Genesis 3, 2:17, 9:6
Job 14:5, 33:4
Acts 17:25, 28
Romans 3:23, 5:12–24
1 Corinthians 15:21–22
Hebrews 9:17, 27
Suffering and death are two unavoidable realities every human regrettably faces. Why? Genesis 3. Death and the curse entered this world because of Adam’s sin just as God warned (Genesis 2:17). Adam’s sin nature was passed on to all of humanity, resulting in everyone being born a sinner by nature and consequently by choice (Romans 3:23). Thus, the plague of death was spread to all (Romans 5:12, 6:23; Hebrews 9:27).
What’s the appropriate response when suffering and death come calling? Enter the issue of euthanasia, the intentional ending of a life to relieve pain and suffering. Some call it “mercy killing”; the Bible calls it murder. Acceptance of this practice is rapidly growing, and Christians need to be ready to respond.
Euthanasia, at its core, is the desire to take something that doesn’t belong to humanity. Control. A yearning to “be like God” (Genesis 3:5). The thinking is that people can’t dodge the certainty of death but at least they can control its “how” and “when.” This reflects the adored secular doctrine of autonomy. “It’s my life, I live it on my terms, I end it on my terms.” And in evolutionary, secular thinking, this makes sense. People are just highly evolved animals and if they want to die, fine. Their
death really is no different than the death of a roach or fern. Actually, their death would free up resources for others to consume and enjoy. It could be argued, and some do, that those consuming too much of society’s resources without adequate contribution have a duty to die.
Those are the ideas of fallen, fallible, finite men. What does the authoritative Word of God say? Humans aren’t animals. Every
person reflects God’s image and each life is precious beyond human comprehension to God. No one has the right to intentionally take the life, to murder, another human being. Even with “good” or “merciful” intentions. Even if the person requests death. Even if the person takes their own life. Murder is the verdict in each case. The Bible explicitly forbids murder (Exodus 20:13), and God takes it so seriously that Genesis 9:6 basically says if you murder, you die.
Biblical bottom line: each life — even your own — belongs to God. As sovereign Creator, He’s the giver and sustainer of life (Acts 17:25, 28) and the appointer of death (Hebrews 9:17). God decides when life begins and when and how it ends (Job 14:5, 33:4). This jurisdiction is the Creator’s alone. And since He’s omniscient, omnipotent, and perfect in love, mercy, goodness, and justice, His judgments are always right.
Many biblical passages proclaim the bad news of death because of sin but then go immediately to the gospel (Romans 5:12–21, 6:23; 1 Corinthians 15:21–22)! God is the giver of life, the appointer of death, and the only source of eternal life. Death is an
enemy everyone faces. An enemy only Christ can and did defeat! One day death will die, and those found in Christ will share that victory (1 Corinthians 15:26)!