Our God Made Everyone
These are some of the most magnificent words ever composed….
13 “For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.” (Psalm 139:13-18 ESV)
David reflects on God’s care over him his whole life, even when he was in the womb. Get that? Even when he was an embryo in his mother’s womb. Suddenly Psalm 139 has profound ethical implications. Before we get to those, let’s just marvel at the language here.
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.” Realize David is writing this 3,000 years ago. What did they know about how a baby formed in the womb? Yet, isn’t this insightful poetic language? Formed inward parts. Knit together in the womb. Intricately woven. Stitched by the hand of God.
I have personally witnessed two births now and while science has explained so much, there is so much about reproduction, life, and prenatal personhood that remains mysterious. How does life begin? How does personhood and personality from DNA to fingerprints to gifts and talents form over those nine months? Further, modern technology has shown us the frailty and beauty of a baby forming in the womb. Perhaps you’ve seen these, but let the wonder hit you again.
David never had these insights, but inspired by the Holy Spirit, his description is as poetically accurate as anything we could write today. David’s wonder is that even in those delicate days in his mother’s womb, God was there. Watching. Forming. Creating him. His summary is so true; “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
If God is there in the womb, that forming child is more than simply a clump of cells; more than simply a part of the mother’s body like her knee or toe. God himself is forming the child. Every child. Every unborn child is a human being. God bestows the highest honor on human personhood.
“So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27)
Unborn children fully bear the image of God. They are unique and separate from the mother. They have personal DNA, personal blood type, and they are in the mother but separate from her. They are dependent on her but independent of her personhood. They bear the image of God while being formed by the power and presence of God.
Therefore, to destroy an unborn child is to do violence against an image bearer. It is to undo what God is doing, to destroy what God is creating. The Bible calls taking the life of an image bearer murder. This is why Christians must stand for life in the womb and protect the sanctity of that life. An unborn child is being fearfully and wonderfully made by God himself.
Let me ask this question. Is God only forming White children? Is God only making Asian children? Indian children? Black children? Hispanic children? If God forms them in his image in the womb, how should we treat them outside the womb?
It is complete hypocrisy to say we stand for the sanctity of life and then be a racist. The same God that gives the unborn child inherent worth and value in the womb gives born child, teenager, adult or senior citizen the value outside the womb no matter their ethnicity.
This brings us to Charlottesville, Virginia. So much has been said and written since then. When our culture is embroiled in controversy, the church and leaders had better speak or we become irrelevant to the culture we are trying to reach.
Here is where Psalm 139 is so helpful and clear and reinforces the teaching of Scripture. Human personhood is a God-thing from the beginning of our existence. God grants us status as his image bearers. God forms our bodies. God makes us how we are and who we are. Every one of us is absolutely unique and different from any other human being that has ever lived.
So where does racism and bigotry and the impulse to drive your car into a crowd of people come from? Do you remember the temptation Satan gave Eve? If you eat of it, you will be like God. (Genesis 3:5) The deification of “me” and the exaltation of self are at the root of what sin is. We all fall short of the glory of God. How? By seeking the glory of me.
So this feud in our country is not ultimately about White supremacy or Black supremacy or Purple supremacy. It’s not ultimately about the civil war or statues or flags. What happened in Charlottesville is what happens when sinners worship themselves. We deny God by denying the worth of a fellow image bearer.
It is a functional atheism hiding behind a political ideology.
Hear clearly, we condemn it and we must condemn it, but we must condemn it for the right reasons. The right reason isn’t because of where I land in my personal political position. The right reason isn’t because of what color my skin happens to be. The right reason to condemn it is because of the glory of God bequeathed to every human in every womb, every ethnicity, every age and stage, male and female, all valued because of whose image they bear.
Charlottesville was humanity once again acting according to God-denying self-supremacy. Violence and murder is the result. Cain murdered Abel because Abel’s sacrifice was accepted. Cain was a supremacist, he had to be supreme. This isn’t a skin issue this is a sin issue.
Christianity isn’t alt-right or alt-left; it is alt-cross. These moments are great opportunities for the gospel because Jesus doesn’t take sides, Jesus takes over. But he does so with an offer of peace that begins vertically. Peace with God. Peace with this all-knowing, all-present, Creator of all.
“And through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” (Colossians 1:20) This is the alternate or “alt” that Jesus offers. Peace with God through repentance and faith in Jesus and his work on the cross dying in our place. That vertical peace creates an alternate path to peace with others, even those ethnically and socially different from me.
“For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility.” (Ephesians 2:14) Racism denies the will of God to populate heaven with people from every tribe, language, skin color, background and ethnicity. So while we condemn every form of self-supremacy and self-exaltation we also promote and point to a Savior who reconciles us to God and one another.
Finally, we must feel profound personal sadness at all hatred among people but do so humbly knowing that the same seeds of racism, bigotry, and hatred are in all our hearts. This makes the ending of Psalm 139 so fitting.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” (Psalm 139:23-24)
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
© 2017 by Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s website address (www.bethelweb.org) on the copied resource.
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