As I have read all the positive spins on voting yes on the upcoming Euthanasia referendum in New Zealand, let me give a few thoughts from the Bible for voting NO.
Euthanasia is a Greek compound word, “eu-thanatos“.
“Eu” means “pertaining to that which is good” and is the word “good” in Mark 14:7.
“Thanatos” means “the termination of physical life” and is the word “death” in I Corinthians 15:15-57.
“Eu” is found in the Bible, and “Thanatos” is found in the Bible, but “Eu-Thanatos” is not. One reason is because Euthanasia is not of God, God sees nothing “good” in “the termination of physical life.” This is the point I want to make as you consider your vote in the upcoming referendum.
1) LIFE IS SACRED, IT COMES FROM GOD
Human life is sacred to God because we are made in His image, by the very breathe of God. “God created man in his own image. … God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (Genesis 1:27; 2:7)
“in his own image,” God tells us that we’re not to end the life of another human being. Quoting the 10 Commandments, Jesus said, “Thou shalt do no murder” (Matthew 19:18; Exodus 20:13).
God’s disdain for ending a life is seen when Cain ends Able’s life in Genesis 4:8-12. A few chapters later, God gives Noah the judgment for ending a life and why this sentience is so extreme: “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” (Genesis 9:6)
2) MEN IN THE BIBLE ENDURED SUFFERING
Jesus as our supreme example, suffered for our sins in I Peter 3:18, “Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:“
Though Jesus longed for death, He endured rather than ending His own life. Jesus said, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.“ (Matthew 26:39)
Jesus endured the cross for us in Hebrews 12:3, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.“
Jesus left us His supreme example to endure suffering in I Peter 2:21, “Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:“
3) WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF SUFFERING?
Suffering builds character and produces hope in Romans 5:3-5, “tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.“
Paul spoke these words as a man who was not unfamiliar with suffering. He was struck blind, shipwrecked, beaten, jailed and stoned. Paul knew what it was to suffer. He reminds us in Romans 5 of what we already know, that everyone has problems. Paul teaches us the importance of controlling our troubles and not letting our troubles control us. Why? Suffering builds character and produces hope.
- WHERE THERE IS NO HOPE, EUTHANASIA BECOMES A CHOICE, BECAUSE WITHOUT CHRIST THERE IS NO HOPE
Suffering builds maturity and produces patience in James 1:2-4, “count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.“
James doesn’t say “if” but “when.” Like Paul, he reminds us of what we already know, that suffering is inevitable. James goes on to teach that suffering builds maturity, producing patience whose work is to perfect us and make us “entire, wanting nothing.” It is only then that we can count all suffering as joy. However, we will never realize this joy if patience cannot work in us because we refuse to allow suffering to try our faith.
- WHERE THERE IS NO PATIENCE, EUTHANASIA BECOMES A CHOICE, BECAUSE WITHOUT CHRIST THERE IS NO HOPE
Suffering honors and glorifies Christ in I Peter 1:6-7, “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:“
Here, Peter elaborates on both James and Paul, saying that our suffering is “in heaviness.” Enduring this heaviness of suffering gives opportunity to bring honor and glory to Christ.
- WHERE THERE IS NO HONOR AND GLORY, EUTHANASIA BECOMES A CHOICE, BECAUSE WITHOUT CHRIST THERE IS NO HOPE
Suffering is an opportunity to benefit others in II Corinthians 1:6-8, “And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. 7 And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation. 8 For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life:“
Consider this, since Paul’s suffering was for our example and benefit, what would we have if Paul chose to end his life? For one, God used Paul to pen most of the New Testament, and much of his writing came during extreme sufferings. Our suffering is the same. What would others have if we chose to end our life?
4) WHEN IT COMES TO SUFFERING AT DEATH
II Corinthians 1:9-11 reminds us that we have “the sentence of death in ourselves.” In this death sentence, though, “we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:” In these verses, we have an obligation to someone’s suffering. This obligation is prayer, and not to end a life.
Please understand, death is your enemy, not this preacher. In my introduction, the word “thanatos” is translated “death” in I Corinthians 15:55-57. Here, Paul teaches that death is our enemy, and Christ conquered this enemy for us: “O death [Thanatos], where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death [Thanatos] is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.“
God is merciful, and gave provision for the relief of suffering when someone faces the enemy of death. However, He never gave provision to end a life in order to avoid suffering. Proverbs 31:6-7 tells us to “Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. 7 Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.“
God calls it wicked and foolish to end a life before its time: “Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?” (Ecclesiastes 7:17)
I write these words with the passing of my mom in America just a few weeks ago. With Covid-19 restrictions, flying home was not a wise option. With technology, though, we were able to be with her and say our good-byes at her bedside. My mom was in essence given “strong drink” and she passed naturally and peaceably into the arms of her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
VOTING ON EUTHANASIA
Our obligation as a Christian is biblically clear. We must remember that God knows best in our sufferings. While there is a breathe of hope in one’s life, God is the one who is at work.