Euthanasia, like abortion, has long been forgotten as a moral issue and is increasingly positioned as an environmental or economic issue. These people, young and old are eating up valuable resources, and they cost money to sustain.
As Christians, God has told us how to respond.
Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. (Proverbs 24:11)
But we live in confusing times. Some of the things that used to be obvious to us are no longer obvious. It’s not so clear to us any more who we should be protecting and who we should be correcting. That means we have some groundwork to do.
Here are three basic truths to consider.
Euthanasia is Murder
When given the opportunity to “Humanely respect Saul’s right to a dignified death” the armour-bearer would not consent because he feared (1 Samuel 31:4).
An Amalekite from Saul’s camp saw Saul leaning on his sword, and when invited by Saul to finish the job (because death was certain and Saul was in pain), the Amalekite obliged. For this, David had the Amalekite executed as a murderer (2 Samuel 1:3-16).
Taking a life – even a dying life – was considered to be murder. This is not to be confused with, “pulling the plug” on someone who is being kept artificially alive.
We can call euthanasia, “an easing of human suffering”, compassion, “assisted suicide” or “bringing peace”, but as Christians, we have the important task of defining this world and its ways according to God’s word. And God defines “helping someone to die” as murder.
The reason that our definitions are so important is that by not applying God’s terms to our world we actually increase the pain. Euthanasia is only an “end to suffering” or an “entry into peace” if this life is all there is.
If there is an afterlife, then euthanasia is the doorway to endless suffering.
Euthanasia is not a Human Right
You will hear people talk about their rights. They will try and describe anything that interferes with their interests as “unjust”.
What is really being described is not injustice but a desire for autonomy (my life, my body, my choice) and an invitation for the legislators to oppress the weak.
The world ain’t stupid. It knows how to use human rights to break down Christian culture.
Human rights doctrine is the principal cultural weapon to undermine the fundamental values of Western society. (Melanie Phillips, Londonistan, p. 29)
As believers, we cannot agree with the sufferer’s position, as much as we hate to see the suffering, because we already hold to the truth that the power over life and death (and the terms of a just killing) reside in God alone, and we cannot have it both ways.
Secondly, we regard oppression as a sin, and so we cannot agree with any human rights legislation which gives autonomy to one group while oppressing another.
The desire for human rights is a noble thing when understood the way God intended it.
I have the right to be left alone and live my life quietly in obedience to God’s law. The only subsidy that others must pay in support of this right is to leave me alone.
I have the right to own some property, which means that others ought to respect this right and not steal my stuff.
But our culture wants to go much further, and this is what makes all such laws oppressive. If you say that you have a right to affordable government subsidised “health care” (euthanasia), then that means I have an obligation to pay for it.
Therefore, euthanasia is not a true human rights issue. It is either a claim to deity, that is, an attempt to wrest the power of life and death from God, or, it’s a form of oppression that actually undermines human rights and values.
God often Destroys the Wicked with their own Wickedness
Those who live by the sword will die by the sword.
There comes a time when, if the wicked insist on killing each other from cradle to grave, we are to recognise that this is a judgement from God and step out of the way.
And yet, lest we are guilty of further blood lust, we must sound the alarm and attempt to deliver those who march to the slaughterhouse to kill or be killed.
We warn, and we plead. But having done that we sit and wade it out in prayer.
When the Canaanites threw their children into the fires of Molech, Israel was not commanded to go in and barricade the ovens.
This did not make Israel heartless. God had promised that,
The righteous will never be removed, but the wicked will not dwell in the land. (Proverbs 10:30)
One of the ways God fulfils this promise is by letting the wicked do themselves in.
And so, having done all we can do, we are to take the long view and wait patiently in prayer for God to turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers.
As God’s children, we are fundamentally opposed to shooting the weak and helpless because these are precisely the people we are called to love and protect.
These are the people we are called to lay down our lives for.
Euthanasia is a symptom of our desire for comfort at all costs by avoiding the costs that the needy place on us.