The Bible says of Leah that she had weak eyes (Genesis 29:17, ESV), a form of physical disability. Apparently, there had been a genetic mistake, a mutation in the process of transmission of life to her, which left a noticeable effect on her phenotype. But her younger sister is said to have been so beautiful in form and appearance that she immediately caught the attention of Jacob, the new addition to their family. Jacob was the son of Rebekah, their father’s sister. He had fled from the wrath of his twin brother, Esau, after defrauding him of his blessing. Within one month of his arrival, Jacob asked Laban for Rachel’s hand in marriage. The dowry for her was 7 years of labor, but at the end of the 7 years, Laban substituted Leah for Rachel, and Jacob had to work another 7 years for Rachel.
Jacob hated Leah and loved Rachel obviously because Rachel was more beautiful than her older sister. Leah deeply felt the pain and frustration of living with a man who preferred another woman to her. Even the names she gave her sons demonstrate her anguish and agony. There was no affection for her. Their marriage was loveless from the beginning. Leah lived under the shadow of her sister as a woman resented by her husband.
Things have not changed much since then. The World Health Organization statistics of 2011 indicate that there are currently more than one billion people, worldwide, who are living with one form of disability or another. That is about 15% of the entire global population. In most societies, disability is associated with stigma. Disabled people have limited access to healthcare and education, which could help them overcome some of the limitations associated with their disability. The lives of individuals with disabilities continue to be challenged not only by their conditions but by the general public’s response to these conditions often manifested in ostracism, stigma, discrimination, and even outright hostility. In countries where there are no systems for monetary assistance for people with disabilities or programs to assist their rehabilitation, disability can be devastating.
Leah manifested amazing fidelity to Jacob even when she knew he resented her. Her devotedness to family life is one of her amazing virtues. Scripture says that when God saw how Jacob hated Leah, He “opened her womb,” and she became the prolific mother of six sons and one daughter. She had hoped this would win her husband away from Rachel seeing that sons were of great value to their fathers in these times. She called her first born son, Reuben (see, a son). Then she had Simeon (God has heard that I was hated). Her third son was named Levi (because I have born him a third son, my husband will be joined to me now). But Jacob still loved Rachel and resented Leah. When she gave birth to her fourth son, Leah shifted her perspective. Instead of pursuing human love and validation, she looked to God who had always loved her. This was the moment when praise was born in her soul and she called her fourth son, Judah, meaning praise. She did not know it then, but this was her moment of triumph. She had just given birth to the ancestor of the Messiah, the Savior of the entire world. God honored Leah’s faith. Her other sons were Issachar and Zebulun. Her daughter was Dinah.
What is ironic about the whole scenario is that while Leah envied Rachel as the object of Jacob’s love, Rachel envied Leah as the object of God’s favor. God’s love is not contingent upon the physical perfection of its object. As a matter of fact, there is no perfection outside of Him, and genetics is never a measure of a human being to God. Leah’s strong faith in God was well-rewarded. It was Rachel not Leah who decided to be accompanied by their father’s idols when relocating to Canaan.
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It is common place these days to hear people say glibly that it does not really matter what a person believes. Just the other day, a colleague reiterated this sentiment to me, to my chagrin because what a person believes can make the difference between life and death, particularly if they take their beliefs them seriously. What if the person’s beliefs place other people’s lives in danger? The situation becomes even more volatile if such an individual occupies a leadership position and wields the scepter of a law-maker or physician or any key position in society. No one who has an understanding of how many lives were snuffed during the antebellum slavery in the United States or during Hitler’s Nazi Germany can say that beliefs do not matter. Hitler convinced his nation that their only hope of survival as the Aryan race was to keep themselves “genetically pure.” This is an idea he gleaned from a scholar who had also taken his beliefs seriously. His name was Charles Darwin. Darwin himself got his concept of racial prejudice from his theory of macroevolution. Hitler took Darwin’s teachings seriously. He found Darwin’s book titled, On The Origin of Species: The Preservation of Favored Races In The Struggle For Life, quite appealing and concluded that one such favored race was the Aryan race and that it was his responsibility to preserve it and develop it into a super race. He was also fascinated by Darwin’s idea of “the survival of the fittest” and decided that the German people were the fittest of all people and determined to protect them from being “defiled” by other races. This is how Hitler interpreted Darwin’s theory “If Nature does not wish that weaker individuals should mate with the stronger, she wishes even less that a superior race should intermingle with an inferior one; because in such a case all her efforts, throughout hundreds of thousands of years, to establish an evolutionary higher stage of being, may thus be rendered futile.”1 Hitler’s theories became the bedrock for the curricula developed for German schools.
Over half a century after Darwin, in the United States, George W. Hunter wrote a biology textbook whose contents were taught in some schools in Tennessee. Here is an excerpt from that book: “At the Present time there exist upon the earth five races or varieties of man, each very different from the other in instincts, social customs, and, to an extent, in structure. These are the Ethiopians or Negro type, originating in Africa; the Malay or brown race, from the islands of the Pacific; the American Indian; the Mongolian or yellow race, including the natives of China, Japan, and the Eskimos; and finally, the highest of all, the Caucasians, represented by the civilized white inhabitants of Europe and America.”2
This is what happens when Genesis 1: 27 is ridiculed and demeaned as a fairy tale. Mankind does not only orphan himself, he also begins to worship himself. As long as macroevolution continues to take precedence over creation, the value of human life will inevitably spiral downwards on all fronts. This excerpt from the Modern Thinker’s Creed poem by Steve Turner aptly puts it:
“…If chance be the Father of all flesh,
disaster is his rainbow in the sky
and when you hear State of Emergency!
Sniper Kills Ten! Troops on Rampage!
….Bomb Blasts School!
It is but the sound of man worshipping his maker.”3
1 Adolf Hitler (1939). Mein Kampf. London: Hurst and Blackett. pp. 162
2 George W. Hunter (1914). A Civic Biology: Presented in Problems. New York: American Book Co. pp. 196
3 Steve Turner (2009). Modern Thinker’s Creed, by Steve Turner. Accessed from http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2281092/posts
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If lawmakers become diehard macroevolutionists, then they would surely believe that there is really not much essential difference between the nature of human beings and that of animals, and that human behavior is actually determined by genetics. How does this perspective affect justice? In 1994, Richard Mobley was tried for the crime of the murder of Domino’s 24 year-old Pizza store manager. The jury sentenced Mobley to death. But Mr. Mobley’s lawyers appealed the sentence to the state supreme court, arguing that Mr. Mobley’s genes predisposed him to violent criminal behavior: “His actions may not have been a product of total free will,” argued Daniel Summer, one of Mobley’s lawyers.1 Crimes in the Mobley family have “been going on for years – aunts, uncles, cousins, murder, rape, robbery, suicide, you name it.” The argument here is that Mobley had no control over his actions because of his genetic heritage!! As a result, he could not be held responsible for his actions since he was a victim of his genes. This kind of reasoning originates from belief in macroevolution. Against this backdrop, what chance does the intrinsic value of human life stand? Remember that macroevolution was first introduced in academia, the field that trains future lawmakers and other key societal leaders and professionals. Consequently, most of them interpret law from a macroevolution perspective in tandem with the positive law model, which rejects the laws of the Creator in preference of laws imposed by human governments.
As macroevolution gained ground, the Creator and what He stands for began to be jettisoned out of the public arena because the two are incompatible. Since then a series of events have been focused on rejecting God’s law. For example, the Supreme Court ruled that devotional prayer had no place in public school classes in 1962.2 Then the following year, the same court ruled against having devotional reading in classes. In 1973, the court scraped off the unborn child’s right to life. Seven years after this, the Ten Commandments were taken out of schools.3 Another seven years later, the court ruled that creation could not be taught side by side with evolution as it was being taught in schools. Macroevolution and evolution in general fast obtained a place on the pedestal as the referent point for societal values and laws.
At the heels of these changes, some scholars postulating evolution began to think they had sovereignty over the fate of human life, and became so bold as to attempt to redefine what constitutes personhood. Peter Singer, an Australian moral philosopher and Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University wrote in 1979 that “Human babies are not born self-aware or capable of grasping that they exist over time. They are not persons,” as such, “the life of a newborn is of less value than the life of a pig, a dog or a chimpanzee.”4 Early in 1972, Michael Tooley made the startling statement that a human being “possesses a serious right to life only if it possesses the concept of a self as a continuing subject of experiences and other mental states, and believes that it is itself such a continuity.”5 Of course, infants do not possess these attributes yet. Another staggering proclamation was made by Jeffery Reiman when he declared that infants do not “possess in their own right a property that makes it wrong to kill them.”6 These are individuals touted as intellectuals who occupy positions of leadership of some sort in our societies. But they would think nothing of snuffing the lives of the most vulnerable among us!!
Against all these attacks on human life, the Word of God resolutely states that, “Before I formed you in your mother’s womb, I knew you,” (Jeremiah 1:5).
1 Edward Felsenthal writing for the Wall Street Journal (November 15, 1994). Man’s Genes Made Him Kill, His Lawyers Claim. Accessed from http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~mobley/RM95.TXT
2 Americans United for Separation of Church and State (2005). Prayer and the Public Schools: Religion, Education and Your Rights. Accessed from https://www.au.org/files/Prayer%20and%20the%20Public%20Schools%2006-11_2.pdf
3 The Supreme Court vs. Faith and the Bible. Article accessed from http://www.blowthetrumpet.org/CourtverseBible.htm
4 Scott Klusendorf (2015). Peter Singer’s Bold Defense of Infanticide. Accessed from http://www.equip.org/article/peter-singers-bold-defense-of-infanticide/#christian-books-1
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Theists and Judeo-Christians believe in the inherent value and worth of human life because they believe human beings are made in the image of God. The sacredness or sanctity of life, therefore, is a derivative. It is a given. We owe it all to God. We are not self-existent. In order to safeguard the sanctity of life, a Moral Code was given to mankind by the Creator. As such, the loss of a human life is always a tragic and traumatic occurrence. Any form of violence against another human being violates that sanctity.
However, the publishing of Charles Darwin’s book titled, On the Origin of Species in November of 1859, brought with it a different teaching and perspective regarding human life. Darwin postulated that humans are only different from animals to a certain degree, but that they are really similar in kind, and that humans are merely evolutionarily advanced. The new teaching gained ground in academia, which is the training and preparatory ground for future politicians, legislators, physicians, educators and scientists-individuals who are entrusted with steering the course of their societies. The emphasis on Darwin’s theory was meant and is still meant to repudiate belief in a Creator and Law Giver. Miraculously though, in spite of the vociferous attacks against it, the sacredness of life has refused to be completely eradicated. It continues to tenaciously survive its ferocious attackers and has impressively withstood attempts to completely erase it from the human consciousness. As a matter of fact, the litmus test for the level of civilization of any society is largely dependent upon its response to flagrant violations of its human lives. But flagrant violations are not the only way that the sacredness of life can be betrayed. It can also be betrayed by the way we think and speak about our enemies; those who are from low socioeconomic statuses, those who think differently from us, the strangers in our midst, the poor, the sinners, those struggling with certain addictions, and the unborn. Against the screams of our consciences, we tend to deliberately exclude them from our fellowship because we are too embarrassed to be seen “hanging out with them.” To scream about the rights of the unborn is a good and laudable, noble thing. But we must also examine our hearts and their posture toward certain population groups and individuals in our midst. When Jesus said love your neighbor as yourself, He did not single out neighbors who are easy to love. As a matter of fact, our level of spiritual growth can partly be measured by how we treat those obnoxious and insufferable people (the annoying bosses and workmates and in-laws) who always rub us the wrong way because we also could be those people to someone else. Those who insist that mankind carries the image of God have an obligation to treat and view all people from that vantage point. Within each human life, regardless of its depravity or strange-ness, glows a luster, no matter how dimly, emanating from the glory of the image of God. That’s why Jesus could cross over a stormy sea to go and restore, and reclaim a single life so terribly ravaged by demons. That’s how valuable life is to Him…and so it must be to those who claim to be his followers, in spite of Darwin’s claims to the contrary…..
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