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Pull the Plug: Does the Bible Address Euthanasia?


William let out a deep sigh as he dropped into the thickly padded leather chair that his wife, Maggie, had bought for his seventy-seventh birthday the year before. He let his arms dangle limply over the sides as he sat staring blankly into space, wondering what to do about his wife. Should I pull the plug?, he asked himself.

Maggie had gradually become more and more disoriented until she now lay, most of the time, not even recognizing her husband. The doctors had diagnosed her suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease, a condition that leaves its victims void of their original personalities. At the time of diagnosis, Maggie was mentally alert and of sound mind. Understanding that her condition would grow steadily worse, she compelled William to promise that he would not allow her to be kept artificially alive, that he would pull the plug in keeping with her wishes.

The time came when William realized that he must have Maggie hospitalized. It was time also to think seriously of his promise to his dear wife and sweetheart of fifty-seven years.

As he made the hospital arrangements, William searched his heart and conscience. Could he, in his physically weakened condition, continue to care for Maggie at home? Torn by feelings of guilt and with tears in his eyes, William signed the papers admitting Maggie to the hospital. He visited everyday, staying for hours reading to her, talking to her of their courting days and watching her sleep. One day while visiting Maggie, her breathing stopped. She was revived and hooked up to life support machinery. When William was allowed back into his wife’s room, he looked at her through tear-blurred eyes and remembered his promise to her--to pull the plug.

He simply unplugged the machine that was keeping her alive, walked to the nurse’s station, and proclaimed, “I just killed my wife.”


1.Lay aside the fact that in the United States euthanasia is a crime, do you feel that what Maggie and William decided together, before her mental state deteriorated, was their business alone? And would you, based on their agreement, condone what William did?

2.What are some of the benefits of making euthanasia a crime?

3.What are some of the disadvantages of allowing individuals the choice of euthanasia?

4.When the Bible was written there were no such life support machines such as we have today. So how does the Bible answer the question of whether it’s right or wrong for William to have decided to pull the plug? Does the Bible say anything on euthanasia?

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1. Partly yes, partly no. No, because Maggie, whose life it is, declared that she did not want to be kept alive artificially, and William promised her to comply with this. On the other hand, William could have taken her to another country and done it legally. I believe you should follow your own morals, not necessarily the law, which is fallible - but William is in this case endangering himself (imprisonment, capital punishment), which his wife would not have wanted.

2. Euthanasia could be a cover for getting rid of someone you don't like, or getting an inheritance faster.

3. People shouldn't be kept alive artificially if they don't want to be. This could be misused in the same way that euthanasia could.
by: C.W.
Posted on 2016-12-17 14:30:28

Thank you very much for your comments. I apologize for not responding sooner as promised. The expression of your thoughts regarding the situation in which William and Maggie found themselves reveals a caring spirit in you. Caring spirits, like yours make for a better world.

HeavenlyManna.net was created to give biblical answers to the hard questions of life. It doesn't matter whether one is a believer or not, there are, absolute rights and wrongs that apply to all of us and the situations in which we sometimes find ourselves.

Below are passages of scripture that speak to the question of whether it is right or wrong to commit suicide:

I Kings 19:4 Elijah is depressed and tells God it is better for him to die. He then asked God to take his life...

Jonah 4:8 Jonah is angry and told God that it was better for him to die than to live...

II Corinthians 1:8 Paul and his comrades, because of troubles said they despaired of life...

Job 7:15 We all know how Job suffered a multitude of successive troubles in his life til he said he chose death rather than life...

Yet, none of these took their own lives. They and these passages answer the question. And that answer, regardless of the circumstances is "No."

One more passage which might have been good for Maggie and William: Luke 1:37 -- Nothing is Impossible with God.

Finally, some will say that Samson committed suicide. We at Heavenly Manna disagree. The article on Sampson is at HeavenlyManna.net. "Sampson" typed into the search box on the home page will take you to the article.

Further, as a Christian Youth and Family Worker, I would like to find comments from teens. So, please refer and invite any teens you know to respond with their opinions.

by: Heavenly Manna
Posted on 2016-12-28 15:34:05

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