Sunday School: Christian Ethics (Pt. 13: Euthanasia)
Is it wrong to put to death a person in great pain who has no hope of recovery?
How can we know when to stop medical treatment near the end of someone’s life?
Should the law allow doctors to perform euthanasia when a patient requests it?
A. BIBLICAL TEACHING
1. Exodus 20:13: The Sixth Commandment.
You shall not murder (Ex. 20:13)
2. Second Samuel 1:1–16: The Death of Saul.
This narrative has several similarities to modern situations in which people sometimes say euthanasia is justified:
1. The patient (Saul) appeared to be terminally injured, with no reasonable human hope of recovery. (He had fallen on his own sword in an attempt to commit suicide: see 1 Sam. 31:4–5.)
2. The patient was in extreme pain, and if he did not die, he faced the prospect of even more suffering.
3. The patient clearly requested, even begged, that someone would put him to death.
4. This request was also a command from the head of government at that time, because Saul was still the king.
1 Tim. 6:13 “ In the sight of God, who gives life to everything . . . .”
Deut. 32:39 “See now that I myself am he! There is no god besides me. I put to
death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of
1 Sam. 2:6 “The Lord brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and
James 4:15 “ Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”
B. THE CRUCIAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN KILLING AND LETTING DIE
-Killing is actively doing something to a patient that hastens or causes his or her death.
-Letting die is passively allowing someone to die from other causes, without interfering with that process.
(Read “Departing in Peace: Biblical Decision making at the End of Life,” by Bill Davis.)
C. ARGUMENTS AGAINST EUTHANASIA FROM REASON AND EVIDENCE APART FROM THE BIBLE
1. The Human Moral Instinct That Murder Is Wrong.
2. The Slippery Slope from Euthanasia to an “Obligation” to Die.
3. The Horror of Involuntary Euthanasia.
1. “We Must Uphold the Value of Human Freedom.”
2. “Sometimes We Need to Alleviate Pain.”
3. “Medical Resources and Money Are Limited.”
More in Sunday School: Christian Ethics
February 16, 2020Sunday School: Christian Ethics (Pt. 14: Suicide)
February 2, 2020Sunday School: Christian Ethics (Pt.12.2: Abortion)
January 26, 2020Sunday School: Christian Ethics (Pt.12.1: Abortion)