Indeed, life is sacred and life is good, and that is what I want to share it with you and its implications. The Pro-life project, which is the church's mission in protecting human life from cradle to the grave, from womb to the tomb, hinges on these truths: that human life is sacred, and the life is a supreme good.
These two hinges, like faith and reason, are the two wings by which the human person arrives at and affirms his transcendent dignity. While the former has its foundation in the sacred scriptures, the other has its foundation in reason.
1. Life is sacred:
Sacred, no one will doubt, has something to do with holiness. In this context, we are saying that life is a "holy thing" and it has its source from God, the divine being. It is the part of God in man since it is the breath of God that made the man a living being (Gen. 2:7). This, in a way, provides an explanation for the man being in the image and likeness of God. If human life is accorded this primordial privilege of sharing in the image and likeness of his creator, then it cannot but be something sacred unto the Lord.
In addition, "human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains forever in a special relationship with the creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end: no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being".
The sacred scriptures made allusions to this and especially in the laws forbidding the shedding of human blood: "Thou shall not kill" (Exod. 20:13). Even before the Decalogue, the scripture records the implication of the shedding of blood (taking of human life). The famous story of Cain and Abel shows God's attitude towards life (Gen. 4).
2. Life is good:
Many events of life have made many people have many reasons to say life does not worth living. But we, in the pro-life project, continue to say "life is good". This is what not just the scripture informs us about, but our reason assists in arriving at this noble truth.
Two important explanations can assist us in this regard; life is a rationally appraised good and life is a gift from God.
3. Life as a rationally appraised good:
A school of thought holds that good is that which is desirable, and if life is desirable, life is good. If the man loves life intrinsically, then life is good. To avoid the error of inferring that not to desire life means that it is not good, we have to understand the concept of inclination which is a characteristic disposition to prefer one thing rather than the other, not under any force from within or without.
Experience has shown that those who say at one time or the other that life is not desirable are always under one pressure or the other. No one naturally detests life. This is the reason for the natural instinct for survival. The relationship between natural inclination and the object of inclination is what we call right. This means that to say that life is a natural inclination means that it is a right. And this does not depend on any proclamation or declaration from any authority; it is derived from nature itself.
Hence, in talking of hierarchy of right, right to life comes before all. (This is important especially in considering the arguments against abortion and Euthanasia, where people argue for the good quality of life above right to life). According to St. Thomas Aquinas, 'the absence of life is eviler than the absence of integrity of life'. Right to life always proceeds right to good quality of life.
4. Life as a gift from God:
Most religions see life as a gift from God, and that is what it is. The scripture tells us that God breaths into man became a living being (Gen.2:7). We know that life has a characteristic of becoming, from non- being (what does not exist, when not yet conceived) into being (what is, from conception till death) and then into non-being (at death).
This shows that life is contingent (that life cannot or should necessarily be). This further means that life could not have been, but it is. Then the question why? Certainly, another contingent being could not have been responsible. If a contingent being is not responsible, then we talk of a necessary or absolute being. Hence, the possible conclusion is that God is the origin of life.
From our experience, we know that the yardsticks for measuring how good or valuable a gift includes: the personality of the person giving out the gift, the material the gift is made of, conditions or occasion warranting the gift. For instance, it is not uncertain to see our elderly ones holding dearly some of their possessions.
Then if it is a valuable gift from the good God, it cannot but be good.