Although the wording of the General Assembly's mandate places the matter of the nature of human life prior to that of its value, the temper of our times compels us to begin with the latter. The very list of specific issues cited by the General Assembly represents a widely shared conviction that the value of human life is being questioned, even attacked, from many quarters. We will see that the General Assembly exhibited signal wisdom in yoking the two issues of nature and value together, but it is the matter of the value of human life that needs exposition first.
From the viewpoint of the biblical tradition and its Reformed development, there is no doubt that human life is a value of the first order, superseded by no other value. The composite testimony of Scripture is that human beings are a focal point of God's drama of creation and redemption.
This is first seen in the Bible's treatment of creation. Out of the vastness of the entire universe, God creates humans for a special vocation which is expressed in terms of the image of God. It is a vocation as representative of God's care and protection for the entire created order.