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Discovery Magazine 3/1/2006

A Good Death?

There are some things that God says humans should not be involved in without His permission. The death of any human is one of those things. Since humans are made in the image of God, He has made very strict laws to protect them from being killed or murdered. In the New Testament, we read that it is a sin to murder another human (Romans 1:29). It might surprise you, however, to learn that God did give His people in the Old Testament permission to kill the sinful nations around them. And even today, God gives governments the permission to kill those who murder others, abuse children, or do bad things (Romans 13:3-4).

There are some people today, however, who want to help those who are sick take their own lives. The word euthanasia (pronounced like “Youth in Asia”), comes from a set of words that means “good death.” When some people get diseases like cancer or AIDS, they sometimes feel like they do not want to live any longer. They want their life to be over and their pain to stop. Some older people feel like they are a burden to their families and they want to die. Because of this, there are some people who believe that these sick or old people should be given medicine that will kill them quickly and painlessly if they want to die a “good death.”

The problem with this belief is that God has not given humans permission to kill themselves. And He certainly has not said that if a person gets sick or old then we can practice euthanasia on them. In fact, when we read about Job, we see that he wanted to die (Job 3:21), but he would not kill himself or have others do it to stop his pain. The fact is, God often uses pain and sickness to help people see the need to get their lives right spiritually. We must realize that God alone has the right to make rules about human death, and He has not given humans the right to take their own lives or to help others take their lives if they are sick or old. Only God can say what is a “good death.”

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