April 2012 – Connecting the dots has been a familiar activity in children’s books for generations. The idea is to follow a series of numbered dots, drawing a single line to create a picture. Having been active in life issues for a number of years, AFA’s Homeschool Channel director Paul Bass began to connect some dots of his own and the emerging picture was not encouraging.
Bass began to see that culture’s debate on life issues did not begin with Roe v Wade in 1973. It began much earlier than that. Even though the ideas were present before, the pivotal event that kicked off the debate occurred November 24, 1859, when Charles Darwin published his work On the Origin of Species. Bass saw how many in the church have allowed Darwinian thoughts on evolution to change or alter their view of life and, in turn, life issues.
Thus Bass began to develop the concept for Life: The Priceless Gift, a series of eight 40-minute DVDs. To fully develop this idea and to present the truth, Bass asked experts to discuss life issues from theological, legal, historical, biblical and ethical points of view.
One of those experts from the medical community was Dr. Tommy Mitchell, who has practiced medicine for over 20 years and is currently a full-time speaker and representative for Answers in Genesis.
“I was a theistic evolutionist for years,” Mitchell told AFA Journal. “I was taught evolution in school and came to understand that God created everything and then used evolution to develop life on earth. I simply accepted evolution as an absolute truth. However, later in life, I really began to study the Bible and I remember telling God that what He was saying in His word was not what I knew to be fact.
“What God slowly revealed, after exposing my pride, was that if somebody accepts an evolutionary worldview, they must look at man and see that he is just the latest product of evolution. Therefore, man is just an animal and has no intrinsic value. This has obvious relation to cultural issues like abortion. If we are animals, why is abortion wrong? After all, we get rid of stray cats; can’t we get rid of stray kids?”
Dr. David Menton is another expert Bass spoke with. Menton was on the faculty of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, for 34 years, where he headed the histology department, in which students studied the microscopic anatomy of cells and the tissue of plants and animals. He also spent time working with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. He saw a different, theological reason for how evolution strongly influences culture’s views on life issues.
In an interview with AFA Journal, Menton said, “Essentially, evolution makes death natural. Think of Adam and Eve. Before they sinned, there was no such thing as death. After the fall, they became enemies of God and their whole relationship with God was destroyed.
“That should have been the end of the human race. But right after that, God promised a Savior. When people start understanding that sin introduced death and when the church starts teaching how serious sin and death are, everything begins to fall into place. The problem with evolution is that it makes death natural, instead of its coming into the world as a direct consequence of the great fall of man.”
If the church has been unable or unwilling to identify the connection between Darwinian views and life issues, how can anyone expect culture to?
Life: The Priceless Gift features presentations by Mitchell and Menton. Other scholars in the series include Steve Crampton, a constitutional lawyer, on the legal definition of life; William J. Federer, a historian, on how life has been viewed throughout the history of developed civilizations; and Dr. Georgia Purdom, on when life ends, including a discussion on suicide and euthanasia.
Bass said, “We are aiming this project at two audiences. First, we want churches to embrace this. This is designed to be used in a Sunday School setting or in a small group.
“But the second audience is the family home Bible study. There is nowhere that life is more valued than inside the home. The home is also where God places the heaviest responsibility for the education of children. We know that families are not going to bring these experts into their houses for eight straight weeks, so we want to bring the experts to them.”
Human beings like things to be simple. People often tend to oversimplify difficult issues in an attempt to understand them or to dismiss them. It is sometimes difficult to connect the dots in culture and it is even more difficult to rearrange those dots to create a new picture, but that is exactly what this project is attempting to do.
Mitchell said, “We are trying to deal with the most commonly asked questions, the most powerful issues in our society. We are involving issues of the sanctity of life. To me, the biggest single question is, “When does human life begin?” That is the seminal question. If our society gets that right, the abortion problem goes away; the “morning after” pill goes away. But we are still struggling with that. We are trying to play these semantic games with what life is and when it starts.”
The purpose of Life: The Priceless Gift isn’t just to bring information. It is to save lives. Pro-life supporters have been very vocal about the fact that over 50 million babies have been murdered since 1973 through abortion. But what is not talked about as much is euthanasia.
“Throughout the history of man,” Bass said, “we can see where the definitions change to suit the purpose of people in power. Many lives have been lost because believers inside the body of Christ have believed new definitions for old actions. We need to reboot and let the word of God tell us what life is and why it is precious, both inside and outside the womb.”
Mitchell looks at euthanasia through an evolutionist’s viewpoint saying, “If we are just animals, what happens when grandma gets old and cranky and tired? What should we be able to do with her? We should put her down because she has become a useless eater. If you are an invalid and can’t care for yourself, the only justifiable thing to do would be to end your life so the earth’s resources can go to productive bodies.”
While not many are using that argument right now, Mitchell candidly stated, “I’ve been reading medical journals for 40 years. Euthanasia arguments have been present the entire time, but in the last 10 years they have become much more prevalent. It has been smoldering in the journals.”
These scholars and other pro-life advocates hold fast to the scriptural truth that God values human life so much that He takes time to “knit” children together in their mothers’ wombs (Psalm 139:13). He values that time so much that Jesus Himself went through it. At one time, Jesus was a fetus. The culture of death in America will continue until those who wear the name of Christ value life the way the Creator of life does.