The Image Of God In The Developmentally Disabled -- By: David M. Anderson, Jr.
MBTJ 4:1 (Spring 2014) p. 69
The Image Of God In The Developmentally Disabled
The current culture of America is pushing for toleration of all kinds. On the religious scene, pluralism has become the accepted norm. In the classroom, absolutism is a forgotten bygone. Ethically, many believers are being coerced into accepting propositions which do not fit with their biblical understanding. Sadly, this toleration agenda in today’s world has had a profound effect in the medical world; specifically in the sector of bioethics. The vehicle of abortion is being driven by innumerable sources of misinterpretation and misrepresentation of Biblical and even scientific truth. Euthanasia has become a popular topic as scientists and doctors have endeavored to define what it means to live from a God-less perspective. The list could go on, but the bottom line is this: without the authority of God’s word, man is left to his self-centered and sinful reasoning and logic to determine what is right in these sensitive areas.
This horrific moral scene has only added to the confusion and complexity of society’s interaction with the intellectually and developmentally disabled. A recent study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention showed the increasing number of developmental disabilities present
MBTJ 4:1 (Spring 2014) p. 70
in children between the ages of three and seventeen years old.2 Another study by the Census Bureau indicated a 200 billion dollar budget for discretionary spending on those with disabilities, and a 357 billion dollar budget to provide work for those who are of working age but are limited by severe disabilities.3 So far, it seems this country is doing what it can to meet the needs of this growing disabled community. With the present redefining of terms, however, this group of people is endangered by any interpretation of personhood contrary to Scripture.
Therefore, it is indeed necessary to flesh out the doctrine of man and his relationship to the image of God. Only on these grounds will believers understand how they ought to interact and care for the disabled and the outcasts of society. The Bible’s teaching of God’s creation of man in His own image has direct implications for the value and treatment of the disabled. Through the development of a biblical theology of this doctrine, the examination of various perspectives on the value of life, and appropriate synthesis of the two, this article will seek to demonstrate the God-given value of intellectually and developmentally disabled people and the proper response elicited by such truth.
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