Life and Death Ethical Issues

Life and Death Ethical Issues By Wayne Jackson for Christian Courier

GNN Note – If you’re struggling with a terminally ill loved one, as we are at Gospel News Network, this is one of the better articles on the topic. We read several articles and find this one aligns closely with the teachings of Jesus Christ. We need help in these times and this may offer a little relief if you are dealing with very, very serious questions. / END

Solomon once observed that there is “a time to be born, and a time to die” (Eccl. 3:2).

Dying, which ultimately is the price tag attached to human rebellion (Gen. 2:17; Rom. 5:12), is man’s final earthly experience. It shuts the door to this-world activity (Eccl. 9:6; Heb. 9:27)—the views of many fanciful speculators to the contrary notwithstanding—and opens vistas into eternity.

By virtue of humanity’s accelerated technological advances, the modern mind is challenged with numerous questions that pertain to the dying phenomenon.

We have gathered several of these inquiries that have been posed to us in recent times, and, in this article, explore them for study and reflection.

Pain Relief

“Is it ethical to provide morphine to a terminally ill patient, when it is a known fact that this drug can hasten death. Is not this a form of euthanasia?”

This is a most interesting question, and one that many of us have had to deal with on occasion as loved ones faced death. The morphine remedy is, in a manner of speaking, a double-edged sword.

The design of the medication is to provide the cancer victim, for instance, with some relief from pain in the agonizing final phases of terminal illness. In the cases with which I’ve been acquainted, there is no hope of recovery.

While it is true that the morphine does tend to restrict certain bodily functions, as a by-product of the relief of suffering, it is not the intent of the administering physician, and the family, to terminate the life of the patient.

In the judgment of most morally sensitive people, it is much better to provide some easement from the torturous pain—even if life is abbreviated slightly—than it is to allow the victim to languish in agony as the inevitable approaches. This may not be the most ideal situation imaginable, but until something better is developed, most caring people see no ethical problem in the humane relief of suffering.

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