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The Sin of Assisted Suicide

In Deuteronomy 5:6–21, one finds the Ten Commandments, which include the commandment “thou shalt not kill.” Though theological interpretations of this commandment have varied as much as the church’s history, it has been widely interpreted to be not only a condemnation of murder but also a condemnation of suicide.

Suicide is never a topic to be discussed lightly. However, it has become more important than ever to discuss it as governments across the world and states across the United States are moving to pass bills enshrining the “right” to physician-assisted suicide.

Right now, ten states (plus Washington, D.C.) permit this practice, including Oregon, Washington, Montana, Vermont, California, Colorado, Hawaii, New Jersey, Maine, and New Mexico. [1] According to a statement from Alliance Defending Freedom, New Mexico took it a step further than other states because it provided that doctors who refused to provide physician-assisted suicide on conscience grounds: “could have faced substantial criminal, civil, administrative, and professional liability, including risking losing their medical licenses.” [2]

The bill, known as Elizabeth Whitefield End-of-Life Options Act, is framed as empowering patients to exercise their agency by allowing them to end their lives on their own terms.

While this kind of messaging is appealing, it is also misleading because, for most of these patients, the decision to end their lives is predicated on involving a third party (the physician) who must be immediately responsible for administering the drugs necessary for the patient to commit suicide.

This is not only a symptom of a society that has cheapened its understanding of the value of life, but it is also a symptom of a society that does not take seriously the faith of those physicians who would object to such a procedure.

Any Christian who reads Genesis 9:5-6 should be sobered by the thought of being held accountable for the taking of human life:

“And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being. “Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind.”

We should all be grateful that ADF was able to successfully argue for a freedom of conscience exemption to the New Mexico law; however, this is a hollow victory. The law permitting physician-assisted suicide remains on the books and lends tacit credibility to euthanasia as a means of ending one’s time on this earth.

This is not only contrary to the biblical understanding of the sacredness of human life as a reflection of the image of God, but it also creates dangerous incentives that could lead to those who are deemed “unfit” being pressured to commit suicide for the “good of society.” This is a dangerous trend and one that should be fought at every turn before it becomes normalized in our society.

Foundations of Truth hereby waives all claim of copyright (economic and moral) in this work and immediately places it in the public domain; it may be used, published, edited, and distributed in any manner whatsoever without any attribution or notice to Foundations of Truth.


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