The subject of medical ethics encompasses crucial topics including abortion, assisted suicide and euthanasia, embryo experimentation, and the use of stem cells.
Beliefs about the sanctity of life lie at the heart of all the ethical debates on these issues.
The incarnation of Christ also has important implications for medical ethics. Jesus Christ reveals not only the nature of deity but also the nature of what is human.
Scripture teaches that human life is precious and that murder is wrong (Genesis 9:6). Uniquely among all creatures only man has the capacity for a relationship with God. Only man has a soul. Only man was made in God’s image, God’s likeness (Genesis 1:26).
Because “God created man in his own image” (Genesis 1:27) he has an entirely different status from other animals. No animal is made in God’s image or has a soul. Uniquely in the created order, it is human life which is specially protected in the Bible.
The fundamental prohibition on killing, and the basis for it, is set out in Genesis 9:6: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.”
Our significance, and so the claim to protection, derives not from our ‘quality of life’ or gifts and abilities, but from our status as being made in God’s image.