With the debate swirling around the Affordable Health Care Act (aka Obamacare), I thought I’d take a moment to share some thoughts on healthcare and life in this fallen world. Chief among these thoughts is this commonplace: insurance is not a right.
I’m not a student of political science, nor an expert in the philosophy of history, so I can’t enter deeply into the history of the discussion of the “rights of man” here. I’m also aware that this is a politically charged issue about which many others have registered political opinions.
My focus, as a student and teacher of the Bible, is what it says about the “rights” and how that can inform our way of thinking on this topic.
First, then, I take the word “right” to suggest something that I am owed, something that is essentially mine and therefore, is not, or should not, or even cannot, be taken away. But something deep and weighty is missing from this.
What’s missing is, strictly speaking, humans, as creatures made in God’s Image, made from the “dust of the earth” (Genesis 2), have no essential rights. “Human” comes from the same word from which we get humus, or “soil,” which points to our derived and dependent existence. Therefore, as humans, we are essentially dependent upon God, not essentially independent, with essential “rights. Looked at in this way, God is the only one who has fundamental rights. Humans have rights only by derivation or extension. Continue reading