Santa Clarita Signal • Ethically Speaking Column • For October 17 weekender, 2015
Does Life Matter?
David W. Hegg
Have you noticed the latest proliferating slogan that has become the most talked about issue of our day? I am talking about the “(bland) Lives Matter” declaration where you fill in the blank with whatever cause you champion. It started with “Black Lives Matter” and has been co-opted into “All Lives Matter”, “Christian Lives Matter”, and “Blue Lives Matter” among others.
The idea is to call attention to the haunting feeling we all sense that actually, life increasingly doesn’t matter all that much in too many places, for too many reasons. When a society has to start shouting that life matters it can only mean too many people think some lives don’t.
But here’s my question. Why does life matter? If all life is merely the current result of a random set of chemical processes occurring without purpose over millions of years, then how can one life matter in the greater scheme of things? If life has no purpose, no design, no intentionality except to make the most of our split-second of time as measured against the vast backdrop of eternity, why does it matter?
After all, whatever we call the fertilized egg growing in a mother’s womb, our society now doesn’t consider it a person. It is just a non-viable tissue mass that can be harvested like any other money crop. Apparently fetus lives don’t matter.
And what can we say about those who, in promotion of their own view of which lives matter, go about taking life to make their point? When a police officer is gunned down in protest by those who say certain lives matter, are we too blinded by passion and prejudice to see the abject irony? Nothing shows the meaninglessness of life more than ending it just to make a point.
In spite of all the sloganeering to the contrary, I believe life as a privilege matters less and less everyday in our world. The numbers of those refusing to make the most of their lives are growing, as the rising suicide rate undeniably shows. And if we consider the value of life to be measured only by how we feel or what we can produce, then it comes as no surprise that “right to die” laws are proliferating. Life just doesn’t mean what it once did. Consequently, life is starting to matter less and less.
But this doesn’t have to be the case. Life can matter, and not just as a slogan for some particular cause. Life can matter because it was created purposefully, by a loving Creator who has designed life as a means of representing him. The Bible states God created mankind – male and female – as his image bearers, designed to find purpose in this life and the next. In fact, this life has purpose as a prelude to the next. What we do with these years will make a difference in how we will spend eternity.
So, the question isn’t ‘does life matter?’ but does your life matter? To answer that question we have to search out the answers to other questions such as ‘where did I come from? why am I here? where am I going?’ and ‘what is the grand purpose of my existence?’
Until we can answer these vital questions, we will never be able to give a plausible reason as to why life matters. And until our society quits seeing the question of life as just another political issue to be leveraged for more power, we’ll never be able to say life really matters. To matter, we have to understand its true value, purpose, and design. Until them, the matter of life will continue to be merely the stuff of slogans.