What is the value of a human life? If you were to ask parents, they would be quick to say that their precious tots are priceless. Of course, with time, those little ones find their voices and parents can significantly lower their appraisals! All jest aside; no parent would ever put a price on their kid. Every child has inestimable value. That doesn’t mean, however, that others are unwilling to calculate their worth.
How then does one calculate the monetary worth of a person? A brief, inconclusive, and somewhat unreliable survey (this stuff comes from the internet) provides some answers:
- From a strictly materialistic perspective, a person is worth approximately $2,000. This is the value of the raw materials (calcium, potassium, etc.) that make-up the human body. This means that your body has the same value as a Louis Vuitton handbag.
- From a cost-benefit perspective, a person’s worth is in the vicinity of $8 million. Government agencies (EPA, FDA, etc.) determine the total to regulate how much government spending should be required to prevent a single death.
- From an exploitative perspective, a person is worth $90. Slavery is usually associated with the past, but it is a current and growing problem. With increased global vulnerability the opportunity to enslave others has resulted in huge numbers of people being sold for a pittance.
As believers, this cheapening of a human life appalls us—we are more than a commodity. But even secular humanists assume human worth is sacred (see the irony?). What we can bring to the debate is a reason for our belief. The scriptures teach us that our dignity is woven into our design. Made in the image of God (Gen 1:27), we are the pinnacle of creation, God’s most prized possession.
His love for us is so great that he gave his only begotten son to die on our behalf. Jesus, who was perfectly loved by the Father, was sacrificed so that you could be rescued. How much are you worth? I can’t tell. There is no way to quantify the value of the cross.