Euthanasia literally means good death. It is also called mercy killing. In the Netherlands where euthanasia has been practiced for years, it is called deliverance. It is advocated by Dr. Kevorkian (Dr. Death) and the Hemlock Society. Recently Oregon passed the first measure in the history of the U.S. to legalize euthanasia (although it has had trouble in the courts). The Bible clearly teaches against the practice of euthanasia. This can illustrated in the story of the death of Saul as found in our text.
TEXT: 2Samuel 1:6-10
- And the young man that told him said, As I happened by chance upon mount Gilboa, behold, Saul leaned upon his spear; and, lo, the chariots and horsemen followed hard after him.
- And when he looked behind him, he saw me, and called unto me. And I answered, Here am I.
- And he said unto me, Who art thou? And I answered him, I am an Amalekite.
- He said unto me again, Stand, I pray thee, upon me, and slay me: for anguish is come upon me, because my life is yet whole in me.
- So I stood upon him, and slew him, because I was sure that he could not live after that he was fallen: and I took the crown that was upon his head, and the bracelet that was on his arm, and have brought them hither unto my lord.
NOTE: What follows are four Biblical arguments against euthanasia. Taken together, they make a clear Bible case against the practice known euphemistically as mercy killing.
THE BIBLICAL PRINCIPLE THAT LIFE AND DEATH BELONG TO GOD
- God is the Source of Life--John 5:2 - He has “life in himself’; i.e., He is the source of His own life (that’s what makes Him God)
- God in the Giver of Life--Genesis 2:7 - Life is not an accident of nature
- God is the Preserver of Life--Acts 17:24-25,28
- God is the Taker of Life--Deuteronomy 32:39; 1Samuel 2:6
THE BIBLICAL PRECEPT THAT “THOU SHALT NOT KILL”--Exodus 10:13
- NOTE: The Exceptions to the Sixth Commandment Only Prove the Sanctity of Life
- The Exception of Self-Defense--Exodus 22:2 - Valid because your life and that of your loved ones is threatened
- The Exception of War--Numbers 10:9 “the enemy that oppresseth you” - Valid because your country is threatened/an extension of self-defense
- The Exception of Capital Punishment--Genesis 9:5-6 - Valid because a life has been taken. Where capital punishment is not practiced on murderers, the land becomes guilty of blood--Numbers 35:31-34
One portion of the Hippocratic Oath says: “I will use treatment to help the sick according to my ability and judgment, but I will never use it to injure or wrong them. I will not give poison to anyone though asked to do so, nor will I suggest such a plan. Similarly I will not give a pessary [this was a potion meant to cause abortion] to a woman to cause abortion. But in purity and in holiness I will guard my life and my art.”--This was stated by a pagan doctor in the fourth century B.C. We’ve come a long way.
THE BIBLICAL PRACTICE AS SEEN IN THE DEATH OF SAUL--2Samuel 1:6-16
- Saul’s Condition - (THESE ARE THE VERY ARGUMENTS USED TO SUPPORT EUTHANASIA)
- Saul was sure to die--and soon
- Saul was in a lot of pain
- Saul requested that he be killed
- The Armorbearer’s Reaction--1Samuel 31:4
- He was sore afraid
- He refused his king’s request
- King David’s Reaction to the Amalekite
THE BAD PRODUCTS WHICH RESULT FROM EUTHANASIA--Matthew 7:20
- QUOTE: The co-founder of the Hemlock Society in a fund-raising letter on behalf of the Oregon Initiative known as Measure #16 which allowed mercy killing said this: “A breakthrough in Oregon would start a domino effect of law reform on assisted dying throughout America”. What are some of the dominos that would fall?
- Involuntary Euthanasia--in the small country of the Netherlands more than 1,000 people are put to death every year without their consent.
- Euthanasia For Psychological Problems--as above, it has already been done for bad cases of depression.
- Euthanasia For Mentally Retarded Babies--already being done
- Refusal of Treatment For Terminally Ill Patients--recommended in a recent article of the New England Medical Journal.
We had better be “sore afraid” of taking into our hands that which only belongs to God--1Samuel 31:4