Euthanasia & the Image of God

READ GENESIS 1:26-29

Over the past few weeks we’ve been looking at what it means to be a creation of God and made in the image of God. We’ve talked about recognising the glimmer of God in other people, meeting God in nature, and how we should look after the gift of creation.

But today we’re going to be putting it all to the test.

If you’re anything like me, when the media hit upon a new big issue, suddenly I have a heart felt and strong opinion on this thing that I had never even considered for a second the previous day. I don’t know if it’s just Kiwi’s that have this ability to get worked up into a frenzy over new crazy things on a weekly basis – but it seems to be a reoccurring theme. Yesterday it was whether Pit-bulls should be banned – Right now it’s whether power companies should be able to cut your power off – tomorrow it will be something about whether boy racers will be allowed to wear Burkas while using Nos.

So today we’re going to practise the art of letting God’s perspective shape our opinions on things rather than JUST the media. I’m not saying that we should become bible bashing loonies – but I think we all know that the bias of the Media often give us lopsided feelings on things.

The purpose of today is to help you think through things. It’s not like the bible has a lot specifically to say about some of the issues we find ourselves bumping into in 2007 – but the bible does have things to say – we just have to learn how to hear them. So when the new big issue comes along and someone asks your opinion you don’t just have to parrot John Cambells view on things – but you can try and get inside the mind of God on the subject.

The topic today is Euthanasia. It’s something that cut’s to the heart of what many people fear today – pain, suffering, death, the un controllable, the un known…

It’s a subject that all of us can relate to too because I’m certain that we’ve all know someone who’s died in a slow painful way from a disease or illness. But at the same time it’s something we can afford to share opinions and be challenged about because the chances are non of us will ever be faced with a Euthanasia situation anytime soon.

Now –to clarify, today we’re talking about Active (lethal injection for example) voluntary (the person wants it) or non-voluntary (the person is in a comma but the family wants it) rather than Passive (turning a machine off) euthanasia. So the typical issue is should assisted suicide be legal to allow people to end sufferings, or should our efforts be put into pain relief and allowing people to die when it would occur naturally…

And rather than me giving you my incite into things I’m going to let us go wild discussing, wrestling and throwing new perspectives and ideas around this whole issue – I want your brain to hurt. I want us to use us being God’s creation, made in the image of God, as our starting point.

Discuss the clusters of questions below with the Image of God in mind…

TRINITY & COMMUNITY

  • Does Euthanasia fit with how God wants us to live together and care for each other in Community?
  • Does killing our sick and old help or hinder our Community?
  • Does the Trinity of God (Father, Son, Spirit) tell us anything about how a Community should treat its weakest members?

ANIMALS & HUMANS

  • What’s difference does being made in the Image of God make?
  • Is it fair to compare what you’d do with a suffering animal and what you’d do with a suffering human being?

WHOSE DECISION IS IT?

  • Since we are Creations of God, we are God’s property – we are more like caretakers of our bodies for God. But God also gave us the free will to make our own minds up about things…
  • Is it within our rights as God’s creation to take our own lives?
  • Is the right time to die a decision that only God can make?

JESUS

  • Would Jesus Kill someone out of Compassion?
  • Does Euthanasia fit with what the Bible says of Jesus healing and restoring people?
  • Does Jesus death on the Cross tell us anything about how to live with suffering?

CREATED ORDER

  • Does the Created order have anything to tell us about Euthanasia?
  • Is the need to control our deaths something that only Humans desire, or do we see this in other parts of creation?
  • What does this tell us?

HISTORY

  • Are there any negative or positive social consequence that might arise from allowing Euthanasia?
  • Do these consequences fit with how God would want us to view life and living?
  • Does history warn us of any dangers?

Now ask yourself this: Did you have an opinion on Euthanasia before we started? Has it changed at all since this discussion?

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