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Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, announced the birth of their third child yesterday. They followed centuries of tradition by notifying the sovereign first, in this case, Queen Elizabeth. Per tradition, they also did not reveal the gender of their child until he was born.
The royal baby will have a first name, then two or three middle names, typically names that have been used in the family for centuries. The latest royal baby might not be named until tomorrow, but betting companies have made “Arthur” the clear favorite for his first name.
Carl Sandburg was right: “A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.”
The fragility of life: Four examples
The royal baby’s birth was wonderful news on a hard day.
A rented van plowed along a crowded sidewalk in Toronto yesterday, killing ten and injuring fifteen. Police officers arrested the driver, a twenty-five-year-old man named Alek Minassian.
He is expected to appear in court today. Authorities are still trying to establish a motive for his actions. The tragedy follows several similar attacks in Canada, New York, and Europe.
Meanwhile, Travis Reinking, the gunman suspected of killing four people at a Waffle House in the Nashville area, was apprehended yesterday. Authorities had mounted a massive manhunt for the man.
It’s not yet clear why he opened fire on restaurant patrons, though Metropolitan Nashville Police Chief Steve Anderson said Reinking may have “mental issues.” His bond has been set at $2 million.
And former President George H. W. Bush was admitted to intensive care at Houston’s Methodist Hospital after contracting an infection that spread to his blood. A spokesman said, “He is responding to treatments and appears to be recovering.”
A sacred gift from God
All four stories are evidence of the preciousness and fragility of life.
The first law of thermodynamics is clear: energy can be neither created nor destroyed. Humans cannot make anything from nothing.
Therefore, the royal baby reminds us that we can conceive life, but we cannot create it. Every new life is a sacred gift from God.
However, the sanctity of life does not preclude the fact of mortality.
Barbara Bush’s death a week ago showed that no person, regardless of status or health care, is immune from death. Her husband’s hospitalization is another reminder that “people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment” (Hebrews 9:27 NIV).
“Humans really are exceptional”
The sanctity of life should preclude atrocities such as the attacks in Toronto and Nashville, but it does not. It does amplify their tragic nature, however.
We are the only species that is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27). We are also the only species that can know how sacred it is.
And yet, humans kill humans on a level nearly unprecedented in the animal world.
According to National Geographic, 60 percent of mammal species are not known to kill each other at all, so far as anyone knows. Even primates, some of the most aggressive mammals, spend less than 1 percent of their day fighting or otherwise competing with each other.
A Harvard biological anthropologist says that when it comes to murderous tendencies, “humans really are exceptional.”
Recapturing the majesty of life
In a culture that has legalized abortion on demand and is on its way to doing the same with euthanasia, how can we recapture the wonder and majesty of life we experience at the birth of a child?
Here’s a start: see life as God does.
Despite our secular society’s depreciation of life, it is a fact that every person you meet today is someone created by the God of the universe in his unique image. Every person you know is someone Jesus loved enough to ransom with his own crucifixion (Romans 5:8).
If the people you meet today see themselves as you see them, will that be a good thing?
Now let’s shift the sanctity of life from others to ourselves. Since every baby is the creation of a King, every child is a royal baby. Including you.
Do you agree?