It Is Insane to Kill Humans Because of Their Cognitive Abilities

Article by

Director of Donor Partnerships

Sam Storms, in his message earlier this year at our Conference for Pastors, painted such a beautiful picture of God and what it means for us to receive glorified bodies in the age to come. I thought my heart was going to burst with joy and anticipation. That same picture also brought to mind not just the wickedness but also the insanity of killing unborn babies with cognitive disabilities or elderly people with dementia.

Storms noted that God is without limits of any kind and we will be able to learn new truths about him for eternity. If genuine joy is a fruit of knowledge, our joy will increase forever as we learn more and more things about God who will reveal truths about himself into eternity. We will have ever-increasing measures of joy for eternity because God is giving us more of himself! Yes, I want that. This is true about who God is, and what he has in store for us — even though we can hardly grasp it now with our finite minds.

Wicked, and Insane

And that’s what makes abortion and euthanasia not just wicked, but evidence of our insanity. Every human being of every ability is made in the image of God. The intellectual geniuses who are united to Jesus by faith will be transformed “in the twinkling of an eye” just like everyone else united to Jesus by faith (1 Corinthians 15:52). And their intelligence will not have “earned” them their status with Christ; it is a work of God alone (Ephesians 2:8–9).

Similarly, those with the most severe cognitive disabilities are no farther away from God because of their lack of ability to reason; the God who made them can also carry them into fullness of life with him. The Christian with the most severe dementia who cannot remember any of his own history will never be forgotten by his God who united him to Christ by faith.

And the God who is infinite in all his capacities is not impressed with the abilities of the greatest human scientists, philosophers, poets, athletes, artists, or generals. Compared to God, the person who has extraordinary intellectual giftings is exactly like the unborn child — weak, dependent, foolish, unaware, incapable. “For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Corinthians 1:25).

More Like Than Unlike

This makes the unborn child with the most severe intellectual limitations more like the greatest human intellect than unlike him — regardless of what people think they see and know. Both are created beings, intended to bring God glory. Both are limited in their capacities, especially compared to God.

The unborn child with severe cognitive limitations is more like the greatest human intellect than unlike her.

Further, God has told us that he “chose the foolish in the world to shame the wise. . .” (1 Corinthians 1:27) and Paul taught us, “For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10). We should be quick to see, no matter our capacities, that it is good to be dependent on the one who is strong and absolutely free in his infinite wisdom and power. Even better, in the age to come, our dependence will be fully realized — and God enjoyed the more for it.

And that is the insanity of abortion and euthanasia based on rationality and intellectual capacity. We are not killing “them” — we’re killing ourselves.


(@johnpknight) is Director of Donor Partnerships at Desiring God. He is married to Dianne, and together they parent their four children: Paul, Hannah, Daniel, and Johnny. Paul lives with multiple disabilities including blindness, autism, cognitive impairments, and a seizure disorder. John writes on disability, the Bible, and the church at The Works of God.