Q. My name is Christopher. I am
14 years old and am researching euthanasia for a school project. Have you any information on
what the Christian view of this is? I need to address the following: 1) How would
Christians respond to the question of euthanasia? 2) Can euthanasia ever be justified?
A. Dear Christopher, Thank you for writing me. A couple years ago I did a bible study on what the Bible says about Euthanasia and Old Age. I made a web page with the information I learned. If you have internet access, not just email, you can see it there: http://www.dianedew.com/euthanas.htm In case you don't have Internet access, but just email, I will share a little and cut and paste some of the information below.
When people get old, they usually begin to have physical problems. In the Bible, for example, it talks about several people having failing eyesight in their old age, diseased feet, etc. But no where does it say it is okay to go ahead and kill someone because they have a disease or can't do all the things they used to. That would be murder, which is against God's commandments. ("Thou shalt not kill," Exodus 20:13) God is the Author or Giver of life (Genesis 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." Acts 17:28, "For in him we live, and move, and have our being ..."). He alone has the right to decide when to end a life. God supplies every breath we take. (Joshua 14:10; Psalms 36:6; 66:9) He determines the length of an individual's life.
(Job 12:10; Daniel 5:23) It is sin when man interferes with the plan of God, and kills someone - whether they are old, or still inside the mother's womb, unborn. (That's called abortion - some verses on that are at http://www.dianedew.com/abortion.htm )
God has appointed a certain time for each of us to die (Job 7:1, "Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth?..." ; Psalms 31:15, "My times are in thy hand...") He has a plan for each life, and shortening that plan interrupts what he wants to accomplish in that person.
Elderly people sometimes feel useless, or limited in what they can do. But the Bible says they are very valuable and can still have a purpose in their later years. There are lots of verses on this, so I will cut and paste them from my web page here:
Psalms 92:14 "They shall still bring forth fruit in old age ..."
A. A source of wisdom, attained by experience.
Job 12:12 "With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding."
Job 32:7 "I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom."
1 Kings 12:6 "And king Rehoboam consulted with the old men, that stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, and said, How do ye advise that I may answer this people?"
1 Kings 12:8, 13, 14 "But he forsook the counsel of the old men, which they had given him, and consulted with the young men that were grown up with him, and which stood before him... And the king answered the people roughly, and forsook the old men's counsel that they gave him; and spake to them after the counsel of the young men ..."
B. Ministry. God sometimes doesn't use us until we are old).
Exodus 7:7 "And Moses was 80 years old, and Aaron 83 years old, when they spake unto Pharaoh."
Joel 2:28 (cp. Acts 2:17-18, etc.) "... I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your ... old men shall dream dreams...."
Acts 7:23-34 "And when he was full 40 years old ... Then fled Moses ... and was a stranger in the land of Madian, where he begat two sons. And when 40 years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sinai an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush. ... and as he drew near to behold it, the voice of the Lord came unto him, Saying, ... now come, I will send thee..."
Titus 2:2, 3 "That the aged ... women likewise, that they be ... teachers of good things."
C. Prayer and intercession.
Genesis 18 "And the Lord said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do...? the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now... but Abraham stood yet before the Lord. ...and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? ... And he said, I will not destroy it ...."
1 Samuel 12:1, 2, 16, 19 "And Samuel said unto all Israel, Behold, I have hearkened unto your voice in all that ye said unto me, and have made a king over you ... and I am old and grayheaded...And all the people said unto Samuel, Pray for thy servants unto the Lord ..."
Luke 2:36, 37 "And there was one Anna, a prophetess... she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; and she was a widow of about 84 years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day."
1 Timothy 5:5 "Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day."
D. Witnessing and testifying to the faithfulness of God.
Luke 2:36-38 "And there was one Anna, a prophetess... of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; And she was a widow of 84 years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem."
Acts 28:30 "And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him."
2 Timothy 1:5 "When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also."
2 Timothy 3:15 "And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."
E. Exhortation. (A lifetime of experiences can be a great testimony of God's faithfulness.)
Psalms 37:25 "I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread."
2 Peter 1:12-15 "Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things... as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me. Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance."
Philemon 1:9 "Yet for love's sake I rather beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ."
Psalms 148:12,13 "Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children: Let them praise the name of the Lord: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven."
Joel 2:15, 16 "Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts."
G. Practical assistance (despite physical impairments: hearing loss, etc.).
2 Samuel 19:32, 33-35; cp. 17:27-29 "Now Barzillai was a very aged man, even 80 years old: and he had provided the king of sustenance ... for he was a very great man. And the king said unto Barzillai, Come thou over with me, and I will feed thee with me in Jerusalem. And Barzillai said unto the king, How long have I to live, that I should go up with the king unto Jerusalem? I am this day 80 years old: and can I discern between good and evil? can thy servant taste what I eat or what I drink? can I hear any more the voice of singing men and singing women? ..."
H. An Example of Holy Living.
Titus 2:2, 3 "That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things."
Sometimes when people get old, their families are selfish and don't want to take the time to take care of them. It costs money to put them in a nursing home, and some people who don't know God would rather have their parents die so that they will get than money in the will, after their death. This is sad - and it is sin. When they were young, their parents cared for them; they should take on that responsibility and care for their parents in their old age.
Who should take care of the elderly? Some strangers? No, the Bible says the church should care for old people (1 Timothy 5:5, 9) and the person's family should care for them (Exodus 20;12; Ruth 4:13-16; Proverbs 23:22).
There are many, many more bible verses about this on the link I gave in my first paragraph above. The Bible says a LOT about LIFE - and death.
I hope this has been helpful to you. If you have any more questions, let me know. -- Diane Dew