Matthew R. Perry

What Value Does Life Have? Lessons From a Polar Bear Cub

In Uncategorized on March 22, 2007 at 1:53 pm

“Feeding by hand is not species-appropriate but a gross violation of animal protection laws.” These are the words of animal rights activist Frank Albrecht. Those are the reactions to a polar bear cub named Knut whose mother rejected him but is now living and being hand-fed by the Berlin Zoo. (Read the article here.)

Not species-appropriate? It’s amazing when we find ourselves clinging to certain theories and forms of what is appropriate, and forget about the lives of those affected by those forms and theories. “If a polar bear mother rejected the baby, then I believe the zoo must
follow the instincts of nature,” Albrecht said. “In the wild, it would
have been left to die.”

Yes, but the bear was not in the wild — the bear was in the zoo. Does life have more value than our theories? If not, what value does life have — and who are we to put a value on it? Who made that rule that we are the arbitors of when life ends and what is appropriate in that realm?

Life has value for those who understand we are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). We are not simply $7.42 worth of minerals and components which come together to make a homo sapien. We have souls and minds created by a life-giving God who instills the preservation of life into each one of us.

And since humans are the only ones created in God’s image, God places prime value on humans. And this is an example of what he has instilled in humans who understand this: life matters, especially the lives of the defenseless. Yet, we must not simply defend the defenseless who happen to be cute and cuddly.

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