Pam Frampton’s recent column dealing with the subject a person’s right to die, was both interesting and thought-provoking.
Equally interesting were certain comments made by readers, with reference to the role which they believe that God plays when it comes to matters of life or death. As a professing Christian, I both believe and know that God, through Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, uses the skills/gifts of people to work miracles of healing and other forms of assistance in people’s lives.
However, I don’t believe that God knows when I will experience physical death. I don’t envision God sitting in Heaven deciding when someone is going to die. God’s primary responsibility is the nurturing, sustaining and the preservation of my immortal soul.
Yes, both God in the Old Testament and Jesus in the New Testament provided for people’s physical needs and instructed people to do likewise. While God knows that physical death is the inevitable fate awaiting any mortal, I don’t believe that God causes any person to die physically whenever God feels that their “number has come up.”
Neither the birth nor the physical death of any person is an act of God. Physical death, regardless of the cause — be it disease, injury or what are commonly referred to as natural causes — happens because we are physical beings living in a physical world who will eventually die, one way or another, without any assistance from God.
Contrary to what many people of my 60–plus generation also believe, God does not inflict death on anyone as a form of punishment for sins they might have committed. My Bible teaches that we stand before God to be judged following our physical death, not before.
The God I know is a God who, by God’s grace, because of a person’s faith in God, grants eternal spiritual life to all who acknowledge as Almighty and Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord. God is a God of love, who sent God’s son to His physical death, and resurrected Him again, that all believers might have eternal spiritual life. The opportunity to become a believer is good supposing a person becomes a believer with his/her dying breath.
Since God is both a loving and merciful God who takes no delight in human suffering, I doubt that God would object if, when the quality of life of any person deteriorates to the point where they are merely existing, that person took steps to end their physical existence. My dad died after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. For the last year of his life, he lay in a bed in a nursing home, oblivious to anything around him. The expression hell on Earth comes readily to mind when I reflect on this and similar situations, where people are merely existing, not living, trapped inside their bodies.
I can’t believe that the loving, merciful and forgiving God, in whom I believe, would object if either the suffering person, or someone empowered to make the choice for them if they could not, were legally able to end such an existence.
Herb Morrison writes from St. John’s.