Last week we learned what death is (both from a medical as well as a biblical perspective). This week we are going to look a bit deeper into the subject of Euthanasia / Mercy Killing, and Physician Assisted Suicide (PAS). This article was prompted by a recent news article which highlighted a physician assisted suicide that occurred in a church.
Now although Euthanasia and PAS are two different things, they are basically two sides of the same coin. Here is an interesting historical fact. Did you know that Adolph Hitler Had a Nazi Euthanasia Program ? The Euthanasia Program was the systematic murder of people with disabilities in Germany. It predated the Holocaust by approximately two years. It aimed to eliminate what eugenicists and their supporters considered "life unworthy of life” - those individuals who—they believed—because of severe psychiatric, neurological, or physical disabilities represented both a genetic and a financial burden on German society and the state. Historians estimate 250,000 people of all ages were killed in this program.
According to recent sources, "Euthanasia is currently illegal in all 50 states of the United States. Assisted suicide is legal in 10 jurisdictions in the US: Washington, D.C. and the states of California, Colorado, Oregon, Vermont, New Mexico, Maine, New Jersey, Hawaii, and Washington. There are, on average about 548 deaths per year due to physician assisted suicide.
Do we find any information in the Bible about Euthanasia / Mercy Killing, or Assisted Suicide?
Consider the story of Saul’s Death - Here we have an interesting example of Euthanasia / Assisted Suicide / Mercy Killing. Read this very interesting story in I Samuel 31:4-5; II Samuel 1:1-16. David’s response to the man who assisted in Saul’s death is telling. David was very displeased with what the Amalekite had done and had him executed.
We also see reference to mercy killing / euthanasia in the story of The Death of Jesus -
32 Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. 33 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: 34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.
This Roman soldier engaged in a form of euthanasia when he broke the legs of the convicts in order to hasten their deaths. He actively assisted in their death. Although Jesus was already dead by that time, the soldier just wanted to make sure he was dead and thrust the spear into his heart to finish him off, just in case.
So here we have a heathen Amalekite and a godless Roman soldier engaging in mercy killing or Euthanasia. They were actually executioners.
I want you to ponder some Bible verses with me on this matter.
11 If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, And those that are ready to be slain; 12 If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; Doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? And he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? And shall not he render to every man according to his works?
This verse encourages us to fight, legally and morally, to protect and preserve life. God will hold us accountable.
In Job 2:3-8 we see a story of Job’s extreme suffering. In verse 9 his wife said,
9 ….Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die. 10 But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.
Job’s wife wanted him to escape his suffering through death. Job said that she was foolish and we must be willing to accept bad as well as good from His hand. His life and death were in God’s hands. God even told Satan that he could touch all that Job had, but that he was not permitted to take his life!
13 Thou shalt not kill.
1 Samuel 2:6
6 The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: He bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.
20 He that is our God is the God of salvation; And unto God the Lord belong the issues from death.
This is an interesting phrase, “Issues from death.” It means that death, ultimately, is in the Lord’s hand. God gives life, and He takes it.
Life and death belong to the the Lord our God.
Ponder these matters. May God give us wisdom and courage to stand for truth.