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The Value of a Human Being
When the issue of marriage and divorce came up in Christ's public ministry to Israel, his hearers understandably justified the religio-legal status quo in terms of the instructions of Moses in their founding covenant with God, but Jesus had another view.

understood their decree-of-divorce instruction from Moses as simply an accommodation (to protect the divorced wife concerning remarriage) because of the hardness of their hearts,
and so He then referred them instead to God's original design "from the beginning"
as the primary directive regarding the issue.
This principle of Holy Scripture demonstrated by Jesus continues for us today!

"απ αρχης
δε ου γεγονεν ουτως"

Matthew 19:8.
We are told that in the beginning human beings were made in the "image of God" and they were therefore to exercise "dominion" over their environment (Gen.1:26).
'image' was certainly not some God-facing-quality in human nature as some have foolishly speculated (trying to equate it with moral conscience) for God does not need to see Himself in us as a moral mirror.
Within the cultural context of the time in which these words were written, the term 'image of God' can mean nothing other than to represent God, as then the images of idols and statues represented their respective pagan gods at that time in their religious perversity, for when God speaks directly He always communicates in the idiom of His hearers at the time.
God is a good Communicator!
It is then
amazing then that, after the radical moral decline of the human race, even after God appointed it for wipe-out in the time of Noah, He nevertheless thereafter still gives an instruction concerning their future administration of justice in which the crime of murder is not wrong simply because it kills a life but because it violates this "image of God", for in this same instruction God also legitimises taking life simply to eat meat.
Genesis 9:3.
instead of downgrading the value of human beings after their total failure resulting in Noah's Flood, God instead declares that their unique value remains intrinsic to their constitutional design to represent Him, in saying –
"Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in His own image."
Genesis 9:6.
So to kill a human is to
violate God's representative!
In other words,
the reality of this intrinsic 'image'-factor had not been diminished in any way by historical human behaviour.
 It is constitutional to humanity! 
It is against this background then that we are to understand God's instruction later to Israel to not leave the corpse of an executed criminal hanging/exposed over night.
"...and you hang him on a tree, his body shall not remain all night on the tree,
but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is cursed by God."
doesn't a murderer deserved to be 'cursed by God'? Not according to God's instruction, and He knew what He meant!
Deuteronomy 21:22-23

Their understanding of this instruction at that time is reflected in the Genesis record of the prophecy of Joseph to his fellow prisoner.
"In three days Pharaoh will lift up your head – from you! –
and hang you on a tree. And the birds will eat the flesh from you"
A human corpse becoming fodder for predators was the ultimate humiliation of the human identity and was apparently so used as a deterrent at that time.
Genesis 40:19.
the Jews in Jesus' time, this instruction to take the corpse off the cross before nightfall was just a technical issue of conformity to the Law of Moses but God's purpose in that instruction reflects back to God's perspective given in the beginning of humanity.
respect for a human being is not based on the conduct of that particular person? Correct!
It has been thought that the Bible's instruction to honour the emperor in the time of Nero, the most morally corrupt as corrupt could be (he raped and then murdered his own mother), was really just to honour his office or position. That may be partly true for we are to respect the social norms of our fellow humans but it points beyond this for the Bible is to be understood as a whole, as Jesus did!
"Honour everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the emperor."
1 Peter 2:17.
Trust is earned, but respect is owed!
God's instruction to Titus among the argumentative Cretans: "Let no one disregard you".
Disrespect was not to be accepted from anyone. Accepting disrespect would not be humility. It would be foolishness and a denial of his own human identity before God!
Titus 2:15
Even young and inexperienced preacher Timothy is instructed –
"Let no one despise you for your youth..."
1 Timothy 4:12.
As God's
people, no matter how we are treated, honoured or persecuted, respected or despised, we conduct ourselves with dignity and never submit to disrespect – for as human beings, regardless of the merit of individual worthiness, we represent the Most High Himself, the maker and owner of all that is! This is not a Christian thing. It has no religious-identity element. It applies to every human being regardless! Salvation in Christ, apart from eternal destiny, simply enables us for this continuing reality!
Any religious factor (of being in tune with God through the merit of Jesus Christ) is an applied consequence of this human responsibility and not its cause!
we are to be bold in representing His Word according to His intention, as Jesus our Lord did in spite of the problems that contradicting popular understanding brought Him, and we are not to allow the turning of this truth of God into a religious issue, even if the social standing of it's moral principles (being honoured as the conscience of the community) may sometimes seduce to so do in which Christianity is degraded to become merely a chaplaincy to society.
As human beings we are designed to represent the Most High in all His intention concerning all there is – and so there is therefore no perimeter to our field of concern!
And this begins with our attitude, our valuing of our fellow human beings, for there is therefore no greater value in all this created universe than –
a human being . . .

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