Since the publicizing of Jack Kevorkian, our country, and perhaps
the world, has been perplexed regarding the morality of one individual
assisting another individual to commit suicide. Let all of us who
have God's word living in our hearts appeal to the Bible in order
to confront the issue of assisted suicide.
Several years ago I was in a college class where the professor
asked everyone who had considered committing suicide to raise their
hand. To our surprise, a vast majority of students had considered
suicide. It is not my intent to discuss the mental anguish or circumstances
surrounding the contemplation or attempt to commit suicide, nor
is it my intention to discount the seriousness of this matter within
human lives. But, those in Christ can take comfort in having a Lord
"who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we
ask or think" (Eph. 3:20) which does not fall short of removing
the distresses of life that move one towards suicide. With this
said, my intent is to discuss the immorality of suicide and assisted
suicide as revealed within the word of God.
First, consider whether or not suicide is sin. Webster defines
suicide as "to put (oneself) to death: kill." In other
words, suicide is to kill yourself or self-killing. Although the
Bible does not use the word suicide, it teaches about killing. And
in the case of Judas, the Bible simply says that he hung himself.
Beginning with Cain killing Abel (Gen. 4:8-13), to the giving of
the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:13), to the teachings of Jesus (Matt.
5:21-22), and to apostolic teachings (Jam. 5:6), killing an innocent
person has been against God's laws, therefore sin. God commanded
and allowed man to kill in instances of defence from an attacker,
capitol punishment, and in war with hostile and sinful nations -
all other killing is sin. "The International Standard Bible
Encyclopaedia" comments on suicide and its place throughout
history among God's people stating: "Contrary to the practice
and the philosophy of paganism, the act was held in deep abhorrence
by the Hebrews because of the high value placed on human life. It
was held inexcusable that any but the most degraded and satanic
should lay hands on their own lives. Only the remorse of the damned
could drive one to it, as witness Saul (1 S 31 4) and Judas (Mt
27 5)." Consequently, we have no other conclusion to make but
that suicide (self-killing) is sin.
Secondly, let us consider that the Bible teaches in the Old and
New Testaments that it is a sin to cause, assist, or participate
with another individual in sin. In Jeremiah 32:35 we see that God
considered it an abomination that people taught Judah to worship
idols and therefore caused Judah to sin. Since the definition of
abomination is a thing that is unlawful, we must conclude that it
is unlawful to cause one to sin. Furthermore, we see in I Kings
15:34 that Baasha sinned in causing Israel to sin, and we must conclude
that it is sinful to cause one to sin. As for the New Testament,
Paul teaches that we are not to do anything that may cause another
Christian to stumble and sin, nor are we to participate in another
person's sin. In I Corinthians 8:12-13 the apostle teaches that
if eating meat were to make our brother stumble, we should not eat
meat; therefore, we would avoid causing our brother to sin against
his conscience. And in Ephesians 5:3-7, Paul instructs Christians
not to be partakers (share, have in common) of sin with others.
So, Christians are not to cause another person to sin, nor are
they to participate in the sins of others inclusive of assisting
one to sin.
What shall we say? Let me suggest, from the Bible, that suicide
and assisting one to commit suicide is sin. Additionally, that suicide
is not an alternative for a child of God, but as spoken by the apostle
Paul: "God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted
beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make
the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it" (I Cor.
10:13). The decision is yours - we can either hold high God's word
and proclaim truth, or we can silently sit by and allow the sins
of man to be flaunted before the world. Will you stand with God
or the philosophies of man?