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Death and Dying

Abstract

It is appointed for man to die once and afterward face judgment. Where a person has accepted the free gift of salvation, eternal life in God’s kingdom is guaranteed, while those that refuse the gift are condemned to eternal damnation. The Lord God holds the ultimate power to give life and take it as He wills. Death for a Christian is an opportunity to be with the Father. Hence, death should be a celebration of sorts as one enters eternal rest. Because man is created in the image of God, only God can usher man into His presence. This makes euthanasia unacceptable in the Christian worldview. In this case study, George is diagnosed with ALS and is contemplating euthanasia. This paper discusses how and why euthanasia is not an option for George to take. The reasons given in non-support for euthanasia are the sovereignty of God and His owning the breath that man possesses and the all-knowing nature of God, which pre-empt every action that man would take.

Death and Dying

How would George interpret his suffering in light of the Christian narrative, with an emphasis on the fallenness of the world?

When God created Adam, He intended that He would have communion with him forever. Adam was to live on earth forever as a friend of God and as a being that God took pleasure in. He also created Eve as a wife for Adam and instructed that the two were to multiply and fill the earth. Everything was perfect, and Adam and Eve had all they needed to live on earth and enjoy its abundance. The only instruction that God gave them was that they were not to eat the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil lest they would taste death. The two disobeyed, and sin was introduced into the world. The plan to live forever was revoked, and with that came the mortality of man. However, the second Adam, Jesus Christ, came so that man would again be restored to his relationship with God. However, this time, man would live for eternity in heaven, a place unpolluted by sin, sickness, death, or tears of sorrow.

In this case, George should understand that no one will live forever here on earth. Adam’s sin of disobedience took away that privilege. The Bible, in several verses, points out that man is destined to die, but what becomes of his life in eternity, depends on his relationship with Jesus Christ here on earth. The ALS is a means that God calls George to his other home in eternity.

How would George interpret his suffering in light of the Christian narrative, with an emphasis on the hope of resurrection?

From the beginning, God intended to have a relationship with man. Before the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, it is recorded that Adam and Eve would talk with God as He visited them in the evening hours. God wanted to talk and walk with man. The disobedience by Adam brought judgment on man of which death was the ultimate judgment. But even then, God was still willing to have a relationship with man, and this time He chose to come in person to redeem man. However, the second strategy was more personalized. Jesus Christ, who was God incarnate, chose to spend 33 years here on earth. His stay on earth was a message to man that God is familiar with and interested in man’s daily life, the good and the bad. He could have chosen to appear on a single day and declare that He would take whoever believes in Him to heaven at that very instance. Instead, Jesus chose to live the life of man so that man could better relate to God. While on earth, Jesus’ mission was to bring hope to anyone who believed that God the Father was, and has always been, willing to relate with man. Because of man’s hard-heartedness due to his wickedness, Jesus knew that not all would accept the free gift of an eternal relationship with God, and so He came to an individual level. As He was leaving earth, He commanded that the disciples (including those who believe in the resurrection of life) go and make disciples. Making disciples requires the teaching of the message of God, that He loves each one of us and would want to spend eternity with each one of us in heaven.

Therefore, even as George is suffering from his disease, he needs to rest in the assurance that though his body withers away, his spirit man remains intact. When he finally dies, his spirit will go and be with the Father forever in eternity. Revelations 21:4 assures George that he will no longer experience pain, sorrow, death, or tears.

As George contemplates life with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), how would the Christian worldview inform his view about the value of his life as a person?

The gift of salvation positions a person in a new dimension. The spirit that was condemned to die for eternity is now given a new life in Christ. So while George’s body is wasting, his spirit remains as a whole as the Holy Spirit lives in him. Thus, George should look into his inner spirit and find truth in the fact that it is not sick or defiled in any way. That inner spirit is what should dictate how he lives his life here on earth. His joy should be in the knowledge that he is whole in Christ and therefore have the strength to teach others that they too can be whole if only they accept the Holy Spirit in them, to make them whole as well (Sharp, 2019).

The value of his life is not based on his physical abilities but rather on his spiritual abilities. He has been called to be a disciple of Christ and to make disciples for the kingdom. The hope he has of eternal life should be what he preaches to others to draw them to Christ. His knowledge of the kingdom of God and where his spirit will spend its eternity should be his message of hope to others.

What sorts of values and considerations would the Christian worldview focus on in deliberating about whether or not George should opt for euthanasia?

Euthanasia, from a Christian perspective, is not an option. God is the giver of life and holds all power to end it at His will. Man is not allowed to take another’s life because it is not man who gives breath to another. God, in the book of Genesis 1, breathed His spirit into man, and hence, the breath man has belongs to God. Paul said that he considered the suffering of this world as nothing compared to the glory he would experience in heaven (Romans 8:18). This teaches Christians that suffering should not be a blinding phenomenon that hinders one from the ultimate goal of attaining eternal life. Additionally, God knew each one of us before we were formed; He knit each one of us in our mother’s wombs and knows every single day what was destined for each one of us (Jeremiah 1:5). Christians need to acknowledge this truth and realize that every second of our lives is already planned for by God; hence, no one can authoritatively cut off one’s life.

That said, George cannot opt for euthanasia because he has no right over his own life (1 John 4:4). Euthanasia is taking a life, and the Bible expressly forbids taking another’s life. God said that He created man in His own image, and therefore, no one has a right to kill another: “Whoever sheds human blood by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind” (Genesis 9:6). Exodus 20:13 commands that man shall not murder another. Further, Jesus said we should love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:31); hence, withholding treatment to another goes against this commandment. A physician should care for a patient in the best way possible and not abscond the duty to care by killing a patient (De Villiers, 2016).

Given the above, what options would be morally justified in the Christian worldview for George and why?

Life in God’s perception has great value. There is no time in a Christian’s life that life loses value in His view. In fact, God states that He does not find pleasure in the death of an evil person (Ezekiel 18:23) and also says that the death of a saint is precious in His sight (Psalms 116:15). Eternal death way is not pleasing to God. He does not also receive glory in the suffering of His children. Lamentations 3:33 (NIV) notes that God’ For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone.’ God knows everything about everyone. In Mathew 10:30, Jesus said that the very hairs on a person’s head are counted by Him. He also knows our thoughts; even before we speak, He already knows what a person wants to say (Psalms 139:1-2).

Since God knows everything about a person, nothing surprises Him, and all that happens to a Christian does so with His allowing for it to happen. In George’s case, God knew that a day would come when George would be diagnosed with ALS. He knew that George would have a mixture of emotions, and He even knew the people that would offer morale support to George. In fact, God knew the physician that would care for George and instilled in Him the intellect to care for George. He never bestowed on the physician the authority to end a person’s life. Therefore, George’s option is to have those that God placed in his life as moral support to be close to him. George can request these people to assist him as he would like them to as the disease progresses. He can also request that they pray for him to be at peace within himself and not lose his focus on God through the disease journey (Cherry, 2018).

Based on your worldview, what decision would you make if you were in George’s situation?

If I were in George’s situation, I know I would go through a roller coaster of emotions. The first few weeks would be filled with sorrow because of thinking of leaving my loved ones behind. After this period, I will go through a time where I have to confess over and over again my position in Christ; that He loves me more than anything; that even in this storm, He walks with me; and that His purpose is greater than my will. I will do this repeatedly until my mind, body, and spirit align with this truth. From this point on, I will speak the peace of Christ into my spirit and my mind and also to that of my loved ones. This peace is what I believe will carry my loved ones and me through the progression of the disease. At this time, I will also do as much as I can before I lose all mobility. I will visit every place I have longed to go, visit people I have postponed over the years to visit, and do activities and hobbies I have put on hold for years. When the time comes when the disease completely immobilizes me, I will spend my final days giving thanks and praise to God for every single day that I have lived; for every memorable moment in my life; and for every good and bad that has happened in my life and that of my loved ones. I will also spend the last days interceding for my loved ones, seeking God to favor them in their journey in life. I would not choose euthanasia; I would die a natural death.

References

Cherry, M. J. (2018). Physician-assisted suicide and voluntary euthanasia: How not to die as a Christian.

De Villiers, D. E. (2016). May Christians request medically assisted suicide and euthanasia?. HTS Theological Studies72(4), 1-9.

Sharp, S. (2019). The bible and attitudes toward voluntary euthanasia. Death studies43(4), 240-247.

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Question 


Death and Dying

Case Study on Death and Dying

The practice of health care providers at all levels brings you into contact with people from a variety of faiths. This calls for knowledge and understanding of a diversity of faith expressions; for the purpose of this course, the focus will be on the Christian worldview.

Based on “Case Study: End of Life Decisions,” the Christian worldview, and the worldview questions presented in the required topic study materials you will complete an ethical analysis of George’s situation and his decision from the perspective of the Christian worldview.

Death and Dying

Death and Dying

Provide a 1,500-2,000-word ethical analysis while answering the following questions:

  1. How would George interpret his suffering in light of the Christian narrative, with an emphasis on the fallenness of the world?
  2. How would George interpret his suffering in light of the Christian narrative, with an emphasis on the hope of resurrection?
  3. As George contemplates life with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), how would the Christian worldview inform his view about the value of his life as a person?
  4. What sorts of values and considerations would the Christian worldview focus on in deliberating about whether or not George should opt for euthanasia?
  5. Given the above, what options would be morally justified in the Christian worldview for George and why?
  6. Based on your worldview, what decision would you make if you were in George’s situation?

Remember to support your responses with the topic study materials.

Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center. An abstract is required.

This assignment uses a rubric. Please review the rubric prior to beginning the assignment to become familiar with the expectations for successful completion.

You are required to submit this assignment to LopesWrite. Refer to the LopesWrite Technical Support articles for assistance.

Attachments

  • PHI-413V-RS-T4CaseStudyEndOfLifeDecisions.docx
  • RUBRIC

Maximum Points: 200.0

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