The nature and  purpose of life has been a doctrine discussed for many years. Life is defined in the dictionary as “the quality that makes living animals and plants different from dead organisms and inorganic matter. Its functions include the ability to take in food, adapt to the environment, grow, and reproduce.” But, what is it, really? “The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.” -Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Philosophers around the world have been asking these questions for as long as humans could think logically. Some would say that the purpose of life is to please a God, while others would say that it is to be happy in the world. The religions of Ethiopian Tewahdo Orthodox Christians and Sunni Islam each give their own definition of the nature and purpose of life of humans being uniquely made in God's image and able to realize divinity. The human is the microcosm of the cosmos, trying to make sense of all things. In Islam and Christianity it is believed that God or Allah created all things with a nature which can be examined when the title of sanctity of life. God or Allah is believed to have created us with a ‘Telos’ or purpose which can be explained with the topic of worship and human sin.

1 of 4

sanctity of life christianity

The sanctity of life is a principle of implied protection regarding aspects of sentient life which are said to be holy, sacred, or otherwise of such value that they are not to be violated. In the Ethiopian orthodox religion life is said to be holy and belongs to God this is suggested in the bible Genesis 9:6"Whoever sheds man's blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man.” The quotation implies the only god can take a life and if a murder is committed it harms God as humans are made in his image.

2 of 4

sanctity of life islam

All Muslims are said believe that Allah is the Creator and the Owner of all life. He starts human life from conception and only He will end it through natural death. The moment of death is fixed only by their Creator. This statement doesn’t necessarily condemn murder but simply states that Allah knows our moment of death. However in the Quran "....take not life which Allah has made sacred" (Chapter 6, verse 151) this suggests that, like in Christianity, the nature of life is holy and belongs to God.

3 of 4

sanctity of life comparison

The Sunni, Islam and the Ethiopian orthodox view on sanctity of life prove to be very similar. For example in the Old Testament “an eye for an eye” was the thing that was thought to be right, so if one was to take a life, the life of another would be taken, this contradicts that the nature of life is holy and belongs to God. Similarly  in the Sunni Islam faith it quotes in Sahih International  5:45- “And We ordained for them therein a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth, and for wounds is legal retribution.” Implying the same thing. However in other parts of the Ethiopian orthodox and the Sunni Islam tradition the nature a of life is fully beheld and proclaimed to be holy and belong to God including “do not murder” which exists in both holy books.

4 of 4


No comments have yet been made

Similar Religious Studies resources:

See all Religious Studies resources »See all Philosophy resources »