Man does not have the right to accelerate the time of a person’s death. Scripture teaches that death is to be in the sovereign control of God. Euthanasia is defined as a “good death.” However, some may ask, “Is there any such thing as a good death?” Is there a good death for those who are terminally ill or terribly injured in war or in a car accident? Or, is euthanasia simply another form of suicide or even murder? What about the command that says “thou shall not kill” (Exo. 20:13; Gen. 9:6)?
A number of categories for euthanasia have been devised to help define this practice.
1. Voluntary or active euthanasia. This is in the same category as suicide. This category describes a person who willingly and of their own free choice has submitted to euthanasia. They may be elderly and incapacitated, terminally ill, and on life support system and wish to die to end their suffering.
2. Involuntary or passive euthanasia. This is euthanasia that is usually the result of a family decision because the patient is terminally ill, unconscious, and unable to respond. For example, the family in this case may no longer wish to see their loved one suffer. Some reason that animals are put to death when they suffer, why not humans?
Some critical questions should be asked regarding euthanasia. Who makes the decision, the patient, family, or doctor? Is euthanasia another word for premeditated murder (Exo. 20:13)? What happens to the unbeliever who submits to euthanasia? Does euthanasia remove death from God’s authority to decide the issue? The Bible teaches that God is in control of life and death (Gen 1:26-27; 2:7; Rom. 4:17; Job 33:4).
Any decision to allow someone to die in God’s time, rather than artificially prolonging death, must be prayerfully considered. There can be no definitive answer for every situation. If possible, it is wise to discuss the wishes of family members well in advance of any debilitating or terminal illness. Legal documents must be in order, which specifically define such things as the use of life support systems and resuscitation.
Also, pain, suffering, and death are a natural part of life (Gen. 3:14-19; Rom 5:12, 1 Cor. 15:26). It is thus part of God’s permissive will. As such, one must ask, is there ever any value to anyone for human suffering within the plan of God? Some may say that voluntary or involuntary euthanasia really demonstrates a lack of faith in God.