Because God created human beings in his image, every human life from conception to death bears the image of God and has inestimable worth (Genesis 1:27). Therefore, Christians must be committed to a consistent ethic of life that safeguards the essential nature of human life at all stages, with a special concern to protect the lives of the most vulnerable. The unborn, the very young, the aged, those living in poverty, the chronically or terminally ill, those with disabilities and those with genetic diseases deserve our particular care and protection. Our public policy agenda should reflect these broad commitments.

Abortion is the most familiar assault on the sanctity of human life. The Bible reveals God’s calling and care for persons before they are born (Psalm 139:13), and each life lost is a unique creation made in God’s image who might have blessed our society in extraordinary ways.

Approximately half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, and many of these are aborted. Any serious attempt to reduce the number of abortions must therefore come to terms with unplanned pregnancy, the pandemic of extramarital sex and the complex issues surrounding contraception and other family planning methods. The Church is understandably reluctant to recommend contraception for unmarried sexual partners, given that it cannot condone extramarital sex. However, it is even more tragic when unmarried individuals compound one sin by then destroying the precious gift of life.

Euthanasia, the destruction of human embryos for research, and unethical human experimentation also transgress the essential nature of human life and violate the God-given dignity of human beings. God has blessed us with the capacity for scientific inquiry. Christians should support medical research such as biotechnology, neuroscience and nanotechnology that can ease suffering and cure disease as long as it does not undermine human dignity. But where the negative implications of such research, experimentation and other emerging technologies are unknown, both public and private policies ought to err on the side of caution.

Christians should also support medical research that uses non-embryonic stem cells and other ethical avenues of research to promote human health. However, we must work toward bans on human cloning and embryonic stem cell research and for laws that prohibit discrimination based on genetic information. Our public policy decisions must respect life and promote the flourishing of each person in every life stage and condition.

Death is a significant transition that we all ultimately face. The physical and emotional suffering that may precede death can be a very grievous experience. While we firmly believe in mercy, compassion and allowing natural death, we also believe there is a profound moral distinction between allowing a person to die on the one hand, and killing on the other. As evangelicals, we deny that there are any circumstances that justify euthanasia.

Instead of supporting legislation allowing physician-assisted suicide, Christians should focus on improving care for the dying and increasing access to high-quality palliative or hospice care to alleviate needless suffering. We should further advocate within our churches for responsible advance care planning.

We welcome medical advances that promote human life and health. Yet, Genesis portrays attempts to transcend God-given human limitations as rebellion against God (3:1­–19, 11:4–9). These impulses are behind some life extension technologies, genetic modifications and biotechnologies that treat the human body as a commodity. We likewise face the temptation to medically intervene in all aspects of life, employing drugs and other technologies not to save lives, but to inappropriately alter cognitive and physical performance or gender identity. Christians must exercise discernment as we witness to the sanctity of human life and warn against the dangers of dissatisfaction with human limits.

We urge evangelicals with specialized scientific knowledge, Christian scholars and church leaders to explore the questions that emerge at the intersection of human life and technology and to help Christians and policymakers develop ethical responses. As genetic and reproductive technologies become more sophisticated, society must create a consensus on what is good and what limits we should place on irreversible human modification. The uniqueness of human nature is at stake.