in the way that we should go"

Hebrews - "There is nothing that can be hidden from God"


Anselm & Descartes - If God is omniscient then our choices aren't truely free

Problembs...We can not have free will if God is omniscient as he already knows our decisions

MUSLIMS - We have a choice, but God has the final say

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Predestination - Our actions are already predeterm

Evidence to support Predestination:


"God works for the good of those who love him..those he justified, he also glorified" - (Protestants agree)                                                                                                   -  God chooses how peoples lives are planned - "I knew you before the womb"


St Augustine - "The potter has authority of the clay" - God is the potter& has control over us as humans

SKINNER - WE LIVE THE WAY WE DO DEPENDING ON THE CULTURE WE LIVE IN, we don't make a true choic as it depends on the way you have been bought up

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Equality - Race

Equal - "There is neither jew nor greek we are all one in christ"

             We are all made in the image of God

             Story of good samaritan - treat all equally

Not Equal - Dutch Reformed Church,

                  races are not equal - God was the divider

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Equality - Gender

Equal - God says he loved everybody

             "There is no longer male and female as we are all one in christ"

Not Equal - Historically women are expected to stay at home

                   Roman Catholics + Eastern Orthodox don't allow women vicars

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Equality - Disability

Equal - New testement God is a 'wounded healer'

            We have all decended from Adam and Eve

Not Equal - Bible describes Jesus as 'without a blemish'

                   Disability - a punishment from God?

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The Value of Human Life

Value of human life = the worth of our lives

Intrinsic - Life is valuable in itself

External - Life is valuable because of its effects, i.e. on nature

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Christian views on Life

John Paul ||

Man was made to be in a relationship with God,

this is a gift for us as we can share our lives with God

- due to God sacrificing Jesus, because he loved us and wanted us to have the chance to be with him again

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Value Of Life


We are created in imago dei, so life is sacred

Some christians are pacifists & feel killing is never justifiable as life is sacred


"If a single life is saved, it's as if the whole of humanity is saved"

We must take care to look out for the vulnerable


Life may be taken in self defense, but God should only take a life | We are made to have a relationship with God |

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Speciesism & Singer

Singer felt that animals and humans should have the same rights and values to life

Why should we be able to harm animals who also feel pain, they are none the wiser not to kill unlike us - we should treat animals the same as we treat other humans because we are all the same

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