Defending Human Personhood: Some Insights from Natural Law

Dennis M. Sullivan


The Christian affirmation of human personhood is based on a philosophical and theological understanding of human beings made in the image and likeness of a Creator-God. Yet, as Dennis M. Sullivan points out, not all participants in ethics discussions share these preconceptions, leading to contentious debates over human value at both the beginning and end of life. A Christian defense of life must therefore be nuanced, thoughtful, and led by the Spirit. This article describes three possible strategies to respond to the assaults on human personhood, favoring the third as a middle ground between the first two. Drawing on insights from natural law, the article first outlines the theoretical content that such a strategy may entail, and then presents some practical applications. Mr. Sullivan is Professor of Biology at Cedarville University, and directs the University’s Center for Bioethics.


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Last Updated: April 1, 2008
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