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Very thought provoking!

As important as the issue of worth is, though, I believe there is another important consideration that is often ignored.

That is the issue of authority and responsibility.

I see these two things (the image of God that we carry, and that the timing of human death falls under God's authority alone) as tied together. The image of God that we carry, even though marred by the fall, is somehow a reflection (or picture) of God himself and as such, God is the boss of it. He's the one who has the say-so as to when it's extinguished, because he's the one whose image it is.



Thank you. That is one of the most clear explanations I think I've ever read and your presenting it in the light of Scripture really helped me.

It was a real blessing for me.

God's grace upon you.


I agree that it is not our responsibility. A christian surgeon I know also agrees but he has another problem, sometimes extending life to long with artificial measures also is a way of making decisions for God. There comes a point where the medical personal must say that now we can't do more, the rest lies in God's hands.


Kristofer brings up a very good point, that is, sometimes we must decide whether or not to keep trying to save a person whose death seems inevitable. In genuine cases, I see this as an entirely different issue.

What we need to work out is what sort of care can be ethically withheld. In my opinion, for example, feeding is never extraordinary care, and letting a comotose person starve to death is immoral and cruel. However, keeping a person with no hope of recovery on a heart-lung machine seems wrong, too. It's really a case-by-case thing, isn't it?

Sadly, reasonable care is often withheld from people who would survive, but are otherwise unwanted. Some Downs Syndrome babies are born with a blocked esophogus or a heart defect, both of whch are surgically correctable, but that correction is sometimes withheld, because the baby is not worth saving, in someone's opinion. In this case, withholding care becomes a less direct form of euthanasia, in my opinion.

I guess what it boils down to is that we need to provide the care and comfort we can, and yet, be prepared, when the time is right, to acknowledge that we are unable to do any more that is truly helpful.

Phil S

I really appreciated your take on the issue. Authority and responsibility are 4-letter words in our culture; people are unwilling to leave authority in another's hands, and even more unwilling to let an "invisible" God be responsible for something that can be so emotionally wrenching at times.


You got it just right. But when it happens to christians, it is amazing how many will bow down to the idle of humanism instead of walking through the fire.


I've had a definition of euthanasia that you might find interesting. Euthanasia is putting someone out of *our* misery. How much easier it is to eliminate the suffering of someone else rather than to help that person bear their suffereing. It's the pragmatic way.

D.C. Chang

Some very thoughtful points. As a Christian doctor, I've witnessed firsthand the needless brutality that many family members insist on putting there loved ones through - ventilators, intravenous medications to artificially support blood pressure, feeding tubes, and countless procedures. While all these things have a place in medicine, they are often done for medically futile cases where the benefits are dubious. In these cases, doctors often remark cynically that we are "treating the family members" -- some probably feel guilty about neglecting or having a poor relationship with a parent while they were active and communicative, and so want to make up for it by "doing everything possible" in the last few days of their dying parent's life. There is a difference between euthanasia and allowing someone to die. In my opinion, the Terry Schiavo case falls into the latter. The position of Jeb Bush and some Christian conservatives therefore disappoints me greatly. I've told my wife that if I'm at the end of my life, with abysmal mental status, to let me die and be with the Lord.

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