Euthanasia is the practice of intentionally ending a life in order to relieve pain and suffering. Is it ethical since it is performed for a good intention? If the person wants to die a dignified death, without suffering and all, does he/she have the right to end his/her life this way? Is it considered a form of suicide or murder?
A critical issue emerges in the debate on euthanasia. Can man himself decide what is right and wrong? If the answer is yes, then we will surely fall into the deadly trap of Social Darwinism: starting from Adam and Eve, our moral standards will all be men-made in a Godless society, only the strongest can decide what is right and wrong. Thus Adolf Hitler could decide it was right to terminate the lives of the Jews, simply because Hitler and his followers were in control of Nazi Germany.
Many members of our society disagree with euthanasia and those who oppose euthanasia do so out of their religious convictions. It is well known that many religions are not supportive of euthanasia, one of which is Christianity.
From a general Christian viewpoint, euthanasia can be considered as a form of suicide and/or murder, it is therefore against God’s law: Exodus 20:13 –“thou shalt not kill”, which means that it is a sin to conduct murder of any kind, including suicide etc. In the new Testament, a Christian’s body is regarded as the temple of God that cannot be defiled or destroyed by men, otherwise we run the risk of being destroyed by God: 1 Corinthians 6:19-20- "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body." 1 Corinthians 3:17-19-“ If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.”
The deeper reason why euthanasia is against God’s will lies in the spiritual truth that God has sovereignty over a person’s life. According to the Christian Scripture, our physical death is inevitable (Psalm 89:48）: “Who can live and not see death, or who can escape the power of the grave?” Hebrews 9:27: “Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.” However, God alone has absolute control over when and how a person's death occurs. Ecclesiastes 8:8a states it clearly: “No man has power over the wind to contain it; so no one has power over the day of his death.” God has the final say over death, but Euthanasia is man's way of trying to wrestle that authority from God.
Indeed death is an unavoidable natural occurrence. Sometimes God allows a person to suffer for a long time before his death occurs; other times, the person's suffering is cut short or he dies a peaceful and painless death. It is human nature that no one enjoys sufferings, but that does not make it right for a person to decide to end his life to avoid sufferings. Often God uses a person's sufferings to serve His purpose. “When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other…” (Ecclesiastes 7:14). Romans 5:3 teaches that tribulations bring about a person’s perseverance. God cares about those who are crying out to God in their sufferings, as God himself in the form of Jesus suffered great pain and death on our behalf and for healing us (Isaiah 53:5）: But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.). Only God has a perfect plan for every life and His timing, even in the matter of one's death, is perfect.
Based on the same principle, we must not go to the other extreme to preserve a person’s life by artificial means at all cost. If a person is in a prolonged vegetative state without any hope of recovery from unconsciousness, we believe it would not be unethical to remove whatever life support system that is keeping the person’s body alive. Should God desire to keep a person alive, He is perfectly capable of healing him without any man-made life support system.
Of course this is easy said than done. For example, how long should we wait to stop the life support system after a person is in a vegetative state? Can we cope with the pain and sorrow of making decisions like this one for our unconscious loved ones. We should not seek to prematurely end a life, but on the other hand, neither do we have to resort to extreme methods to preserve a life. Remember God is sovereign and the best advice for anyone facing this decision is to pray to God for wisdom and guidance.
In conclusion, Euthanasia will lead to disastrous social and moral consequences.