What is real value? Can value be real if it can be given and taken away at will by humanity? History shows a world full of people who think their race is better than another’s. Prejudice, racism, and slavery still abound in the world and yet we all have this idea that this is wrong. How is that? Are we just evolved from the animals and we have our own form of the survival of the fittest? What keeps that mentality from prevailing over the value of every man, woman, and child?
In the popular film I Robot, Will Smith’s character wrestles with the knowledge that a robot calculated the odds of his own survival over that of a small child and pulled him to safety instead of the child. Smith wanted the child, whom he had never met, saved before his own life. He was willing to chance both of their deaths to save the weaker one first.
In an airplane if there becomes a need to put on the oxygen masks the stewards tell the passengers to put it on themselves before putting it on the children and others who need help. This is because it is our natural inclination to protect the weaker not the stronger. The stewards know that if you don’t put the oxygen on yourself first you may not have time to help the weaker ones and they won’t be able to help you. The point though is that we will risk ourselves to help those with less chance of survival. This is not in line with the Darwinian evolutionary progress.
Regardless we hold to the value of life. If life has value regardless of who believes it does, then someone else external to us is giving life value. Time plus matter plus chance is not producing value. If all there is the natural universe which exists as a result of random chance then there is no value to our lives other than what we choose to give it. If we have the power to choose to give life value, we have the same power to take it away for we are not perfectly good people and we will use people for our own needs and thereby rob their value at the will of the stronger.
However, if we have been lovingly fashioned and created by a good God who makes good things then we have inestimable intrinsic value. Each and every human no matter how small or weak or handicapped has priceless value. This is why abuse, murder, discrimination, racism, hatred, unkindness, etc is wrong.
I’m certain some of you are ready to argue that since I said above that humans who give value can just as easily take it away that God could do likewise. In fact, you will further claim that he has reduced the value of life by taking it Himself. So how in the world do I have any grounds to claim God gives us value?
I don’t think anyone can argue though that humans have a birds eye view on life nor are we perfectly good in our thinking and actions. We could and have convicted innocent men. We are not perfectly just in what we do.
However, a perfectly good and holy God would be perfectly just and perfectly good in all of His words and actions. A perfect God would not need to change to be something other than what He has always been for if He is perfect then there isn’t something else better to be and perfection isn’t ever being less than that. So if God created us with value then we really have it and that doesn’t ever change. But God also is just because He is good and perfect and He can perfectly exact justice and when He does so our tainted fallen minds may see it has unjust and we may try and claim He is doing something wrong. But if goodness is that which lines up with Him, we have no grounds in our created selves to declare the only source of real goodness as doing something not good. For we have no other point of reference for the good. He created all, He is the only uncreated Being; thus His goodness is uncreated.
All other references to good only gain meaning in light of His goodness. He has to give it to us from His own goodness in order for it to be so. That is why that which is evil is that which is contrary to Him, for what is in accordance with Him is good. When we alter the point of reference of good to something that is not perfect we create an ambiguous ever changing point of reference which is no real point at all.
Our understanding of what is good will be limited and tainted by our current state of imperfection, but when we join in God’s life by His invitation which He has extended freely He works in us to bring a full restoration of who we were really designed to be. And while He instantly makes us righteous when we accept His invitation, the transformation of the inner reality is a process walked out in time that culminates in a future day where we will fully be restored.