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Mary Douglas: Easter reminds us the value of each human being is infinite


At Easter, it is the time time to consider what actually went on at that cross – and what that tells us about God’s measure of human worth.

Grassroots Conservatives, together with the Oxford Centre for Religion and Public Life, have just produced a book, Religious Approaches to Human Rights, written by Dr Martin Davie. In preparation for the promised British Bill of Rights, it looks at the contribution made by different religions to the concept of human rights.

Most interesting, to me, is the question that must precede any such discussion: Why does a human being have value? This book, finding secular humanism inadequate as a basis for human worth, asks that question of each religion in turn.

The results are startling. The three Abrahamic religions – Islam, Judaism and Christianity – all recognise that human beings are created by God, but diverge from that point. Islam tells us that we are subjects of God – that the value of each human being is conditional upon submission to God. Judaism and Christianity tell us that, created in God’s image, we are sons of God. He is our Father – therefore our value is not dependent on performance, it is unconditional. Subject / son. Big difference.

And then…

God enters the world, incarnate as Jesus Christ. He shows us what it is be fully human – what that looks like, how we might relate to Him and to each other. And yet, He is fully God. I won’t attempt to explain this here. But what it says about how God sees us is truly mind-blowing. We, human beings, are the kind of creature that God, our Creator, can reveal Himself as…

Furthermore, God as Jesus takes upon Himself all that separates us from Him, and deals with it; at the cost of Himself. He dies. That is the measure of our worth to God: Himself. The value of each human being is unconditional and infinite.

And then….

Death cannot hold Him. Jesus has lived a life totally in harmony with God. He has died on our behalf, for our sin, but there is nothing to hold Him. Hence the resurrection. Easter. The image of God, marred in each of us, has been restored. We are free to live as fully human, in unblemished relationship with Him and each other, should we so choose.

Created in the image of God. Sons of God, valued unconditionally by God, of infinite worth to God. Redeemed, restored, forgiven.

Find me a higher account of human worth than that!

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Mary Douglas
Mary Douglas
Mary Douglas is a Conservative councillor and a member of Grassroots Conservatives.

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