Then God said,  “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind…€God made the beasts of the earth, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good.  Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”  And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them…And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.  And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
-Genesis 1:24-31


Herein consist the value and dignity of human life.  I go back to the origin of the globe.  I find that for five days the creative hand of the Almighty is busy fitting up an adobe of palatial splendor.  He adorns it; He hollows the seas for man’s highway, rears the mountains for his observatories, stores the mines for his magazines, pours the streams to give him drink, and fertilizes the fields to give him daily bread.  The mansion is carpeted with verdure, illuminated with the greater light by day, lesser light by night. 

 Then God comes up with the grandest work of all.  When the earth is to be fashioned and the ocean to be poured into its bed, God simply says, “Let them be,” and they are.  When man is to be created, the Godhead seems to make a solemn pause, retires into the recesses of His own tranquility, looks for a model, and finds it in Himself. 

 “And God said, let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness…  So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created them… So God breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life and he became a living soul.”  No longer a beautiful model, no longer a speechless statue, but vivified.  Life, that subtle, mysterious thing that no physicist can define, whose lurking place in the body no medical eye hath yet found out – life came into the clay structure.  He began to breathe, to walk, to think, to feel in the body the “nephesh”: the word in Hebrew means, in the first place the breath of life, then finally, by the immortal essence called the soul.

 The soul enters upon an existence that shall be untouched by time, when the sun is extinguished like a taper in the sky, the moon blotted out, and the heavens have been rolled together as a vesture and changed forever.  It is a transcendent, momentous thing, this living, thinking, feeling, deciding human being.  Your life comes from God; He is its author; it should rise toward God, its Giver, who is alone worthy of being served; that with God it may live forever.

 Man was created to be happy, but to be more – to be holy.  The wisdom of thoseWestminsterfathers that gathered in theJerusalemchamber, wrought it into a well-known phrase, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”  That is the double aim of life: duty first, then happiness as the consequence; to bring in revenues of honor to God, to build up His kingdom, spread His truth; to bring this whole world of His and lay it subject at the feet of the Son of God.  That is the highest end and aim of existence, and everyone here that has risen up to that purpose of life lives.  He does not merely vegetate, he does not exist as a higher type of animal: he lives a man’s life on earth, and when he dies he takes a man’s life to mingle with the loftier life of paradise. 

 The highest type of manhood and womanhood is to be attained by consecration to the Son of God.  That is the only right way.  That is the only idea which you are to take tomorrow into the toils and temptations of the week.  That is the only idea that you are to carry unto God in your confessions and thanksgivings.  That is the only idea on which you are to let the transcendent light of eternity fall.  These powers, these gifts, the wealth earned, the influence imparted, all are to be laid at the feet of Jesus Christ who gave His life for you.  Life is real, momentous, clothed with an awful and an overwhelming responsibility to its possessor.  Nay, I believe that life is the richest of boons, or the most intolerable of curses.

 -Theodore L. Cuyler, The Value of Life


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