What is Euthanasia?

By: Pastor Mike Sanders

In response to the questions, I regularly receive from believers about loved ones suffering through the process of death I feel it necessary to express the biblical position on Euthanasia.

In our culture, have we lost our sense of the value of life? We abort the young and euthanize the old. The degraded view of human life has led to the approval of abortion and euthanasia. Humans are no longer viewed as an asset but as an inconvenience.

A proper understanding begins with a proper definition.  According to the Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, euthanasia is defined as “the act or practice of painlessly putting to death persons suffering from an incurable and distressing disease.”  Euthanasia is a combination of two Greek words. The first being thanotos which means bringing or causing death.  The second being eu which means well, thus Euthanasia could mean causing one to die well.

On the surface, this might sound good and merciful, yet to embrace euthanasia as a practice in our society is to allow society to determine who lives and who dies.  Euthanasia contradicts the Bible which teaches us that God is the giver and taker of life, not man.  Because God’s wisdom is greater than ours, He is the only one qualified to determine if a person has completed their purpose and time here on this earth and should go on to their eternal destination.

Also, to embrace euthanasia is to say that there is no value or qualitative benefit in suffering, to which the scriptures again would disagree.  The Bible consistently affirms the internal and eternal value of suffering towards those who suffer and those who minister to the suffering.  As hard as it may be to conceive in our minds, we must understand that suffering can bring value to our family and us.

We understand that when a loved one is dying it is important to all involved that every attempt is made to provide comfort measures to the suffering.  This, of course, is not euthanasia!  Letting nature take its course under the sovereign hand of God is simply allowing a person to die with dignity, as well as we are not interfering or assisting with the dying process of that individual.

Furthermore, we also understand that euthanasia does not include the removal or application of life support.  Unfortunately, there is much confusion concerning euthanasia, and therefore some may mistakenly embrace it as an acceptable practice.  We are sure that when the information about euthanasia is understood most persons will readily come out on the proper side of the issue.

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