God Makes a Person - Junkyards are for Parts
October 14, 2015 | by: Dave Maniquis | 0 Comments
Posted in: Theology
I am so grateful for graveyards. Really. Let me clarify. I mean auto graveyards; affectionately called junkyards. Years ago I owned a Nissan that just kept running well into the 120,000 mile range on the odometer. Then a major mechanical/electronic failure occurred. The foreign car mechanic who isolated the problem articulated my options in an uncomforting, non-foreign accent. “Either find the replacement electronic part whose circuits pumped life into the engine or find a different car.” I didn’t want another car. I liked that one. It was one of my favorite kind of cars in the entire world—a paid-off one. So, I went with the first option. He then went online and searched for the needed part in the auto junkyards that “traffic” in such obscure parts. I waited days for the result of this treasure hunt. Lo and behold! In all of the many junkyards searched one turned up in another state. It was shipped in, installed, and $800 later I was on the road again with my Japanese beauty. Once again, she was carrying me along with her newly transplanted heart.
So, I gained an appreciation for auto junkyards. They’re pragmatic. Usable parts are stripped from otherwise unusable vehicles. Ones that have either been deemed “totaled” in a wreck or aren’t worth the price of repairing. So into the junk heap they go. Now, I may be going out on a limb here, but I don’t believe anyone’s conscience is disturbed by the stripping of these parts for the benefit of making another car run. Why should they go to waste? They’re still pragmatic. Interestingly, auto junkyards must have some kind of latent conscience lingering underneath the piles of metal and other materials squeezed into so many square acres. In common parlance we call them junkyards, but they refer to themselves as “auto salvage.” After all, marketing concerns dictate that none of this stuff is called junk. Rather, salvage. In other words, it’s an invitation to purchase parts otherwise destined for destruction or waste and put to further use. It’s using a discarded or damaged vehicle for further use, whether it’s a paid-off Nissan or a Maserati that the bank still holds the title to.
If you follow the current news stream, an anti-abortion group has released online videos that document how Planned Parenthood is selling fetal organs for a profit, which is a felony, while violating medical ethics by altering normal abortion procedures in order to preserve the organs. This has stirred up the whole polemic between abortion and pro-life advocates. What’s interesting is there’s shock even among the ranks of pro-choice advocates with the ghoulish picture of slicing up and utilizing hearts, lungs, livers and limbs from aborted unborn children. All in the name of profit.
For those who are “pro-choice” but disturbed by such business practices, for those who don’t believe that human life at conception is a person, for those who believe that moral truth is relative...well…what’s the big deal anyway? Right?
A debate about the rightness or wrongness of utilizing body parts from the unborn comes down to whether or not the unborn is a person. Logical consistency must have the day. If the unborn isn’t a person, then there’s nothing immoral about shredding “it” for whatever use it can serve. No more so than going to that auto salvage yard and stripping an alternator off a discarded Buick. It’s pragmatic.
You see, if you don’t believe the unborn has dignity as a person ultimately created by God through the womb of a woman, then what’s there to be upset about? From 20 seconds to 20 weeks, regardless of the state of development from conception onward the unborn is then a “thing” just like any other thing. Use it for goodness’ sake. Get back on the road!
But such a crude way of putting it doesn’t seem to sit well even with the abortion advocate or the so-called relativist when it comes to moral truth. There’s something that’s just not right about it. There’s some dignity there somewhere, even if it is a “thing.” It should still be “handled” a certain way. There’s still a tinge of ethical conscience whispering when seeing all these “orders to fill” in the name of commerce.
Why? Because the theology of human personhood is clearly revealed by God in the Bible and deeply placed in the soul of every living being; also conceived and unborn at one time. And God will not allow anyone but the most calloused to escape his revelation (Jeremiah 1:5). David speaks about God’s role in the unborn’s conception, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb . . . your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be" (Psalm 139:13, 16).
There’s no junkyard for persons created in God’s image. He has revealed in Scripture that each and every individual has been already conceived in the womb of his eternal mind. You can search all the “salvage” yards in the world to find the needed part to get your jalopy or Beemer going again. That’s fine. But only persons have dignity. And that’s why they are not meant to be a salvage operation.
This is what the LORD says—your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the LORD, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself. Isaiah 44:24 (TNIV)
Dave Maniquis is a Teaching Elder at Restoration Church. He holds a BA in History from Rutgers University and an MA in Biblical Studies from Reformed Theological Seminary. He enjoyed a 23-year career in the U.S. Government, working and traveling extensively in Western and Eastern Europe. He has been a Christian for most of his adult life and has been involved in church planting, overseas as well as here in Port Orange, teaching the Bible and speaking into others’ lives with the Gospel. He is married to Maureen and they have two wonderful sons, Dylan and Evan.