How Much Does a Human Being Cost?

How much does a human being cost? The question is indeed ridiculous; but sadly some people have an answer for it. According to the global movement “Stop the Traffic”[1], there are children sold to slavery for as little as $20.00 each. According to the UN, human trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal industries in the world[2] – $9.5 billion is made through human trafficking each year.[3]

Our natural human tendency is to value those we know and love; whereas we accredit less value than we should to those not close to us. Isn’t that true? Most of us can forget the number of deaths caused by a natural disaster in a few seconds, as the news presenter carries on talking about sports.

The Scriptures, on the other hand, discloses a radical perspective on the issue. They affirm that the essence of human value is our likeness to God. In the first chapter of its first book we read:

“So God created humankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.”[4]

Dr. Krish Kandiah, a former tutor at Oxford University, suggests there are three elements that make an image valuable: who made the image, what the image depicts and the price someone will pay for that image.[5] His observations are helpful to a better comprehension of the Christian view on the worth of human life.

First, the fact that every human being has been created by God gives us intrinsic value and identity. One of the reasons why “La Mona Lisa” is so appreciated is the fact that Leonardo da Vinci painted it. The value of our life is not dependent on what we have made of it, but on the reality that God made us.[6]

The Mona Lisa in Paris.

Secondly, an image’s value depends on what it portrays. Magazines would pay a huge amount for a good picture of a Hollywood star. They wouldn’t pay a cent for a picture of, let’s say, me! As Dr. Kandiah puts it: “the Christian world view argues that we are made in the image of the most significant and valuable being in the universe and this makes human life worth a fortune.” Every person on the planet is no less than a reflection of God himself.

What someone will pay for an image also determines its value. For example, some of Picasso’s paintings are worth more than $100 million because people have been willing to pay this amount. According to Scriptures, God was willing to pay a price to reconcile and reconnect humanity to himself: his own Son’s life – the highest price He could have paid.

When such a high view of human life is embraced, extraordinary things happen in the world – It’s therefore no surprise that the world’s largest humanitarian organizations were founded by people holding these convictions.

How much are we worth? Unfortunately for some it may be 20.00. What do you think? In my opinion, God has the best answer.


30 responses to “How Much Does a Human Being Cost?

  1. Thank you Helder
    People in the churches are only just starting to realise the extent of human trafficking – many outside have no awareness at all of what goes on – we must spread the word and stop this evil.

  2. Hi Sandra,
    Thank you very much for your comment! I think you’re absolutely right. We must indeed raise awareness of such a terrible reality and promote the work of people and organisations fighting human trafficking.

  3. Helder, I am following your articles on this blog and going forward. I found it very interesting this last post about the value of human beings. It’s really funny how people evaluate others according to their appearance, and often we Christians do the same.

    Continue reporting on twitter new updates.

    A hug to you and Ana

  4. Hi Ana,

    Thank you very much for your comment and for reading the posts. It’s great to have you at Wondering Fair.

    All the best!

  5. I’m sorry but each person has a worth that is dictated by how many of the thing there is, how special the one is and how important the whole is at the time. Example, Noah, there was alot of people god didnt like them and noah being the guy with a boat was at the time more valuable than the rest of his race. Now though, in the modern day where people are so commonplace that we are the majority of the worlds creature basis it is quite different, importance is now linked to worldly man-made things such as monetary wealth and political standings, instead as based on what we are as a species. People being many and unique qualities and circumstances being found, the human worth is very low. sadly if averaged out across the 7 billion people we are 5 american dollars of meat and blood. total human net worth about 35.6 billion. sad but we dont do much but kill eachother in greed and destroy the planet, and we fight and care for the ones we love and respect. humans are are cheap double edged blade that would get melted down for scrape the moment something better was there.

    Note: laziness equals less grammar and punctuation

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