Christian Beliefs on Euthanasia, Death, and Dying

Modern technology allows healthcare professionals to cure and treat previously fatal diseases or prolong life when death is inevitable. With the extensive set of opportunities provided by technology come ethical concerns regarding their usage. One of the examples is euthanasia – a practice of killing a person in order to relieve them from their suffering. Euthanasia is not a new practice as it has existed for many millennia. However, in recent decades, it has become controversial and a topic of ethical debate in the healthcare context. In most cases, the Christian worldview can assist health providers in making moral decisions. This paper will provide an overview of the issue through the discussion of George, who has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Fallenness of the world presents religious individuals with a dual problem of interpreting God and his intentions. On the one hand, if God was all-powerful and perfect, then the world would not be fallen and instead be a utopia for human beings (Dickinson, 2019). On the other hand, God is perfect but has intentions that differ from providing humans with an ideal world to stay. Christians support the latter opinion – God’s objective is human redemption and offering people opportunities to learn, struggle, and experience different situations (Dickinson, 2019). God does not want the world to stay fallen and the humans to suffer – he wants people to fight and be redeemed (Dickinson, 2019). From this perspective, George’s suffering is his opportunity to be saved if he chooses to challenge the disease. By challenge, one should only contemplate seeking relief from pain and grief. According to the Christian gospel, the highest good to be sought by humans is to love and serve God (Dickinson, 2019). Therefore, from the perspective of the fallenness of the world, the disease given to George is an opportunity for him to start cherishing God and the gifts he has given.

Suffering is not the end of the road and is only the beginning of a human’s life. Christians often relate their current struggles to how Jesus had to overcome a profusion of challenges before being resurrected by God. Therefore, for Christians, loving and serving God is a means of achieving life after dying and meeting with God. Thus, in the context of resurrection, George’s suffering is a necessity on the way toward entering heaven, appearing in the presence of God, and resurrecting when the time comes (Jamir, 2020). According to Christianity, George should not view his disease as a burden and an expression of neglect on behalf of God. Instead, the Christian gospel teaches that George should see his struggles as a chance to earn a right to be resurrected (Jamir, 2020). With the help of Christian teachings, death and associated challenges during the end-of-life period of a person are not curses sent by God. While death is still an enemy to human beings, understanding the intentions of God and the true meaning of issues people face, the enemy can be conquered (Jamir, 2020). Thus, George’s struggle is the key to defeating the mentioned enemy and being resurrected when he meets God.

Among all other gifts given to humans by God, the most sacred and most significant one is life. Christianity teaches that God’s image exists within humans, and therefore, murder is strictly forbidden. If God wanted, all humans would perish in a matter of moments; therefore, each second that people breathe should be cherished and valued. As George contemplates his life with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), he is starting to see his life as a potential burden to others because ALS will eventually cause all muscles to become dysfunctional. He is ready to part with his life through the means of euthanasia. The Christian worldview would restrain George from making such considerations because only God decides when it is time to be born ad when it is time to leave this world. Therefore, suicide and murder are among the most terrible sins a human being may commit. Before making hasty decisions, George should view his life not as a possession but as a gift from God over which he has responsibility. Understanding this reality may help him recognize that the decision is not his to make.

As mentioned, murder is strictly forbidden in Christianity because it is an act of killing an image of God and neglecting the most significant gift he has given to humans. Euthanasia can also be considered as an act of murder because the death comes not from natural causes, but because a physician deliberately provides the patient with an overdose (Sabriseilabi & Williams, 2020). If a physician only fills the syringe, and the patient injects it by themselves, then it is considered to be an assisted suicide (Sabriseilabi & Williams, 2020). Since both suicide and murder are considered to be sins from the Christian perspective, both assisted suicide and euthanasia are not allowed (Sabriseilabi & Williams, 2020). The core principle according to which the Christian gospel prohibits such medical procedures is that it is only God’s decision to take away a person’s life (Sabriseilabi & Williams, 2020). No human is born, and no individual dies without God’s permission. Furthermore, euthanasia is allowed only in several countries in the world, which adds an additional layer of complexity to George’s intentions.

With the strong opposition of Christianity to both euthanasia and assisted suicide, George’s list of options is limited. Proponents of euthanasia often rely on the principles of personal freedom and autonomy, meaning that life can be terminated voluntarily in case of deadly illness that impedes the adequate functioning of an organism. However, personal freedom is a controversial topic because humans are inherently constrained by death, while no one desires to die (Sabriseilabi & Williams, 2020). The Christian gospel mandates that suffering should be relieved but not through the means of killing. At the same time, the Biblical narrative does not favor excessive use of technology to treat a person who is sick with a disease that cannot be cured, especially when the treatment process causes pain and discomfort. Therefore, the only possible solution for George is to opt for passive euthanasia, which is legal in many countries (Brouwer et al., 2018). This form of euthanasia, which is basically denying medical care in cases when life can be prolonged, is also acceptable in the eyes of Christianity.

If I were in George’s situation, I would feel the same. I would not want to be a burden to other people and add a struggle into their lives. Caring for another person is often challenging, especially when this individual has issues with physical health, are unable to move and perform basic functions. Also, being a prisoner of the body leads to mental challenges – continuous stress will make life miserable and full of suffering. In terms of money, prolonging my life when I know that I will eventually face complete immobility is a waste. Healthcare is expensive, and opting for treatment would mean that my family would have to struggle financially. Therefore, if I were in George’s place, I would consider passive euthanasia so that my life is not prolonged. I would not want to commit suicide because it is a sin God may not forgive. Also, I would not want others to become murderers and face challenges both in the context of religion and legislation (Brouwer et al., 2018). Therefore, active euthanasia and assisted suicide would not be considered. I would live the rest of my life cherishing God and thanking him for the life I had. I would devote all my time to my family and worship and prepare to meet with God.

In summary, the Biblical narrative helps people understand the value of life and why it is forbidden to murder other people or commit suicide. In this context, euthanasia and assisted suicide are also prohibited because the first one is equal to the murder of other person, while the latter is suicide. The only option George has is to choose passive euthanasia, which can be described as intentional neglect of the disease. In other words, the patient does not undergo treatment and disease management procedures and does not want to prolong life with current technological methods. Passive euthanasia is legal in most circumstances and does not face strong opposition from religious groups.


Brouwer, M., Kaczor, C., Battin, M. P., Maeckelberghe, E., Lantos, J. D., & Verhagen, E. (2018). Should pediatric euthanasia be legalized? Pediatrics, 141(2), 1-7. Web.

Dickinson, T. (2019). Christianity’s extraordinary solution to believing in God in a world of evil and pain. Stream. Web.

Jamir, I. (2020). The suffering and the resurrection: An overview of Covid-19. Council for World Mission. Web.

Sabriseilabi, S., & Williams, J. (2020). Dimensions of religion and attitudes toward euthanasia. Death Studies, 1-8. Web.