Covid-19 Devotionals

What Does the Bible Say About Taking Life?

It’s rather phenomenal wanting to be God when there is only one God who is eternally God and who cannot be dethroned. After all, there is one, true, living God who created everything out of nothing and continues to sustain all things that exist! Yet there are those from time to time who pop up on the planet and try to exercise the authority of God … and in doing that, try to play God. Take this article I found in News24 yesterday, relating to a previously much publicized case:

Euthanasia advocate Sean Davison, who is serving three years of house arrest for murder, has been struck off a register of medical professionals in New Zealand.

This, after a hearing with the New Zealand Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal via video link this week.

Davison had been provisionally registered with the country’s Medical Sciences Council as a medical laboratory scientist.

“It saddens me that they consider my actions in helping three men end their unbearable suffering [as me being] unfit to carry out my job as a medical scientist,” Davison told News24.

“It is correct that I didn’t inform them of helping three men to die prior to my conviction. Helping these men to end their suffering was a private matter between them and me. It was not something to share with anyone including the Medical Science Council,” he said.

Davison said, when a New Zealand citizen was convicted in another country, the conviction could be transferred to New Zealand. This was despite him being a South African citizen for 25 years.

“This is what happened at the hearing last night [Monday]. In effect, I have been given another sentence.”

In June last year, Davison pleaded guilty to the charges of assisting three people who wanted to end their lives.

They were Anrich Burger, via a lethal amount of drugs in November 2013; Justin Varian via a bag over his head and administering helium in July 2015; and Richard Holland in November 2015 via a lethal amount of drugs.

The Western Cape High Court sentenced Davison to eight years, wholly suspended for five, and ordered him to do three years of community service, with his movements being severely restricted.

Davison is a biochemistry professor who emigrated from New Zealand in 1991.

He conducted research at UCT and assisted the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in identifying severely degraded bodies, such as those of the Mamelodi 10.

He helped his terminally ill mum, Patricia Ferguson, die in New Zealand with crushed morphine tablets, and spent five years in house detention in that country for that.

Davison, a father of three, said his family was considering moving to New Zealand once his house arrest was finished.

(You can read the full article here.) This is a New Zealander who moved to South Africa and who, although doing some good things, used his medical qualifications to do criminal activities. He has been struck off a register of medical professionals in New Zealand … yet wants to return to his homeland. Apart from that as a punishment, he is serving three years house arrest for the assisted suicide of three men. Look at how he “assisted” Anrich Burger by means of a lethal amount of drugs; Justin Varian via a bag over his head and administering helium and Richard Holland via another lethal amount of drugs. But that is not all … he did the same for his mother … Patricia Ferguson, with crushed morphine tablets! If he can do this to his own blood mother, he will do it to anyone. He was given 5 years home detention in New Zealand for this. It seems such a mild punishment … a total of 8 years house arrest for actively helping four people (that we know of) to die by “assisted suicide”.

As you are aware, Genesis 1 provides us with a general explanation of all of creation. Chapter 2 narrows things down to explain the creation of man in more detail.

Ge 2:7 … the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

You notice as you read through Genesis 1, where God created all the animals, that these animals were just that, simple animals unable to interact with God and having no spiritual dimension at all. By implication, when they die they cease to exist! Man, however, is created in the image and likeness of God. In chapter 2, we find God making man with a spiritual dimension that makes him ‘a living being’ … and by implication a being that will live forever (either in heaven or in hell). Looking at the death of his children (coupled to the collapse of his empire – through natural events, hijackings and raiding parties), we read in Job:

Job 1:20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.”

And then in 1 Samuel:

1Sa 2:6 “The LORD brings death and makes alive …”

God takes an extremely dim view on anyone taking the life of another. Call it what you will … even “assisted suicide”, because suicide itself is taking a life–your own. God is the one who gives life and takes life. In the second table of the Commandments, in dealing with man, the 7th Commandment says:

Ex 20:13 “You shall not murder.”

This command covers every act of taking a life, be it another’s life or yours own … even covering those who use substances that eventually kill them. Sin brings out all the emotions that lead to murder … and it all started from a human perspective in Genesis 4 when Cain killed his brother Abel. The devil, however, started the ball rolling when he deceived Eve, resulting in Adam sinning. Adam and Eve’s sin resulted in them dying spiritually and later physically. Irrespective how painful it is to see a loved one suffering with disease, it is not our right to take a life. We need to honour God and His Word to the point where we leave God to be God and us to be His obedient subjects … even when things seem so difficult and painful.

Dear God, help us to grasp more fully Your ownership and lordship over all creation, including the human being created in Your image and likeness. When matters around us seem so impossible, help us to trust that You know what is right and will do what You know is best. Help us to protect life, physically, mentally and spiritually. Amen.

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