Taking the reigns

The Sanctity of Life and the Resurrection - Eighth in a Series

Who owns the patent on the body: God or man? Who has the right to state how it may be used and how those who break the rules may be prosecuted?

Or, is it a dual ownership? After all, he has said, “Ye are gods.” (John 10:34) And we have the instruction to rule over nature (Gen 1:28). Could that not include inventing ways to maintain good health? If cloning and body donations facilitate this, why not promote them?

We humans enjoy pushing every limit, spinning webs and constructing devices for problem solving. We let our conscience be our guide when we ought to question our sense of propriety.

What is the right way to view and to treat humans? Will we be careful in our judgments, relating each ethical question to the sanctity of human life made in the image of God, striving for a consistent life ethic? Or, will the ground of our deductions be whether or not personal consent has been given?

This is a question for us, for Christians. We already know how the world will rule.

The above excerpt from the Flesh & Bone & The Protestant Conscience ebook brings into focus the controversy between utilitarian and Christian ethics. The Bible teaches that God is our Creator and has full rights over life. The world tells us that if we sign our driver’s license we can be in control of our organs and choose to share them with people in need.

Rational people of faith fear God and respect his sovereignty over all life. It is He that has made us, and not we ourselves. (Psalm 100:3) Yet there are many ways to extend or manipulate life and God in his permissive will does not step in to prevent these, and we sometimes wonder why.

If we choose to be organ donors, we know that we will be allowing others to be in control of the timing of our death. This will not trouble the person who accepts the new definition of death, “brain death.” (See Post 4) It may not seem consequential in that brain death is a tiny step away from true death. Or is it?

There are many stories of comatose patients who could hear the doctors discussing how to proceed since the patient was dead. An example is here. To avoid this dilemma, don’t sign your driver’s license and do state in your Advance Directive that you don’t wish to donate your organs. Be aware that there is a movement afoot to euthanize those in certain categories so that their organs can be harvested, and in some places in the world this can be done unless the person explicitly opts out of donating his organs.

There is a need for people to become activists in the right to life movement that warns against doctor-assisted suicide and euthanasia; however many pro-lifers approve of organ sharing. The church approves, so why wouldn’t they? Same for IVF, life invented in petri dishes.

Would you agree that God is offended with people who take from his hands the natural process he established to end life when these means are odious? Or, for that matter, the natural process to begin life? Is there a difference between scientists who work to find cures for diseases or medicines for palliative care and those who find ways to extend life through organ sharing procedures?

In organ donation the world considers only whether the person has given permission as the ethical standard, but Christians ethics are rooted in God’s Word. Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments. (Ps 119:73)

Once it becomes ordinary to take the reigns over life from God's hands into our own, we feel the ground of morality slipping. Now the young adult who is in dark and endless depression can be euthanized and harvested; next the prisoners; then the children: Where will it end?

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...and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind ... the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind ...the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. -Genesis 1

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A SistersSite eBook

Flesh and Bone and The Protestant Conscience is an e-book on Amazon.com. It is 99¢ and in the Amazon lending library as well. The book description follows.

Would you let your conscience be your guide?

Does God care if the skin and bone of the dead are passed along to the living for medical uses? Is organ donation OK with God? Should you sign a Living Will?

Did you know that dead organ donors are often anesthetized before their organs are removed? Do you know the current definition of death? The conscience cannot function without facts.

As we ponder the ethics of in vitro fertilization, stem cell research and man-made chimeras, our thoughts trail off. How then should we live? (Ez 33:10)

How should a Christian think about euthanasia by starvation when doctors and the state attorney general all agree it is time to withhold feeding from a brain injured patient? Some things are family matters, but someday it may be our family.

Here is a small book to help you think about whether you want to sign your driver's license, donate a kidney, cremate your loved one, and many other practical questions that may arise in the course of your healthcare decisions or watch over others.

It offers a special focus on the doctrine of the Resurrection that is related to such decisions. Sunday School classes and Bible Study groups could use this book to facilitate discussion about the issues covered.