In an earlier issue we answered in part a question about organ transplants. There we pointed out some important principles that the Christian must keep in mind when considering this matter. There is more to be said, however.
Another important principle that needs emphasis concerns modern medicine itself. We ought never to forget that modern medicine is fundamentally humanistic in its outlook. This becomes evident in a host of different ways.
It is evident in the fact that modern medicine can, on the one hand, seek to preserve life, and on the other hand justify abortion, assisted suicide and euthanasia. In this it proceeds from the humanistic and evolutionary assumption that life is just chemistry. So it seeks to preserve only that life which is useful.
This is why we hear so much talk about "quality of life" in any discussion of euthanasia, organ harvesting from living donors, and other such matters. Modern society cares little either for the elderly or for the unborn, because they have no "quality of life." The fact that life is created by God never enters the discussion.
This same humanistic outlook shows itself in a consideration of the ethics of organ transplants from animals. These transplants are usually justified either implicitly or explicitly on the fundamental evolutionary premise that there is no essential difference between humans and animals, i.e., that humans are only highly developed animals.
Whether this in itself makes such transplants wrong, it is not so easy to say. Nevertheless, Christians should take this fact into account when considering the morality of such transplants. The truth is that God created man and made him unique among all his earthly creatures (Gen. 1:27; 2:7). No Christian may ever forget this.
We might note in this connection that the whole question of creation versus evolution is not merely a matter of academic theological debate. Both creationism and evolutionism involve views of life that give very different answers to moral and ethical questions, and even have a different way of answering such questions.
The present emphasis on "the right to die" also reveals this same godless, humanistic influence. The Bible says that all life belongs to God, first as Creator, and then also (in the case of His people), by purchase. No man's life belongs to himself to dispose of as it pleases him. It belongs to God, and belongs to Him so completely that even our "times" are not our own but are in God's hand (Ps. 31:15).
God determines not only the time of our birth, but also the time of our death, and that according to His sovereign pleasure, keeping alive for a long time an elderly person who no longer knows one hand from the other, and then taking away the life of a newborn infant or young child. Nor can we stay His hand in such matters. All efforts to preserve life are in vain if it is time for the spirit to return to God (Eccl. 12:7). Even when we act unlawfully, and with wicked hands take our own life or the lives of others, we discover that we have only done that which He had determined before to be done (Acts 2:23; 4:28), though the sin and responsibility remain our own.
Christians must not make decisions about these matters carelessly. The Biblical principles must be learned, considered and remembered, so that such decisions, often made under severe emotional stress, are not made without proper consideration.
- Volume: 7
- Issue: 4
Rev. Ronald Hanko (Wife: Nancy)
Ordained: November 1979
Pastorates: Wyckoff, NJ - 1979; Trinity, Houston, TX - 1986; Missionary to N.Ireland - 1993; Lynden, WA - 2002Website: www.lyndenprc.org/sermons/
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