12-Part Series on Morality (Part 7: The Dignity of Human Life)

Before discussing human dignity, we need to talk about God, His existence and some of his attributes.  First, God exists.  In fact, He is existence itself.  Many times, we accept this statement by faith, but reason also dictates this statement is true.  For proof of God’s existence, please read the Kalam Argument and/or Thomas Aquinas’s Five Proofs for the existence of God. 

Second, if God exists, He must be omniscient (all-knowing), omnipotent (all-powerful) and omnibenevolent (all-good/all-loving).  If He were not these things, He could grow in love, knowledge and power and would, therefore, be subject to change and time.  Consequently, He would lose his eternity and would need a creator.  Thus, God is omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent. 

Now, if God is omnipotent and omniscient, then human beings do not slip into creation without his knowledge or power.  If we do not slip in without his knowledge and power, then He has full knowledge of our creation, and we are not created accidentally.  If we are not created accidentally, then we are created purposely by the knowledge and power of God.  If we are created purposely and we can know and love God, then knowing and loving Him is the ultimate purpose for our creation.  For, if God exists, this must be the rational being’s highest purpose.  

Next, if God is omnibenevolent, then we are created as an act of pure love.  This all necessarily means every human being who ever existed and will ever exist has the common purpose of communing with God in love and knowledge (truth).  If God created us to know and love Him during this earthly life only, there would be no point in knowing and loving eternity Himself.  We would simply die and cease to exist, and knowing and loving God would serve no purpose.  God, however, does not create aimlessly.  Therefore, we are created to know, love and commune with God eternally.

Accordingly, since we have all been created by love and for a common purpose, then we have a common dignity.  Bible verses like Genesis 1:27 and Jerimiah 1:5, speak about humans being made in the image and likeness of God.  The common dignity of being made in his image and likeness means we must respect all human beings because we reflect God through our common nature.  Granted, we exist in a fallen nature, but that does not detract from our true nature, the nature with which God made us.  Rather, we are called to live out our true nature and become increasingly more like Jesus Christ.

In the following four articles, we will look at immoral actions (abortion, euthanasia, artificial insemination and capital punishment) that directly oppose the nature with which we were made and, since we are made in the image and likeness of God, oppose God Himself. 

For more information about this topic, read Catechism paragraphs 2258-2262.