— Mission Statement —
Providing honest reporting and analysis on the intersection of contemporary issues and theology, based on a Biblical Christian Worldview.

HomeIn the NewsAre We Ready to Decide the Life and Death of our Loved...

Are We Ready to Decide the Life and Death of our Loved Ones?

Do we have the Biblical authority to end the life of our loved one?

Speaking on a Q&A podcast (here), Dr. Richard Caldwell pastor of Founders Baptist Church in Texas, responded to the question of assisted suicide (euthanasia) of the elderly based on a proposed Canadian law under review (here). Other countries with similar laws include Switzerland, Ireland, Scotland, and France. Canada made “medical assistance in dying” (Maid) legal in 2016 for the terminally ill and is now promoting the expansion of the procedure to those who are considered “mentally ill”. To date, there has been resistance such that enactment of the law has been twice delayed.

As I offered in an article, “Suicide as the Unforgivable Sin” (here), suicide of any form is a sin, but not an unforgivable sin. This would be true of anyone actively choosing to commit suicide for any reason. However, the reality is that “assisted suicide” is not the question in the case of “mental illness”. It is important to note that the decision would often be made by an interested third party if the individual to be executed was not mentally fit to make an informed decision.

The reality is that Assisted Suicide happens every day across much of the world.

My Very Personal Story

In 2022 I wrote an article on “The Death of my Parents” (here) which outlined in stark contrast the difference between my dad’s passing and my mom’s. Writing today on mental competence and assisted suicide, it struck me that I was about to offer an opinion that I did not follow in 1994 (dad’s death).

My dad had had another stroke and when I saw him in the hospital he was full of tubes (mouth, nose, IV's, etc.) and looked terrified. As a relatively new believer, I did not give him one last chance to hear the gospel because I thought it would scare him even more (which haunts me to this day). Back at home with my mom, we got a call from the doctor who said that my dad needed dialysis immediately or he would die. The doctor recommended death and my mom hung up the phone and looked at me. I called a mature believer and, long story short, I did not offer any resistance to what both my mom and the doctor wanted to do. We never saw my dad alive again.

The Conundrum of Terminal Decision-Making

My personal story is not unusual. Many caregivers are put in the position of making life-and-death decisions for incapacitated, mentally dependent loved ones. It doesn’t necessarily take the enactment of new laws to be forced into making these tough decisions. For the Biblical Christian…

  • Do we have the authority to end the life of another?
  • Do patients have the right to have a DNA (Do Not Resuscitate) on file?

Ecclesiastes 8:8a – No man has power to retain the spirit, or power over the day of death.

1 Corinthians 3:16-17 – Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

My Tentative Answer

Many will view these two questions as either falling outside of any Biblical mandates on one end of the spectrum, or an absolute no, we can not end a life, on the other.

To the first group I would say that God is in the middle of the decision regardless of your spiritual condition. You can choose to ignore Him, but that does not preclude Him from holding you accountable.

To the second group, I would say that legalism sounds good on paper, but often hypocrisy raises its ugly head in practice.

For most Biblical Christians, these two questions remain “situational” and prayer for discernment is paramount (James 1:5). Regardless of our theology, reality sets in when faced with a dying patient who seems to have no chance of any quality of life. The doctor needs an answer. The extended care facility will need to be compensated. Ultimately, the caregiver will have to decide to reject/comply with a DNR and/or simply allow the person a limited existence, or to ‘pull the plug’. And we will be held accountable for that decision.

If I had it to do over again, I would have witnessed to my dad in the hospital. Beyond that, I cannot offer an opinion other than to say God is sovereign and in control of the life and death of mankind. Does that mean we should take every opportunity to survive until the last breath, the last medication, or the last operation has failed? Is breathing and our heart beating the definition of life, or is there a quality component to consider? Finally, isn’t there a point where man should be taken out of the equation (i.e. doctors and their meds) and let God control the outcome?

Psalm 139:16 – Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.


AuthorJeff Hilles | BCWorldview.org 

Salvation – Eternal Life in Less Than 150 Words

Please Read/Respond to Comments – on Medium

RELATED ARTICLES

Recent Articles