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  • From the Cedar Street Times, Pacific Grove

What does God say about euthanasia?

Merriam-Webster defines euthanasia as: “the act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals (such as persons or domestic animals) in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy.” Who can argue with mercy? Who can be against relieving pain? Or, maybe, it isn’t as simple as it sounds?

God tells us that death is an enemy and that it will be the last enemy we will ever face, for He will destroy it, 1 Cor 15:26, “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” The eternal life He promises us will be free from pain and death, Rev 21:4, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” So, why do we have to face these things in this life?

The answer to that question can only be understood in the light of the plan God is using to create His eternal family; a plan where love is the driving force and true love only comes through free will. We cannot force people to love us and God is not forcing us to love Him. God does not create the pain and suffering we see in this world, however, it is a byproduct of the free will God has allowed us. It is the only way we are able to freely choose to accept God’s love and the eternity He has promised those who do. This free will, which He has given us, clearly demonstrates that evil leads to pain and suffering; and God’s love leads us to His eternal joy. Hopefully, we are reasoning with what we see in this world and that it leads us to Him, this is why He has given us free will.

Euthanasia, assisted suicide, mercy killing, death with dignity, or whatever we choose to call it, requires a decision; we can hasten death, prolong life or allow death to take its natural course. God created us with the instinct for survival and that is why we normally fight all attempts to end our lives. However, death is one of the enemies we all face in this life, Ps 89:48, “What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave? Selah.”

The world we live in is fascinated with death and all of its components; that is why we watch movies about “the walking dead,” “werewolves,” “Dracula,” and ghosts in all forms. We are torn between the love and hate portrayed in these movies; thus giving us conflicting issues to defend. We want to accept abortion, we attack the death penalty; we want to accept euthanasia, we attack terrorism; some are calling for infanticide, some attack child abuse; we could go on, however, the point is these issues are confusing to us because we have not used the same source to guide us to the answers we seek. But, God tells us, Eccl 3:1-2, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;”

God created man, Gen 2:7, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Then, He came to taste death for Himself, Heb 2:9, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” Jesus felt death’s cold breathe and He asked His Father to take away the cup, if He was willing, Matt 26:39, “And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” However, shortly thereafter, He willingly accepted God’s timing, Matt 26:42, “He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.” Was this a lesson for those of us who think we understand all the complexities of death?

Is this life not a gift? And, can we ever truly know when to end it? Should man or God have the final say on this issue? What will man choose to use as a guide when deciding to end a person’s life, and should another person have authority over our death? We do not have a God who has never suffered. He was spurned, beaten, tortured, nailed to a cross and died at the hands of men who believed they had the right to end His life. God knows about the suffering, which comes before death. Just as God, also knows, some of us will recover after man has pronounced us terminal. Yes, pain and suffering are part of this life, as is death. But, who is wise enough to decide the day of death, other than God? How are we to balance the extraordinary means being used to prolong life against the active decisions being made to end it? Is the natural process the most humane way in the end?

Our time on this earth is very short when compared to the eternity God has planned for us. So, when viewed from the joy and happiness of eternity, will we look back, or even care about ten years, more or less? God wants us to know He feels our pain, Jn 16:33, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” When we, or our loved ones, are in pain this message is a difficult one to swallow, 2 Cor 12:9, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” Paul and Timothy experienced great suffering in their lives, are they trying to tell us they felt the power of Christ resting on them during these times? Are they sharing this with us, so that we might face our infirmities with the grace God has given us? Phil 4:11, 13, 19, “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content…I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me…But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” God Himself told us He is with us, even when we are walking in the valley of the shadow of death, Ps 23:4, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”

God has given us one example of assisted suicide in the Bible, as an Amalekite killed Saul, at Saul’s request. King David’s response was to rent his clothes and order the killing of the Amalekite for murdering Saul. So, is assisted suicide truly murder? We read about this incident in, 2 Sam 1:1-17. Is this one example all God has to say on the subject?

God suffered pain as we do, Heb 2:9-10, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” He stands by us when we are suffering and in pain, if we would only see Him standing next to us in the fire of this life, Dan 3:24-25, “Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” When we endure the pains of this life, remaining faithful to His calling, we can face death because of the hope we have in Jesus. When that day comes, He is joyful that another soul will have passed through the crucible that is this life, Zech 13:9, “And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God” thus, adding another soul to His eternal family, Ps 116:15, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.”

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