of Life Issues: Dying, Death and Euthanasia
familiar with Christís promise "that (we) might have life, and
have it abundantly" (John 10:10b). We associate that promise
with the peace, hope, and joy that comes from our reconciliation
to God and our obedience to His commandments. Perhaps we are not
as familiar with the concept in the first part of that same
verse. "The thief comes to steal and destroy," the opposite to
Jesusí work. The false messiah causes discord, despair, and
emptiness. Both the positive and the negative sides of this
verse are usually associated with spiritual consequences
for the believer or the unbeliever. This verse and others, have
a clear application to the health of the physical body.
We will explore that application as a foundational principle for
Christian health professionals, that is, a biblical/medical
ethic. The practice of medicine is secondary to a concept of
health, as health is determined by a concept of life and death.
The Bible places all
issues into two categories that are described as light and
darkness, truth and error, good and evil, righteousness and
lawlessness, and life and death. Our concern is with life and
death. Three texts serve to illustrate this contrast. 1) Through
Moses God spoke to the Israelites "See, I have set before you
today life and prosperity, and death and adversityÖ So choose
life in order that you may live, you and your descendants" (Dt.
30:15, 19b). 2) Man at his best still fails: "There is a way
which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death" (Prov.
14:12). 3) "Now He is not the God of the dead, but of the
living; for all live to Him" (Lk. 20:38).
The dominant worldview
within modern medicine ignores God, and is even anti-God. As
such, it is death-oriented. Therefore, its fruits have become,
in particular instances, the intended death of patients (e.g.
abortion and euthanasia). To ignore and despise God will
inevitably cause death in one of its forms.
The Bible recognizes
only two systems. One is associated with God and life. The other
is without God and associated with death. If a Christian does
not understand this fundamental incompatibility of the current
philosophy withini medicine and biblical life, then he can never
make the distinctions necessary to a biblical practice of
medicine. By consequence, he cannot provide the most complete
approach to health for his patients, and worse, may impart death
when he intended life.
Are Life and Death?
"Life" and "death" are
used as though they were simple concepts. They are, however,
much more complex than is readily apparent. In our approach we
will move from the biological to the biblical in order to
contrast the ordinary understanding of life and death with a
biblical understanding. The Bible, not common or cultural
opinion, must be our ultimate source of definitions.
Most simply, life is
the absence of death. But, what is it that characterizes an
"alive" organism? First, it assimilates material from its
environment into itself. Second, this material is used to
produce energy and to replace used materials. Third, a period of
time exists when this assimilation results in growth in size and
complexity. Fourth, this assimilation results in the production
of energy. Fifth, the waste products must be eliminated. Sixth,
disease or injury must be overcome or healed. Seventh,
reproduction must occur or the life of the specie will cease
with the present generation. Eighth, the organism reacts to
As I state these
criteria, I realize that these characteristics are not present
in all living organisms throughout their lifespans. Growth and
reproduction are present only at certain periods. The other six
characteristics, however, must always be present. When any one
or more of these processes ceases, death occurs.
markedly change these characteristics. First, the spiritual
dimension of reality is introduced in addition to the physical.
Second, a Living Being (God) is described who is entirely Spirit
and who is entirely sufficient within Himself. For Him none of
these characteristics of biological life apply. Third, there are
other spiritual beings who have none of these characteristics of
life. they are of two kinds: good (those who serve God) and evil
(those who serve Satan). Fourth, man is composed of a spiritual
(non-physical) element as well as the physical.
Fifth, there are four
environments where life is determined by the obedience of men
and women to certain conditions set forth by this All-sufficient
Being. The first environment was a Paradise where man was placed
with the condition that he not eat of the tree of knowledge of
good and evil (Gen. 2:16-17). After his disobedience, his
environment changed as he was discharged from Paradise and
placed under a personal curse (Gen. 3:14-16) and an
environmental curse (Rom. 8:19-22; 1 Cor. 15:42-58). Therefore,
man has an opportunity to be changed through regeneration, the
beginning of the reversal of the personal curse. Finally, two
future environments exist as the destiny of men, eternal peace
and joy or eternal discord and despair, depending upon the
presence or absence of regeneration in each person.1
In essence, life is
communion with God. Basically, this communion has two
aspects Ėknowledge and obedience:
If we say that we
have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we
lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the
light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with
one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from
all sin (1 John 1:6,7).
Obviously, one must
"know" where to walk and then must obey in order to have
fellowship with both God and other men (the same Greek word in
the New Testament, koinonia, is translated both communion
and fellowship). Right knowledge and right action are ethical
concepts. Thus, biblical life is an ethical concept.
A biblical definition
of death will correspond to a biblical definition of life. It
can be derived from the types of death that are described in the
Bible. There are four. (Some applications of these states to
euthanasia have been made elsewhere.2) One is
biological death (Mt. 9:18; 1 Cor. 15:3, 12-19; 1 Thess. 5:16b).
A second is the second death (Rev. 2:11; 20:6, 14; 21:8). This
state is the final judgment of Jesus Christ of the unregenerate.
A third is the person who dies to his former self and way of
life as a result of regeneration (Rom. 6:2-14). The fourth is
Godís curse on Adam and Eve after their disobedience in the
Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:15-17), under which the unregenerate
continue as long as they remain outside of Christ (Rom. 7:24; 1
Cor. 15:22; Eph. 2:1, 5). Thus, with the exception of the
Christianís death to his former way of life, death is a
consequence of sin.
understood, is a spiritual change or separation of oneís
relationship to God, to other people, to oneself, and to oneís
residence. This change may be for the better or for the
worse. The central concept here concerns oneís relationship to
God in obedience or disobedience. This relationship is ethical,
having to do with right and wrong, righteousness and sin. The
wrong orientation to God causes a wrong orientation to oneself
and to others contrary to what God intended originally in the
unity of the human race.
One might wonder why
unregenerate men do not fear separation from God since this
state is the fullest realization of death. First, they do
fear death. Scripture speaks of those who "through fear of death
were subject to slavery all their lives" (Heb. 2:15). They
"suppress the truth" (Rom. 1:18) and, therefore, this fear is
neither conscious in their minds nor in their communication to
others. Dr. Rousas Rushdoony is likely correct in his assessment
of this suppression of fear:
because the sinner
is in revolt against God, he does not experience the fear of
death as fear of separation from God, but rather as a fear
of separation from life.3
Thus, he is willing to
sacrifice everything to prevent his own death. An example is the
common expression, "Better red than dead," meaning that it is
better to yield to Communism than to fight and die for the cause
apart from God is apparent. On the one hand, he wants life at
all costs. On the other hand, he often seeks death as a solution
to the problems of life. These biblical concepts of life and
death compel Christians to apply them in medical situations. The
critical factor is the addition of ethical criteria that are
established by God and that affect both man and his environment.
This factor is not substantial (physical or material), but
entirely spiritual. A definition of life becomes dependent upon
this ethical relationships.
Therefore, medicine as the
discipline that maintains and assists in the restoration of
human lives must define what enhances and what destroys life
according to this ethical relationship.
and life are closely related concepts, as are sickness, sin, and
death. They are not identical because the spiritual takes
priority over and at time may supersede physical health. For
example, the missionary does not choose the most physically
healthy situation for himself and his family by going to some
remote region. He is, however, doing that which is most
spiritually healthy, because his going results in a more
complete communion with God than if he did not go (assuming that
he is indeed called to the mission field). Most graphically,
martyrs give up physical life entirely for their spiritual
Separation from Communion (Communication) with God
Christianity is the
only religion4 that consistently and in every way
promotes life. This reality is seen in the transformation of the
Western world where biblical values came to predominate. Thus,
once backward and barbaric nations have freedoms that are
unparalleled in human history. With that transformation came
unprecedented health. Scholars may debate whether there is
direct cause and effect here, but the fact that the spread of
Christianity and these developments were simultaneous is
undeniable. By contrast, what have other religions produced?
In India where Hinduism
is dominant, widespread poverty continues. Alongside of
malnourished children lacking protein in their diets are cattle
that could supply this protein were it not for the religious
taboo against eating their meat. Although actual death is not
always the immediate consequence, death is present in the
retardation of physical and intellectual growth. The poverty of
the people in general (infra) is a consequence that
closely approximates death. Without sanitation, proper
nutrition, and immunization, the death rate, especially for the
younger ages, is much higher than in Western countries.
The Muslim religion
claims hundreds of millions of followers worldwide. One
distinctive of its teaching is fatalism. Whatever happens is
"Allahís will." On the surface, this teaching appears somewhat
similar to Calvinism which recognizes that all things are
directed by Godís will. However, Calvinism has a strong emphasis
on personal and social responsibility. One cannot make the
excuse that "God willed it" when a result could have been
avoided by following biblical teaching. That Islam stifles
personal and social responsibility to prevent and treat disease
and death is apparent.
Secular humanism is
without question a religion. Even the Supreme Court has ruled
that it is, and the Humanist Manifestos I and II clearly present
humanism as a religion. Thus, the various aspects of death that
are called for in these documents is consistent with their
approach to life that excludes, and is even hostile to God.
"Freedom" for women to have abortions and for all to have "death
with dignity" are examples. There is even an organization call,
"The Society for the Right to Die." Its nonsensical name is
apparent. All men die regardless of rights! This title is
consistent with manís only choice other than God and the life
associated with Him.
As Western man has lost
his identity with God, he has also lost his place as the most
valuable living organism. Protection for all non-human forms of
life is actively sought simultaneously with the death of unborn
children by the millions. Death for the physically defective and
the elderly receives active lobbying in the legislatures of our
land. Elevation of animal life over human life is strangely
twisted thinking, but is a consistent application of a
philosophy that excludes God.
The epitome of manís
attempt to separate himself from God and the resulting
association with death is found in the Enlightenment influence
that caused the French Revolution. The movement was consciously
a revolt against any supreme, supernatural authority that dared
to tell man how he should live. The result of that attempt has
become known as the Reign of Terror. Manís fear is most fully
realized when he is most consistently aligned against biblical
revelation. Death and destruction are the inevitable result.
We must never lose
sight of the fact that ultimately there are only two religions:
the one described as Christian theism5), and the
defined without that revelation (the broad category of
naturalism). These have been discussed in some detail
previously.6 Further, Dr. Gary North has extensively
demonstrated the similarities of demonism and the occult with
Separation from Oneís Creator: Self-Destruction
In medicine a common
belief is the association of poverty with an increased incidence
and prevalence of disease and death. This belief is only partly
true because poverty primarily consists of the ethics of a
group, rather than the presence or absence of wealth per se.
Of five factors responsible for famine, only weather is a factor
beyond manís control.8
The "Protestant work
ethic" has been much maligned, but it is a major factor in
overcoming the problem of poverty. Certainly, it can be carried
to the extreme where responsibilities other than oneís
employment are neglected. Short of that extreme, the productive
nature of that ethic should be fully appreciated. First,
diligence of labor will produce an abundance of food or the
money to purchase it. Second, the certainty that the universe is
an orderly, predictable system because its Creator and Sustainer
has made it so, has resulted in a science that has beeen able to
understand something of the spread of disease so that it can be
controlled by appropriate sanitation and immunization. Again,
the development of this science in the West where Christianity
prevails is an association that should not be ignored.
Wealth alone does not
produce maximum health. Literally, men and women are killing
themselves in the midst of wealth. In the United States there
are clearly avoidable causes of disease and death. Lung cancer
caused by cigarette smoke is the second leading cause of death
in the United States and accounts for one-third of all cancer
deaths each year. Cirrhosis of the liver is the third leading
cause of death, frequently caused by alcoholism (there are
common causes other than this for which a person is not morally
responsible). If one surveys the other eight leading causes of
death, he will find other avoidable risk factors, such as
stress, alcohol, and poor nutrition (the ones already named),
and too much food and too little of the right kinds.9
The lives of some of
the worldís wealthiest me provide graphic examples of the
dissociation of the individual possession of wealth and disease
and death. For example, we can review the ends of the lives of
nine of the worldís richest men in 1923. One died in bankruptcy
after living the latter days on borrowed money. One died
penniless in a foreign country where he had fled to escape
justice. Another died abroad insolvent. Another died insane. Two
spent time in prison. Finally, three died by suicide.10
"self-destructiveness" clearly reveals that man is
death-oriented apart from God. In the United States both the
knowledge and the means are available for greater physical
health, yet the major killers are "self-indulgence." Without an
ethical reorientation man can do little to combat his downhill
principle for a biblical worldview in medicine, then, is that
obedience to godís law and principles produces health and life.
The disease and death associated with poverty are overcome by
regeneration and re-orientation to Godís world causing a person
to become responsible and thus more productive.11 On
the other hand, redistribution of wealth in the form of
medical care to the poor will not (and has not) overcome their
disease. Wealth without orientation to God still produces
disease and death. A biblical view of poverty and wealth as it
relates to health and disease calls for repentance of both
the wealthy and the poor. Health is not available any other
At first glance, Sweden
and Japan may seem to contradict this dissociation of wealth and
a biblical worldview. A closer look, however, minimizes this
impression. First, both Japan and Sweden have strong Christian
influences at some time in their history. Second, both are
building upon the bodies of aborted babies. Third, Swedenís
suicide rate is high, parental authority (e.g. spanking) has
been severely eroded (see next section), and they depend on
others for national defense.
Separation from Others: The Family
The family, as the
basic unit of society, is a life- and health- promoting
institution. When no one else cares, the family is concerned for
its own. Even those who are "evil" give good gifts to their
children (Mt. 7:9-11). In our society, however, an anti-family
bias is clearly present. The violation of the integrity of the
family is directly a cause of disease, and not infrequently, an
actual cause of death.
Abortion not only
causes death of a potential new addition to the family, but
complications for the mother that may include sterility,
bleeding, perforation of the womb, infection, or "psychological"
problems. Millions both fear and experience various forms of
sexually transmitted diseases (STD) each year;12
these are entirely avoidable and could be eradicated almost
entirely within one generation simply by obedience to Godís
design for sex expression and intimacy only within marriage.
As all birth control
methods have side effects, the avoidance of pregnancy has many
complications. The intra uterine device (IUD) may perforate the
womb or cause serious bleeding and infections. (It is also an
abortifacient.) The birth control pill (oral contraception) may
cause heart attacks, strokes, blood clots that can damage the
lungs, and other side effects that may require medical attention
(See chapter 2).
This anti-family bias
is seen in the present health emphases of stat and federal
governments. Billions are spent to prevent or treat the problem
of smoking, alcohol, and drug addiction. At the same time the
government supports immoral sexual practices through its
provision of birth control measures (including abortion) and the
"non-judgmental" treatment of STDs. In any state minor girls can
be treated for these problems without parental consent or
notification. A double attack on the family exists here. First,
the promotion of immoral sexuality is destructive to the
commitment necessary to maintain an intact family. Second, that
these "medical" practices can be performed without the parentsí
consent undermines parental authority and cohesiveness.
It is well known among
family physicians and is documented with research that families
with interpersonal conflicts and divorce have more real and
imagined medical problems than stable families. When these
interpersonal conflicts are successfully managed through
counseling, visits to the doctorís office are markedly reduced.
Further, there is extensive documentation that the health and
longevity of married men and women is much greater than those
who are single, regardless of age.13
Godís emphasis on the
importance of the family unit is seen in His death penalty for
sexual immorality in the Mosaic Law.14 At first
glance His punishment seems harsh, but the necessity of the
family for a healthy society justifies this penalty, if only at
a human level. (On a cosmic level Godís laws are just Ėsimply
because He makes them.) If the sanctity of life requires
the death penalty when innocent life is taken, then the direct
threat to life that results from the violation of the sanctity
of the family necessarily requires a similar penalty.
as a "Solution"
Today, there seems to
be an increasing number of instances in which individuals and
cultures propose and practice the death of other human beings as
a solution to their problems. Such a solution is the clearest
illustration of the result of a worldview that is not ethically
oriented to Godís revelation.
excessive desire for material possessions, causes death in ways
that directly concern the medical profession. In more than
ninety-five percent of abortions, the decision is clearly made
on the basis of convenience. The pregnancy interferes with the
plans and desires of the woman, so her solution is to choose
death for the unborn child. Evolution, as one example of a
worldview that ignores God, provides a justification for these
choices since man is but another animal. Even abortion for the
so-called hard cases, rape, incest, and a severly deformed fetus
(2-5 percent of pregnancies), is a choice of death over
economic, social, and "psychological" cost.
is similarly a solution for a variety of reasons. The problem
may be the day-to-day hardship of caring for someone who is
severely or chronically ill, a desire to have immediate access
to an inheritance, or as a solution to the escalating costs of
care for the elderly. Infanticide involves similar choices at
the other end of the life spectrum.
Suicide may be
interpreted as the ultimate in self-absorption16
because death is seen as the answer to oneís problems. No one
else is considered except as the distorted intention of the
suicidal person to free others of the burden he perceives
himself to be to them. Materialism, as a response to the loss or
indebtedness of large sums of money, is frequently a factor here
also. Murder may be less common, but nevertheless, frequent
answer to interpersonally problems. The seemingly simple
solution is to get rid of the other person rather than spend
time, effort, and physical resources to sort out and remedy
Utilitarianism is a
dominant philosophy in modern medicine denoted by such terms as
"quality of life" and "the good of society." In perhaps the most
advanced application of medical practice, eugenics by genetic
engineering, death is inherently part of the protocol. First,
there seems to be little moral reservation to experiment upon
human embryos and then simply flush them down the sink. Second,
if mistakes are made, they can similarly be handled, or if the
mistake is recognized after implantation into a woman, it can be
In some political
systems the answer is to kill oneís opponent(s) or put them in
prison (a form of death). The present government is seen to be
ineffective and hopeless, so that a severe corrective action
must be taken. That physicians sometimes participate in these
regimes demonstrates the link of medical practice to oneís
The Sixth Commandment
stands as a bulwark against these "solutions." Consistent
non-Christians, as one told me personally, see no distinction
between allowing a disease to progress naturally to end in death
and giving an injection to end the life of a suffering patient.
God has not intended killing others as a solution. He has given
us all the biblical means with which to solve problems in every
area without this option. The Christian can assume that any
decision that calls for such death of another person or persons
as a solution to a problem situation is in antithesis to the
revealed will of God. If we ever contemplate the death of a
person or persons as a solution, it should be a red flag of
warning that we have not chosen Godís way.
The Bible, however,
seems to allow certain exceptions: just war, self-defense, and
capital punishment.18 Actually, killing in such
situations is based upon such an elevated view of the sanctity
of life that those who threaten or destroy the life of
others must forfeit their own lives. "Whoever sheds manís blood,
by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made
man" (Gen. 9:6). Thus, as a last resort in those situations
where life has already been taken or is immediately threatened
death is prescribed. It should be noted that even here, however,
death is not seen as a solution but an act of punishment.19
Finally, in situations
with terminally ill patients where the better course is not to
prolong death, death is not a solution, but an inevitable
consequence of the disease process. Death is allowed because man
is limited in his efforts to prevent death.
Ethics of Life: Reversal of the Death Process
Two basics are absent
in a non-Christian worldview: the need for regeneration and a
willingness to improve oneís own situation and the situation of
others. Regeneration (often called "the new birth"), however, is
widely misunderstood among Christians. Either term is biblically
accurate, but the words "born again" are too loosely applied by
both Christians and non-Christians. The change of which the
Bible speaks is dramatic: "transformation" (Rom. 12:2, 2 Cor.
3:18), a "change of mind (2 Cor 7:10), "made alive" (Eph. 2:5),
"a new creature" (2 Cor. 5:17), and "renewal" (Rom. 12:2, 2 Cor.
4:16, Tit. 3:5). The state of a person changes from darkness and
death (Eph. 2:1) to life and life (2 Cor. 3:18).
The entire physical
universe is under the sentence of death, having been "subjected
to futility" and "corruption" (Rom. 8:19-22). This sentence of
death is clearly seen in the Second Law of Thermodynamics that
states, "an orderly system always proceeds toward disorder
without an input of additional usable energy." "Nature" left to
itself can only cause death and destruction as an ultimate end.
Correspondingly, the universe will be regenerated when Christ
finally comes to reign (Mt. 19:28). It is fascinating that the
only times the Greek word for regeneration, palingenesis,
is used in the New Testament are: once concerning man (Titus
3:5) and once concerning the physical universe (Mt. 19:28).
Other words (as noted above) are used to convey the
characteristics of the new birth, but the actual word,
regeneration, is only used in these two places.
character of this change must be realized. It is an ethical
re-orientation.20 Whatever source of ethics one has
followed until this point is renounced for Godís Word as the
basis of oneís ethics. Simply, it is a re-orientation from
self-centeredness to God-centeredness. This reorientation
amounts to obedience to the Ten Commandments. We have seen
several examples where they apply directly to issues of life and
death and therefore health and disease.
What conclusions can we
draw for the practice of medicine from a biblical concept of
life and death?21 1) Christians who work in medicine
and medical ethics must increasingly become conscious that only
two worldviews exist: that governed by Godís supernatural
revelation and that governed by man within himself. It is
obvious that humanism, as a medical philosophy, has resulted in
many practices that are contrary to the biblical worldview.
2) Life, health and
righteousness are the opposites of death, disease, and sin. All
diseases and death result indirectly from the sinful state into
which Adam and Eve plunged the human race, directly as the
result of personal sin or as a part of Godís sovereign plan (job
2:1-6; John 9:1-3). The ultimate death is final separation from
God. "Death with dignity" is opposite to the biblical concept of
death. The choice of Godís way is not only a choice leading
toward spiritual life, but usually toward physical health and
life as well. Much, if not most, diseases are avoidable by this
"way." Godís promises are mostly spiritual, but they have real
physical impact. Perfect health is reserved for heaven, but a
maximal degree of health is possible by ethical re-orientation.
We who practice medicine are obligated to make this
identification. A violation of Godís moral law has severe
consequences in a similar way that a violation of natural laws
does. For example, the violation of the law of gravity will
result in a fall that causes injury or death.
3) A corollary is that
medical practice is first and foremost dependent upon a biblical
ethic. The Ten Commandments, as they are meant to reflect
considerable breadth, summarize a great deal of this necessary
4) A great deal of the
medical care and cost in the United States is directly related
to sin. Modern medicine supports the sins of people by its
5) Sanctity of life
involves the whole of the biblical ethic. The pro-life movement
has become so closely identified with the sanctity of physical
life that in some instances it ignores other important values.
Perhaps the most apparent is the oversight, and sometimes
refusal, to face financial limitations in the provision of
medical care. To ignore this wider application and identify this
sanctity with only abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia is to
restrict its biblical application. Further, spiritual values
take precedence over physical health. For example, the
missionary who threatens the health of himself and his family
when he goes to "regions beyond," believes (rightly) that his
proclamation of the gospel takes precedence over that concern.
Other specifics may be
found throughout this book. My intent is to help all Christians
know what is darkness and what is light within the practice of
For he who finds me
And obtains favor from the Lord.
But he who sins against me injures himself;
All those who hate him love death (Proverbs 8:35-36).
1. The definition of
regeneration includes sanctification and glorification as a
continuation of the same spiritual process.
Biblical/Medical Ethics, 182-3.
3. Rushdoony, Rousas
J., Revolt Against Maturity, Fairfax, VA; Thoburn Press,
1977, p. 110.
4. I am aware of the
debates whether Christianity is a religion. I believe along with
Gordon Clark that no category can be properly labeled
"religion." Simply, religion is any personal philosophy held
consciously or unconsciously. In our day certain words that are
not preferable must be used in order to communicate. "Religion"
is still useful for that purpose. The modern debate about the
place of "religion" in society and politics, however, urgently
mandates clarification of the defintion.
5. Van Til, Cornelius,
Christian Theistic Ethics, Phillipsburg: Presbyterian and
Reformed Publishing Company, 1980, 13-17.
Biblical/Medical Ethics, 11-26.
7. North, Gary,
Unholy Spirits, Ft. Worth, TX: Dominion Press, 1986.
8. The other causes of
famine are: the prevention of cultivation or the willful
destruction of crops, defective agriculture caused by
communistic control of land, governmental interference by
regulation or taxation, and currency restrictions, including
debasing of the coin (inflation).
Biblical/Medical Ethics, 90-94.
10. Bright, Bill,
"Jesus and the Intellectual," Campus Crusade for Christ, Inc.,
Arrowhead Springs, San Bernadino, CA 92404.
11. Grant, George,
Bringing in the Sheaves, Atlanta, GA: American Vision Press,
Transmitted diseases" has replaced the term "venereal diseases,"
probably in an attempt to avoid the stigma of the latter.
13. Lynch, James L.,
The Broken Heart, New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1979.
14. I am not arguing
here for or against the death penalty in modern times for these
15. The complexities of
what euthanasia is and is not is far beyond this book. I am
using the term here as it would be used commonly: death brought
on by an immediate act in a patient who otherwise would live for
a time longer.
16. Adams, Competent
to Counsel, 141.
17. Stover, Eric and
Elena O. Nightengale, The Breaking of Bodies and Minds,
New York: W. H. Freeman and Company, 1985.
18. I am assuming the
validity of "just wars" and capital punishment here. Obviously,
these options will not exist for those Christians who hold other
views. Most Christians will likely agree that killing in
self-defense is right.
19. This emphasis on
punishment suggests the reason that some studies have apparently
demonstrated that the death penalty is not a deterrent, but a
punishment to illustrate the value of life.
20. This re-orientation
fundamentally concerns truth. Further, the basis of all ethics
is some system of truth. However, a consideration of the
relationship of truth and ethics here would cloud the issue
21. A supplementary and
more thorough list of these conclusions has already been
developed. Payne, Biblical/Medical Ethics, 95-96.
22. The Larger and
Shorter Catechisms of the Westminster Confession of Faith
are clear examples of the breadth of the application of the Ten
Commandments. The reader who is not familiar with these
catechisms should read them. He will be enriched and blessed by
their content. I have discussed this broader use of the
Commandments elsewhere. Payne, Biblical/Medical Ethics,