We continue here to deal with the matter of blood transfusions and organ transplants. In the last article we said that we could see no principle difference between blood transfusions and organ transplants, but one of our readers has written about something we missed. Since his comments are to the point, we let him speak.
He writes: "A short comment (not being controversial, just something that struck me) - in an earlier issus, under 'What about organ transplants' you say: ‘It seems clear, to us at least, that there is no essential difference between blood transfusions and organ donations, so that if organ donations are wrong then so are blood transfusions.' As I read this it occurred to me that there is a very essential difference between blood donation and organ transplants- that is that blood is a renewable substance. If I give a pint of blood as a blood donor I do not spend the rest of my life going about with one pint less blood than others! It renews within my body. An analogy might be a nursing mother's milk; by feeding her baby and 'donating' milk she gives what her body will renew, so long as she continues lactating. Possibly hair and finger and toe nails also are analogous to blood in that sense. But organs are essentially different, in that they are not renewable by the body! No kidney donor grows a replacement kidney, no new liver or heart develops in a body from which they are taken. So, extremely unlike blood, organs are an essential part of an individual body, an essential and unalienable part of a whole created by God, and to be ultimately resurrected or changed by Him. Therein lies the essential difference and dividing line, and the reason why Christians can oppose organ transplants without any hint of the Jehovah's Witness nonsense about blood transfusions and the 'soul in the blood' etc."
We agree with the brother and wish any confusion over the matter of blood transfusions to be cleared up. In this light, it seems to us, there can be no legitimate objection to blood transfusions. Certainly we ought to have no sympathy for the position of the Jehovah's Witnesses, especially because their opposition to blood transfusions is based on Leviticus 3:17 which forbids the eating of blood.
The use of blood transfusions, therefore, is simply a matter of using lawful means to preserve life. Such use of lawful means to preserve life is not forbidden by Scripture. Doctors, medicine, and hospitals are not in themselves wrong. God Himself uses the means to preserve our lives - food and drink is but one example.
We even have a certain obligation to preserve our own lives and the lives of others by the use of such means. The Westminster Larger Catechism in its explanation of the Sixth Commandment speaks of our duty, by "lawful endeavors, to preserve the life of ourselves and others by ... a sober use of meat, drink, physick (medicine), sleep, labour, and recreation." In proof of its statement about medicine, it quotes Isaiah 28:31 where God Himself heals Hezekiah but by means of a lump of figs.
Nor must we become confused and think that the use of some such means (inoculation being another example) is wrong because it denies God's providence. There are some who refuse to use such means, thinking that they will not then be depending on God Himself and on His providential care for us. If we are not trusting in God when we use doctors, transfusions, medicines, and other lawful means, the problem is not with them, but with our own hearts.
- Volume: 7
- Issue: 3
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/
Address317 North Park St.
State or ProvinceWA