Only a few miles from where I am writing this, a well-learned professor, sitting in his ivy tower of academia, has taken up the cause of the animal kingdom. His strident claim is called "speciesism." It is the assertion that humankind is only one of the many species in the world and does not have the moral and ethical right to view itself as different from other animals or to use other animals for its own benefit. We are merely another branch on the evolutionary tree and should not think ourselves distinct from our less developed relatives.
While this may smell of mere evolutionary rhetoric, there is something far more sinister involved. While it is not likely that the Princeton Professors work will receive universal acceptance, the offspring which result from his teaching are already at work in our world.
What is man? Wherein does he derive his value, if he has any? Are we any different from the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air? The Lord Jesus, disagreeing with the Princeton Professor, said, "How much is a man better than a sheep" (Matt 12:12), and "How much more are ye better than the fowls" (Luke 12:24). The Original Creator has set His value upon humankind and made us distinct and unique among His creation.
Stamped with the image of God, able to relate to God, with individual wills which can be submitted and given to God, and with intelligence to be able to worship God, humankind stands removed by light years from all the rest of creation.
If the tenets of "speciesism" are accepted, then euthanasia, abortion, and mercy killing all become acceptable means of helping society. But if humankind has intrinsic value as a result of unique creation, then these same acts are crimes against God.
But for believers, the truth and its implications stretch beyond merely issues of life and its preservation, into the realm of eternity. With such conferred value in each individual, what about the eternal welfare of each? Is it worth preaching the gospel to see them reached? If man was made to be a worshiper of God and to serve God, do we with patience and tolerance work with believers who may not be as far along the spiritual road of discovery as we think we are? Do we see the value of each person for God - see their value not only as redeemed souls, but as Paul longed to do, "to present every man perfect in Christ Jesus" (Col 1:28)?
"For whom Christ died" (1 Cor 8:11) may have direct reference to a believer, but it is also true in its scope for all humankind who tread Gods earth. May our values ever be adjusted by the Word of God, and our actions be consistent with its teachings.