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Euthanasia, Death Penalty and Cremation
by Mark E Crossley
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New Years Eve 1998 was a momentous day in my life, my grandmother finally died after being severely ill for sometime. She had senile dementia & Parkinson¡¦s disease and was not a well lady.

Every time I saw her during the last few years she went down hill, loosing her memory of who we were and each time you watch a loved die slowly and have many ups and downs until their death it is extremely upsetting and makes one ask pertinent questions such as:

o Why God did not heal her when I prayed frequently for it to occur?
o Why did God prolong her death instead of bringing it sooner?
o Why does God let bad things happen to His people?
o Would you as a believer contemplate any of the options below and is that right?

There are some questions like the ones above that we may never understand but one thing we must do is open our minds to are the number of different types of ways our lives can end until one day when we meet our maker He will answer those questions for us.

These are taken from www.euthanasia.com/euthanasiadefinitions.ppt and these are as follows:

„X Voluntary euthanasia: ¡§When the person who is killed has requested to be killed¡¨.
„X Non-voluntary euthanasia: ¡§When the person who is killed made no request and gave no consent¡¨.
„X Involuntary euthanasia: ¡§When the person who is killed made an expressed wish to the contrary¡¨.
„X Physician Assisted Suicide: ¡§When it is a doctor who helps another person to kill themselves¡¨. Would you take a loved on to the Dignitas Clinic in Switzerland?
„X Euthanasia By Action: ¡§Intentionally causing a person's death by performing an action such as by giving a lethal injection¡¨.
„X Euthanasia By Omission: ¡§Intentionally causing death by not providing necessary and ordinary (usual and customary) care or food and water¡¨.
„X Natural Death: ¡§To go to sleep at the right time when the Lord would wish for you¡¨.
„X Murder: ¡§To be killed against your will by another human being¡¨.

The bible has many things to say on the death penalty to which we will look into now:

The Old Testament law commanded the death penalty for various acts: murder (Exodus 21:12), kidnapping (Exodus 21:16), bestiality (Exodus 22:19); adultery (Leviticus 20:10); homosexuality (Leviticus 20:13), being a false prophet (Deuteronomy 13:5), prostitution (Leviticus 21:9) and rape (Deuteronomy 22:24-25), and several other crimes.

However, God often showed mercy when the death penalty was due. David committed adultery and murder, yet God did not demand his life be taken (2 Samuel 11:1-5, 14-17; 2 Samuel 12:13). Ultimately, each and every sin we commit should result in the death penalty (Romans 6:23). Thankfully, God demonstrates His love for us in not condemning us (Romans 5:8).

So, basically, we are back to where we started. Yes, God allows capital punishment. But at the same time, God does not always demand the death penalty when it is due. What should a Christian¡¦s view on the death penalty be, then?

First, we must remember that God has instituted capital punishment in His Word; therefore, it would be presumptuous of us to think that we could institute a higher standard than He or be more kind than He. God has the highest standard of any being since He is perfect. This standard applies not only to us but to Himself. Therefore, He loves to an infinite degree, and He has mercy to an infinite degree. We also see that He has wrath to an infinite degree, and it is all maintained in a perfect balance.

There are many clinics such as the Dignitas Clinic in Zurich, Switzerland and other pro-euthanasia groups but the bible lets make it perfectly clear is totally against it and the following scriptures we read below are full of life and not death apart from the exception on the death penalty as we read above:

„X John 10:10 ¡§"I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full"
„X Ecclesiastes 3 v 1,2,3, ¡§There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens; A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant & A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to tear down, and a time to build¡¨. The timing of our death is in Gods hands however it should be a natural death!!!
„X (Psalm 89:48; Hebrews 9:27) - We know that physical death is inevitable.
„X Job 30:23, "For I know that You (God) will bring me to death and to the house of meeting for all living
„X Psalm 68:20 "God is to us a God of deliverances; and to GOD the Lord belong escapes from death.
„X God has the final say over death (see also 1 Corinthians 15:26, 54-56; Hebrews 2:9, 14-15; Revelation 21:4). Euthanasia is man's way of trying to usurp that authority from God.

Finally, this is a tricky and sensitive issue and that is that depending how our eyes close on the day the Lord orchestrated should we be to be buried or cremated?

Initially it is worth stating that if a person has wished to be buried in a certain place or their ashes are placed in an urn / scattered in a certain place these must be respected and followed through, even if the family despite any believes or feelings they may have should not ignore this just because they have passed away by one of the above methods of death.

The Bible actually does not give any specific teaching about cremation. Cremation was practiced in Biblical times, but it was not commonly practiced by the Hebrews or by New Testament believers.

Some believers object to the practice of cremation on the basis that it does not recognize that one day God will resurrect our bodies and re-unite them with our soul and spirit (1 Corinthians 15:35-58; 1 Thessalonians 4:16). However, the fact that a body has been cremated does not make it any more difficult for God to resurrect a body.

The bodies of Christians who died a thousand years ago have completely turned into dust by now ¡V and God will be able to raise their bodies. Cremation does nothing but ¡§expedite¡¨ the process of turning a body into dust. God is equally able to raise a person¡¦s remains that have been cremated as He is the remains of a person who was not cremated.

I hope this article opens your mind up to another couple of issues that relate to the subject of death and until such a time you are faced with the issue you would live life to the full as God would want you to and remember the only death that should occur is a natural one.

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