On where human rights come from

Iain Provan says it’s not a self-evident idea.



Iain Provan says it’s not a self-evident idea.


If you look at the history of humanity, the idea that human rights are self-evident is quickly seen to be absurd – they weren’t self-evident to Genghis Khan, for example. They come from somewhere, that idea that we all have rights comes from somewhere. And I think it’s fairly obvious that ultimately it comes from the same idea, this idea that everyone’s an image-bearer and that therefore they have rights vis-a-vis each other, and people like kings cannot simply trample over the rights of ordinary people. You see that already in the Old Testament, of course, when King Ahab discovers to his cost that he can’t just take Naboth’s vineyard.